What’s This About Minorities Taking Over?

Content Warning: homophobic bullying, Orlando Pulse Massacre

Last night, I watched Paul Murray Live on Sky News (I’m really loving that show at the moment). He was in Tweed Heads on the New South Wales/ Queensland border with Senators, David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats), Pauline Hanson, (One Nation) and Kiralee Smith (Australian Liberty Alliance), plus others.

I’ve got to say, that all candidates answered very well. All made good points throughout the night. The last question by a young transwoman really stuck out to me. She was asking about Safe – Schools; the controversial anti – bullying program that was aimed at assisting LGBTQ+ students. For the record, looking deeper into the program, I think it went too far. It should have stuck with supporting the LGBTQ+ students, combated bullying in general and gave information to teachers in how to support students in the LGBTQ+ community. However, “gender theory” was used in the program, not to combat bullying, but to fulfil a radical socialist agenda of Director, Roz Ward. The video below will tell you what I mean.

(Post continues after the video).

What I didn’t expect was that, in answering the question, Pauline Hanson went on a mini rant on how society is overrun by “minorities”.

I really get annoyed with these sentiments. While I don’t agree that the Safe Schools Program went the right way in combating homophobic and trans-phobic bullying, I resent the way minorities, especially the LGBTQ+ community, are constantly shouted down any time they bring up issues of discrimination and safety at schools.

I, for one don’t want to dictate anything to anybody. I’m not trying to shout anyone down and I certainly don’t condone any abuse of anyone who is against same – sex marriage for example. but when can we – members of the LGBTQ+ community, have our say? When can we point out our own experiences of self loathing, or discrimination, without everyone fighting tooth and nail to keep us quiet?

 

The Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre in Florida around fortnight ago was a tipping point for the LGBTQ+ community). Writer after writer have opened up about struggles – both personal and societal –  faced by the LGBTQ+ community. No matter how many politicians or journalists tried to downplay the attack or revert to other issues, members of the LGBTQ+ community were still insistent. This was only the latest (and deadliest), of a string of violent and abusive incidents that LGBTQ+ people have faced in the West. It is the deadliest of a string of acts of discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the West (at least that’s how most see it). No, this wasn’t just a terrorist attack like September 11, 2001. This was a specifically targeted attack aimed at the Hispanic LGBTQ+ community. They were the targets and victims that fateful early morning. While exact motive of the gunman is still unclear, (I’ve read and heard different theories), it has put a spotlight on LGBTQ+ discrimination.

 

So, yes, Pauline Hanson, we may just be a “minority”. We just want to be safe. We want to be heard. We don’t want to be targeted for hate speech or violence. And we will continue to speak up until violence, discrimination and abuse is not longer a daily reality for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Some People Aren’t Straight, Get Over It!

Earlier this week, Catholic school. St. Francis Xavier College, in Berwick, Melbourne, made headlines when it was alleged that the Principal set up an assembly and demanded the children in Years Eight and Nine tear out pages of a health text book that dealt with losing your virginity, how to negotiate sex, same – sex relationships and sexual orientation. The Principal, Vincent Feeney, originally argued that the discussion about sexual relationships and sexual orientation should be discussed in Religion classes, not Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. He later admitted that the move was heavy – handed.

Earlier in the year, everyone (in Australia at least), would’ve heard about the controversy about Safe Schools, a program that talked about tackling homophobia and transphobia in schools. I do think they went too far, especially the program aimed at pre – school aged children. There have also been criticisms and concerns from experts about the accuracy of the information being presented; the number of people who are LGBT+ and the video case studies. I get all that.

 

Here’s the thing. Sex ed has been around years. We had it when I went to school from Years Seven to Ten. Anyone remember the “putting a condom on banana”? Yeah, I do. Relationships were talked about, especially in Year 10 (I remember that vividly), and… no one complained. Not to my knowledge anyway.

So what’s everyone up in arms about now?

Short answer: LGBTQ+ people are starting to be discussed. The gay/ straight dichotomy is finally busted. Now bisexuals, asexuals, etc are starting to be discussed. Frankly, a part of me wishes I was in school now! I thin it’s great; providing the information is accurate and age appropriate, that the LGBT+ community in all it’s forms is starting to become visible. My hope that one day, we’d hear about students being aware of asexuality is coming true.

Here’s the thing. Like I’ve said, I think some of the criticisms aimed at programs like Safe Schools are called for. There were inaccuracies and from what I’ve read, it lacked support for students who experience same – sex relationships/ encounters early in life, but end up identifying as straight. That aside, I can’t help but think that the reason why people are so up in arms is because heteronormativity is no longer pretended to be everyone’s orientation. It’s bringing the LGBTQ+ out of the closet, so to speak and people don’t like it. Yet, for a small amount of people, it’s reality. Why can’t it be discussed in schools? Why can’t LGBTQ+ students feel included? It’s reality. Only for a small amount of people, but still, it’s there.

 

Some people aren’t straight, get over it!

Safe Schools Is… Well… Safe

The review has happened and, the Safe Schools Program is safe, despite fierce opposition from the Right of the Liberal Party. The reviewers from University of Western Australia Emeritus’ Professor Bill Louden, has found that, while the program needs modifications, the Safe Schools as a whole should not be scrapped or de funded.

I get changes were needed. When I looked at various websites to see the what was in it and what everyone was getting worked up about, I didn’t agree with everything that was in it, but overall, I thought it was good.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, teachers, Guidance Counsellors and other staff NEED correct information on ways to support LGBTQ+ students. One of the reasons why I was (and am) a supporter of this is because the program goes beyond the gay/ straight dichotomy. I think it’ll be a useful resource for teachers and other staff who’s students don’t identify as cis – gender, something that was barely talked about when I was at school.

Let me back – pedal just a bit and talk about the high school I went to. It was a great school. The staff were great. I had great support throughout all my trials and tribulations. But sex – education, in particular was very black and white. There was no real discussion about questioning sexuality. There was only two mentions of asexuality… both misconceptions. This is NOT damning the school! I want to make that perfectly clear. It just shows that back between 2005 and 2007 for me, it was very black and white, and, while very, very supportive, none of the KNEW about asexuality and some had a very “well, if your not gay (or haven’t worked it out by 15), then you must be straight” mentality. I’m not begrudging that, I want to make that clear again. I just think that with this resource, the teachers and even Guidance Counsellors may not be so out of their depth when trying to assist someone who is questioning their sexuality or doesn’t identify as gay or straight by the time their fifteen.

 

Another thing that wasn’t talked about was the different types of attraction and how romantic attraction doesn’t always go hand – in – hand with sexual orientation. It would’ve explained a lot. If teachers through professional development can learn that sexual orientation and romantic orientation are not always linked and that there are other forms of attraction, then I think it’ll help them help the students, particularly those who are confused with their sexuality.

I’m glad it’s staying, I really am. People need to know that people are different and that not everyone fits a neat box. Students need to know that they will be supported, without question, by teachers and other staff (most would, I’m sure, I’m not trying tu suggest they won’t). A little reassurance and access to information will go a long way for staff who support students and I truly think it’ll give reassurance to a lot of students themselves.