If you haven’t read about Chilliwack School Board Trustee Barry Neufeld yet and his bizarre Facebook rant, you can here.
I read this story yesterday and had to take a day to decompress before I could post it because it irked me so much.
First off, suggesting gender or sexual orientation is still a choice in 2017 is absurd, and quoting a widely discredited source in his position wasn’t smart either.
Second off, I hate how politicians and people in leadership roles in the public use these kids who may be struggling or confused with their sexual orientation or gender as a pawn to further their own agendas. Or simply because they are scared or unwilling to properly educate themselves on the issues.
How do you think someone in middle school, who may still be uncomfortable with coming out, is going to feel while reading this? It’s a feeling I’ll never fully understand as a straight male, but that doesn’t mean I can’t practice empathy. They deal with enough emotional conflict while navigating their feelings to begin with. But now you add on top of it grown adults who are against anti-bullying measures that are in place to help protect these kids? Adults who are opposing them having a safe place such as a gay-straight alliance in their school? A place where they can go and be accepted for who they are. A place where they can find support that they may not get in other places. It drives me insane that these leaders don’t seem to consider how their arguments can affect the well being and mental health of these kids. Kids who are already vulnerable to mental health problems. And kids who can’t speak up for themselves. I’m willing to bet my life savings this guy didn’t sit down and actual consult or talk with any kids who are part of that community, before writing out his bizarre Facebook rant.
With that said, if you’re possibly one of these kids, and you’re reading this right now, I want you to know that we support you. And so do the vast majority of Canadians. And as long as I have a platform to speak out against leaders such as this, I will continue to fight for you, until you are an adult who can speak up for yourself.