This time around, the news isn’t specifically about a school not supporting a GSA; it’s about Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty not enforcing the specific presence of a GSA in Catholic Schools. McGuinty has left it up to each school board to discern whether they have an official GSA or a broader equality club.
It’s no secret that I’m a strong supporter of equality and gay rights. I feel privileged to live in a country where LGBTQ people are not discriminated against. Even our neighbors to the south aren’t as up to date as Canada in terms of recognizing marriage or pro-diversity rights!
However, with supporting equality comes a responsibility to give respect to different views.
Homosexuality is not supported by all Catholic beliefs. And the part of me that hasn’t witnessed bullying and hate crimes wants to say ‘in an environment dedicated to Catholic beliefs, their stance on homosexuality doesn’t have to be accepted but should be respected.’
After all, a spokesperson for an education minister did say in the article:
“If there is not a GSA, there does need to be another group that gives students the opportunity to talk about issues that are important to make them feel safe.”
But then there is the part of me who has witnessed bullying and hate crimes. The part of me who has a friend in Alberta, Canada whose garage was broken into and car vandalized with homophobic slurs like ‘Fag’ spray-painted along the side.
The part of me who understands why when kids are being tormented, beat up and told they’re second-class citizens they would want to kill themselves.
A gay-straight alliance is beneficial because it promotes conversation and cooperation between straight and gay students. The issue isn’t just about helping gay youth. The people who vandalized my friend’s car were once students, and were probably the type of students who torment someone because they’re different.
These same bullying students have the potential to grow up and beat a man to death because they think he’s gay.
Maybe a GSA would have taught those kids, who grew up to be bullies, vandals and murderers about acceptance.
If these schools were serious about confronting bullying, they’d do it head on by specifically addressing the conflict, not with a broadened club.
To any student, teacher, board member or Premier reading this, a student usually doesn’t get to choose whether they attend Catholic or Public school. But YOU have a very clear choice to stand up, offer support and do the right thing to ensure that your classmates, students and future voting members of society don’t end up with the word ‘Fag’ spray-painted on their car because you were afraid of the word ‘gay’.
Student and need support?
For LGTBQ support check out:
For GSA support check out: