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The Gay Agenda

Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice


Gerald Walton

The «gay agenda» is a rhetorical strategy deployed by the religious right and other social conservatives to magnify fear and hostility of queers. Queers are accused, among other things, of strategizing to recruit children into sexually deviant lifestyles; dismantling family and marriage as cornerstones of civilization; and forcing the entertainment industry and court systems to do their bidding. Queers certainly do have an agenda but it is not the one that the religious right claims it is. It is to assert their presence in the public space; claim and name their identities; and strategize for social justice in law, schools, and workplaces. The Gay Agenda: Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice claims and reclaims the language of «agenda» and turns the rhetoric of the religious right on its ear. The contributors provide insightful and sharp commentary on gay agendas for human rights, marriage and family, cultural influences, schooling and education, and politics and law.
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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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