Members of the Vaughan Road GSA. Photo by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.
In solidarity with students eager to turn their schools into safe spaces for people of all sexual orientations, members of the Toronto District School Board unanimously passed a motion at their meeting last night, declaring the Board itself to be a Gay-Straight Alliance.
The move stands in stark contrast to Catholic school boards in Ontario, which have recently come under fire for their prohibition of GSAs. The issue first started gaining broader public attention this winter, when students in the Halton Catholic District School Board wanted to start a GSA and were shut down. (The HCDSB is instead encouraging participation in what are called By Your SIDE—Safety, Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity—Spaces, which are catch-all equity clubs that do not pertain to the issue of sexual orientation specifically.) Students in Mississauga have also been making recent attempts at starting a GSA, and there seems to be province-wide momentum to continue rallying around this issue—which is viewed as particularly concerning because Catholic school boards in Ontario are provincially funded. Intentionally or not, decisions like the one yesterday by the TDSB are sure to add weight and energy to the campaign against GSA bans in those Catholic schools.