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'Gay-Centric' School Proposed in Toronto: VIDEO


Fan Wu, 20, a university student who said he experienced a kind of "covert bullying" in school because he could not speak about his sexuality, has proposed a 'gay-centric' high school in Toronto, and a public meeting (though closed to media) was held about it Wednesday, the CBC reports:

Irene Miller, president of the Toronto chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), says separating kids because of their sexual orientation won't help encourage acceptance. "What you're doing is saying: 'If we take away all the kids who are being bullied, then the bullying stops,'" Miller said. "What we should be doing is take away all the bullies and the bullying will stop. It's the wrong end of the stick."

Wu maintains this conceptual school is "not a segregation project" but would simply be another alternative school focusing on diversity and acceptance. "This is not an ostracism project," Wu said. "As with most alternative schools, every student will have a choice to apply to this school, regardless of their academic standing, regardless of their financial background, regardless of their sexuality in particular.

"So we would welcome allies, straight people, lesbian, gay, bi, trans, people of all sorts into this school. There is no ghettoization going on here."

Watch the CBC's report and interview with Wu, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Bad idea.

    Posted by: CHAD | Sep 27, 2012 9:06:38 AM

  2. While I'm sure this student meant well, his suggestion is a terrible idea. Mrs. Miller explained why perfectly. She's got a way with words, hasn't she? I'll bet she has a gay son who will visit Towleroad and tell us how proud he is of his Mom!

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 27, 2012 10:52:19 AM

  3. Of course PFLAG is going to jump right in with their idiotic self-righteous "ally opinions." These "allies" keep thinking they should have a say on how LGBT+ people deal with their lives and their fight for equality, but no, they don't. Just because you have a gay kid doesn't make you a part of the community and it doesn't give you ANY say.

    No, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with an LGBT-centric school, just how women's colleges are absolutely fine, or black colleges are absolutely fine. They create a safe, comprehensive environment for groups that are sidelined and routinely attacked.

    So shut up.

    Posted by: Lance | Sep 27, 2012 11:12:25 AM

  4. That Irene Miller.... I heard she's gota son that's super queer and non-straight acting but totally hot

    Posted by: MaddM@ | Sep 27, 2012 11:12:32 AM

  5. Seperation is rarely a good idea.

    Most children who attend schools like this, will graduate and be thrown into a world that is far less accepting and may not be able to handle it.

    It is a far superior plan to keep improving integrated schools.

    Posted by: Blake | Sep 27, 2012 12:28:44 PM

  6. Irene Miller ain't gay so she doesn't know what's best for gay people. I don't know if anti-gay bigotry will ever end. I don't know if heterosexuals will ever want gay people to be on a level playing field with them. Saying gay people have to be around heterosexuals in order for anti-gay bullying to stop means that gay people are somehow a factor in anti-gay bullying to start. Anti-gay bigotry doesn't need to involve gay people. If you believe heterosexuality is the only legitimate sexuality or heterosexuality is the best sexuality then you're not going to like gay people regardless if you come in contact with them. I think a LGBT school is a great idea. From birth to age 16 are people's formative years. Many gay people are negatively affected in those years. It's very difficult to undo that damage. So a LGBT school would be a great way for LGBT kids to avoid that heterosexual menace that will plague them the rest of their lives and to relax and concentrate of school work.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Sep 27, 2012 1:40:04 PM

  7. Rock ON, Mum!

    i was interviewed on another station about the same thing this morning:

    Toronto has the Pink Triangle Program - an alternative school for LGBT sudents who feel unsafe and they can attend it and complete their educations in a safe place. The point that we, and many others, are making is that this is exactly the work that ALSO needs to be done within the public school system.

    Culture at large is what needs to change. Teachers who are Out, thus supporting (visibly) students who are Out - and encouraging others to do the same. Non-Gay Allies who are out in support of the LGBT Community. And starting understanding and education about LGBT people, in community and throughout history, starting at the elementary school level: age-appropriate discussions of diversity, family dynamics and who LGBT people are.

    Why dont' we learn about Alan Turing? Why dont' we learn about how the gay people rescued from the Nazi deathcamps were then thrown into prisons after being "liberated"? The contributions of LGBT people throughout history. We are everywhere, and we're not being told that.

    The safe-haven schools like the harvey milk school and the canadian triangle programs are valuable, and alas still needed - but if you want to address the real issue it requires a fundamental change to public school curriculum - that we're even talking about having a Separate Queer-Centric School shows that there's a need that is not being met.

    Diversity workshops. Discussions in-class with LGBT people and families of LGBT people. The importance of understanding and celebrating diversity.

    If a queer-centric school exists its top priority should be to do such a good job that it puts itself out of business. PFLAG'ers look forward to a day when PFLAG no longer needs to exist. GSAs look forward to a day when they no longer need to exist. And the best way to ensure that future is to start at the root - with clear and honest and education about LGBT people in schools.

    It's not just the gay kids who need to learn about LGBT people - it's the non-gay ones, too.


    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 27, 2012 1:53:12 PM

  8. Have mixed feelings. I think LGBTQ/gender-queer/straight-ally/etc. students WILL benefit from not having to deal with the toxicity of homophobia in schools and will be better able to focus on learning and gain much needed self-confidence, feel acceptance and support. I definitely don't think these should be forced to deal with anti-gay BS.

    But it is undeniable that going out of your way to effectively self-segregate children at such a young age does give them a barrier to reality and that as they grow older and face those realities head-on, they may not be able to handle them. So it's a tricky proposition.

    Posted by: Francis | Sep 27, 2012 2:05:48 PM

  9. i think a solution, for lack of a better word, is simply this - have the option of an LGBT-centric alternative school program, for those who'd elect to attend, for whatever reason.

    but add LGBT understanding into standard public school curriculum. starting in elementary schools.

    students are going to have classmates with gay parents. some of those kids are going to be gay. some of those kids will have a gay sibling. there will be gay teachers. and children are REMARKABLY adaptable - kids aren't in any way confused by homosexuality if it's presented and talked about frankly and honestly.

    start that in elementary school and you're going to eliminate the prejudice that blossoms with the Hell that is adolescence. You'll get LGBT kids being empowered to Come Out, and non-gay kids empowered to understand that they become "better people" when they stand in solidarity with their LGBT peers, or "potentially-LGBT peers".

    my mum goes to public schools talking about PFLAG and being the mother of a gay son (*elegant curtsy*)
    high schools. middle schools. elementary schools.

    the kids have a lot of questions, and you'll be thrilled to know that they *do* ask them. and she answers.

    the best way to change this culture is to put a name and face to "What Gay Is" - with the support of peers and faculty eliminating homophobia is really not that far-out of an idea. It's not easy, but it's remarkably simple - step up to be counted, and step up to be seen as a visible and vocal ally.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Sep 27, 2012 2:24:48 PM

  10. School's should be preparing students for the real world where if you are harassing someone at work the issue is raised and addressed by HR. If you continue the harassment you are fired.

    Posted by: andrew | Sep 27, 2012 5:03:39 PM

  11. GLBT kids live not only as minorities every day of their life, but do so without being able to readily see who else is like them, often making it more difficult to come out or meet new people like them.

    I could see a lot of benefit for some GLBT students to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend 3-4 years in a GLBT inclusive school, where upwards of half the students were GLBT and the other half were strong allies. It would be great to see just how much of an impact that could have on their lives, because I think it could be huge. So much of the confidence we take with us throughout our lives is formed in the four years of our days in high school.

    Posted by: Ryan | Sep 27, 2012 5:43:28 PM

  12. I agree with Andrew- kids need to prepare to deal with the real world. Over protection can be as damaging as bullying.

    Posted by: jaragon | Sep 27, 2012 5:46:10 PM

  13. From another Andrew: Seperate is never equal, it is a bad idea.

    Posted by: Andrew | Sep 27, 2012 10:21:32 PM

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