Richmond Hill High School just escaped a bullet from the Human Rights Commission.
When the school principal gave the go-ahead for students to apply to set up a gay-straight alliance, student Sean Kaw stopped his appeal to the commission to intervene. Sean went to the commission after being told the application for the gay-straight alliance couldn't be made until next year.
The club offers much needed support to gays, while it gives straight students a chance to show they're both comfortable and accepting of homosexuals and want to help look out for everyone's well being. In fact, gay-straight alliances should be set up in every secondary school in the country.
The fact some people are still uncomfortable with homosexuality is a clear indication that gay-straight alliances are needed.
I attended a small town high school from 1958 to 1962. The gay students were centered out, teased and, at times, bullied. Most of all, the gays were lonely. Alienation does that. A few of us, myself included, made a point to sit with the gay students on the bus, to invite them to join us for lunch and to encourage them to attend school dances.
Of course, a few of my peers took issue with our befriending homosexuals. Personally, I made it clear: I wasn't worried about losing them as friends. Instead, I excluded ignorant and mean people from my dance card. Looking back more than four decades, as a heterosexual, I would have welcomed the chance to take part in a gay-straight alliance.
It's obvious there's still work to be done.
To a certain degree, homophobia in all its ugliness still has a strong-hold on society. Gay kids continue to be centered out, teased and bullied. And they continue to struggle with loneliness.
Gay-straight alliances are not only needed in schools, the alliances should be set up at Queen's Park and in the House of Commons. In particular, it might help put a much needed end to the nonsensical conflict over gay marriage.
Gays should have the same freedoms and opportunities as all citizens. Under the umbrella of a democratic Canada, equal rights should be availed to all Canadians. If gays want to get married, our only response as a nation should be, "Congratulations."
Sean Kaw and the principal of Richmond Hill High School should stand on the same stage and take a bow: well done to both.
If your kid comes home and tells you he or she is joining a gay-straight alliance and you offer your support, you too should take a bow. You're a good parent.