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Holy Homophobia Dissertation_abstract

Holy Homophobia Dissertation_abstract

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

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Daily Xtra on Jun 05, 2012
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12/06/2014

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HOLY HOMOPHOBIA: DOCTRINAL DISCIPLINING OF NON-HETEROSEXUALS IN CANADIAN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS Doctor of Philosophy 2011 Tonya Callaghan Graduate

Department of Curriculum, Teaching & Learning University of Toronto

Abstract

In 2011 clashes between Catholic canonical law and Canadian common law regarding sexual minorities continue to be played out in Canadian Catholic schools. While Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures same-sex equality in Canada, this study shows that some teachers in Alberta Catholic schools are fired for contravening Catholic doctrine about non-heterosexuality, while Ontario students’ requests to establish Gay/Straight Alliances are denied. This study seeks to uncover the causes and effects of the long-standing disconnect between Canadian Catholic schools and the Charter by comparing the treatment 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. I employ a multi-method qualitative research framework involving: 1) semi-structured interviews with 20 participants (7 current and former teachers and 13 former students), 18 of which are represented as condensed narratives; 2) media accounts that illustrate the Catholic schools’ homophobic environment; and 3) two key Alberta and Ontario Catholic policy and curriculum documents. The central question driving this study is: How does power operate in Canadian Catholic schools? Is it exercised from the top down solely, or are there instances of power rising up from the bottom as well? To answer this question, I draw upon the critical theories of Gramsci (1971), Althusser (1970/2008), Foucault (1975/1995), and Giroux (2001) in order to explain the phenomenon of “holy homophobia” in Canadian Catholic schools. The chief finding of this study is that contradictory Catholic doctrine on the topic of non-heterosexuality is directing school policy and practice regarding the management of sexual minority groups in Alberta and Ontario Catholic schools, positioning these schools as potential hotbeds for homophobia.

Hopefully, this thesis can one day serve as a resource for anti-homophobia education researchers and practitioners, school administrators, educators and students who are interested in eliminating religiously-inspired homophobia in school settings.

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