“Provincially-funded bullying”?

Gay performer banned from school’s anti-bullying event

Comedian Dawn Whitwell claims her invitation to perform at Toronto’s Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary yesterday was rescinded after the school board learned she was married to a woman. Whitehall was asked to participate in the anti-homophobia event a month ago, she says, but last week was told not to come. A Toronto Catholic District School Board spokeswoman countered Whitwell’s claim, saying the event was meant to be anti-bullying, not anti-homophobia, that Whitwell was only considered as a possible speaker, and that they were concerned that she might make light of the bullying issue. “The decision was strictly based on the fact that she was a comedienne and they really felt that it wasn’t a good fit,” the spokeswoman told the Globe and Mail. The dustup is just the latest since the Ontario Ministry of Education told Catholic school boards to encourage gay-straight alliances as part of anti-bullying policy: in January, Halton’s Catholic board won international notoriety after it banned gay-straight alliances, and students at a Mississauga high school have been fighting for months to have their own gay-straight alliance recognized. Whitwell told the Globe Catholic schools “can’t move forward,” adding: “My bigger concern is that this amounts to provincially-funded bullying.”

The Globe and Mail

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.