Voice4Change

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“Straight is not the norm”: NSW education

devineMiranda Devine’s article in the Telegraph today highlights a very worrying development.

Across Australia there is a push for more anti-discrimination and “sexual diversity” education in schools: there is the Safe Schools Coalition in Victoria, Tasmania, a new Relationships and Sexuality Education plan in Tasmania and calls for similar initiatives in South Australia and West Australia.

In NSW, a $250,000 Proud Schools pilot program has been implemented in 12 government schools in Sydney and Hunter regions. It claims to target homophobia and “heterosexism”.

What is “heterosexism”?

It is defined as “the practice of positioning heterosexuality as the norm for human relationship”, according to the Proud Schools Consultation Report.

But heterosexuality is the norm for human relationships! Not only are the overwhelming majority heterosexual, heterosexuality reflects biologal reality.

Why are kids being taught that this is not true?

The experience of the principals quoted in the Proud Schools Consultation report produced by Family Planning NSW also show that the problem of homophobic bullying is misrepresented.

“There’s not a great deal of overt homophobia” says one.

“Not many cases of overt discrimination but there is name calling”, says another.

“I haven’t had any issues of homophobic violence at this school”, says another.

One principal said: “We have some openly gay male students. Some are embraced but some are bullied. If they’re popular they’re OK but if they’re not they get bullied.”

Another said: We have one obvious transsexual student who doesn’t associate well with other students. Not because of his gender but because of other family issues. He does struggle with his identity. He gets sympathy from staff but gets ignored by students.”

So popular students are OK in all circumstances, whether they are “gay” or “straight”. Being unpopular, on the other hand, is a frequent cause of bullying.

It begs the question: is sexual orientation the primary cause of bullying even in cases of same-sex attracted students? Is the huge investment in anti-homophobic bullying justified?

What can you do?

Please contact the Education minister’s office, and express your strong concerns about the program to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. Ask him:

· Why is the government spending $250,000 to teach kids that heterosexuality is not the norm?

· Why is there a special focus on homophobic bullying when kids are bullied for all sorts of reasons?

Email: office@piccoli.minister.nsw.gov.au
Phone: (02) 9228 5261
Address: Level 34 Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, SYDNEY NSW 2000

You can also contact your local MLA.

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This entry was posted on October 17, 2012 by in Government & society, Marriage & sexuality and tagged , , , .

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