LGBTQ2S+ Equity, Safety and Inclusion

Why is it important to focus on LGBTQ2S+ equity, safety and inclusion in NWT schools?

NWT schools are required to provide a safe and caring environment for the school community. There are unique challenges LGBTQ2S+ individuals face in experiencing equity, safety and inclusion. Research has shown that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) students have a higher level of mental health issues, suicide and school drop out rates.

How can I better support LGBTQ2S+ in NWT schools?

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), under its Education Renewal initiative, has developed Guidelines for Ensuring LGBTQ2S+ Equity, Safety and Inclusion in Northwest Territories Schools, along with resources and training, to support NWT schools to provide a welcoming and respectful place for all.

ECE also provides age-appropriate resources and staff training relevant to the NWT context. The roll-out of these resources and training began in the 2018-19 school year.

For more information, please contact the Director of Health, Wellness and Student Support at

    What is a Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA), and why should your school have one? 

    A Genders and Sexualities Alliance, or a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), is a student run organization, typically in a high school or middle school, which provides a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) students, including individuals who are perceived to be LGBTQ2S+, and allies, to meet, socialize, explore hobbies/interests, talk about issues that are meaningful to the GSA, and provide support to LGBTQ2S+ youth through education and advocacy.

    GSAs are an effective and proven way to create positive and inclusive school climates for all students, and contribute to student learning, achievement, and well-being.

    What is a Gender Support Plan, and how can it support students?

    A Gender Support Plan is a document used to ensure there are shared understandings about the ways in which a student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school.

    ECE has created a template to help educators and school staff work together with students to complete a Gender Support Plan. The student MUST consent for each item to be completed.

    How were the LGBTQ2S+ Guidelines and resources developed?

    The first ever NWT Rainbow Youth Conference, held March 6-10, 2017 in Yellowknife, gathered LGBTQ2S+ and ally students from every region of the NWT to develop music, visual art, spoken word poetry and video which expressed a message of support and inclusion. The students also experienced a wide range of informational sessions and shared their ideas on what needs to happen to ensure their schools are respectful, caring and safe environments.

    Building on what was heard from students during this conference, guidelines were developed to address issues LGBTQ2S+ individuals face in NWT schools around equity, safety and inclusion. The guidelines also outline examples of promising practices for implementation in all NWT schools.