The following beliefs underlie the OK2BME Program and direct the approach we take when working with children, youth, their families, and the community:
- That diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal and are natural expressions of human diversity. As a result, this type of diversity is something that needs to be embraced and celebrated, not hidden and shamed.
- That sexual orientation and gender identity are not “black and white”, rigid concepts but are instead fluid and flexible. By thinking about sexual orientation and gender identity as fluid concepts, we make room for individuals to identify as other than “gay / lesbian” or “straight”, “male” or “female”.
- That the purpose of this service is not to change the sexual or gender orientation of participants. The purpose is, instead, to help participants learn to identify, navigate, and overcome the heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and other forms of intolerance that they may experience in their communities.
- That cissexism and transphobia, like racism and sexism, are systemic forms of intolerance that exist in our community. Helping to create change in the lives of individuals therefore, requires us to educate and initiate change in our community and its institutions.