Another day, another conservative politician making ignorant remarks about the LGBTI community.
Conservative Western Australian government backbencher Peter Abetz has reportedly labelled a new anti-bullying program “little more than a gay, lesbian, transgender lifestyle promotion program.”
Abetz slammed the Safe Schools program — which is aimed at educating teachers about prejudice toward LGBTI students — as a product of the ‘militant gay lesbian lobby” in a private briefing to his Liberal colleagues in WA parliament, the West Australian reports.
Today, writer Lola Jennings-Edquist sets Mr Abetz straight.
Dear Mr Abetz,
The 1950s called, and they want their opinions back.
When the Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) campaign was funded with an $8 million dollar grant to help fight bullying based on sexuality and gender, and educate Australia’s youth about LGBTI+ issues, you said some pretty darn silly stuff.
Why do I call it silly, you ask? Because, quite honestly, it was.
When you used terms like “gay, lesbian, transgender lifestyle promotion program”, and “militant gay lesbian lobby”, you’re didn’t actually convincing anyone that the SSCA was ‘really not an anti-bullying program’- all you did was convince us, the general public, that you’re a huge, out of date, bigot.
Related content: What’s that, hate-preacher? We can’t hear you!
You tried to claim that the SSCA had an ‘LGBTI’ agenda. And you are so right, they do.
Their agenda is not secret. It’s not ‘militant’; nor does it, as you so eloquently said, attempt to raise LGBTI+ students ‘to celebrity status’ or give them ‘special privileges’.
Their agenda is very plainly written on their website, and it seems incredibly reasonable:
“We are a dedicated to making schools safer and more inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people. We are creating change to ensure that every student and every teacher in every school has access to a safe and inclusive learning environment.”
That’s it. That’s their aim. Their big, bad, secretive, LGBTI agenda.
To make schools safer for students to whom it is not.
To teach other students- those you classed as normal when you referred to the rest of us as not being so- that LGBTI+ students exist too and don’t deserve bullying any more than anyone else.
When you mentioned those ‘special privileges’, Mr. Abetz, to which were you referring?
Was it the privilege of not being scared to move between classes? The privilege of being able to change for PE without someone saying- or doing- something to hurt you? The privilege of being able to hold your partner’s hand without fear?
Just last year, BeyondBlue did a study which found that 80% of LGBTI+ students experienced bullying based on their gender or sexual orientation. They are 6 times more likely to commit suicide than their ‘normal’ peers.