WINNIPEG, Manitoba, January 16, 2013 ( – A law professor at the University of Manitoba is calling for provincial governments to enforce “state-issued law” ensuring that schools, including – or especially – Catholic schools, become “queered.”

In “Queering Schools, GSAs and the Law: Taking on God,” first published in November and posted online earlier this month, Donn Short argues that “the law offers the best present and future challenge confronting the work that needs to be done in the queering of Canadian schools.”

“From a Canadian legal perspective and tradition, this confrontation is represented in the brewing battle between equality rights claims grounded in sexual orientation, on the one hand, and religion-based claims on the other – in short, taking on God,” Short writes.


But according to Short the law to force Catholic schools to support homosexuality is already in place – the provinces just need to make use of it.

“There has been, for too long, particularly in public discourse and among religionists, a mistaken belief in the sacrosanct or exclusive management rights of Roman Catholic school boards to ‘run their own show,’” Short states. “This attitude has led, I assert, to the absurd view that religious dogma in some way justifies ignoring or indeed allowing to continue the harassment of queer students within the Roman Catholic school system.”

While admitting that Canada's constitution enshrines protection for Roman Catholic education in the Province of Ontario, Short argues that the right of separate school boards to have control over what is presented in their schools is a throwback to the time of Confederation.

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By “undertaking a more nuanced legal examination of those rights to which denominational schools, Roman Catholic schools in Ontario, are entitled, the situation for the queering of schools is hopeful and its achievement inevitable,” he says.

Short praises Ontario's school anti-bullying Bill 13, which critics have denounced as an unprecedented attack on freedom of religion and conscience in Canada, saying that Bill 13 is “specific law and policy reform” that “fill[s] in queer details.”

Bill 13, ostensibly designed to combat bullying, was amended at the 11th hour to specifically mandate that schools allow gay-straight alliances, after the province’s Catholic bishops had expressed opposition to the activist clubs.

Short laments, however, that Bill 13's homosexual outreach is not directed at elementary grades, where he says it is most needed.

“I have argued elsewhere, and earlier in this paper, that cultural transformation must include and begin at the earliest grades,” he writes.

To this end, Short suggests, “The curriculum must change to include queer content and to recognize queer families,” but bewails that “the curriculum will not change unless the Ministries of Education direct it to change and if queer youth are reconstructed legally as full citizens within the school.”

“That response,” he concludes, “lies (sic) a wall-to-wall transformational approach that also considers the playing fields, the stages, the artwork on display in hallways, media classes, sports, music, visual arts, friendships, libraries, music rooms, loyalties, clubs, the machine shops, the gyms and the classrooms in pursuit of a time when sexual minority youth may participate and thrive with their interests vested and valorized on and off school property for the time that schools are such a crucial part of their lives.”

Short’s remarks resemble those of a writer at Queerty, who caused a controversy when he declared in 2011: “I and a lot of other people want to indoctrinate, recruit, teach, and expose children to queer sexuality AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.”

“Recruiting children? You bet we are,” said Queerty contributor Daniel Villarreal.

“Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?”

The full text of Short's article is available here.

Contact info:
Donn Short
University of Manitoba – Faculty of Law
Winnipeg R3T 5V4, Manitoba
Phone: (204) 985-5206
Email: [email protected]