Ally Week was held at the Senior School from October 11-14.
“Ally Week is an opportunity for students to engage in a national conversation about the meaning of allyship. Ally Week is for everyone: straight and cisgender allies to LGBT youth are encouraged to learn about what actions they can take to support their LGBT peers, while LGBT youth can learn about how to support one another’s overlapping, intersecting identities.” (GLSEN)
Rainbow ally stickers and safe space posters were disseminated throughout the school, as visible support can make a big difference for students who are LGBTQ+, questioning, or who have people in their lives who identify as LGBTQ+. Additionally, students could sign Ally Week Pledge forms showing their commitment to inclusive, safe schools. The highlight of the week, though, was a poignant, funny, and heartfelt speech by GSA Head Elise, Gr. 12, who spoke about her own coming out journey in celebration of National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11).
More info about allyship and Ally Week can be found here. And for a bit more info about why safe schools are especially important for LGBTQ+ youth, see here.
While Irshad Manji was here, there was a lot of discussion about moral courage. We were honoured to have someone from our very own community share her moral courage with us as part of Ally Week at YHS.
When Anaheed Saatchi (Class of 2009) was in Grade 9 and in my English class, she did something truly extraordinary — she sat down in front of my desk one lunch hour and told me she was gay. Her willingness to be open and vulnerable about this part of her has informed a lot of who I am as a teacher and educator, and since then, the ripple effects of her action have impacted the way students here feel about being themselves in a multitude of ways. Anaheed added to this impact when she stood in front of our Senior School assembly and shared her story, the importance of allyship, and then continued sharing at a GSA meeting that same day. We are very lucky to have such incredible students and alumnae at this school!
Listen to Anaheed’s Speech: