On behalf of the executive of the University Women’s Centre, we are voicing our full support to the movement against the government of New Brunswick’s revisions to Policy 713 in May 2023. These revisions take fundamental rights backward for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. We are adding our voices to the countless others who have urged the government of New Brunswick to maintain the policy as it was.
At the University Women’s Centre, we often listen to others as they express their experience of discrimination and harassment throughout the public school system. These experiences of suffering must come to an end. The University Women’s Centre exists to promote equality and diversity among the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University student communities. The Centre is a welcoming space for anyone in need of resources for issues such as mental and sexual health in addition to ongoing resources for 2SLGBTQIA+ students. The centre is crucial for advocating for the schools, faculty, and students to work for a better future for everyone.
It is imperative for the well-being of everyone that spaces like this be available prior to coming to university. In addition, teachers need to be given resources and to become educated on difference and inclusion. Students are not robots that the government is producing; they are unique, individual humans who deserve the same respect as their counterparts.
With the revised policy, the government has made it so staff of any public school in New Brunswick will have to out a child to their parents if they wish to change their own pronouns. The government has promised to offer the support of professionals like psychiatrists to help children come out to their parents and remain in a safe and loving environment. Which step will come first? At the end of the day, the government has neglected to consider not only the physical safety but also the emotional safety of young people.
Our social and political systems are so unpredictable that it is vital that we fight against these injustices to keep New Brunswick, Canada, and the world, a safe welcoming place for all people. Policy 713 was originally intended to create safe schools for all people who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The revision of Policy 713 does just the opposite.
We petition the government to overturn the revisions to Policy 713, as they will have catastrophic ramifications on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, especially on 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. Moving forward, this policy should only be revised at the request of the people of New Brunswick and to bring about changes that create more protection for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The UNB/STU University Women’s Centre is located in the Student Union Building on UNB’s Fredericton Campus. The executive of the Centre are all volunteers from both the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.