Bronwyn Lawrie, Youth Speak News

Anti-bullying clubs should recognize the dignity of all

By  Bronwyn Lawrie, Youth Speak News
  • June 6, 2012

There’s plenty of well-reasoned discourse on all sides of the current debate around Ontario’s new anti-bullying legislation — but something’s missing. The voices that I have not heard in the debate are those of teens and youths dealing with same-sex attraction who want to live in conformity with God and His Church.

I can’t speak for anyone except myself — but as a person who was bullied, and a person who has dealt with same-sex attraction, I think I can offer a few thoughts. I returned to the Church last fall, after 13 years away. In addition to excellent pastoral support, a welcoming parish community and, of course, God’s grace, one of the biggest reasons I stayed in the Church after my return was the Church’s teaching on sexuality.

That might sound a bit strange considering I was the director of my campus’s LGBTTQ Pride collective at the time. But rather than defining me solely by gender, or who I was attracted to, or whether I preferred fixing cars to tatting lace, I found that the Church defined me by one overarching principle: I am a child of God, created in His own image and likeness, and loved infinitely by Him. By counter-culturally distinguishing between sexual desire and sexual act, between act and identity, the Church refused to let me reduce my identity to a simplistic summation of sexuality.

It is for this reason that most Church documents (including the “Respecting Difference” report) use the term “persons with same-sex attraction” in instances where other groups would use gay, queer or homosexual. It affirms that although desire may be a part of my identity, and although my actions shape my character and my path towards or away from God, I am infinitely more than my actions and feelings.

As I returned to the Church, walking into the Pride office began to feel like a form of reductionism — an implicit assent to the idea that the most important aspects of my personhood were my sexuality and my gender. The Catholic chaplaincy gradually became a refuge for me — a place where I could shed the political labels of being “gay” or “trans” or “queer.” Instead, I could simply be human.

I eventually resigned as co-ordinator, left the Pride collective and started looking for other Christians who’d embarked on similar walks towards God. Still, I fall all too often and need His mercy to pick me back up. But I know that God loves me and all those who have dealt with same-sex attraction without equivocation and without compromise.

This is why, as a Catholic, I cannot in good conscience support a club name that would reduce students’ identities to a simplistic definition of who they may or may not want to sleep with.  All schools — Catholic and secular — undoubtedly need better anti-bullying measures and support groups for all students. Taking a stand against bullying can only start with clubs (and names) that recognize the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings. 

This is not homophobia. This is not hatred. This is an attempt, as best I know, to love.

(Lawrie, 20, is a creative writing major at the University of Victoria.)

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.