WRDSB students attend 8th annual Gay-Straight Alliance conference
WRDSB students attend 8th annual Gay-Straight Alliance conference banner

WRDSB students attend 8th annual Gay-Straight Alliance conference

Each year in February, more than 200 energetic Grade 7-12 students and 38 staff from the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) gather at Bingeman’s for the annual Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) conference, in partnership with KW Counselling Services’ OK2BME program.

This one-day conference provides a space where staff and students can feel safe and accepted, talk about their hopes and fears, and feel part of a larger family in a world that sometimes can feel so small.

John Bryant, director of education for the WRDSB, opened the event with a message of support, well-being and continued acceptance of our rainbow community on behalf of the senior team.

“We want our schools to be safe spaces for everyone that walk through our doors, and we’ll continue to create safe, caring and inclusive spaces to support the well-being of all students and staff,” said Bryant. “Supporting events like the GSA conference demonstrates our commitment to supporting equity and to ensuring that schools must be places where students feel safe to be who they really are. Treating others with respect and celebrating our differences is what removes barriers and creates a culture of celebration for the rich diversity in which we work.”

Attendees participated in a variety of workshops, listened to keynote speakers, and had the opportunity to gather valuable information from a number of community booths.

Thank you to KW Counselling, WAYVE, SPECTRUM, and other community partners for lending their time and being part of this gathering. This event shows that our students have established a safe space for LGBTQ students, staff, and their allies to support each other and work against heterosexism.

Our board has a total of 42 GSA clubs operating in our elementary and all secondary schools, and counting. If your school doesn’t have a GSA club, visit the OK2BME website and start one today.