A recently released memo from the St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School:
We advise that you prevent your children from looking at images of rainbows. It may cause them to contract homosexuality.
Ok. I made that up. It’s hardly a stretch of the truth though given this story regarding a Catholic School here in Ontario.
Leanne Iskander, 16, who founded the school’s “unofficial” gay-straight alliance in March, tells Xtra the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board put the kibosh on displaying any rainbows at their information booth.
“We brought signs and posters with rainbows, and we were told that we can’t put them up,” says Iskander, who was recently named the2011 honoured dyke and youth grand marshal. “They said rainbows are associated with Pride. There’s so many other things that a rainbow could be. It’s ridiculous.
Ridiculous. Religious bigotry. Take your pick. This tax-payer funded school thinks that rainbows define homosexuality and that displaying them will be what? Dangerous? Hateful? As a commenter on the article said, this is like reading an article by The Onion. The board’s decision is absurd.
Luckily, these students aren’t above given a figurative “fuck you” to the board.
Since rainbows couldn’t be displayed openly and proudly, the students baked rainbows into the cupcakes by dying the batter in a rainbow of colours. The cupcakes were sold for 50 cents each, raising about $200 for charity.
Rainbows for everyone! But, did that money make it to a charity that would support the cause of these students? If you said, “yes”, then I’m afraid you’re still in blissful ignorance of a Catholic institution’s willingness to try and shut down those working for LGBT rights.
But the students couldn’t donate the money to any gay, lesbian or trans charitable organization, such as the LGBT Youth Line. “We asked if we could donate (sic) to the money to the Youth Line and the board said no. We were told to donate to Covenant House, a Catholic homeless shelter.”
The tax-payer funded Catholic school board wants to use money raised by students to fund more Catholic causes. (No there’s nothing wrong with supporting a Catholic homeless shelter in and of itself. There is something with forcing students who raised money for one cause to then give it to another, especially one that may be spreading faith.)
Now some may object and say that the students should have expected such, being part of a Catholic school. The only problem here is that this is an unofficial group. The school couldn’t argue that the students are acting in a manner that reflects the school in a way they would rather not have happen.
The tax-payer funded Catholic school is not standing up for the diversity that should be expected of a public school that, because it is funded by tax-payer dollars, should represent all people. The chair of the political action committee Queer for Ontario, Casey Oraa, says it best.
He says the rejection of the rainbow flag and the board’s insistence on benefiting a Catholic charity rather than one chosen by the students proves administrators have no interest in diversity.
Spot on. The board is only interested in using tax-payer money to promote their out-of-date world-views such as rejection of safe-sex.
“We proposed a whole bunch of resources and only about four got approved, and the ones that were approved were censored,” Iskander says. “They wouldn’t let us have this one booklet because it had one or two sentences on safe sex.”
Safe sex means condoms and we all know that the Catholic Church views those as one of the greatest evils out there. After gay people.
By the way? Have I mentioned Catholic Schools are tax-payer funded? We really should do something about that.