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Rainbow Centre visiting

High school students in Northwestern Ontario will be hearing from youth peer-to-peer educators from the Rainbow Resource Center based out of Winnipeg.

The students will be learning about the impacts of bullying, marginalization, and discrimination experienced by those who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQTS).

“Our organization strives to create a safer environment for all people regardless of their sexual or gender identity,” said Reece Malone, education program co-ordinator.

“We are excited to be here in Northwestern Ontario to help schools be safer places and for students to be more aware, critical, and inclusive of diversity.”

Recently, a study was released which focused on the impact of homophobia in schools.

“Every Class In Every School”: The First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Canadian Schools (May, 2011) found that:

•almost all LGBTQTS students report some homophobic comments or verbal, physical, and/or sexual harassment while attending school;

•almost two-thirds of LGBTQTS students and students with LGBTQTS parents reported they feel unsafe at school; and

•58% of non-LGBTQTS youth find homophobic comments upsetting.

“For our LGBTQTS youth, vulnerability is compounded by factors such as social isolation, bullying, and disconnectedness at home and at school “said Gillian Lunny, manager of sexual health at the Northwestern Health Unit.

“The Northwestern Health Unit is very pleased to bring this topic, and this organization, to our young community members to help promote inclusiveness and diversity.”

Presentations will be held at most high schools throughout the region this month.

The presenters are in Fort Frances, Rainy River, Atikokan, and Ignace this week, and in Kenora, Red Lake, and Sioux Lookout during the week of Nov. 21.

For more information, contact your local Northwestern Health Unit.

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