On 9 February 2016, the GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) invited Rob Oliphant to discuss his experiences as an openly gay politician with the students of MGCI. The half-hour event was organized by the GSA team, its supervisor Mr. Pearce, and Grade 11 club president Samgavi C. Around ten students and teachers attended the meeting.

Oliphant, who served in the House of Commons as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Don Valley West from 2008 to 2011, returned to office in 2015. He spoke to the students about his personal journey as a member of the LGBTQ community, his experiences in office, and discussed the improvements he wished to make in Don Valley West, with the help of the school and the community as a whole. Oliphant talked about his childhood in Sault Ste. Marie, his discovering of his sexuality during his twenties, and eventually his experience and vision as a Member of Parliament.

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The QSA invited Rob Oliphant to come speak to students. Photo: Sheila Balu.

Although there has been a huge positive progression in the treatment of homosexuals in the 2000’s, transgender and bisexual individuals still face a huge amount of discrimination. Oliphant believes that we still have a long way to go in order to remove discrimination completely.

As a minority, he feels that he connects with the people in the Don Valley riding. “It’s important to realize that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects a Muslim or a Catholic… also protects gays.” Soon to speak in Africa, Oliphant believes that Canada needs to work with other countries to encourage them to form more accepting governments and policies.

Oliphant stated that he wished to return to the school in the future, with the intent to help students and support the GSA with each visit. All students are welcome to attend, and are encouraged to join the GSA during their weekly meetings in room 225.