Understanding the Guidelines

New website offers answers about Alberta Education’s LGBTQ Guidelines


Alberta-Education-Gender-Guidelines-picCALGARY – When Alberta Education released “Guidelines for Best Practices: Creating Learning Environments that Respect Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Gender Expressions” on January 16, 2016, there was an outpouring of questions from parents, administrators and even government representatives. A new online resource has been launched today which aims to answer those questions.

“We have been providing services and supports for LGBTQ communities for decades. Through our many youth-specific programs such as providing school-based sexual education or our efforts with supporting GSAs, we have heard from many LGBTQ youth who routinely experience unsafe situations in their schools and communities,” said Pam Krause, President and CEO at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC).

“We know that these Guidelines are an important tool to ensuring our schools are a welcoming, safe and respectful place for everyone. We also know that many people are confused about how the Guidelines will impact their children, and we saw a need to help calm any concerns.”

The local nonprofit organization today launched www.UnderstandingTheGuidelines.ca – a new online resource at to help Albertans better understand the issues and cut through the myths and misconceptions.

“We wanted to have a place where people can get information about the importance of these guidelines, and the difference they will make in the lives of LGBTQ, students, and in fact the whole school community. We also wanted to highlight how unsafe schools are for transgender students in particular right now.”

The website offers many resources including FAQs, videos and personal testimonials, resources on how to show support for the Guidelines, and many links including to the full Guidelines document.

“A common question that we hear from parents is they fear the Guidelines will give permission to any boy, for example, to declare they are a girl one day and use the girls’ washroom,” Krause continued.

“It is important to understand that transgender individuals are not trying to get away with something. They are dealing with a long, emotional process that involves many conversations with supports such as parents, doctors, and teachers. It should also be noted that the Guidelines do not erase existing safety protocols and they are not a free pass for others to behave disrespectfully.”

“Our aim is that this website will help Albertans, particularly parents, school staff, government representatives, to find respectful answers for their questions. We also hope that LGBTQ youth feel our support and know they are entitled to – and deserve – the same safety and belonging that many of their fellow students take for granted.”

For over 44 years, the CSHC has been providing programs and services to ensure that individuals have the tools they need to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. Today they are the only non-profit organization in Calgary delivering an array of aligned programs and services that address sexual health issues in a comprehensive way. For more information about the CSHC, visit www.calgarysexualhealth.ca or call 403-283-5580.

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Media contact:

Pam Krause, President and CEO                                    Office:  (403) 283-5580 ext. 314
Calgary Sexual Health Centre                                         Email:   pkrause@calgarysexualhealth.ca