Victory on the rainbow front: York Catholic District School Board votes against flying the pride flag

There were heated arguments for and against the flying of the flags. Some trustees argued that it was important to fly the multi-coloured flags in June to create a 'safe space' for the queer community and by not flying the flags would somehow 'embolden' those who bully members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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It all began so joyously, with members of the LGBTQ+-etc. community and their “allies” packing the headquarters of the York Catholic District School Board in Aurora, Ont., last Monday evening. There were hugs all around and delectable cupcakes were handed out. The cause du jour was to urge YCDSB trustees at its latest board meeting to raise the “pride progress” flag (that’s the one with the “BIPOC vagina” symbol) at the board’s Catholic Education Centre for the month of June. Hopefully, the trustees would agree to fly that flag at its schools, too.

There were heated arguments for and against the flying of the flags. Some trustees argued that it was important to fly the multi-coloured flags in June to create a “safe space” for the queer community and by not flying the flags this would somehow “embolden” those who bully members of the LGBTQ-etc.

Other trustees argued that there are already symbols displayed at YCDSB schools that are inherently inclusive – namely, the Canadian flag and the cross.

After almost an hour of back-and-forth arguments, a vote was taken and YCDSB trustees voted against the pride flag motion 6-4.

And so much for the “love trumps hate” community taking defeat graciously. Many spirit unicorns erupted in anger, screaming their disapproval of the decision. Others retreated to a “safe space”, where there was much hugging and crying going on. And that dude who was joyfully handing out cupcakes some four hours prior? He was now wearing trouble on his shirt, ready to get physical with members of the independent media. Nice.

We nevertheless reached out to members of Team Rainbow for comment, but were met with the silent treatment. That included the likes of Tristan Coolman, president of the York Region chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) who admitted our questions were good but he refused to answer any.

PFLAG did issue a statement noting in part that the YCDSB “is unsafe for York Region's LGBTQ2IA+ community and it is kept unsafe by a group of York Catholic Board Trustees who weaponize their faith against marginalized communities.”

Also in attendance was the infamous Toronto Catholic School Board school teacher Paolo De Buono (who has either been reassigned to another school or is on leave or has been terminated – he won’t say.) He has previously stated that Jesus Christ was a person of colour and was transgender and has seemingly taken glee in rejecting Catholic doctrine – despite his current place of employment.

Alas, De Buono engaged in the silent treatment yet again when pressed for comment But he later Tweeted:

York Catholic's decision as a public school board not to fly the Pride flag is a red flag that a majority of its trustees & the school board do not & cannot understand the depth of the systemic homophobia & transphobia there.

But in the final analysis, the normal, practicing Catholic parents who showed up to the meeting were elated with the board’s decision, even though the vote was a close one. Thus, the Canadian flag shall fly from YCDSB school flagpoles while the cross shall remain on display for the month of June – and beyond. The consensus: victory tastes a whole lot better than cupcakes…

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  • By David Menzies

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