One Canadian Catholic school went a step further than banning the word gay: It banned rainbows at a recent anti-homophobia event. “We brought signs and posters with rainbows, and we were told that we can’t put them up,” the founder of St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School’s unofficial gay-straight alliance tells Xtra. The district school board “said rainbows are associated with Pride. There’s so many other things that a rainbow could be. It’s ridiculous.” Student organizers found a way around the ban, however, by baking rainbow-colored cupcakes.
Even then, the controversy wasn’t over: The cupcakes raised about $200 for charity, which the students wanted to donate to an LGBT youth line. But the school board “said no,” the founder says, and instructed them to donate it to a Catholic homeless shelter instead. The board had also rejected many of the materials provided for the event by political action committee Queer Ontario, including anti-homophobia booklets and an AIDS Committee of Toronto flyer. “We proposed a whole bunch of resources and only about four got approved, and the ones that were approved were censored,” the founder says.