Transgender Day of Visibility


Today, Friday, March 31, is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and here at the Cowichan Valley School District we want to take the time to acknowledge those who identify as Transgender persons in our schools and community. This is a day for us to celebrate, recognize, and see trans, nonbinary, and all gender-nonconforming students, staff, families, neighbours, and friends, in our classes, in our school, and in our community. Every person deserves to feel safe, and be respected for who they are.

We all know that making a child feel safe and welcome at school is key to their success. From that first smiling teacher in the morning to school food programs that fuel a hungry mind to a facility designed to respect every body, we know that these elements play an crucial part in helping children feel welcomed.

We have seen in our past, that discriminatory policies, design, and practice adversely affect the mental health and development of students and create lifelong challenges. Let’s address this together and let our community know that no matter how you identify, we see you and we value you.

Across BC, and in our own community, there has been a rise in hateful rhetoric and actions directed towards Transgender individuals and their allies and supporters. The BC Human Rights Commission in, From Hate to Hope: Inquiry into Hate in the COVID-19 Pandemic, found a significant rise in hate-related incidents directed at those that identify as Transgender.

As a District, we are taking concrete action in ensuring the safety of EVERYONE in our schools and community. The Board of Education just released Policy 25: Identity, Belonging, and Connection, which puts into policy, our statement of support which affirms their belief that:

All people deserve equal access to opportunity mindful of, and attentive to, the colour of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, the language they speak and their background. This right is fundamental to the K-12 education system and is extended to everyone without exception. The Board also recognizes the truth; that persons, and groups of people, have been historically marginalized in society due to inequities associated with aspects of their identities and their contexts, including, but not limited to, race, colour, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, (dis)ability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender (including gender identity and expression). The Board is committed to addressing these inequities, and historical wrongs, ensuring each student and staff member has equitable access to opportunities in schools and workplaces that enable them to thrive and to build a safe and inclusive society. 

Additionally, the district actively supports our students and staff by providing meaningful and respectful ways to connect with topics that centre around sexual orientation and gender identity. By having these conversations in this manner, we work towards an empathetic school community where everyone is valued.

On International Transgender Day of Visibility, ask yourself how you can be an active ally for Transgender members of our community. Wonder what that looks like? Check out this link form GLAAD, that has some great info for allies: