TORONTO - Voices from the city's gay community are calling for an all-gay high school, and the Toronto District School Board is reportedly listening.
A community forum to discuss putting forward a proposal to the TDSB to establish the city's first and only gaycentric secondary school will be held Wednesday night at a community centre.
It was organized by 20-year-old Fan Wu -- a former TDSB student trustee -- who had the assistance of Javier Davila, of the TDSB's Gender-Based Violence Prevention Office, according to the gay and lesbian news site, Xtra.
Wu, now a student at the University of Toronto, is "working with the TDSB to spearhead the project," he said, and Davila is working to gain the support of board members, according to the story by reporter Andrea Houston.
Such a school would include Grades 9 through 12 and encourage gay students and teachers to be open with their sexual orientation.
"There is a real lack of education and a need for a school that encourages critical thinking, especially in areas of gender and sexual diversity," Wu told Xtra. He added when he was a student in high school, "gay teachers ... made a point of not coming out to their students" for fear of "parental backlash."
Wu graduated high school in 2010.
TDSB spokesman Shari Schwartz-Maltz denied Davila, a student equity program adviser with the school board, was involved in the planning of Wednesday's forum, but did confirm that Davila's office knows about the meeting.
She said the TDSB would "consider the proposal like we would consider other proposals for alternative schools," such as it did for its two current Africentric alternative schools -- which some criticized as being segregationist.
"This is definitely a stage our alternative schools have gone through before," Schwartz-Maltz said, adding that a proposal would have to meet TDSB requirements and guidelines around things such as level of interest in the community. "I guess they have to see how many people come (to the forum), or how much interest there is."
Schwartz-Maltz insisted the TDSB was "not involved" with Wednesday's forum, and that any TDSB officials who attend the meeting "are not going as (TDSB) officials ... They would be going in an individual capacity."
Neither Wu nor Davila could be reached by QMI Agency for comment.