As students walked through the door with Pride flags flying high, they answered these questions early Friday morning as a segue into their day filled with Pride workshops.
While our Grade 7 students were participating in gender exploration sessions, our Grade 8 students welcomed Marla Green, a spokesperson from Toronto PFlag.
PFlag is an organization founded by parents who wish to help themselves and their children understand and accept their LGBTQ+ children. Marla shared her story about her son, who was bullied throughout his life because he didn’t fit the gender stereotype of a ‘boy’ and the journey he went through when he came out as a gay male. Marla got involved with PFlag because she knew how important it was to show support for her son and others in the “rainbow community”, as Marla likes to call it. She then chatted with the Grade 8s about the importance of inclusion, what it means to be an ally and different support systems that are available.
Meanwhile,our Grade 9-12 students spent the morning with Rachael and Kyle from Get Real, a movement where individuals go out into the community and speak at schools about creating safe spaces for marginalized students who are looking to express themselves. After Rachael and Kyle shared their life stories and explained how they got involved with Get Real, they did an activity with Greenwood students and staff. Students were asked to anonymously write down on a piece of paper something they are grateful for and something they have been challenged by. After everyone wrote down their answers, Kyle and Rachael collected the pieces of paper and read them aloud. It was a very powerful activity because students learned that they are not alone.
No matter what you see on the surface, everyone is going through something.
Kyle and Rachael ended their session with a Q&A and asked students to think about what they can do to make their school a more positive and safe space. Two of the biggest messages to take away from their workshop are to be kind and be real!
Thank you Marla, Rachael and Kyle for your insightful workshops and willingness to share your stories.