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Canadian high school student campaigns for gay rights

Driving along the wide highway streets of Mississauga towards St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School, you’ll pass a gas station, a Mercedes-Benz dealership and a handful of barren shopping plazas. The suburb of Mississauga, about a 45-minute drive from the economic center of Canada in Toronto, isn’t the most exciting place for a teenager. Seventeen-year-old Leanne Iskander says there’s not much to do there aside from going to the mall. She doesn’t do that often either. She’s looking forward to the end of the school year, when she can escape to Toronto for university, where she hopes to study history or political science.

For now, Leanne is stuck at St. Joe’s, battling her school principal and the Catholic school board for a Gay Straight Alliance club. At age 11, Leanne began thinking she wasn’t straight. Now she calls herself “gender queer.” Leanne explains that she doesn’t conform to either male or female gender norms. When she proposed initiating a Gay Straight Alliance club a year ago, she thought the principal would allow it. Instead, it raised a debate that went all the way to the Catholic school board and the Premier of Ontario. Now, gay Catholic students across the province are asking Leanne for advice in starting their own Gay Straight Alliance clubs.

Listen to the report by Carmelle Wolfson:

Canadian high school student campaigns for gay rights

Leanne Eskander

Leanne is looking forward to university

Leanne Eskander's bag

Leanne is bold with her opinions

Date

Tuesday 06.03.2012 | 13:27

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