Well that’s just the opinion of one member of the Halton Catholic School Board in Ontario. Jane Michael seems to think “A homosexual lifestyle … is not in accordance with the Catholic Church, Why can’t heterosexual students have a club? I don’t think sex clubs should be in school.” OH Marry, no she didn’t! If you haven’t already heard about this story, the Halton Catholic School Board in Ontario recently made a move to ban all gay-straight alliances in the district. This probably came about because the Catholic Bishop, Paul-Andre Durocher, chair of the Education Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario gave his two cents saying that gay-straight alliances are inappropriate for high school students. Apparently providing a safe space for LGBT students is against Catholic principles. He’s probably just upset that no one invited him to the party.
According to Xtra, one board member, Alice Anne LeMay, even went as far as comparing a GSA to a club for Nazis saying “We don’t have Nazi groups either,” rationalizes board chair Alice Anne LeMay. “Gay-straight alliances are banned because they are not within the teachings of the Catholic Church.” This type of ignorance and outright homophobia is so upsetting to me. Not only is this sending the wrong message to LGBT youth within the Halton Catholic School District but it’s also in direct violation of the Human Rights Code put forward by the Ontario government.
HCDSB chair Alice Anne LeMay
Since the HCDSB made the move they have come under attack from human rights groups, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, and a Facebook protest petition “Fight the Halton Catholic Board’s ban on Gay Straight Alliances” has been launched. A vote is set to happen on Tuesday, January 18, where board members will decide whether to keep the gay-straight alliance ban in effect, or dump it and come up with something more consistent with community standards and Ontario’s Human Rights code.
Sarah Kelly, a student teacher in Ontario told the Globe and Mail that there’s an overarching concern here that government tax dollars go toward supporting Catholic schools, “They’re trying to find a way to legalize homophobia funded by public dollars.” Another member joining the fight is Paul Marai. The 22 year old, openly gay, newly elected Catholic trustee was quoted saying he has no idea “why this ban was enacted in the first place” and pledged to challenge the policy at the next board meeting. If you would like to join in you can sign the online petition here. I really hope that on January 18th the school board comes to their senses and realize how ignorant they are being by having this ban.
This is all so frustrating to me considering I’m personally going through the proses of starting a GSA myself at my old high school, Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam. Thank goodness the teachers and staff I am working with are 100% behind me in starting the club and I have more than enough teacher sponsors and supporters to go around.
I love this video and thought that it fit the post.