The Purple Letter Campaign is a province-wide push to lobby the British Columbian government to adopt a sexual orientation and gender identity policy for all schools. It was founded in 2011 by two LGBTQ activists, Ryan Clayton and Kaitlin Burnett.
Anybody can support this cause by writing letters telling their story, and submitting them to the nearest purple mailbox. On October 20th 2011, the anniversary of the Vigil to End Homophobic Bullying, the letters will be sent to the Premier and the Minister of Education.
When the government released the Safe Schools Task Force report in 2003, it stated that homophobia was the number one issue in BC schools and that it needed to be dealt with. Although various school districts have already established anti-homophobia policies, it is still not enough to guarantee the security of a safe, inclusive environment that every young student should be entitled to. By enforcing a province-wide policy for sexual orientation and gender identity, every single school receiving funding from the BC government will be contracted under one standard policy.
In my own school, I see attitudes toward the LGBTQ community changing. I hear much less of the reflexive “that’s so gay” response yelled out in hallways, and more stories of peers coming out. In my school agenda planner, October 11th even marks National Coming Out Day. While I experience these developments in my school environment, I am also aware that it is this way because my school in particular has been given special attention for anti-homophobia awareness.
But despite all this, there is still discrimination and hatred expressed by some towards the LGBTQ community. There are other schools, and other communities who are much less tolerant towards the reality that not every woman will love a man, and not every boy will love a girl. And because of this ignorance, there are innocent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people who suffer every day. Young people in particular are affected terribly by this, and lives are taken every year in collapse to it.
Every person deserves a safe environment; to know that they are not alone, and that it’s okay to be who you are. For most young people in BC, they spend the majority of their days in school. A student should be able go to school knowing they will feel accepted and find appropriate resources for their future endeavours, rather than being fearful of whatever may happen to next.
Join in on this campaign to give all the students in BC the right educational environment they deserve.
Share your story, or simply sign off your support and send it in to a purple mailbox by October 20th.