Fighting homophobia and transphobia in the K-12 classroom

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2022

Color of pride

The Faculty of Education’s Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CEDI) is proud to announce the CEDI Conference 2022 on the theme of fighting homophobia and transphobia in the K-12 classroom. This conference aims to provide all educators in Ottawa the opportunity to critically engage with and reflect on the ways we can make our classrooms and schools a more inclusive space for 2SLGBTQIA+ students.

Award-winning Black feminist Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah will launch the conference with the keynote address ‘Not Far from the Classroom: Resisting White Supremacist Rhetoric in Canada and its Impact on School Communities.’ The following sessions (in French and English), will be presented by doctoral candidate Rob Grant and educator and community activist Summeiya Yehya Khamissa. Explore the program and register to receive your zoom links today. We strongly recommend using a professional email address (e.g., uOttawa email or a school board account).

Date: March 1, 2022

Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Register individually for each session. (See links below)



6:00 - 7:00 PM

Not Far from the Classroom: Resisting White Supremacist Rhetoric in Canada and its Impact on School Communities

Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah (she/her)

This discussion will focus on far-right movements in Canada and the coordinated effort to disrupt the ongoing fight for progressive education. Through situating the school context, participants will engage in a discussion on how best to combat this as educators, teacher candidates, and teachers.

Registration required

*This session will be offered in English, but we welcome questions in French.


7:10 - 8:00 PM

Session A (French): From Silence to Celebrated: Queer-inclusive Research and Practices in the Language Classroom

Rob Grant (he/him)

The goal of this interactive workshop is twofold: 1) to shed light on current research surrounding queer issues in the language classroom (see Coda, Cahnmann-Taylor & Jiang, 2020; Knisley & Paiz, 2021; Moore, 2016; Nelson, 2021), and 2) to collaboratively establish concrete strategies to make the language classroom more queer-inclusive. This will be done by examining traditionally heteronormative material, as well as teacher thoughts/perspectives, and discussing ways of transforming such material and insights to include the voices of all learners. Participants will hopefully leave the workshop feeling more comfortable and confident to queer their teaching practice and thinking.

Registration required


7:10 - 8:00 PM

Session B (English): Queer(ing) Children’s Literature in the Classroom

Summeiya Yehya Khamissa (they/them)

This workshop will focus on the importance of 2SLGBTQ+ children's literature and how to incorporate it into classrooms k-12 in a meaningful way, providing marginalized students an avenue to see themselves represented through the books in class. In addition to literary resources, I will also be facilitating a conversation about unlearning the notion of "childhood innocence" and how stigmatizing youth sexuality leads to more harm.

Registration required



Rob Grant is a white, cis-male, first-year PhD student in education at the University of Ottawa. His current research focuses on investigating pre-service teachers’ attitudes and beliefs around incorporating queer pedagogy and content into their language classrooms. Rob is an accredited OCT teacher, and with this, has been teaching both abroad and in Ontario for three years. The goals of his research and subsequent work are to equip teachers (both pre-service and in-service) with the tools to manageably queer their classrooms – that is, by bringing in all sexual identities as a normal part of their days.

Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah is an award-winning Black feminist with over 8 years of local and international advocacy experience through feminist initiatives in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and through working at Oxfam Canada and Global Affairs Canada. She became the new Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) in July 2020. The Centre promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic/sexual orientation in all its forms on a national level through services in the areas of education and advocacy.

Summeiya Yehya Khamissa is a genderfluid and queer Muslim living in Toronto on Haudenosaunee and Anishnawbe territories. Summeiya is an educator, community organizer, and writer who is studying Children, Childhood, and Youth Studies at York University where their research is focused on the unique experience of Muslim children within Canadian contexts. They are passionate about making the education system a more equitable place for children of all identities and is grounded in the belief that liberation is only possible through radical education. Summeiya is the founder of Queer Muslim Network Toronto and works as the Youth Project Coordinator for the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD).

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