1 min

Youth Line donations up after Catholic school derails fundraiser

Columnists encourage giving after school blocks donation

Leanne Iskander and Taechun Menns setting up rainbow cupcakes at St Joe's Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. The students were banned from donating the $200 they raised from the cupcake sale to LGBT Youth Line. Credit: Meagan Smith of St Joe's

Administrators at the LGBT Youth Line say there has been a spike in donations this week after various national newspaper columnists called on readers to donate to the organization. The move was to protest the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board’s decision to ban a student group from raising money for the Youth Line at an anti-homophobia event. The board also barred the students from displaying rainbows.

“There has been a bit of an increase in our one-time donations,” says Youth Line fundraising coordinator Brandon Sawh. “It definitely could be from the interest in the media.”

Xtra reporter Andrea Houston broke the story of the donation and rainbow ban on June 7, sparking international headlines.

Tabitha Southey satirized the board’s decision to ban rainbows in her June 10 column in The Globe and Mail.

“I imagine that in the revised Catholic school board-approved version of the story, Noah won’t see a rainbow. Noah will still get his dove, of course. He’ll see a white dove, with a green branch in his beak, and as a result of seeing this inoffensive (almost monochromatic) sign, he’ll understand that there’s dry land again. But after that, Noah will just stand on the deck of his ark, staring at the sky, waiting for a rainbow to appear, which it won’t,” she wrote. 

The National Post’s Chris Selley went a step further when he mentioned the ban in his June 13 Full Pundit column.

“Two things about this: one, we’ve donated $100 to the LGBT Youth Line and suggest you do the same — both in hopes of more-than-offsetting any damage done by these purported adults and in support of the principle that you should be able to donate money you raise to whoever the bloody hell you want. Two, enough with the publicly funded Catholic schools, Ontario. It’s 2011,” Selley wrote.

The Globe and Mail’s European bureau chief Doug Saunders joined the call when he tweeted to his more than 7,000 followers, “Selley and Southey are right: let’s all donate to the LGBT Youth Line to offset the idiotic school board’s ban.” The message was retweeted 20 times.

LGBT Youth Line is a toll-free, confidential, provincewide phone service that gives queer youth support and information.