The NSW government has stepped in to ban schools from screening Gayby Baby during school hours. The documentary about same-sex parenting was due to be shown in dozens of schools around Australia on Friday this week, as part of Wear It Purple Day. But now, that won’t be allowed to happen in NSW.
It’s a decision that hurts families with same-sex parents. It hurts the ones going through school now, and it hurts the ones who’ve already gone through school and suffered harassment from other kids.
Ellie Sibbald grew up with two women as parents and couldn’t have imagined anyone doing a better job of bringing her up. But she wishes Gayby Baby had been shown at her primary school.
“I never for one second questioned that my parents loved and adored me,” Sibbald says. “My mum would drop everything to help me with a school assignment I had due the next day even if it meant that she was unable to study for her own exams. I still remember the joy of coming home and finding Mum had redecorated my bedroom like my favourite movie of the time, Starstruck, with an inflatable swimming pool and pink fake flokati rug.”
"I knew that they had my back no matter what, that they would love and care for me no matter what. I never questioned having two women as my parents because I never had any reason to - I cannot imagine any other parents in the world who could have been better, or loved me more."
"The only time I had issues was when stupid morons at primary school who had picked up on homophobic ideas from their parents would tease me. Primary school was not a happy time for me and I spent a considerable amount of time in the principal's office - not for being in trouble. The office staff were always lovely to me and would let me stay and help rather than face the battleground outside."
"Showing a movie like Gayby Baby would have gone a long way towards making me feel 'normal' and maybe help the other kids to see things from my point of view. I would also say that if exposure to a documentary about kids being raised by gay parents 'makes you gay' you were probably already gay to start with!"
Burwood Girls High School was one of the NSW schools that was going to screen Gayby Baby. It was their school's screening that sparked a front-page report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper and the government ban. The school's prefects have issued a statement, saying they're "disappointed" by media coverage of their planned documentary screening.
WATCH the trailer for Gayby Baby. Post continues after the video...
"As Burwood Girls, we pride ourselves on our support of diversity - in whatever form it takes," their statement says.
"When it is considered that the LGBTIQ community has the highest rates of suicide of any population in Australia and experience significantly higher rates of mental health issues, we consider our support to be just one small step in creating better understanding in the community."
Apparently, the NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, believes that, "schools are not places for political issues to be aired”.
Really? So it's a "political issue" to promote tolerance and acceptance? It's a "political issue" to suggest that families headed by same-sex parents are families, like any other families? Personally, I would have thought it had something to do with basic human rights.
If schools believe promoting tolerance and acceptance is important, and they choose to show a movie like this in school hours, they should be applauded, not slapped with a heavy-handed ban.
Conservatives love to say, "Will someone please think of the children?" Well, in this case, they really should be thinking of the children. The children of same-sex parents who are like everyone else and just want to be treated like everyone else.
Is that really such a scary idea?