Miller proud to support Bill 24

November 15, 2017 - 6:25pm

It was a privilege and an honour to support Bill 24 in the Legislature, and it’s a privilege to support LGBTQ students in Red Deer.

I’m a mother and a grandmother, and I’m proud of the way I’ve raised my children. They know I support them and their choices.

As a parent, I know it’s difficult coming to terms with the independence of a child. We think our children need our helping hand every step of the way and when we realize this isn’t the case, it’s a difficult reality.

Recently, I attended the opening of an elementary school in town named after a great educator, Don Campbell. He had a motto that he liked to refer to: “If you want responsible kids, give them responsibility.”

Bill 24 does just that. It empowers students to embrace their identity, but more importantly, it provides a place for students to express their identity without any fear of pressure or harassment.

If you’re a parent who wants to know if their child is in a GSA, ask them. This bill won’t “enforce secrecy,” as some have suggested. Someone’s sexual identity is an extremely personal thing, and that’s why we’re empowering students to come out on their own terms. The purpose of a GSA is to provide a refuge until they’re comfortable to do so.

Mike Morrison, an LGBTQ activist in Calgary, said last week on Twitter: “Missing in the Bill 24 debate is the voice of an LGTBQ person who wishes their teacher had informed their parents of their sexuality. Because that person does not exist.”

The LGBTQ community, the ATA, and many other groups support this bill. I’m a parent and a grandmother and I support this bill.

Bill 24 does not promote a culture of secrecy, it promotes a culture of safety and a culture of acceptance. If this bill makes even one LGBTQ student feel more welcome in their community without experiencing ostracism, it is something all Albertans should embrace.

Bill 24 will save lives. Don’t take my word for it, ask the people in this province and even those in the Alberta legislature who have experienced what it feels like to feel lonely as a gay or queer student.

We didn’t approve this legislation for our own benefit. We approved this legislation to protect some of the most vulnerable kids in our schools, our city, and our province.

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