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lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
We know that 16% of young people who
identify as Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Intersex or
Queer (LGBTIQ) have attempted suicide, and
33% have harmed themselves as a result of
widespread homophobic and transphobic
harassment and violence in Australian society.
According to research, almost two-
thirds reported homophobic or transphobic
harassment or violence across different
aspects of their lives, including in schools,
families, the workplace, the streets and other
public places such as the sporting field.
We also know that homophobia and/or
transphobia has a serious impact on many
young people’s educational experiences, with
some changing schools multiple times and
others dropping out of school altogether. Young
people frequently witness other students who
‘come out’ at school being bullied, and this
results in many students keeping their sexual
diversity or transgender status a secret, which
has ongoing implications for their mental
health and wellbeing.
Before the Safe Schools program, sexuality
education in schools did not respond to the
needs or experiences of young LGBTIQ people,
which exposed them to a range of social and
The program is not just targeted at young
LGBTIQ people, however. Safe Schools
works with the entire school to build a safe
community where diversity is valued, the risk
from all types of harm is minimised, and every
member of the community feels respected,
included and supported.
Resources like All Of Us were actively
developed to impact attitudes towards LGBTIQ
people and to encourage change that affirms
the right of all students, staff and families to
feel safe at school.
It seems that this is the part of Safe
Schools that really terrifies those behind the
repetitious rants against the program. They
argue that encouraging students to adopt
accepting attitudes towards their LGBTIQ
classmates is part of a controversial cultural-
left agenda that the broader community has
not yet adopted.
We beg to differ.
The values of tolerance and respect for
diversity are accepted by most Australians,
and have long been taught in NSW schools.
Encouraging students to explore perspectives
that differ from their own in an effort to foster
empathy and open-mindedness is an essential
part of social learning.
LGBTIQ students, like all students, have a
right to be treated with dignity and respect at
school. It is entirely appropriate that educators
instil values that reflect the rights and
responsibilities of students at school and seek
to ensure that the classroom is a welcoming
place for every student.
The conservative scare campaign is ignoring
the reality that the Safe Schools Coalition
simply advocates that schools should be safe
and inclusive spaces for same sex attracted,
intersex and gender diverse students, staff
and families, and is taking positive steps
to help schools to achieve that. That work,
underpinned by a shared belief that all people
have a right to be safe, happy and healthy,
and to be treated with dignity and respect, is
surely a ‘homosexual cause’ that all of us can
You can support this program by
donating to the NSWGLRL and
encouraging your local school
to join Safe Schools. Our young
people deserve it.
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