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Burnaby opponents rally outside school board

Burnaby opponents rally outside school board

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Being lesbian or gay is 'not the right thing': parent
Under the watchful eyes of RCMP officers, close to 300 placard-waving opponents and supporters of a draft anti-homophobia policy squared off for about an hour outside the Burnaby Board of Education office on May 10.

The sometimes-tense confrontation followed an April 26 board meeting where almost 100 parents objected to the school board’s proposed Policy 5.45 to protect queer students’ rights.

Many of the policy’s critics say they support the concept of respect for all but feel the proposal promotes reverse discrimination, is an infringement of parents’ rights and privileges a certain political ideology.

During a May 10 interview on CKNW, when asked what he’s afraid of, parent James Gray eventually told radio host Bill Good he thinks the policy’s proponents are “certainly leftwing-driven” and have a political agenda to target and market children.

Burnaby school board trustee Gary Wong cites several reports indicating that homophobia is a problem throughout the province. He also notes that the BC Trustees Association — which “represents trustees of all political stripes” — voted for a recommendation calling on all school districts to adopt policies similar to 5.45.

Rainer Bohl told trustees at the May 10 board meeting that he opposes the policy because it promotes a strategy to “reeducate our society and try and force everyone to adopt one homogeneous view with respect to LGBTQ lifestyle.”

He says media reports show that 5.45 is already pitting various cultural, ethnic and religious groups against each other, noting that posted reader comments “attacked people who dared to speak against the policy.”




“All we’re asking is that we be given the right to live the way we want to live. I don’t believe that we’re too young to make our own decisions about it,” counters Grade 12 student Darra Evans outside the meeting.

Evans, who says she’s read the policy, notes that some people may have a problem with its wording.

“Perhaps if we can sit down and change the wording, that makes them happy, but I still think there should be a policy about homophobia in schools.

“I am graduating but it’s still very important to me,” she adds. “A lot of my friends are bisexual or lesbian or gay, and I’ve seen them get pushed around; I’ve seen them get hurt because of something they can’t control, basically.”

But parent Rifdhy Nizan, who opposes the policy, says being lesbian or gay is “not the right thing” and should not be encouraged. “I worship one God, so we don’t believe in that. So that’s why I’m here today.”

Principals and other school authorities are responsible for controlling bullying, he adds.

Jeanne Keegan-Henry, whose daughter attends a Burnaby school, argues that queer students need very specific protection against bullying, pointing to the number of suicides that occurred in the past year because of bullying. “If you changed everything in the original policy to say Chinese or black or Hispanic or any racial thing, it would be appalling to oppose it,” she adds.

Charter Lau of ParentsVoice takes issue with the policy’s definition of heterosexism. “If you think that heterosexuality is the norm, then you are heterosexist, then you are a danger to the individual and the community. If someone thinks homosexuality is normal, then you’re okay.”

In the policy, heterosexism is defined as “the mistaken assumption that all people are heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior and the norm by which all other sexual orientation and gender identities are measured.” The policy also states that heterosexism “perpetuates negative stereotypes and is dangerous to individuals and communities.”

Another problem, Lau says, is that the policy protects only homosexuals from discrimination. “If the policy only covers part of the community, not the other part, then it’s not fair.”

“I think it’s a lack of understanding around what the policy is supposed to mean, actually,” Burnaby Teachers Association vice-president James Sanyshyn says.

“Some of it’s a language barrier,” he adds. “The policy is only available in English, and I think the board is making moves to translate it into other languages. Apparently, some of the words that appear in the policy don’t translate into other languages, so if they could find words that mean the same thing but have a literal translation, then that could assist in terms of understanding.”

Sanyshyn, who sits on the committee tasked with addressing homophobia in the district’s schools, says the board could look at changing a few words, but not the intent, by giving an opt-out clause.

Steve LeBel of BC’s Pride in Education Network says the board needs to have information meetings with parents — “not a policy meeting like tonight” — to explain how the policy translates into classrooms and behavioural policies.

Most, though not all, parents will think that’s reasonable, he believes, even if they still don’t like gays and lesbians.

Sanyshyn is optimistic the board will still have the will to pass the policy, despite the opposition.

Board chair Larry Hayes says there’s still a lot of misinformation about the policy. “We’re not trying to change curriculum; we’re not trying to indoctrinate children or sexualize our elementary schools,” he says.

“The realities of the world is that there are a lot of different types of people out there, and I think part of our job as educators is to not hide that fact but ensure people realize that everybody has to be recognized, respected and treated with dignity.”
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Comments

DEAR EXTRA EDITOR
Why was this issue not on the cover instead of the cheesy, crass and rather infantile piece you chose with ANAL ENTREE? This is a very real and scary situation happening right here in our backyard. The influx of (certain) immigrants is changing the balance of rights in this region and needs to be addressed.
To Burnaby Parent
First of all, being Gay or Lesbian or Transgendered is not a choice, but let us pretend the religious right is correct that homosexuality is a choice. Well, if that is a reason to withdraw human rights protection or for schools not to ensure anti-homophobia measures are not in place, then human rights protections based on religion and anti-bullying measures to protect religious groups in schools also have to be withdrawn since religion is a matter of choice.

Opponents of anti-homophobia measures in school also have to keep in mind that Christian teens who choose not to be sexually active or get involved in the dating game are also frequent victims of homophobic bullying and harassment because of that choice.

Schools exist to fight ignorance-- and it is time to fight homophobic ignorance. The lives and safety of all children depend on it.
Burnaby Parent
So you couldn't be bothered to keep your irrationality and paranoia confined to our school board meetings, and have taken it upon yourself to spread false equivalencies and downright lies about the policy here on the internet as well.

I wonder if you'll have the courage of your convictions on Tuesday. I'm MORE than happy to debate you at the school board meeting. Just you and me, one 'concerned parent' against a former student this policy would have protected, had it been in effect when I was in school. You are capable of actually defending your point in a logical manner, aren't you? And if you're truly sure you're in the right, you shouldn't have any concerns about whether you'd 'lose' this debate or not. I'll be waiting, but I suspect you'll just retreat to your army of intolerant, uninformed and paranoid comrades, hoping that if you make enough noise and scream enough fallacies, the policy will go away.

Time to put up or shut the hell up, but one way or another you and your ilk are going to end this systematic attack against children. I'd really rather you just not show up, save some kind of dignity instead of having your lies exposed to the media for what they really are, but if you're a glutton for punishment...

As for the rest of your paranoid delusions, they speak for themselves, and nothing would please me more than to see your false concern for the lives of others be exposed. I'm not especially sure what my life, or ANYONE ELSE'S life for that matter, has to do with how you live your life. I certainly can't understand why YOU need to barge into other people's lives, simply because you don't like the idea of them having the same rights you have. In this country, we have legal rights and you will just have to learn to deal with the fact that you can't be intolerant of others here. If that thought offends you, you have the right and the freedom to leave, perhaps you'll take that offer up if you're so damn upset by the new policy.
Sorry Burnaby Parent
You lost me.
Urgent A New rally is being planned
A new rally is being planned by Burnaby Parents, AKA Willingdon Chinese Born Again Christian Church (the hate church) for Tuesday May 24th in front of the Burnaby School Board on Kincaid Street at 6pm. LGBT community please take time to come and support this important policy and show these anti homophobic individiuals that we wont stand for this bullshit.

Dawn
(Non) Facts and the Burnaby Parent
B P:
You wrote that I: "...advocate activites that are far more risky when it comes to sex?"

Just where did I say that?
It seems you are pulling the old religious strategy of making up quotes and (non) facts when you can't defend your illogical assumptions.
People deserve to be warned
David. You said it. What puzzles me is why you would recommend AVOIDING activites that are risky when it comes to mere computer surfing, yet advocate activites that are far more risky when it comes to sex? Are computers more valuable than human lives and health?

You owe it to yourselves to not only know the risks, but to take appropriate action. Your advice is to avoid those.
Entrenched Bigotry
If there is one thing LGBT and Catholics have in common it's persecution, hatred, and bigotry. However, the anti-Catholic miondset is endemic to western culture. No one thinks for a second that saying "Jesus Christ" or "God damn" when they stub their toe or miss their bus might offend anyone. But if someone said Faggot or Dyke when they stub their toe, all hell breaks loose.

Anti-Catholicism is the most rampant hateful form of bigotry and is even written into law. Canada's head of state, Queen Elizabeth's official website states "A Roman Catholic is specifically excluded".
http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRoyalFamily/Successionandprecedence/Succession/Overview.aspx

If it said LGBTQ's excluded... there would be new school policies demanded all over the globe.
Burnaby Troll
Don't you get it this guy or gal is really getting off on posting and you all are taking the bait. Leave it alone and it will go away. They obviously are having a blast baiting you. Actually "burnaby parent" sounds a lot like a nutbar who was on here a few months back spouting off in the same way.
Marc recommends Abstinence
Nuff said.

BTW: condoms have a 17% failure rate in protecting against HPV

You only need to have "protected sex" 5-10 times to get infected .
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+barrier+performance+of+latex+rubber-a014089514

PS: Marc which sites precisely are the risky ones? Practice safe computing.

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