Safe Schools program about LGBTQI’s left agenda, not bullying

There’s no doubt the Safe Schools Coalition program is more about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex advocacy than addressing bullying in schools.

Victoria is where the program began and in 2006 the state’s Department of Education and Training published an anti-bullying guide, Safe Schools are Effective Schools: A Resource for Developing Safe and Supportive School Environments.

Of the 29 pages of advice detailing types of bullying, its effect on students and what strategies schools should adopt to address the issue, one page dealt with strategies for responding to homophobic bullying.

Quite rightly, the booklet states: “All students, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex students, in Victorian government schools have the right to feel safe at school and be free from bullying.”

Strategies suggested to address homophobic bullying included creating a safe and inclusive school environment where “everybody has the right to feel physically and psychologically safe”.

Fast-forward to the more recent Safe Schools Coalition program and it is obvious that there has been a quantum change. Instead of one page, we have a tsunami of material — hard copy and digital — championing “sexual diversity, intersex and gender diversity in schools”.

The declaration in the Safe Schools Do Better booklet that the LGBTQI program “is proud to create change in schools” is a masterstroke in understatement. Materials associated with the program extol the positives associated with alternative gender and sexuality lifestyles without any mention of the risks.
According to the Safe Schools material, transgender people can be “lesbian, gay bisexual, queer, straight or something else”. Welcome to the brave new world of gender diversity where biology no longer matters as one’s gender is simply a sociocultural construct.

Anyone who considers the natural order of things to involve men and women is condemned as advocating “heterosexism”, “homophobia” and “transphobia”. For a supposed anti-bullying program it is ironic that anyone expressing a preference for heterosexuality is attacked in such a way and made to feel guilty.

The bias evident in the Safe Schools Coalition program is further illustrated by its claim that the program is justified because 16 per cent of students are same-sex attracted, gender diverse, trans or intersex.

Ignored is that Gender is Not Uniform, one of the publications recommended by the Safe Schools program, states: “It is currently very difficult to know exactly how many transgender and/or diverse young people there are in Australia.”

In one of Australia’s largest random-based surveys of sexual identity, carried out by Anthony Smith and Paul Badcock from La Trobe University, more than 97 per cent of men and women aged 16 to 59 identified as heterosexual. Only 1.6 per cent of men identified as gay and 0.9 per cent as bisexual while 0.8 per cent of women described themselves as lesbian and 1.4 per cent as bisexual.

Research shows that puberty and adolescence are a time of experimentation and anxiety about gender and sexuality, but it is also clear that heterosexuality is the norm.

Although the All of Us booklet endorsed by the Safe Schools Coalition states: “Young people often realise they are lesbian, gay or bisexual between the ages of 11 and 14,” ignored is the fact the overwhelming majority of young people, when they reach adulthood, identify as being male or female.

It also needs to be understood that the cultural-left ideology underpinning the Safe Schools Coalition’s LGBTQI agenda has existed for many years. In my book Why Our Schools are Failing, I cite the example of an academic arguing in 1994 that gender stereotypes must be deconstructed and that the English classroom should be “conceptualised as a sociopolitical site where alternative reading positions can be made available to students outside the oppressive male-female dualistic hierarchy — outside the oppressive phallogocentric signifying system of making meaning”.

The Australian Education Union’s 2003 policy on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people states “homophobia and heterosexism must be included in the content of pre-service training for all teachers”. It argues “homosexuality and bisexuality need to be normalised and materials need to be developed (that) will help to combat homophobia”.

The existence of the Safe Schools Coalition program illustrates how successful the cultural-Left has been in taking the long march and forcing on schools its radical views about gender and sexuality.

Kevin Donnelly is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University. He co-chaired the 2014 review of the national curriculum.

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