Photostory: Pride is a protest

On June 19, hundreds showed up to Alberta’s legislature to voice their opposition to Bill 8. The bill, which passed on July 5, removes the requirement that principals immediately grant a student’s request to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA)/queer-straight alliance (QSA) in a school; no actual timeline or deadline for the alliance’s formation is outlined. The bill also removes the requirement that schools have a posted policy that is in accordance with Alberta’s Human Rights legislation.

Here are photos of some the speakers who came out to show their opposition to Bill 8:

Nana Andoh [Left]: Alexis Hillyard
“In high school, one of my friends would always be at school at the crack of dawn. People thought he was a huge keener and wanted to get there early to study…in actuality [he was] outed to his mother [who] threw him out of the house because he was trans. He was at school before the crack of dawn everyday because he had just spent the night on the streets and was looking forward to the warmth of our school hallways.”
Nana Andoh [Middle]: Richard Jenkins
“I did finish high school in a relatively okay place, but I had to sacrifice who I was as a Two-Spirit person, and blend in. In my heart, I believe that GSAs help lives. I wish I had them when I was going to school.”
Nana Andoh [Right]: Emily, 11th grade student from Lillian Osborne High:
“I want to emphasize how the communities QSAs provide are life-changing. Students at my school feel if you are for [Bill 8] you are not a safe person.”

We spoke to multiple protest participants, and below is just some of what they had to say:

Nana Andoh [Brin Steeves]: “Myself, I’m pansexual. And I support every person in the LGBTQ+ community, and I know that GSAs save lives. They supported me throughout my schooling, and this new legislation can destroy lives. I work with queer youth who are in the inner-city and I know how terrified they are about the Bill [Bill 8].” 
Nana Andoh [L:R] Queenie May Sparks, Heather Sparks, Brookely Dunmore
Queenie: “We think it’s really important to be here for the GSAs.”
Brookely: “We’re lucky that we have supportive parents, so we’re here for the people that don’t necessarily have the support we do.”
Nana Andoh [L:R] Jess Duphy, Erin Bond
Erin: “We’re just basically here to protect our kids when they get older and might not be [straight or cisgender].”
Jess: “I think the idea of getting rid of the GSAs is dangerous because they’re assuming all teachers are unbiased which is of course untrue, and giving a teacher the power to out a kid is not okay.”
Nana Andoh [Middle:] Jessiah Cooper: “I want my kids to feel safe in school. I don’t want them to feel that anyone is justified in discriminating against their family because they happen to have two mothers.”
Photos by Nana Andoh

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