Beyond Bullying comes to Toronto

by The Beyond Bullying Project Blog

FINALLY! We are launching Beyond Bullying 2.0!

Jen Gilbert
The Beyond Bullying Project Team

Next week, we begin collecting stories in 2 Toronto high schools. It’s been a long time coming—we’ve been talking to one of the schools for 3 years now but things kept getting in the way. There were delays getting approval from our university ethics boards, teachers in Toronto were in a work-to-rule labour action for many months, and then COVID. Just as we were about to launch last year, schools—and the whole world—shut down. This required a massive pivot. With schools mostly online, we needed to re-imagine what it would mean for us to be “in the school” collecting stories.

With the help of an amazing web developer, Annika Nicol, we have created a storytelling portal on our website. Now, participating students and teachers can visit our website, scroll through our consent process, fill out a short survey, and then be emailed a private Zoom link where they can go to tell their story. Our invitation is the same: tell us a story about LGBTQ sexuality and gender. It can be about you, your friends, a teacher, a political event, a TV character, a neighbour, your cousin—it doesn’t even have to be true.

We know that COVID has changed what school looks like. We also know that LGBTQ sexuality and gender looks different now too. We are excited to learn more about how students and teachers are figuring this all out. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we share stories from our fieldwork and talk with young people about how they are their sexualities and genders in this strange, digital, not-so-new world.