The Case for Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in Canada's Public Schools: An Educational Perspective

Paul Clarke, Bruce MacDougall

Research output: Article


In a series of two articles the authors examine the relatively recent phenomenon of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) as a method to promote and provide acceptance and integration of students of all sexualities in the school setting. In the first article, they argue that there are compelling reasons to justify the existence and promotion of GSAs in all publicly funded Canadian schools, whether secular or religious in nature. Curriculum, resources, and counseling are seen as essential to address bullying and homophobia. While these clubs offer substantial advantages to sexual minority, youth their establishment also presents challenges. There is a strong ethical argument in favour of these organizations and the authors examine the ethic of justice and the ethic of care as a means of understanding what is at stake. GSAs are important because they offer all students, and especially sexual minority youth students, a chance to be safe and to flourish in a caring and committed school community. There are legally compelling reasons why schools ought to provide-or at least cannot preclude-GSAs. The authors consider the recent educational legislative initiative in Ontario to mandate the creation of GSAs in all publicly funded schools, including Roman Catholic schools, when a student request for such a club is made. Absent the adoption of similar legislation in the rest of Canada, the authors also examine the contending legal claims, particularly those based on equality and protection of religion. The legal issues are considered principally in the second article. PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-165
Number of pages23
JournalEducation & Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright - Copyright Carswell Publishing May 2012; Document feature - ; Last updated - 2024-04-18; SubjectsTermNotLitGenreText - Canada; Homosexuality; Sexual Orientation; Clubs; Catholic Schools; Ethics; Bullying; Legal Problems; Religion; Legislation; Justice; Community Relations

Cite this