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Holy Homophobia Summary

Holy Homophobia Summary

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Published by Daily Xtra
Holy Homophobia: Doctrinal Disciplining of Non-Heterosexuals in Canadian Catholic Schools
Dr. Tonya D. Callaghan
Holy Homophobia: Doctrinal Disciplining of Non-Heterosexuals in Canadian Catholic Schools
Dr. Tonya D. Callaghan

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Published by: Daily Xtra on Jun 05, 2012
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Holy Homophobia:Doctrinal Disciplining of Non-Heterosexuals in Canadian Catholic Schools
Dr. Tonya D. Callaghan
Killam & SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
The University of Calgary Faculty of Education
7-Page Summary of 410-Page Dissertation
CASWE/QSEC Multi-Paper Session 2.12
Sunday, May 27, 2012 10:00 am
11:15 am, Room BA 307
Queer Studies in Education and Culture (QSEC), a Special Interest Group of The Canadian Association for the Study of Women and Education (CASWE)
CASWE is a constituent association of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education
Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2012Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterloo, Ontario
Clashes between Catholic canonical law and Canadian common law regardingsexual minorities continue to be played out in Canadian Catholic schools. AlthoughSection 15 of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
ensures same-sex equality inCanada, some teachers in Alberta Catholic schools are fired for contravening Catholicdoctrine about non-
heterosexuality, while Ontario students’ requests to establish
Gay/Straight Alliances are denied. This paper emphasizes the findings and implicationsof a very recent doctoral study that examines the causes and effects of the long-standingdisconnect between Canadian Catholic schools and the Charter by comparing thetreatment of and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (lgbtq)teachers and students in publicly-funded Catholic school systems in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario.
Holy Homophobia
When it comes to managing sexual minorities, publicly-funded Catholic schools inAlberta and Ontario take their direction from Catholic canonical law rather than Canadiancommon law. The central contradiction in Catholic doctrine related to the behaviour of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (lgbtq) individuals, who are referred to in
Catholic parlance as “persons with same
-sex attraction
” (Ontario Conference of Catholic
Bishops [OCCB], 2003, p. 3), can be distilled down to the colloquial Christian
expression: “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” This irreconcilable concept underlies
curricular and policy decisions regarding the topic of sexual diversity and the existence of sexual minorities in Canadian Catholic schools.For example, as my doctoral study reveals, contradictory Catholic doctrine on the topic of non-heterosexuality informs curricular decisions, such as Waterloo Catholic District
School Board’s removal of a teacher resource book called
Open Minds to Equality
because it discusses homophobia. Contradictory Catholic doctrine also guides policydecisions on matters such as whether or not grade 12 student Leanne Iskander is grantedpermission to establish a bona fide Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) in her southern OntarioCatholic high school.
Catholic education leaders consult Catholic canonical law when attempting to developeducational policy involving lgbtq people, including several participants in my study,each of whom I refer to using pseudonyms. Participant Naarai was fired in 2009 from herposition as a teacher assistant in southern Alberta after her principal surmised she wasattempting to get pregnant so she could raise a child with her female partner. ParticipantJob was fired from his position as a substitute teacher in Northern Alberta in 2008 afterrevealing that he was transitioning from the female to the male gender. Participant Annawas fired from her position as an art teacher in southern Alberta in 2004 for taking on the
role of “straight ally” to the lgbtq students in her Catholic school and providing a“positive space” for them to meet in her classroom at lunchtime.
Of the 12 student participants, 3 who were out about their sexuality to themselves andsome of their friends had the disastrous experience of their Catholic school administrators
outing them to their parents. Participant Jacob now identifies as a “queer trans
guy,” but
back when he was in Grade 7 at his Catholic junior high school in southern Alberta, heidentified as a lesbian. Jacob came out as a lesbian at the age of 12 to a trusted religion
teacher who told the principal of the school who then called in Jacob’s parents for a
meeting so Jacob could come out
to them at the school. Jacob’s parents reacted by
sending him to reparative therapy. Participant Abigail had such a positive experiencecoming out as a lesbian in Grade 11 to her best friends in her Catholic high school innorthern Ontario that she decided to tell a trusted teacher with whom she had bondedover poetry. That teacher informed the principal of the school who then called in
Abigail’s mother to apprise her of Abigail’s disclosure of her lesbianism. Reflecting on
this experience, Abigail says she
“definitely was not ready” to tell her mom, and that itwas a “terrible time” for both her and her mother. While being disciplined for wearing parts of the official boys’ uniform with her assigned girl’s uniform, a frustrated
participant under the pseudonym Hannah told her vice principal and guidance counsellorthat she was gay. These administrators of her southern Ontario Catholic high school
decided it was best to call in Hannah’s mother so that she could be informed of this.Hannah’s mother responded b
y pulling Hannah out of the school to keep her away from
what she regarded to be “gay influences,” and by eventually expelling Hannah from the
family home.
Sexual and gender diversity in Canadian Catholic schools pose challenging conundrums.As my study sh
ows, Catholic education leaders’ answer to these vexing questions isnormally a resounding “no” (Alberta Catholic Bishops, 2001; Durocher, 2010; OCCB,
2003; see also Appendix D). Using Catholic doctrine to fire lgbtq teachers and

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DavidSkehan added this note
Dear Ms Leigh, defensive polemic is no substitute for an inability to objectively evaluate an academic treatise. It would appear that your "homophobia", apparent lack of true Christian inclusive love, and ignorance of the development of "Church doctrine" over the millennia, have blinkered your ability to provide a valid critique.
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Becca Leigh added this note
just take the public money out of the Catholic schools like we do in the States....easy solution really....oh, and you may want to check the definition of "homophobia" because no one is scared of you, we just don't accept you trying to change our Church doctrine that has outlasted every empire to ever exist on this planet and it WILL NOT be changing for anyone!! get used to it

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