Safe Schools is Important and Necessary
Safe Schools Coalition Australia is a network of schools and organisations working together to create a safer environment for children and teens at school. It has been in QLD since semester 2 2015, so nearly a full year. It is based on a Victorian program that dates back to 2010. It is not compulsory for schools to use these resources, it is up to the principal (and I imagine that's influenced by other teachers and their school environment).
These resources encourage such 'radical' things as:
*accepting that there are more than two genders
*accepting that there are many different forms of gender expression
*discouraging bullying people for their sexuality or gender
This sounds amazing, right? As a bisexual genderqueer adult, I can only imagine the effect that this would have had on me when I was younger and now. Maybe I wouldn't have dealt with so much internalised biphobia. Maybe those around me wouldn't be as biphobic. Maybe it wouldn't be so scary for me to tell people that my pronouns are they/them, due to fundamental misunderstandings about gender and sex that people hold. I really hope that all schools use these resources to not only create a better school environment for children, but also to create a better society as those children become adults.
Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) the Australian Christian Lobby has taken one look at this amazing anti-bullying campaign and hated it instantly, seemingly thinking that it was going to 'make' people change their gender or sexuality. You cannot make people change their sexuality or their gender, you can only make it a safe environment for them to feel happy being who they are. I really do not see how encouraging a safe environment, reducing bullying, depression and suicide is a bad thing. However, they have been so moved in the QLD arena that they have started a petition to block it.
However, there is also a petition in support of Safe Schools. If you live in QLD, I encourage you to sign here in support of this amazing program. I've already signed it and I'll be writing to my local member of parliament, Jane Prentice (although she's voted against marriage equality, so I don't see her supporting LGBTIQAP+ youth). I'll also be writing letters to my primary school and highschool to say that I support their use of Safe Schools. I encourage you to talk to people about this program, as people are literally dying due to hatred in Australia.
[cw: suicide, depression, abuse, sexual abuse, self harm]
These statistics have all been taken from a report by Beyond Blue:
Suicide and Self-Harm:
Would Safe Schools have helped you, or someone you know?
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