Ontario-based investigative reporter and former teacher Chanel Pfahl obtained the workshop's 193-slide presentation from an educator employed by the Medicine Hat Public School Division and broke it down on her Substack.
The six-and-a-half-hour event took place in May on one of the district's professional development days and was mandatory for all members of the staff, including teachers, education assistants, administrators, and clerical workers.
It was hosted by Fyrefly Institute for Gender and Sexual Diversity's Education Coordinator Alex Marshall, a biological male who identifies as transgender. The organization has been active for years, providing similar workshops to schools not only in Alberta but across the country.
In the days leading up to the event, staff were asked to fill out a survey that questioned how up-to-date they were on LGBTQ terminology. "I know what the word 'transgender' means and would be comfortable explaining it to a student," one question stated.
At the beginning of the session, staff were informed that the goal was to "develop a comprehensive understanding of sexual and gender diverse terminology ... understand the distinction between sex assigned at birth/gender identity/gender expression," and, "discern best practices for supporting queer and trans colleagues and students."
As Pfahl reports, Marshall went on to bombard staff with a dizzying number of statistics, some of which had questionable origins. She highlighted one claim that 13 percent of Canadians were LGBT+, noting that the data had come from "a 15 minute online survey completed by 800 'heterosexual cisgender individuals' and '1897 LGBT people,' including 15- to 17-year-old 'followers of LGBT organizations' recruited via targeted ads on Facebook."
During the workshop, staff were told they had a "professional obligation to respect students' gender identity and gender expression, including pronouns," and that the feelings of students were paramount over the rights of parents. Marshall made a point of providing resources that would assist staff in "dealing with parents/caregivers."
Staff were given numerous hypothetical scenarios involving LGBTQ+ youth, and eventually asked to create their own and discuss the potential solutions with their colleagues.
Pfahl noted that the Alberta teacher who had provided her with the material had experienced "a lonely few years," and was "unable to live as [she has] been any longer in the chaos of wokeness."
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