‘The Australian’ Hadn’t Published Something Homophobic In A While So They Fixed That For You Today
You know what they say, it’s not Wednesday unless The Australian is crudely degrading an entire class of people. In today’s edition of Which Marginalised Group Can We Offend The Most, the Oz editors decided yet again to ditch 21st-century reporting and ran an article about schools adopting a new anti-homophobia and sexual diversity awareness campaign under the colourful headline ‘Activists Push Taxpayer-Funded Gay Manual In Schools‘.
The “taxpayer-funded program written by gay activists” the piece is referring to is the ‘All of Us’ teaching manual — which has won support from the Australian Secondary Principals Association, Beyond Blue, Headspace and the Australian Education Union — written by the Safe Schools Coalition, a government-backed coalition of organisations and schools striving to create safe and inclusive environments for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students. So, sure, “gay activists” might sound reductive and provocative, but that’s just because you’re impure and probably the devil.
But contrary to what the article is suggesting, the manual isn’t designed to mould an entire generation of youths into an army of flaming homosexual transgender soldiers. Where the article didn’t use carefully chosen, homophobic-pandering terms, the manual’s mission is actually spelt out quite accurately. “The All of Us teaching manual, designed for Years 7 and 8, says that children often realise they are lesbian, gay or bisexual between the ages of 11 and 14, while the average age for ‘coming out’ is 16,” it said.
It then went on to quote one of the manual’s suggested exercises: “A lesson plan on ‘bisexual experiences’ requires students to imagine they live in a world ‘where having teeth is considered really unpleasant’. Students take turns telling a classmate about their weekend, without showing their teeth. ‘How did it feel to have to hide part of yourself?’ the students are asked. ‘Do you think that some lesbian, gay or bisexual young people feel that they need to hide part of themselves? How might this make them feel?’
“Children are shown short films about the personal stories of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.”
But directly after including a brief glimpse of modern science and logic via a La Trobe University study, which found that 75 percent of 3000 same-sex-attracted young people had experienced some form of homophobic bullying or abuse — with 80 percent of those occurring at school — the article sharply nosedived into the Middle Ages by giving Australian Christian Lobby spokeswoman Wendy Francis a platform.
Francis believes teaching kids about tolerance and different sexual and gender identities is “a form of cultural bullying”. Which is a very strange way of saying, “I think teaching empathy to children is wrong, and I’m threatened by social progress because my backwards ideologies are all I have.” There’s also a particularly distinct lack of self-awareness in ignoring the fact that telling children they’ll burn in hell for all of eternity if they weren’t born a cis-gendered straight kid is quite possibly the definition of cultural bullying.
She went on to claim that the ‘All of Us’ program pressures students into accepting LGBTI concepts and “confuses them about their own identity’’, but admitted that homophobic bullying “absolutely has to be stopped’’. Which, okay.
The good news is, Christian lobbyists don’t have the same sort of influence over Australian institutions that they used to, and despite the predicted uproar the article will cause among neoconservative Oz readers, the program has been — and probably will continue to be — embraced by schools. Nationally, 490 primary and high schools have signed up to the Safe Schools network so far, and the Victorian government will require all state schools to join by 2018.
Just don’t read the article’s comment thread. I guarantee it’ll ruin your day.
Feature image via the Safe Schools Coalition.