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Calgary LGBTQ+ advocate angered by UCP opposition to Bill 24

Bill 24 would make it illegal for schools to "out" kids in GSAs

Lindsay Peace (left) and her son Ace inside Crescent Heights High School.

Calgary Freelance

Lindsay Peace (left) and her son Ace inside Crescent Heights High School.

The mother of a transgender Calgary teen is angered by the United Conservative Party's (UCP) opposition of Bill 24-- aimed a strengthening legislation around Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA).

UCP leader Jason Kenney said Tuesday the UCP supported Bill 10, GSAs and other peer support groups, but that they wouldn't be supporting Bill 24.

"Bill 24 would make it illegal to engage parents about certain school activities for children beginning in kindergarten, regardless of their individual circumstances," said Kenney.

Lindsay Peace, the mother of a transgender son, Ace Peace, said she's frustrated this is even a debate in Alberta in 2017.

"It's unbelievable to me that we're talking about taking away someone's right to privacy and potentially the only safe place that some kids have," she said. "GSAs save lives. End of story."

Peace said if parents want to know what their kids are doing, they should ask them.

Kenney said GSAs aren't simply supporting groups but actually include curriculum and school-wide educational activities-- something the NDP says is "false" and without evidence.

Ace said he's confused as to what people like Kenney think really goes on at GSAs.

"We eat our lunch. We talk to our friends. We share our stories and experiences," he said. "Why is that so scary?"

Bill 24 was introduced by Education Minister David Eggen last week and would support students who want to create or join a GSA or QSA (queer), by ensuring that all of Alberta’s public schools have “clear policies” allowing them.

It would also make it illegal for a school to out LGBTQ+ kids and allies in GSAs to their parents.

Kenney said he's opposed to outing kids but doesn't believe schools should be "legally barred from engaging teacher, principals or councilors, should they deem it prudent to do so," for at-risk youth.

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