COVID-19 prompted the Burnaby school district to host a virtual "breakfast" in support of queer youth last week instead of its usual event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
Every year, the district hosts a student breakfast – usually in person, with food and speakers – at a local school to mark the May 17 day.
This year’s in-person event had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, but the district’s SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) committee still wanted to find a way to celebrate, so they organized a virtual breakfast instead.
The event, which went live on Friday, featured a collection of pre-recorded videos submitted by special guests, including a diverse group of local queer community members ranging from prominent authors and trailblazing politicians to Burnaby’s own students.
“Despite some very challenging conditions, we wanted to ensure that we at least attempted to maintain some of the celebrations that connect us in Burnaby schools and that allow LGBTQ+ identities and stories to be highlighted,” said Bryan Gidinski, SOGI support teacher for local elementary schools. “Our hope is that anyone who is watching and identifies with the stories and messages shared here today feels seen and feels valued…And, if we’ve manage to reach out and connect with someone who perhaps is feeling isolated and disconnected and who might have really needed to hear today’s messages, then we’ll feel like we’ve accomplished something really significant.”