Local students participate in GSA walk out

By Taylor Chartrand
May 3, 2019 - 4:20pm Updated: May 3, 2019 - 7:41pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB - Students across Alberta walked out of class at 9:30 this morning to collectively protest the UCP's stance on gay-straight alliances.

Premier Jason Kenney has suggested his government would allow teachers to tell parents if their child joined a GSA.

Here in Medicine Hat, a group of eight students from Crescent Heights High School protested this by waving flags and hoisting signs.

It was evident the Premier's comments didn't sit well with them.

"That can be dangerous because some kids' parents are kind of maybe not to accepting of that kind of thing," said grade-11 student, Ellen Lewall. "They want to find a sense of community and that's what GSA's are for."

And since Lewall didn't get to vote in the last provincial election, she feels this is something she had to do.

"It's a way to grab attention, even though we can't vote immediately. I mean, the school is full of future voters, so why not do something when we aren't able to vote? Not being able to vote doesn't inhibit us from taking action." 

Between this group of 8 students, their biggest concern was keeping children safe, as they believe GSA's save lives.

"Maybe if some unaccepting parents didn't know, that would help because they wouldn't bully, abuse or shun them." 

They believe the responsibility of sharing such personal information should only come from the individual involved.

"They need to be given time and the government doesn't see that," explained grade-7 student, Rhiannon Brooks. "I know some people don't like the L-G-B-T-Q and that's their own opinion, but they should just let them be who they want to be."

Most of these students identified as LGBTQ allies and say the government needs to find a healthy solution for both sides of the conversation.

"As long as they're happy and know who they are that's the most important thing. Outing them to their parents shouldn't be as important as them being themselves."

Ultimately, these allies just want their friends to be treated like everyone else and to have the choice to tell people their gender or sexual preference when they want.

"They're a person, just like us and I want the government to know that they are people and they deserve to be treated like them," finished Brooks.

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