Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice
Edited By Gerald Walton
3. The Gay Agenda in Ontario Catholic Schools:Gay–Straight Alliances as Activist Education, by Blair Niblett and Casey Oraa
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The Gay Agenda in Ontario Catholic Schools: Gay–Straight Alliances as Activist Education
Blair Niblett and Casey Oraa
A Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA) is a student club that affirms the identity and community membership of Queer and Trans individuals through positive influence on school climate (GLSEN, 2012a; EGALE Canada, n.d.). Through social support, friendship, and activism, GSAs enrich school experiences for students, teachers, and members of a school community, regardless of sexual orientation (Lee, 2001; Russell, Muraco, Subramaniam, & Laub, 2009). While GSAs have seen significant growth in schools throughout North America in recent decades (Herriot, 2011), they continue to experience barriers to flourishing (Watson, Varjas, Meyers, & Graybill, 2010) that undermine the goals of public education. From January 2011 until June 2012, one such barrier manifested in Ontario, Canada, where there exist parallel publicly-funded Catholic and secular school systems. At issue here was a disconnection between Catholic schools’ resistance to GSAs on grounds that they contravene church doctrine, and the Ministry of Education’s poorly enforced policy of providing safe and inclusive schools.
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