Safe Schools Coalition

*If you don’t agree with my views, don’t bother telling me. There isn’t a point in starting an online fight. These are my views alone*

In Australia, we like to think that we live in a relaxed, progressive and safe environment. Yes, this is true. We do. I live in a wonderful neighbourhood, I live in a great country. I live amongst some of the loveliest people in the world.

But we are so backward in some ways.

The Safe Schools Coalition was founded in Victoria, and since 2010, has been actively advocating and providing resources and programs as well as support structures through tax payer funded schemes to help create a strong and supportive, but primarily safe environment for same sex, intersex and gender diverse students in Australian schools.

Not only does the coalition aim to create a more supportive environment for LGBTQ students, but it also aims to raise awareness about gender and sexual diversity, to eliminate stigmas and stereotypes, and build a more formidable voice around the rights of the LGBTQ community in Australia, starting with  students, teachers and principals.

So I ask you, the community. What’s wrong with such an organisation?

Here in Australia, we have institutions, organisations and schemes, all tax payer funded, to limit bullying and racism against “non white” students. We have schemes to help students dealing with mental, emotional, physical and psychological disabilities to create a more safe, supportive and helpful environment so they can get through school on a level playing field. And why do we do this? Because we know that suicide rates amongst teenagers battling disabilities is 6 times higher then with students who aren’t dealing with such challenges. And we want to help them develop themselves into the successful men and women we know they are.

So why can’t we have the same mentality when it comes to giving support to the LGBTQ community?

According to our Liberal Party, and primarily the backbenchers of the Liberal Party, the Safe Schools Coalition raises issues of sexual orientation and identity that are inappropriate for teenage minds. And to this, let me be crude here and say, that what we learn in year 10 in physical health and education is a lot more explicit. We learn about sex. The ways of having safe sex. If these backbenchers consider giving students of all sexual orientations exposure to the fact that there is nothing wrong with having a different preference in partner, then how come we can learn about what happens when two people engage in sexual intercourse without that being red flagged as inappropriate?

Apparently this scheme bullies “straight” kids into this radical way of thinking.

Let me clear that up for all of you. I’m straight. I went to North Sydney Girls High School, a supporter of the Safe Schools Coalition. And to this day, my support of the LGBTQ community has been all my own thinking. I believe in equality for everyone. I wasn’t radicalised. I just believe in equality. Whether it be racial, sexual or gender equality. I am living proof that there was no radicalisation through this program. There was no brain washing. And there were no inappropriate messages being slewed to the girls at NSG through this program.

There is nothing remotely ideological or radical about this program. This program is no different to the programs aimed at helping students dealing with disabilities or with issues of racism. We’re just swapping the issue and all of a sudden, a massive shit storm blows up.

I am horrified at the fact that such vile homophobia exists in Australia. And I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who may be struggling with issues of sexual identity to feel as if a safe house program that enabled them to feel supported and safe in a school environment is going to be torn down by some ill-informed elitist arses who govern our country.

The Safe Schools Coalition isn’t a product of social engineering, made to brainwash us. That’s bloody ridiculous if you think that way.

The government needs to really think about the short and long term social and psychological effects of these actions on the youth. Because one day we’re going to be leading the nation and shutting down support systems isn’t the way you go about doing things. 

Let me tell you what social engineering in this situation is. Social engineering is when people in positions of power, such as our politicians make it seem like youth who are part of the LGBTQ community have something wrong with them. 

I’m disgusted to be a part of Australian society right now.

And frankly, I think our elitist government is afraid of breaking stereotype and stigma because that isn’t “normal” is it.

We live in the 21st century. Open your eyes and see that there is nothing wrong with someone who is part of the LGBTQ community. And by oppressing them and making them feel unsafe by choice, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.

xx Simran

 

5 comments

  1. SafeSchoolsSavesLives · September 28

    Hi Simran,

    What a great opinion piece. I am currently taking part in a campaign to raise awareness and support for the Safe Schools Coalition, because I agree with you when you say that the program is NOT a product of social engineering, made to brainwash Australian students, it is in fact an education program that sets out to teach ALL students that heterosexuality is not the only excepted sexual orientation within society. It is a vital program that seeks equality and safety for students in all Australian schools. I think it is vital people recognise that LGBTIQ people are amongst the most vulnerable members of schools and that is why this program so important. It is great to hear from a past students perspective of the positive impact it had on Sydney Girl’s High School.

    Take a look at my blog if you get the chance.

    Madeleine @ Safe Schools Saves Lives

    • __simran_ · September 28

      Your campaign and initiative sounds incredible! I think it’s up to former students from schools who do run the safe schools coalition program to get their voices out and share their experiences.

      I know for a fact that while I was a student at North Sydney Girls High School, there was never any pressure or inclination to think a certain way. We were encouraged to learn about social issues and create our own opinions. As a heterosexual student, I never felt like I had to think or act in a certain way. My support for the LGBTIQ community and for my friends and peers who are part of the LGBTIQ community was all my doing and thinking. For me, it was as simple as knowing that people should not be discriminated or oppressed or made to feel vulnerable because society doesn’t accept something. It isn’t right, and I know that I will continually support and garner faith in organisations that campaign to make the lives of our most vulnerable better.

      It’s so wonderful to hear about your campaign! Thank you

      • SafeSchoolsSavesLives · October 8

        Is it okay if I publish this on my website? I’d love to share your opinion (as a student who has been a part of the Safe Schools campaign).

        Thanks!!

      • __simran_ · October 8

        While I’m honoured that you would like to publish my post on your website, I would prefer if this post stays on my blog for the mean while. Sorry 😦

      • SafeSchoolsSavesLives · October 8

        Okay thanks anyway. I would keep it anonymous and just refer to the comment as ‘an ex student’. I just wanted to make a post from an ex-student to give some credibility to the campaign. It’s okay if not, I totally understand.

        Thanks Simran.

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