At Saturday’s rally, high school GSA founders took their message of support and solidarity to Queen’s Park:
“I want to say to the religious right: ‘You’re not right. You’re the religious wrong.’”
This declaration, made by human rights lawyer and Salaam Canada co-founder El-Farouk Khaki to the crowd of more than 150 that descended onto Queen’s Park for Saturday’s rally in support of the Liberals’ tabled anti-bullying bill, was met with rousing applause. Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, would guarantee students the right to form Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) across the province. The rally, dubbed “GSA? OK!—An Ontario GSA Coalition Rally,” was held in this spirit.
While representatives of the labour movement, human rights initiatives, religious organizations, and the political sphere were all present to voice their support for the legislation that would protect GSAs in Ontario’s schools, the speakers whose message resonated the loudest were three high school students who shared their experiences of forming GSAs in Toronto-area high schools.