Thursday, 25 February 2016

Safe School Initiative

The safe school initiative, a measure to reduce bullying and discrimination of LGBT youth within schools in Australia is being argued against and condemned by right wing back-benchers because it, "Usurps the role of parents on sexual matters".

This argument is trying to undermine a social good by inferring a highly emotive angle - that supplying a child with accurate information about the variations of sexual identity will, in some way, influence that child's sexual identity or instil in them an understanding their parents don't wish them to have, or don't wish them to have so early in life.

This is tacit approval to discriminate. It infers discussion, understanding, or even awareness of LGBT issues is not consistent with proper parenting or not appropriate for discussion outside the home. It argues that raising good, empathetic citizens is the sole responsibility of the parent and not part of the education system. It argues that if parents wish or allow their child to grow up to hold socially unacceptable views, we should all turn a blind eye and allow the individual parent's will to prevail.

The opposition to this 8 million dollar initiative and the arguments being used to undermine it are in no way appropriate. If we allow this attitude in our politicians then there is a clear message being sent to the schoolyard bully that the most vulnerable, easily identified and most at risk young people are not worthy of public discussion, let alone protection.

If bullying exists to the level the statistics report, then 'Ostrich parenting' is partially to blame, but 'Ostrich' politicians shouldn't be tolerated.

Obfuscating arguments about initiatives to improve school children's lives place the people making those arguments right beside the grade school bullies.


From the Guardian: 

Labor’s trade spokeswoman, Penny Wong, said the program had bipartisan support in the past.

“It’s designed to address the terrifying statistics. I’d invite you to look at what Beyond Blue has said about young LGTBI people. The number that have experienced abuse and the terrifyingly high numbers who have attempted suicide or self-harm,” she told ABC TV. “We all want our children to be safe. I hope the more sensible people in the Liberal party will continue to focus on that very important objective.”

In parliament on Tuesday Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie called on the government to “condemn and defund” the program which he said was “usurping the role of parents” by taking over the role of educator on sexual matters.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Mormons at my Door.

Nothing gives me quite so much of a thrill as when I open my door to Mormons; so crisp and young and full of hope.

     “Could we talk to you about Jesus Christ?” they ask.
     “My goodness yes, you could,” I say. “Can my boyfriend join us, he’s Buddhist, will that be a problem?”

In days gone by that would be enough to send your average Mormon scurrying out my front gate, but your modern Mormon is more resilient. So, before their well pressed uniforms get comfortable on my couch I bring in a second wave.

     “You know, Jesus was a hipster: long beard, sandals, into all those causes. Always trying to be the centre of attention – Hey, look at me, I’m so much better than you because I’m trying to change the world. I think if he was alive today he’d probably be one of those Youtubers.”

At this point the Mormon boys begin to show concern. They’re obviously on a schedule for this neighbourhood and my opening gambit has alerted them I may go over my allotted time.

That’s when my boyfriend arrives and I turn to him in all seriousness and say, “Look what was just delivered to our door. I thought I’d wait and give you first choice.”

     “Make sure you shut the gate on your way out,” I call, as the Mormon boys scramble over each other trying to be first out the door.