We should by now be accustomed to the phenomenon of some Catholic leaders undermining Church teaching on pastoral responses to gay and lesbian people while claiming to protect it, but surprises continue. For example, a Canadian student in a Catholic school was not allowed to include in a poster for the schools Gay Straight Alliance, either a poster of Harvey Milk, or this quotation from Milk:
‘All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential’
Bizarre. Sexual orientation is NOT specific to gay people, and is NOT a matter of “self – expression”. The right to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and freedom from any malice or violence, in speech or in actions, are clearly embedded in Vatican teaching on the subject, There is absolutely nothing in the Milk quotation that is remotely in conflict with standard Church teaching – but the school’s action clearly is.
In Ontario, Canada, there has been an ongoing struggle in state-funded Catholic schools to comply with a law there to allow gay-straight alliances (GSA) to form. This controversy added a new wrinkle to it recently when a Catholic school in a Toronto suburb refused to allow a student to use a quote from gay-rights leader Harvey Milk on a poster for the GSA.
Student Christopher Karras, who attends École Secondaire Catholique Sainte-Famille, part of the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud (Catholic Central South District School Board) in Mississauga, chose a quote from Milk to advertise the existence of the newly-formed student organization.
“The Milk quote — ‘All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential’ — has been deemed to be too controversial, according to an email Karas received from his vice-principal in October.
“ ‘I was told that I can’t have a picture of Harvey Milk or his quote on the posters,’ Karas says. ‘I also had “sexual orientation” written on the posters.’
“But Karas says vice-principal Vicki Marcotte told him to change that to ‘self-expression’ because ‘she felt it was too much about LGBT community and not inclusive of everyone.’ “
– Bondings 2.0.