Toronto, ON, Nov. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches on November 20, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is calling on Ontarians to respect, not erase, trans identities.

“Now more than ever, we need to champion inclusion of transgender people in our schools and workplaces,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Erasing transgender and gender identities from Ontario’s Health and Physical Education curriculum has put transgender people at greater risk for their personal safety and well-being.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance that honours the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. One in three transgender youth aged 14-18 have been physically threatened or assaulted according to the 2015 Pan-Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey and suicide has been contemplated by almost two thirds of these youth.

“Gender independent children are now present in more elementary schools across the province than ever before and as educators we need to support them and all transgender youth in building their self-worth. What kind of acceptance can they expect if we don’t teach or acknowledge that diversity and differences are okay in 2018 and need to be respected?”

Along with being one of the first unions to have a transgender policy, ETFO has developed resources and strategies to create safe spaces for students to feel comfortable discovering their gender identity and expression. It also released 10 ways that educators can resist erasure of transgender identity. Resources, including a shareable can be found at etfo.ca/link/transgender.

ETFO is committed to building better schools with modern inclusive curriculum. Its vision for Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca. Across Ontario ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals.

Denise Hammond
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
416-948-2428
dhammond@etfo.org