SKIPPING STONE LAUNCHES 'GENDER DIVERSITY FLAG'

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We could think of no better time to announce this news than on the eve of the 20th Birthday of the Trans Flag.

While we're immensely proud of Monica Helm's beautiful design and the power and impact it has had as a rallying point for the trans and gender diverse community, we also can't help to acknowledge that there are many gender diverse individuals who don't see themselves reflected in this flag, particularly non-binary folks, two-spirit individuals, and trans people of colour.

In response to this and in the goal of highlighting and including those voices, we're proud to officially launch the 'Gender Diversity Flag' which in addition to the trans flag, includes aspects of the Genderqueer flag as well centering QTBIPOC representation.

This flag design will be public domain and high and low resolution versions are available below which we encourage folks to use and spread near and far.

In addition, we'll be carrying this flag in this year's Pride Parade and will have an assortment of merchandise available with the design. The proceeds of all of the 'gender diversity flag' merc sales with go to 3 very important causes:

Team Ahkameyimok (Anthony Johnson, Navajo, and James Makokis) for their 'Restore Harmony' project,
Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society specifically to support 'Sisters in Spirit',
and, Voices - Calgary's Coalition of Two-Spirit & Racialized LGBTQIA+.

 

GENDER DIVERSITY FLAG - DOWNLOADS

 

PAEDIATRIC RESIDENTS STRESS IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUED GSA PROTECTIONS

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In a statement shared with Skipping Stone this morning, a group of passionate, concerned, and non-partisan paediatric resident physicians, issued a statement encouraging Albertans to support the continued provision of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs)/Queer-Straight Alliances (QSAs) in schools across Alberta.

In the statement, they convey that “As paediatric resident physicians, we are responsible for protecting and caring for one of the most vulnerable populations in health care: children and adolescents. We believe that supporting LGBTQ2SA+ youth is a public health imperative.”

The statement continues by asserting that “in our profession, the only grounds for breaching the circle of confidentiality.. would be if child or adolescent indicates intent to harm themselves or others, or if there is a suspected case of abuse or neglect. It is not within our rights to disclose a youth’s defined sexual orientation or gender identity unless the youth has provided clear and informed consent for us to share this information. Thus, the notion of placing this responsibility onto the shoulders of teachers could be seen as immensely problematic.”

The entirety of the statement can be read HERE.

 


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - APRIL 5, 2019
STATEMENT BY PAEDIATRIC RESIDENTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LGBTQ2+ SAFE SPACES IN ALBERTA’S SCHOOLS

As a group of passionate, concerned, and non-partisan paediatric resident physicians, we are asking Albertans to support the continued provision of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs)/Queer-Straight Alliances (QSAs) in schools across Alberta. GSAs/QSAs provide safe, inclusive, and positive spaces for LGBTQ2SA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit, Asexual/Agender/Aromantic) students. In light of the upcoming provincial election on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, we request Albertans to use this opportunity to encourage their political representatives to commit to legislation that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of Alberta’s LGBTQ2SA+ youth.

Initiated by youth, GSAs/QSAs are supervised by a faculty advisor, and are rooted in the principles of promoting respectful settings for students to gather and build community, while fostering strength and resilience for youth to overcome stigma and discrimination they may face in other facets of their lives. In the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Canadian schools, 64% of LGBTQ2SA+ youth, and 61% of students with LGBTQ2SA+ parents, reported that they feel unsafe at school.

Research makes it clear that LGBTQ2SA+ students are more likely to feel safe in schools with GSAs/QSAs [1]. Parents/guardians, teachers, school boards, and the government each play integral roles toward ensuring that schools are safe havens for children and youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. There are powerful positive impacts on the mental health, emotional health, physical health, and overall wellbeing for youth when they feel valued and accepted for who they are.

This communication is in response to the recent announcement from the United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenny to bring into force the Education Act, which would replace the current School Act, thus eliminating changes made by Rachel Notley and the New Democratic Party (NDP) under Bill 24 (established November 2017) and returning the province to the law as it was under Bill 10 (established March 2015). Although the differences in Bill 24 and Bill 10 are subtle in language, they are profound in application.

Bill 24 closed the loopholes of Bill 10 to act in support of GSAs/QSAs. Under Bill 24, should a student request a GSA/QSA, their principal must grant one “immediately”, whereas Bill 10 had no time requirement, which historically lead some independent schools to delay the implementation of a club [2]. Additionally, under Bill 24, private schools became subject to the same requirements as public schools with respect to the creation and enactment of policies to affirm the rights of LGBTQ2SA+ students; Bill 10 had no such demand for private schools. Most notably, the fundamental change under Bill 24 was to prohibit teachers and school staff from informing parents or guardians when a student joins a GSA/QSA. This was an essential change to ensure that schools cannot “out” LGBTQ2SA+ kids. Although Jason Kenney said that the UCP is not proposing mandatory parental notification, he stated it would be up to teachers to use their judgment to decide whether it is in the best interest of a child to tell their parents that they are involved with a GSA/QSA. If Alberta were to return to Bill 10, the confidentiality of Alberta’s LGBTQ2SA+ children and youth will be in jeopardy, which could have significant implications for their safety and welfare and would undermine the very existence and purpose of GSAs/QSAs.
To convey a personal perspective, Myles Nahal (18), who identifies as queer and transgender, spoke to CBC News at a GSA/QSA support rally in Calgary, AB on March 28, 2019. He described how his involvement in a high school GSA in Calgary helped him get to know himself without being outed to his parents. He shared: "meeting more people who were queer and trans lightened my world for me and just really saved me." He also revealed that: "for a lot of people in the queer community, coming out is very important and special moment for us, and it's the one thing that we get to control--how it's done and who we come out to.”

Nahal suggests that GSAs/QSAs “empower kids to grow in their own identity so they're comfortable to come out to their families when they are ready” [3]. As paediatric resident physicians, we are responsible for protecting and caring for one of the most vulnerable populations in health care: children and adolescents. We believe that supporting LGBTQ2SA+ youth is a public health imperative as evidenced by the significant and disproportional health disparities experienced by this population in the realms of mental health, substance abuse, violence, homelessness, and suicidality.

The Canadian trans youth health survey (2013-2014) revealed that, of 114 transgender youth (ages 14-18) surveyed in Alberta, 79% engaged in self-harm behaviour, 69% experienced sexual harassment, 41% had attempted suicide, and 32% had run away from home [4]. A positive youth development framework can influence a young person’s ability to overcome adversity by strengthening the protective factors in their environment such as: supportive adults, peer groups, and engagement in school and community activities. This survey concluded that schools and school districts should work proactively with LGBTQ2SA+ youth, their parents/guardians, community leaders, and allied professionals to develop comprehensive policies, programs (like GSAs/QSAs), and inclusive curriculums to create safe and welcoming school atmospheres [4].

We feel that we can contribute a valuable perspective to this conversation as, akin to teachers, we are mandated reporters of child maltreatment and are duty bound to be the first responders to speak out and advocate for youth when their identity and human rights are being threatened, including by the electoral platform of any given political party. In our profession, the only grounds for breaching the circle of confidentiality that exists within the patient-physician relationship would be if child or adolescent indicates intent to harm themselves or others, or if there is a suspected case of abuse or neglect. It is not within our rights to disclose a youth’s defined sexual orientation or gender identity unless the youth has provided clear and informed consent for us to share this information. Thus, the notion of placing this responsibility onto the shoulders of teachers could be seen as immensely problematic.

To truly do all we can to advance and protect the health and wellness of Alberta’s children and youth, we are cognizant that our involvement transcends medical expertise and is not limited to the four walls of a hospital or clinic. The social determinants of health are far-reaching and originate in the school and home environments. It is in recognizing this reality that we are issuing this advocacy statement in support of a young person’s right to privacy and confidentiality. This is aligned with the Alberta Human Rights Act, which explicitly states that protected areas and grounds against discrimination for minors under the age of 18 include: gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation [5].

We are continually inspired by the compassion, courage, and bravery of young Albertans who initiate and participate in GSAs/QSAs. At the Calgary GSA rally on March 28, 2019, it was extremely poignant to see a youth group (ages 8-10) holding up colourful hand-drawn signs that read: “Protect our Safe Spaces”. We urge Alberta voters to consider the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ2SA+ youth when voting on Tuesday, April 16th.

To the incredible children and youth of Alberta whom we are honoured and humbled to work with every day: we see you, we support you, we respect you, we learn from you, we celebrate you, and we will stand with you, always. Thank you for being your authentic, amazing, and vibrant selves!

*Media enquiries can be directed to:
Jazmyn Balfour-Boehm, HBSc, MD
Paediatric Resident, PGY-2
Jazmyn.Balfour-Boehm@albertahealthservices.ca (1-807-627-8360)

 

‘I AM JAZZ’ AUTHOR LAUNCHES FIRST EVER ‘TRANS YOUTH AWARENESS WEEK’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday, May 23, 2017

CALGARY- “Trans and gender diverse youth are too often alienated, rejected and isolated,” says Lindsay Peace, Vice-President of Skipping Stone, “This week is about changing that story and writing a new one that says there is space for you here. A space where they can know that people accept and are proud of them and all they’ve accomplished. We want these kids to know that we see them, how incredible they are and that we celebrate them for all for who they are.”

This is the guiding premise behind the Skipping Stone Foundation’s new initiative: Trans Youth
Awareness Week, which runs from Friday, May 26 to Sunday, June 4 and features 7 incredible events in 10 days.

The week is launched Friday night by a Scholarship Fundraiser event featuring a presentation by LGBTQ2+ youth advocate and award winning co-author of ‘I Am Jazz’, the story of a young transgender girl that spawned the hit television show on TLC.

“We are absolutely honoured to be able to bring Jessica Herthel to Calgary” says Amelia Newbert, President of Skipping Stone, “With her unique blend of intellect and humour, she creates an easy, open discussion of what it means to support the transgender and gender diverse youth in our lives. This is one of the questions we get asked the most and we’re so thrilled to be able to provide this perspective.”

The Scholarship Fundraiser is being held in the Jack Singer Lobby at Arts Commons on Friday, May 26 with a reception starting at 6pm and presentations at 7pm. It will be hosted by the incomparable, Mike Morrison.

The events continue on Sunday, May 28 with a free concert at the Palomino featuring Rae Spoon, The Wrong Kind of Girls, and other amazing guests.

The week continues with a youth dance party, workshops for parents and professionals, a movie night and then wraps up with a Tattoo Fundraiser on Sunday, June 4 at Immaculate Concept with all money from all tattoos and piercings done that day going directly to Skipping Stone.

“This week is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of the challenges facing trans and gender diverse youth, most definitely,” says Newbert “but its also an opportunity to create some really positive and affirming messages to these youth around their gender identity. The importance and value of that can’t be overstated.”

“It’s going to be an amazing week with something for everyone so we’re encouraging community members, families, friends, allies, and just everyone, to come down, join us and above all just have a wonderful time.”

SKIPPING STONE WINS HEARTS OF EXCELLENCE

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Our Skipping Stone family was well represented and had lots to celebrate at Calgary OutLink's first annual Heart of Excellence event!

Joy Bowen-Eyre spoke and presented an award;
Lindsay Peace, Ace Peace and Tamara Gordon all received award nominations;
Ashleigh Yule won the Entrepreneurial Heart for her practice 'Ashleigh Yule Child Psychology', and Amelia Newbert won the Grand Heart for her human rights contribution.

We're so proud of all of them and all they do!

TRANS YOUTH AWARENESS WEEK ANNOUNCED

In our ongoing mission to provide youth positive and affirming opportunities surrounding their gender identity, we are thrilled to announce the launch of 'TRANS YOUTH AWARENESS WEEK'.

Running from Friday, May 26 through Sunday, June 4, Trans Youth Awareness Week features 7 incredible events all focusing on and featuring trans and gender diverse youth. From an evening with internationally renouned co-author of 'I Am Jazz', Jessica Herthel, to a by-donation concert with the award winning artist, Rae Spoon, to workshops, tattoos, and movie nights, there is something for everyone.

Check out our 'TRANS YOUTH AWARENESS WEEK' page for all the details and we look forward to seeing all of you out at some of these great events with us celebrating and recognizing our amazing trans and gender diverse youth.

SKIPPING STONE HOSTS JESSICA HERTHEL

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The Skipping Stone Foundation is pleased to announce our first annual scholarship benefit on Friday, May 26th 2017 at the Jack Singer Lobby at Arts Commons.

This year, we are hosting Jessica Herthel, LGBTQ2+ youth advocate and co-author of the critically acclaimed children's picture book about a transgender girl, I Am Jazz.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Broward Country Public School LGBTQ guideline and curriculum developer and former Director of the Stonewall National Education, Jessica now travels across North America concentrating on national speaking engagements, school district consultations and the imperative need to make schools and communities a safer place for all children.

This family-friendly event begins at 6pm with a catered reception and opportunity to meet and greet with Skipping Stone members and Jessica. At 7pm, Jessica will lead us in an inclusive and insightful discussion of what it means to be an ally and how to support the transgender and gender diverse youth in our lives. To end the evening, following the presentation we’ll be serving a little dessert.

All proceeds from this evening will go to Skipping Stone Foundation’s scholarship program.

We are thrilled that in our first year, we’ve been able to award $2000 in scholarships to youth who have made a positive impact on the trans and gender diverse community.

Through the proceeds of this evening, our aim is to be able to disperse over $10,000 next year.

Tickets are on sale now and you can learn more right here through our website or directly through the Arts Commons box office.

We hope to see you there!

 

TODAY IS TRANS DAY OF VISIBILITY

Each year March 31 marks the internationally recognized 'Trans Day of Visibility'. This day is an opportunity to mark the continuing need to raise awareness for the trans and gender diverse communities world wide.

This day serves to focus on the work needing to be done to end discrimination and create inclusivity and equality for trans individuals world wide. It serves as an opportunity to stand and celebrate gender diversity in all its forms and the amazing, resilient communities of trans individuals both locally and across the globe.

On this day, we want to acknowledge, celebrate and send a message to all the members of the trans community, and to the youth in particular...

Who are trans, transgender, non-binary, two-spirit, agender, genderqueer, gender diverse, gender creative or otherwise identified;

Who are able to stand visible today and equally to all those who aren't;

Know that you are important and valid and that we see you. Know we are cheering for you and together we will keep working towards a better world for ALL of us.

SKIPPING STONE INTRODUCED AT LEGISLATURE

Skipping Stone had the pleasure and honour of being invited to the Legislature today.


Our members, Ace, Lindsay and Amelia were introduced to the house and acknowledged for all their hard work and advocacy.


A big thank you to Michael Connolly for inviting us, being such a wonderful host and all your kind words and to Ministers Hoffman, Eggen, Ganley, Payne and so many others for taking the time to talk about us, our work, the Metta Clinic, our scholarship programs and so much more on a busy budget day.