I am very intrigued by this story in today’s edition of The Age: School the most dangerous place for young gays.
I wonder how such situations are handled in our Catholic schools?
First, let me say a couple of things:
1) I abhore violence, persecution and victimisation toward anyone, including those who self-identify as homosexuals. Paragraph 2358 of the Catechism says: “[M]en and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies…do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
2) I affirm with the Church (always thinking with the Church on this blog!) that (in the words of the Catechism again in the prior paragraph): “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity [cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; I Tim 1:10], tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”141 [CDF, Persona humana 8]. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
3) I am surprised that a boy in Year 6 (aged 11 or 12) could already be so sexually aware and mature as to be able to identify himself as “gay”.
4) I myself received distressing victimisation and name calling in later primary school and early secondary school in a country school, being called a “poof” simply because I acted differently from most of the other country boys my age with reference to matters of taste and culture. (I did not, at any stage, however, self-identify as “gay” – I would not have imagined such a thing).
So, given all that, how would the situation of this young man be handled in a Catholic School today? What would be the appropriate pastoral response?