Beginning in 2016 in British Columbia (BC), a program called Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) 1 2 3 was implemented in BC’s elementary and secondary schools, with the goal of creating safe and inclusive environments for students of all genders and sexual orientations. This program is therefore the first of its kind in Canada, and seeks to address the health gap between sexual minority students and their heterosexual peers. The program was created by the ARC Foundation, in collaboration with the BC Teachers’ Federation, the BC Ministry of Education, University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education, and several local and national LGBTQ2S+ organizations.
Given that SOGI 1 2 3 has only been active for up to five years in BC schools, there has been little research conducted on the program and its effect on the health of sexual minority students. In 2017, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) commissioned an academic study of SOGI 1 2 3’s pilot year, which found that the program was already having a positive impact on student mental health, bullying and harassment, and school climate. However, given that this study focused on the pilot year of the program, it’s insights were limited to nine school districts and could not look at the program’s impact over multiple years. This study will build off of the findings from this initial study and aim to evaluate SOGI 1 2 3 as a program, now that it has been implemented for five years. Hence, this study will seek to evaluate both the program’s implementation in elementary and secondary schools, and its efficacy in improving the health, wellbeing, and safety of sexual minority students and their heterosexual peers.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc
Shannon Srivastava, Research Assistant, SARAVYC, School of Nursing, UBC