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SOGI, the acronym for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, is a term used for two key parts of a person's identity. SOGI applies to us all. We all have a sexual orientation and gender identity--each of which is shaped by society and culture. What is appropriate for a man or woman to think, say, or do varies widely among places, cultures, religions, and eras. There are many factors that shape who we are and it is important for education to address these. According to Daniel Goleman at Yale University Child Studies Centre, if we understand these factors, we may better understand ourselves and others, becoming, he says, "better pilots of our own lives," to reach our individual potential and to live in harmony in our very diverse society.
Childhood and adolescence are times of rapid development. As children come to understand themselves and others, they can begin to explore their social environments and navigate a complex world of peer relationships that sometimes involves conflict that students do not have the skills to manoevre and that can thereby deteriorate into name-calling, exclusion, or even bullying. If left unaddressed, prejudices and biased attitudes may be left to grow. Educators and other adults can be important role models of how to more carefully steer through the social landscape by recognizing, encouraging, and valuing the diversity of others to ensure that all students are safe and have equitable access to quality education.
Safe and Caring Surrey Schools
SOGI-inclusive education is a kind of road map of a diverse landscape. The term "SOGI" has been adopted to identity two prohibited areas of discrimination within the Human Rights Code: "Discrimination based on sexual orientation" and "Discrimination based on gender identity or expression." In 2016, Education Minister, Mike Bernier, required all British Columbia school districts and independent schools to bring their anti-bullying policies into alignment with the Human Rights Code by adding explicit protectections for LGBTQ+ students. The Surrey School District's Safe and Caring Schools Regulation 9410.2, created in 2012, honours the idea that students' physical and emotional safety is foundational to their learning and that it can be realized through a long-term commitment to ensuring schools have prevention and intervention strategies in place.
SOGI is not a curriculum. SOGI-inclusive educators work to embed an honouring of diversity among people of all genders, with any sexual orientation or family structure, as they do with their inclusion in class content of the voices, images, and experiences of people belonging to other social groups based on race, religion, ethnicity, dis/ability, and many, many others. The Surrey School District believes in the right of all students to see themselves represented in what and how they learn.
We are actively committed to maintaining a working and learning environment that supports and protects all of our human rights. Please read Regulation 9410.2 and our SD36 SOGI Brochure.pdf.
Crenshaw is now considered one of the founders of Critical Race Theory which has given us in the Surrey School District an important tool: the intersectional lens or approach. Through this lens, we can see our students as complex human beings—each one having many aspects of their identity, and each of these aspects existing upon a continuum of privilege through oppression. What this means in education is that each student is utterly unique and that it is important for students to learn about themselves and others—about what comprises their identities, about how to nurture each part and integrate each into one cohesive and healthy whole. What this means in education is that each student's voice is important—crucial to creating the larger story of what it means to be Canadian.
In coming together with this shared Canadian identity, educators need to help students build empathy, connect and engage with one another, and determine together their common purpose. Through this, students will develop other Core Competencies such as perspective-taking, planning and negotiating skills, communication skills, and problem- and conflict-solving skills in order to live harmoniously in our diverse and democratic society.
Conceptualizing Identity: DiversityWheel_Small.jpg
Rethinking Gender and Sexual Orientation Binaries: genderunicorn1.jpg by TSER
British Columbia Teachers' Federation: LGBTQ+ Issues in Schools
Elizabeth Saewyc and the McCreary Centre's Research Article: RESEARCH ARTICLE Considering_the_evidence.pdf
The McCreary Centre
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Pride Education Network's challenging-homophobia.pdf
GLSEN's GSA or Diversity Club Start-up Guide - GSA Start-up.pdf
Out in Schools - BC-based, award-winning education program.
PFLAG Canada in Surrey - Parents and families of lesbians and Gays.
Qmunity - for people from the "LGBTQ2S community to meet, guide, and support one another.
Sher Vancouver - non-profit society for LGBTQ South-Asians and their friends, families, and allies.
Transcare BC - Provincial Health Services Authority.