"The answer would be no." - Gerald Casey, Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board Superintendent of Education.
When asked if a Gay Straight Alliance would be permitted in their school, he responded that 'the answer would be no.'
Having finished high school just years before GSAs became relatively common, I never had the opportunity to benefit from them. Indeed, even with them in place I do not think that many students of sexual minorities take advantage of the opportunity that is allowed to them - and the valuable resources that GSAs have access to. But, and this is a massive but, they remain an important fixture of high school cultures in fighting social homophobia in school cultures - in classrooms, changerooms, hallways; among teachers, students, and visitors. They make it clear that sexual minorities matter. And they provide a potential safe place in a world without safe places - the only of its kind available.
So, when a school board would deny this safety to some of its students, one must ask upon which educational basis they are doing so. And the obvious answer is that it isn't based on any educational philosophy, as most modern ones recognize the importance of safe spaces in schools for people who self-identify as a minority. Unfortunately, it is upon the basis of religion that Catholic sexual minorities, including those individuals who are not catholic, are forced to remain in the closet. Not that I would suggest Catholics support hatred in any way (I think that many are very good at fighting it as best they can), but I would suggest that they are very slow at adopting the gay rights bandwagon.
Xtra.com, a Canadian Gay News Website, recently surveyed all of the Catholic School Districts in Ontario and asked them if they supported or had operating in their schools a GSA. None of them could confirm the existence of any.
In Corpus Christi, Texas, at Flour Bluff Intermediate School, all school clubs have been discontinued. So that a GSA could not be started. Which just makes sense, right? I mean, rather than overcome our discriminations and prejudices, we should make sure that everybody is treated fairly (and that, once again the gays get blamed for the cancellation of much beloved programs).
Schools need to become aware of how they are producing a culture of hatred and, at my most possibly kind, indifference. Failing to include sexual minorities in a school culture ill-prepares students for a changing world, and can very negatively affect the psycho-social development of those who are sexual minorities. Which is something that the 'gay' community is already, and always has been, dealing with. Expecting children and young adults to hide this part of their being ruins their sense of self, self-confidence, and self-respect - it contributes to violent behaviour, sexual promiscuity, and a general lack of healthy decision making in the community.
It is dangerous. And it fails our students.