Monday, January 15, 2007

Homophobia in the Hill - Richmond, that is

Slap Upside The Head has an interesting post up this morning about the banning of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Richmond Hill High School.

This story caught my attention for a number of reasons. First off, I find it astonishing that a Canadian public high school is banning a Gay-Straight Alliance, seemingly in the name of fear of offending parents of specific ethnic and religious origins. It doesn't surprise me that my own Toronto-area high school didn't have such a group. We were part of the Catholic school board, and the gay teenagers there had our own clubs - they were called the newspaper and the yearbook. But for the nondenominational public board to ban such a group in 2007, when gay marriage is legal, is stunning.

This also has personal resonance for me. My husband was a gay teenager at Richmond Hill High School a decade ago. One would have thought that we might have made some progress over the past decade in this respect, but apparently not. Certainly, Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne seems to think that this was a place where progressive values had a place when she was part of the women's liberation club at that institution.

RHHS has some illustrious membership in the Progressive Bloggers community. Liberal blogger extraordinaire Jason Cherniak is also an RHHS graduate. Any thoughts, Jason?

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At 8:34 pm, Blogger Carrie said...

As a student of RHHS, and a member of said school's non-existent GSA, I find it interesting that a seemingly random blogger picked up this story... Just goes to show the power of media.

Dr. Chan had more than one reason for not allowing the GSA, one of which was yes the parents, but she has also been concerned about our safety. Even though I fully agree that my school needs a GSA, I also believe that Dr. Chan should be credited with doing what she thinks is best for us in a difficult and controversial issue. Can one really blame a principal for trying to keep things as safe as possible? Perhaps yes in this case, but really we should be glad that she cared enough to think about it, even if it does mean that she is now standing in our way.


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