On May 17th, we celebrated International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). IDAHOT was first recognized in 2004 to draw public attention to the discrimination and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people experience, often on a daily basis.

May 17 is a significant date because it was the day that the World Health Organization made the decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990. From the IDAHOT website:

“The Day represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision-makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities, etc., to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.”

As a way of honouring this day within our own community, we asked some of our GSA (Gender Sexual Orientation Alliance) members to share their thoughts about how to support the LGBTQ2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Two-Spirit) community.

“If you want to support us, just speak up when you see something hurtful. Our community needs allies who will use their privilege to stand up for us.” Charlie, grade 12

“Try to understand us, ask us what we are comfortable with, and then instead of letting hateful people say things, step up and educate that person.” Amber, grade 9

“You don’t have to be queer to support queer people, you just have to be willing to listen to what they have to say, and willing to learn more.” Lachlan, grade 10

“It’s ok to be one, it’s ok to be another, it’s ok to be both, it’s ok to be neither.” Takumi, grade 12