Last week, the Institute for Canadian Values placed a nationwide advertisement in the National Post denouncing Toronto’s LGBT-inclusive school curriculum. The right-wing Institute has apparently been taking notes from Chaz Bono’s critics, perpetuating the myth that being transgender is somehow contagious or “teachable.” It also strongly implies that teaching respect for LGBT people will “corrupt” children.
“Please! Don’t confuse me,” the ad read, above a photo of a little girl. “I’m a girl. Don’t teach me to question if I’m a boy, transexual[sic], transgendered, intersex or two spirited.”
The transphobic ad is part of a campaign called Stop Corrupting Children. Canadian LGBT website Xtra reports that the Institute and its campaign quote extensively from a Toronto District School Board resource called Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism, which promotes respect for gay, lesbian, bisexual and gender diverse people as a way to combat bullying in schools. The ad, Xtra says, “[presents] these optional lessons as mandatory.”
Trans activist and educator Chase Joynt agreed that the ad is misleading. “[It's] manipulative to use the face of a small child,” Joynt told Xtra. “Where the ad is doing the most damage is in not only presenting trans identities in any form as invalid and shameful, but also to rely on the education system to disseminate these lies.”
“[T]he ability to learn about [gender diverse] identities is integral to our success as educators,” he added.
After stirring controversy and outcry from advocates across the continent, the Post pulled the ad and issued an apology:
“Where the ad exceeded the bounds of civil discourse was in its tone and manipulative use of a picture of a young girl; in the suggestion that such teaching ‘corrupts’ children, with everything that such a charge implies; and in its singling out of groups of people with whose sexuality the group disagrees.”
The Post also announced that it will donate all proceeds from the ad to an LGBT charity.
Image credit: PhotoComiX (Creative Commons)