Tilson speaks to Westside Secondary for second annual Diversity Walk

June 9, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Westside Secondary School’s second annual Diversity Walk on June 3 saw Conservative MP for Dufferin-Caledon, David Tilson, speak to students about his recent change of heart on trans-gender issues.

Teachers and students walked around the school’s field, wearing colorful clothing in support of “equality for everyone. This includes gender rights, disability rights, religious rights, LGTBQ including gender identity rights, gender rights, equal rights for all races, native rights.”

The school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), recently renamed to the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, organized the walk. Jennifer Hutchinson, the school’s drama teacher and her colleague Gordon Clement, lead the school’s GSA.

A GSA club is a “student-run club in a high school or middle school that brings together LGBTQ and straight students to support each other, provide a safe place to socialize and create a platform to fight for racial, gender, LGBTQ, and economic justice.”

Mr. Tilson spoke about his changed position on trans-gender rights and said the diversity walk is a great idea to draw attention for the needs of equality. “Our society has evolved overtime for not only those of us who are gay but those of us who are transgender. I don’t think there’s as much resistance as there was in the past.”

In response to a new bill the Liberal government is moving forward to protect transgender rights, Mr. Tilson said he has changed his mind. “Whenever the bill comes for a vote, I will be supporting it.”

Mrs. Hutchinson said the walk supports the school’s mandate. “We try to make our school as inclusive as possible for everyone. It doesn’t matter gender, sexuality, race, religion.”

Mrs. Hutchinson said the walk shows people in Orangeville who are accepting and inclusive. “Especially in a high school, we need to promote equality.”

Written by Jasen Obermeyer

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