Suicide sparks rise of school gay clubs

7th April 2000 at 01:00

TEACHERS in British Columbia voted to support gay school clubs a week after a 14-year-old in the state jumped to his death in the Fraser River because other pupils labelled him "a fag".

His suicide note said that he had been tormented by his fellow students because he liked to spend time with girls. It also revealed that being called "a fag" was one of the main reasons why he took his own life.

"Obviously, this tragic event brought home for our union, as it did for all of British Columbia, that something has to be done," said Linda Watson, second vice-president of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation.

David Chudnovsky, the federtion's president, added: "Knowing they have allies at school will send a strong message to gay and lesbian students that they are not alone."

The clubs are likely to be modelled on the Queer-Straight

Alliance club at Pinetree secondary school in Coquitlam which, according to Brent Power, who started the club, "offers gays, lesbians and straight students a safe place to meet and make friends".

Although the decision to establish such clubs lies with each school, the minister of education, Penny Priddy said: "I support any initiative that makes all students feel safe and comfortable in their school. You can't learn if you're terrified."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today