lgbt youthline

A Toronto school board removed an LGBT helpline from its resources

An LGBT helpline website, YouthLine, has been removed from a list of resources on the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) site.

YouthLine has a 25-year history of providing peer support and leadership opportunities for youth, 29 years old and younger, across Ontario.

The organization received an email on Jan. 8 informing them that they had "inappropriate material" on their site, and therefore the board had to take the YouthLine link off of the TCDSB resources website, according to a press release from YouthLine.

The email included reference to an article by Joe Volpe, titled "TCDSB website hosts Pornographic site defended by trustees."

"There is a long history accusing 2SLGBTQ+ people of pedophilia and of 'corrupting' children and youth and the article explicitly uses these arguments against us. This rhetoric is harmful, unacceptable, and is overt homophobia and transphobia," the press release continues.

"Volpe wrote this article to clearly de-legitimize YouthLine's work, including attacking the ways that we support Indigenous and Black youth."

The Volpe article was posted on Jan. 8 and the YouthLine link was removed from the TCDSB site within hours.

"What's extremely concerning is that the TCDSB felt it appropriate to remove our much-needed service from their resources based on an article that is homophobic, transphobic, and racist," the release continues.

In a statement, the TCDSB said they "recognize and appreciate the peer support services YouthLine provides to 2SLGBTQ+ youth 29 and under."

"Our Board bears a responsibility to students and their families to ensure students receive age-appropriate content and resources," the statement continued.

Now, YouthLine is demanding that the TCDSB:

  • Immediately re-instate LGBT YouthLine in their resources for youth;
  • Have YouthLine posters and information available at each school, similar to hundreds of schools across Ontario; and
  • Issue a statement taking accountability for the harm they have caused by removing YouthLine due to an inflammatory and hateful article.

Meanwhile, the TCDSB said they will work with YouthLine to understand their content strategies "to determine how we can best serve the needs of the TCDSB’s 2SLGBTQ+ youth while maintaining our commitments to age-appropriate learning and online safety."

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