For the past four years, I have served as Equity and Diversity Coordinator at Egale Canada, a national LGBTIQ2S equality organization. My work has primarily been with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), the world’s largest Catholic teachers’ union, helping them to better serve their LGBT students.
While the slogging is still tough in Catholic schools, definite gains are being made for LGBTQ youth. Egale Canada has faithfully supported the training of Catholic teachers and has touted this service as “one of a kind” in the world. Contrary to what some conservative Catholics may think, many members of the LGBTQ community have been supportive of the work Catholic teachers are doing to create safer and accepting schools for LGBTQ students.
Many Catholics, including myself, still expect our Catholic hierarchy to lead. After all, it is a bishop’s role to teach. Many educated, concerned Catholics have questioned local Catholic authorities as to why there is such a roaring silence that plays into structural homo/bi/transphobia in schools. Perhaps Church overseers are choosing to be silent toward our LGBTQ brothers and sisters because they see the rest of us so willing to take the lead? Even if unconsciously, I wonder if the spirit of Vatican II is swirling in the minds of episcopal gents as many Catholics refuse to let stubborn, rigid language and rules ruin and even take people’s lives? It would be good to hear from our Bishop-teachers, though, right? They still exercise the power when they choose to.
Ontario Catholic teachers have resoundingly told me that LGBTQ inclusion–creating safer schools and curriculum–is a priority. OECTA members participated in Egale Canada’s “Every Teacher Project.” Have a look at the report by clicking here. This research tells a good story of where Catholic educators want the Catholic school system to move. Here are some of the key findings:
Source: Bondings 2.0