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Sept. 20, 2023

Nurses stand with the #2SLGBTQI+ youth and against hate in all its expressions

no space for hate

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is extremely disturbed by the recent targeting of policies and programs designed to support 2SLGBTQI+ children and youth in Ontario schools. We speak out loudly and clearly against hate in all its expressions – especially when directed at vulnerable children and youth who may be struggling with their gender identity and sexual orientation. We echo the message of the many demonstrations across our province today (Sept. 20, 2023) – there is “no space for hate in Ontario.”

RNAO deplores the actions of politicians who are manipulating issues of gender identity in schools to mobilize their base by promoting intolerance and bigotry. There is no space for dog-whistle politics on the backs of some of our most vulnerable citizens. 

Earlier this month, Premier Ford accused teachers and school boards of “indoctrinating” kids on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, a claim that is shocking and gravely concerning, Today’s statement decrying hate by Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s minister of education, glaringly omitted gender identity.

Nurses are speaking in one voice against all forms of hate and discrimination. The rights of transgender people are human rights. All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to feel safe and supported. RNAO research shows that Ontario’s educators have an important role in creating a safe space for 2SLGBTQI+ children and youth. 

RNAO applauds the Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) policy to protect students who don’t want to disclose their gender status to anyone without their explicit permission. Nurses know that in some circumstances, informing parents about their child’s gender identity could result in mental and/or physical harm to the child due to the extreme and systemic stigma attached to this issue.  

RNAO urges all school boards to follow the TDSB’s policy. And, we call on Premier Ford and Minister Lecce to let educators and school boards do the important work of making sure all students feel safe, informed by equitable and inclusive policies rather than harmful stereotypes. RNAO encourages nurses and members of the public to sign our Action Alert.