the big picture
Rainbow Bridges is an experiential, for-youth-by-youth project where high school students involved with GSAs innovate ways to make their schools safer and more inclusive to provide welcoming school transition activities for middle school 2SLGBTQ students entering high school.
Why Rainbow Bridges?
If you are a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, then you are well aware of the challenges faced by queer and trans youth in high school. If you are not a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, then, well, it doesn’t take a PhD to understand that experiencing oppression is bad for your health. While several initiatives have popped up over the years to support 2SLGBTQ+ students as they navigate intersecting forms of oppression at school, the shifting political landscape at the moment ensures that the struggle for safer schools continues.
Rainbow Bridges is as much a response to this ongoing need as it is a response to the high demand from elementary students and teachers to create more opportunities to engage 2SLGBTQ+ students who will be transitioning into a high school setting next year. By leveraging the impact-amplifier of high school to elementary student mentorship, this program creates an opportunity for older students who have already made the transition to share their experiences in support of younger students. We have partnered with Sue Rice, Equity Instructional Coach of Inclusive Education at the OCDSB, and Dorothy Baker, Superintendent of Curriculum Services, to offer this program at participating schools across Ottawa.