What is SOGI 123 and why should it matter to you? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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What is SOGI 123 and why should it matter to you?

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October 04, 2018 - 5:00 PM

An online resource tool made by B.C. educators for teachers across the province is hoping to create safe and inclusive spaces for students of all sexual orientation and gender identity.

SOGI 123 — which stands for sexual orientation and gender identity — has been in the works since 2016 by the Awareness, Respect and Capacity Foundation and B.C. Ministry of Education to provide teachers with accessible and free information to make safe spaces for students who identify as LGBTQ. The online resource focuses on three key areas: policies and procedures, inclusive environments and curriculum resources which are completed in phases, according to the SOGI 123 website.

B.C. SOGI education lead Chanelle Tye says since the project launched almost two years ago, it has received "overwhelming support" from school districts across the province.

"Our goal is to help create schools that are safe and inclusive where (all) students feel accepted, respected and welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity," Tye says.

The SOGI 123 website contains videos, lesson plans, and modules for teachers and the school district. For example, earlier this year School District No. 57 Prince George revised its LGBTQ policy to include language to support transgender students, gender non-conforming students and made it a requirement to add gender-neutral bathrooms and change rooms to schools across the district.

"Teachers can go online and find the information for themselves but there are also lesson plans available," Tye says. "There are also parent resources available on the website as well."

At the moment there are 56 out of 60 B.C. school districts involved with SOGI 123, Tye says.

"After the B.C. Human Rights Code changed to include gender identity and expression as a protected status, we just came together as educators to create this resource to help teachers make that a reality in schools," Tye says. 

Tye says they have seen more support than hesitancy in regards to SOGI 123 being integrated into school systems. The network of educators has even partnered with the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

"We have had a positive response to SOGI 123 all across the province," Tye says. "The most important thing that we need to take away from all this is that students should be free from discrimination so they can be themselves."

SOGI 123 is active in the Kamloops-Thompson school district as well as the Vernon, Central Okanagan and Okanagan-Skaha districts, Tye says.

Currently, B.C. is in year two of SOGI 123.

The SOGI 123 website can be found here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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