I have watched the current controversy at the Toronto Catholic District School Board over the Ministry of Education mandated Gay Straight Alliance groups with some interest. I will not comment on the details but instead offer some personal commentary which might be helpful. The subject of bullying is of great interest to me since I was a victim in school myself. I know from painful experience what it feels like to be sucker punched in a stairwell or subjected to verbal abuse. I can still remember the anxiety and fear of having to avoid some gang of toughs on my way to and from school.
I would have welcomed some intervention during those years. On the surface of it an anti-bullying group seems like a good idea but the way it is being implemented here is seriously flawed. You see, bullying renders you extremely vulnerable. You are alone and willing to grasp at any straw to relieve the pain. My teenage and young adult years were filled with one abortive attempt after another to connect with some group or other. This search for identity continued until I returned to the faith of my youth and found a measure of peace and healing in Christ.
My difficulty with Gay Straight Alliance groups is that I seriously doubt they would have been of any use to me as a youth. Bullying is the root problem, the constant stress and anxiety of being alone facing some threat or abuse. The offer to help providing I accept a particular identity would have been meaningless to me... I would not have fit in. Bullying is a human problem, not a gay problem. To offer someone who is vulnerable a way out so long as they accept a particular identity does violence to their psyche and is no true solution to the problem.
I truly sympathize with anyone who is going through the kind of turmoil I did but I cannot help but wonder if they could not come up with some solution that might have included such as me.