Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School

Beyond the Uniform

By John Dececco, Phd, Michael Maher, Mary Elizabeth Sperry

© 2001 – Routledge

182 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781560231837
pub: 2001-05-14
US Dollars$47.95
Hardback: 9781560231820
pub: 2001-05-24
US Dollars$135.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Recognize the homophobia and anti-gay violence in a respected institution!

The only study of its kind, Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School: Beyond the Uniform offers compelling evidence to Catholic educators, clergy, and laypeople that their superb academic institutions are not fulfilling the clear mandate of the Church on inclusive loving behavior toward sexual minorities. Yet the facts presented in Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School prove that too often they encourage or allow stereotyping, homophobia, and anti-gay violence.

The experiences recounted in this disturbing book range from feeling differenct and being pressured to date the opposite sex to suffering life-changing violence. Virtually all the students, even the most deeply closeted, felt the negative effects of anti-gay jokes and verbal harassment. The most tragic experience in Being Gay and Lesbian in a Catholic High School is the story of a boy who was called “Sodomy” by his classmates. In his affluent suburban Catholic high school, he was routinely mocked, tormented, and physically assaulted--all with the knowledge of the teachers and administration. Driven to several suicide attempts, he was hospitalized for depression and finally dropped out.

This powerful and moving book presents detailed information on the problem of homophobia in Catholic education, including:

  • personal testimonies of gay and lesbian former Catholic high school students
  • an original study of attitudes found among Catholic high school students on the topic of homosexuality
  • an extensive summary of official Catholic teaching on homosexuality and homosexuals
  • an analysis of the discrepancies between the prevailing attitudes and actions and the Church's official teaching
  • solid theoretical background information on the psychology of gay teenagers
  • discussions of experiences in same-sex, mixed-gender, and minor seminary high schools
  • memories of sexual relationships with classmates and priests
Thse painful tales from Catholic school alumni will disturb, enrage, and sadden you. With this poignant and insightful book, educators in public, private, and parochial shcools can explore new ways to change anti-gay attitudes and prevent anti-gay violence.

Table of Contents


  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Tom
  • Chapter 2. Familial Dis-Integration
  • Patrick
  • Becky
  • Gina
  • Reflections
  • Chapter 3. Social Dis-Integration
  • Mark
  • Sue
  • Larry
  • Reflections
  • Chapter 4. Institutional Dis-Integration
  • Patty
  • Kevin
  • Alice
  • Reflections
  • Chapter 5. Spiritual Dis-Integration
  • Emily
  • Bob
  • Allen
  • Reflections
  • Chapter 6. Identity Dis-Integration
  • Nick
  • Dan
  • Denise
  • Reflections
  • Chapter 7. Conclusion
  • Appendix A: Statements from the Catholic Magisterium
  • Statement from the United States Catholic Conference, Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning, 1991, pp. 54-56
  • Statement from the United States Catholic Conference, NCCB Committee on Marriage and Family, Always Our Children: Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, 1997
  • Statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986
  • Statement from the Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family, 1996, articles 104 and 125b
  • Statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (“Persona Humana”), 1975, article 8
  • Statement from the United States Catholic Conference, To Live in Christ Jesus: A Pastoral Reflection on the Moral Life, 1976, no. 52
  • Statement from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, Educational Guidance in Human Love: Outlines for Sex Education, 1983, articles 101-103
  • Statement from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, articles 2357-2359
  • Appendix B: Tables from Survey Studies
  • References
  • Index

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General