Challenging Homophobia and Transphobia Still Vital for Ontario Campuses

TORONTO, May 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Despite strides in enshrining legal rights for queer and trans people in Ontario, students continue to face homophobia and transphobia on college and university campuses and in their communities. May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

"Whether queer and trans students are facing homophobia and transphobia in the classroom or are being shut out of our colleges and universities because they cannot afford Ontario's high tuition fees, there is still plenty to do to ensure our campuses are accessible, safe and inclusive places for queer and trans youth," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson-elect of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.

Over the past two years, legislative changes have created new protections for gender identity and gender expression in federal and provincial human rights legislation. Still, queer and trans people continue to be marginalized in our communities. A recent survey by Egale Canada found that almost two thirds of queer and trans high school students fees unsafe at school and more than one in five said they had been physically harassed or assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation.

"Today, it is important to celebrate the legal protections queer and trans people have fought for and won," said Woods. "But we cannot forget that with queer and trans communities continuing to face high levels of poverty, and experiencing disproportionate levels of violence and harassment, there is still a lot to do to achieve equity for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

One year ago, the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, along with the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line, launched the Challenge Homophobia and Transphobia campaign on college and university campuses across Ontario. The campaign includes outreach materials and a comprehensive campus guide for student activists with legal information, local resources, campaigning tips and other resources and for organizing anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia campaigns and initiatives.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 300,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students in every region of Ontario.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information:

Alastair Woods, Chair-elect: 416-925-3825 or chair.elect@cfsontario.ca


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