Ontario’s Halton Catholic School District’s school board voted to repeal a ban on gay-straight alliances — which was certainly a sign of progress, since previously school board Chairwoman Alice Anne LeMay said the ban was reasonable because they don’t “have Nazi groups either.” But just because a ban is lifted doesn’t mean GSAs are permitted, at least not if they use the word “gay.” Because why would anything make sense when it comes to schools?
The Halton Catholic District School Board’s (HCDSB) new equity and inclusive education policy passed its first hurdle Feb 15, but the board still does not allow for any student group containing the word “gay.” Instead, the board has included procedural supports that follow the Pastoral Guidelines to Assist Students of Same-Sex Attraction, a document written by the bishops and used to write the equity policy, as well as training for staff, educators and parents. The document explicitly prohibits gay sexual activity and states that if gays can’t live a “moral life,” they must accept “a life of chastity.” Sex is only for married straight couples.
“If a student asks for a gay-straight alliance [GSA], what will happen?” [openly gay board member] Paul Marai asked [openly bigoted heterosexual] board chair Alice Anne Lemay during the meeting. She didn’t answer, saying only, “That’s not in the motion. Did you read the policy?”
Not that banning the word “gay” is the only problem:
While the document calls on educators to enforce anti-discrimination policies, it also reiterates the church’s official prohibition against sexual activity between two people of the same sex and exhorts teachers to lead “the homosexual student” toward “better sexual morality.” It further suggests that “romantic attachments and behaviour” are fully expected of heterosexual couples, but discouraged among gay students.
But the most fun portion of the evening had to be when an ex-gay got up make her case.
Sylvie Hache, a self-described “recovering homosexual,” spoke at the beginning of the meeting. The packed gallery sat in stunned silence as she argued that being gay is an addiction, something to be treated and cured, “like drug addiction.” She told the board to remove all references to “sexual orientation” because “it is sinful when acted upon. The truth from the Bible stated homosexuality as a sinful behaviour equal to, but not any different from any other sinful or addictive behaviour.” Hache adds that she would rather see the board establish groups that help students “turn away from that sinful or addictive behaviour,” like drug rehabilitation or Alcoholics Anonymous.
So we’ve gone from the school board permitting comparisons of gay groups to the Nazis all the way to comparing them to drug abusers and and alcoholics. Kids definitely win this week!
[photo: Andrea Houston/Xtra!]