Friday, June 02, 2006

Canadian Province To Offer Gay H.S. Course

B.C. Blazing a path for young LGBT students and any other student who desires to know more about others. I think this is a wise move, it shows that acceptance is possible and I hope that other Provinces follow suit, and allow queer studies to be part of H.S. curriculum. Why force students to wait until University to get the chance to learn about LGBT, Queer Issues, when Canada stands at the forefront of Diversity and Acceptance (chuckles and grins) ....

May this be the first of many changes to High School curriculum across Canada.

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by Rich Peters, 365Gay.com Vancouver Bureau

June 1, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Vancouver, British Columbia) Grade 12 students in British Columbia schools will learn about LGBT issues in a new course to be offered this fall.

The course, to be called Social Justice, will examine a range of topics, including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. It stems from a British Columbia Human Rights complaint filed by a same-sex couple.

Murray Corren and his same-sex partner, Peter, accused the Ministry of Education of discrimination against gay students and the children of same-sex partners.

A human rights tribunal heard evidence in the case last year.

Correm, a teacher in Coquitlam, has been fighting for recognition of gay issues in the curriculum for nearly nine years. He says that there is systemic discrimination through omission and "suppression of queer issues in the whole of the curriculum."

The couple's complaint focused on the Social Studies curriculum set by the provincial government that includes specific reference to aboriginals, women, and multiculturalism, but there is no mention of gays, lesbians, or transsexuals.

Corren said the curriculum should include LGBT history and historical figures, the presences of positive gay role models - past and present, the contributions made by gays to society and civilization, along with issues relating to same-sex marriage and gay families.

"As a teacher, when I looked through the curriculum documents, I could see very little acknowledgment or evidence that the existence of gay and lesbian people in our society and in history was pretty well absent from the curriculum," he told CTV television.

"We felt that was discriminatory."

The province's teachers union also supported the complaint.

In an agreement with the B.C. government the the department of education will add the course as an option for grade 12 students and the couple agreed to withdraw their complaint.

The government also said it would launch a review of the entire curriculum to ensure it reflects B.C.'s diverse population.

``We are delighted with this agreement. British Columbia will be leading the way for the rest of Canada,'' said Corren.

Last week California Gov. Schwarzenegger said he would veto legislation requiring schools to teach LGBT history. The measure had passed the Senate but was still pending in the Assembly.

While the B.C. course will be optional, the California legislation would have mandated schools to teach the course.

California already requires that African Americans, native peoples, Mexicans, Asians and Pacific Islanders be included in textbook descriptions of "the economic, political and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society."

©365Gay.com 2006

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