By John-Henry Westen

  MONTREAL, March 16, 2007 ( – A report issued at the behest of the provincial government of Quebec directs the government to fight homopshobia and heterosexism in every sphere of public life and especially in schools.  Quebec’s Justice minister asked the Quebec Human Rights Commission to create a task force in 2005, and that group has published its report called “From legal equality to social equality: toward a national strategy to fight against homophobia”.

  The report ascribes to homophobia negative consequences of what many acknowledge as problems associated with disordered sexuality.  The report says that homosexual, bisexual and transsexual persons are “a population at risk,” noting that they experience higher rates of psychological distress, depression, illegal drug use, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies.  The report claims that these afflictions are the result of heterosexist “social stigmatization” and “homophobia”.

  While psychologists who assist people to overcome disordered sexuality see many of the afflictions mentioned as symptoms of the homosexual disorder, the report uses the plight of the many people who find themselves in such heart-rending situations to urge for political action which will threaten freedom of religion and freedom of speech regarding the immorality and dangers of the homosexual lifestyle.  “The despair felt by too many young people of sexual minorities at the very significant stage of their coming out is alone enough to demand urgent action”, said Marc-Andre Dowd, vice-president of the Commission, in a press conference on the release of the document.

  The report defines homophobia as “feelings of fear and aversion which certain people have toward homosexuality and people of homosexual orientation, or toward any person whose appearance or behavior does not conform to the stereotypes of the masculinity or of femininity.”  The report defines heterosexism as “the assertion that heterosexuality is the social norm or superior to other sexual orientations.” 

  The report calls for an all out assault on homophobia and herterosexism, going so far as to demand a separate government ministry be established to oversee the fight against homophobia.  It recommends that the new administration to fight homophobia be granted adequate resources to ensure development and implementation, and that the government engage in media campaigns to promote positive attitudes towards homosexuality and lesbianism.  “Let us take as a model the public awareness campaigns concerning drinking and driving, smoking and marital violence,” says the document.

  In addition to calling for the institution of a “national day to fight homophobia” the report also calls on the government to maintain and increase funding to homosexual activist groups – or “LGBT community organizations” as the report refers to them.

  A particular target of the report is schools.  “Until now not enough attention has been paid to homophobia in educational circles,” says the report.  The report lists “obstacles harming the fight against homophobia and the integration of the topic of homosexuality in the school curriculum.”  Among those “obstacles” are: “religion in families or schools”; “lack of openness by parents”;  “conservatism among school personnel”; “prejudice and ignorance”.

“It is of primary importance,” says the report that all school officials, administrators, councils and professional associations, and staff working within education, “offer unconditional support for the fight against the homophobia in schools.”

  The government of Quebec has already demonstrated that it does not permit exceptions for religious schools from its curriculum mandates which contradict with religious beliefs.  Last October reported that the provincial government forced Evangelical Christian private schools to teach sex education and Darwinism in schools or be shut down.

  See the full cached report online (in French):

  To express concerns to the Quebec Minister of Education:

  Monsieur Jean-Marc Fournier
  Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport
  1035, De La Chevrotière, 16e étage
  Québec, Québec
  G1R 5A5
  Email: [email protected]

  See related coverage:
  Quebec Government Forcing Evangelical Private Schools to Teach Sex Ed, Darwinism
  Schools will be shut down if they do not comply with order, regardless of religious beliefs