Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Pink Day" Honours Two Gay Icons and other Pink Emphemera

From a Yahoo! News blog piece about the Pink Day bullies:
Canadian schools, including some in Toronto and Ottawa, have planned to hold bake sales and put up campaign posters to encourage students and staff to get involved. The Toronto District School Board has gone above and beyond, encouraging every institution from schools to businesses and community organizations to participate.
The Day of Pink may be particularly poignant for the people of Ottawa. Communities in the region are still reeling from the death of 15-year-old Jamie Haubley, the openly gay son of a local Councillor who took his own life in October 2011.
"It definitely is an ongoing reminder for us as community members to engage with youth," said Dias. "This event remembers the reasons why we're doing what we're doing, but it also celebrates the lives that we've saved."
Dias, who founded Jer's Vision using proceeds from a human rights settlement between he and the northern Ontario school board, was given an Ottawa city builder award earlier this year. Holding forums and workshops at community schools across the country, Jer's Vision works to prevent bullying, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination.
The volunteer group will be hosting gala at the University of Ottawa Wednesday night where they plan to recognize CBC TV personality Rick Mercer and the late NDP leader Jack Layton.
A few thoughts here: First, I  wonder what the folks over at Valley Park Middle School, which has that in-house lunchroom mosque, are doing to prevent homophobia in their evirons. Second, it's tragic that young Jamie Hubley took his life, but perhaps he had serious emotional issues--some associated with his sexuality; some not--that hadn't been fully addressed. Third, this day o' pink stuff got its start due to a "human rights" settlement? How perfect is that? Fourth, JACK LAYTON WAS GAY?!? Live and learn, eh? ;)

Finally, I found this on the Jer's Vision website: she's the "Bully Doctor."

Update: In case you were wondering about Dias's "human rights" settlement, Xtra has the info:
At age 18, Dias launched an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint against his high school and the Algoma County School Board.
In 2005, when Dias was in third year university, a letter from the school board arrived in the mail along with a $5,000 settlement cheque. He had won his case. Dias decided to use the cheque as seed money for an initiative to help youth fight bullies and discrimination. It would eventually become Jer’s Vision.
“It was really exciting, actually. It felt very validating,” says Dias. “In addition to the $5,000, they also had to train all of the staff on the board on diversity. They started gay-straight alliances at two high schools, and the school board would pay your bus tickets or your cab to go if you weren’t at the right schools. All the libraries had to get new books, too. A couple teachers and my principal and the director of the Board took early retirement and will not be allowed to teach again.”

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