Educators' conference focuses on sexual minority rights

    HALIFAX, April 23 /CNW/ - On April 24 and 25 the conference Educators:
Taking Pride in Equity, organized by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, will
focus on sexual minority rights and provide important professional development
for some 175 teachers and school support staff across Nova Scotia attending
the conference.
    "This is the first time a teacher organization in Atlantic Canada has
sponsored a conference on sexual minority issues in schools," says NSTU
president Alexis Allen.
    According to results of Egale Canada, three quarters of self-identified
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students who
participated in a recent survey feel unsafe at school. "Results of this survey
already tell us what we know students have been feeling in classrooms across
Nova Scotia," says Allen. "We need to ensure that tackling homophobia,
heterosexism and transphobia are priorities in schools across the province."
    The NSTU has been planning this conference for the past year, in part due
to the growing need within the school system to address this issue and the
increased call for professional development in this area.
    The Honourable Scott Brison, MP Kings-Hants will provide the opening
keynote address on Friday, April 24 at 9:15 a.m. The conference will feature
workshops on diversity, homophobia, transphobia, Gay-straight Alliances
(GSAs), and include two panel discussions Overcoming Challenges and Youth in
    Workshops include Reconciling Religion with LGBT Equality in the
Classroom with Kevin Kindred, lawyer and LGBT rights advocate, That's So Gay:
Addressing Homophobia at School with teacher Lee Anne Arsenault, Gendered
Classrooms: Transgender Students with Leighann Wichman and Kris Figueroa from
the Youth Project, plus workshops from Trans Family Nova Scotia and the
Canadian Centre for Diversity.
    Lieutenant Governor's Teaching Award recipient and Avon View High School
teacher, Dr. Steven Van Zoost will provide the Closing Keynote.
    The Conference will also include an international banquet with music
provided by Auburn High School students.
    For a complete list of workshops and further details, please visit the
NSTU website at and click the Equity Conference portal.

    The Nova Scotia Teachers Union represents 10,900 public school teachers
in Nova Scotia and Community College faculty and professional support staff.
Organized in 1895, its programs are directed towards improving the quality of
public education in Nova Scotia.

For further information:

For further information: Media: Angela Murray, Nova Scotia Teachers
Union, Cell: (902) 497-0194,

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Nova Scotia Teachers Union

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