Don’t say ‘GSA’ -

Don’t say ‘GSA’

Ontario Catholic schools will create anti-bullying clubs that definitely won’t be called ‘gay-straight alliances’


Let’s embark upon a little thought experiment, shall we? Suppose Johnny B. Seventh-Grader is being bullied mercilessly for his fiery red hair. “Ginger!” the kids call him. “Freak of nature!” they say. “You have no soul!” And so forth. Johnny, feeling ostracized and alone, looks to his school’s administration for support. Naturally, one would assume, resources would be available for our redheaded friend. After all, the school—a public institution—is part of a society where reds have the right to live freely from discrimination.  Redheaded people can work in Canada, they can own property, they can vote, hell—they can even marry! So the school, you would expect, would be compelled to foster an environment of inclusion. Johnny’s principal hears his plight, and, in an effort to change the culture of taboo brewing around redheads, she creates a school club called, “It’s OK to be R**.” What’s wrong, Johnny? Don’t you feel more accepted?

The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) is doing the same sort of semantic dance when it comes to naming its new anti-bullying groups, created in response to requests for gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools. A reporter from Xtra, a national gay and lesbian newspaper, spoke with OCSTA president Nancy Kirby, who told her the new groups will not be called gay-straight alliances:

“When I look at a gay-straight alliance, I see an activist group,” [Kirby said]. We are answering the students’ request for support and assistance, not for activism. Students don’t want to become activists; they want to be supported in being bullied by their peers.”

Is standing up against anti-gay bullying not activism? “In some ways it could be and in other ways it isn’t,” she says. The groups will all have a “common name.”

That’s right—no activism allowed! On a side note, Kirby should probably look into St. Joseph Secondary School, where a lot of this GSA talk originated, because the school apparently has a Solidarity Action Committee “committed to creating a just world by working for peace, fairness and equality everywhere.” Sounds like trouble to me…

According to the Xtra article, students at St Joseph Catholic Secondary School chose the name “Rainbow Alliance” for their club, but the school principal rejected the suggestion, allegedly telling student Leanne Iskander that the name was “too LGBT-sounding.” In related news, word has not yet been confirmed on rumours of whether the school will, in fact, change the name of the cartons of “homogenized milk” sold in the school’s cafeteria.

If the administration’s aim was really to create a safe, inclusive environment for gay and lesbian youth at its schools, it would have no qualms with having “gay words” in the title of the anti-bullying club. Its wavering, however, suggests otherwise. Just another reason why the public dollar should not be supporting a system that puts religious doctrine before students welfare. And oh yeah: down with Gingers.


Don’t say ‘GSA’

  1. It is worth noting that part of the hesitation that exists around the inclusion ‘GAY’ in the names of students clubs stems from the fact that the word ‘gay’ is a positive term that speaks acceptingly and embracingly of homosexuality, which the Church simply cannot support. Indeed, if you recall your readings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, homosexuality is described as being ‘objectively’ and ‘intrinsically’ “disordered” and “contrary to the natural law” (CCC 2357). It also urges gay and lesbian people to live a life of chastity (aka sexual repression) so that they can approach a so-called “Christian perfection” (CCC 2359).

    Given that Catholic Schools in Ontario are governed by the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, the schools are required to follow un-supportive and un-affirming policies when it comes to dealing with gay and lesbian students. The most fundamental one, of course, being the Pastoral Guidelines to Assist Students of Same-Sex Attraction, which is laden with statements that deny gay students their same sex attractions.

    According to the Guidelines on Page 5:

    1. Gay and Lesbian students are not the best judges of their sexual orientation. They are young and confused.

    “Adolescent students are not always the best judges of their own sexual orientation. When a student discloses a same-sex attraction, it does not necessarily mean that the student is homosexual. Teachers and others entrusted with the pastoral care of students experiencing same-sex attraction should also keep in mind the different stages in a student’s life and his or her ability to absorb teaching.”

    2. The media — and indeed general culture — are partly to blame for this, as well as lousy religious influences.

    “The often negative impact of the media on sexual morality generally should not be underestimated. The student may be poorly instructed in his or her faith, may not be particularly devout or regular in religious practice, including prayer and sacraments, and may be influenced by the sexual permissiveness of the general culture.”

    3. Gay and Lesbian students who embrace their sexuality have an ‘erroneous conscience.’

    “While the Church respects an individual who has done his or her best to come to a correct moral judgment, it is not obligated to accommodate a decision based on an individual’s erroneous conscience. This includes a student who blamelessly arrives at the mistaken conclusion that homosexual acts can be morally good. There is an objective truth concerning moral issues; and error, even when blameless, does not change the nature of this truth.”

    4. Teachers should guide students towards chastity or, ideally, heterosexuality.

    “Teachers and others should try to lead the homosexual student to a progressively better sexual morality without condemnation and with much patience. The steady progression of moral and spiritual is the goal, even when there seem to be more failures than successes, more stalling than movement.”

    Indeed, can you imagine the kind of uproar that would ensue if these kinds of things were said about heterosexual students?

  2. ” When a student discloses a same-sex attraction, it does not necessarily mean that the student is homosexual.”

    does that mean a teen who thinks he is straight might actually be gay.

  3. its interesting that catholic doctrine is not supported by scripture,which says over and over that being gay is of god.

    because those being gay live the fullness of god’s love in the lives and marriages in the same way as heterosexuals.

    to deny this out of biblical legalities attempts not only to put believers under the law but the spirit who lives them as well …..christ.

  4. christ who is righteousness apart from the law

    the law which is apart from god’s righteousness and “only a shadow of the good things to come and not the realities themselves”

    the realities are are christ love and the fruit of his spirit.

    being gay does not come against this.

  5. Thanks for helping keep this issue in the spotlight. Full public funding for a blatantly–even proudly–discriminatory institution is wrong for so many reasons.

  6. Who says students don’t want to be activists? Many of them do want to get involved in their world, which is a good thing. Start them early on righting wrongs and encourage them in their efforts.

    And don’t the Catholic school boards encourage activism on Catholic issues? They used kids as political pawns, bussing thousands of them to Parliament Hill last year for an abortion rally — using taxpayer funds from all taxpayers (most who support abortion) to get them there.

    I guess activism is fine if it supports and promotes Catholic dogma, just don’t hold a view that goes contrary to that dogma.

  7. It is only out of fear, ignorance and control that this happens.