He’s raised millions of dollars in support of hospital patients, the LGBTQ community and numerous other social causes, yet Salah Bachir isn’t one to brag. Far from it, in fact: Bachir is jovial, earnest and eminently humble as he discusses his philanthropic career.
Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and queer-straight alliances (QSAs) are peer support networks that promote welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students and their allies.
But misconceptions about what they do and who they’re intended for stoke opposition that may make students, teachers and school administrators hesitant to support their creation, despite the legislative backstop provided by Bill 10, which mandates the formation of GSAs in any Alberta K-12 school where students want them.
It’s been three years since the first official University of Alberta Pride Week was celebrated on campus. In human years, it’s still a toddler. But the Annual OUTreach Drag Show, which will kick off UAlberta Pride Week 2016 this Saturday, has been around for 13 years. Consider it the spirited older sister that paved the way for its younger sibling.
To say Kristopher Wells (’94 BEd, ’03 MEd, ’11 PhD) is a busy man is quite an understatement.
Co-director of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) and assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, Wells is a leading researcher and advocate for sexual and gender minority youth across Canada.
Now more than ever, his expertise is in demand.
By Isabela C. Varela
Camp fYrefly, Canada’s only leadership program for sexual and gender minority or LGBTQ youth, is the proud recipient of Project Ploughshares Edmonton’s 2014 Salvos Prelorentzos Peace Award.
Founded in 2004 by professors André Grace and Kristopher Wells of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education, Camp fYrefly is a university-community educational outreach project that focuses on the educational, health, safety, and socialization needs of sexual and gender minority youth.
Recent controversy over gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools has put lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights into the national spotlight.
Last week, the Alberta legislature voted down a non-binding motion calling on the government to introduce legislation that would require school boards to support gay-straight alliances (GSAs) when requested by students.
Kristopher Wells receives hate mail and death threats for standing up for what he believes in, but he refuses to be bullied.
He says every time he appears on TV to discuss sexual and gender minority (SGM) rights and issues, detractors come out of the woodwork.
“I always say my job hasn’t been done if a week goes by where somebody doesn’t ask for me to be fired,” says Wells. “There’s never a dull day.”
Growing movement aims to create safe schools and encourage inclusivity
It’s not so strange to find clubs on the campus of any high school. Students with common interests connect all the time to join groups focused on sports and academic clubs as well as social clubs.
But it’s only recently that students have gotten together to form gay-straight alliances, or GSAs. Today they’re one of the fastest growing social movements within schools in North America.
A passionate advocate who works tirelessly to ensure equal opportunities and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities and LGBTQ youth has been honoured by Avenue magazine as one of Edmonton’s 40 most exceptional community leaders under 40 years of age.
Summer camps come in all forms, and it's pretty easy to find programs centering on sports, arts, nature, science, dance and drama, or some other common activity.
Rarely is there a camp focusing on sexual identity and support for the development of self-realization and leadership in youth from marginalized groups.