‘Gayby Baby’ creators launch school toolkit to help students learn about diverse families

By Amelia Marshall

The makers of film Gayby Baby are today launching a resource they hope will help school students understand the changing face of Australian families.

Key points:

  • Tool to teach about different types of modern Australian families
  • Available free to schools, designed for years 5 to 10
  • Victorian Government welcomes new resource
  • NSW Government supportive, but will not endorse

The documentary, which follows young people who have same-sex parents, made headlines last year when it was banned from New South Wales schools by the state’s Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.

The filmmakers have launched the School Action Toolkit, which was written by education specialists and is intended to be taught under the health and physical education curriculum.

It aims to educate teachers and students about the different types of families that exist in modern Australia – from single parent households to same-sex parented families.

The toolkit has been developed for school years 5 to 10 and is available for free from the film’s website.

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Director Maya Newell said the school resources included lesson plans that helped teachers explain different types of families.

“We’re talking about generations of children that already exist,” Ms Newell said.

“Same-sex families, all different types of families are not a new thing.

The shameful banning of the film in NSW just showed how far we’ve got to go, so we’re more than happy to make sure this tool is available to our schools.

Victorian Minister for Equality Martin Foley

“And I think that we can all agree that supporting kids to feel happy and healthy and accepted and validated can only be positive.”

The film was banned in NSW schools after Burwood Girls High School in Sydney’s inner west sent parents a flyer informing them that all students would attend a screening of the film Gayby Baby during class hours.

The screening was intended to be part of Wear It Purple Day – an initiative designed to promote acceptance and tolerance of diversity.

The state’s Education Minister intervened to stop schools from showing the film during school hours and Premier Mike Baird defended the move at the time, saying the ban was not prompted by the film’s LGBTI content, but rather the use of school time to screen it.

The Victorian Government leant its support to the new resource, with the Minister for Equality Martin Foley saying LGBTI families had been excluded for far too long.

“The Victorian Government supports all our families to be represented right across society,” Mr Foley said.

“Our families come in all sorts of colours of the rainbow, we need to make sure our rainbow families are reflected in everything we do.

“Gayby Baby highlighted how far we have to go.

“The shameful banning of the film in NSW just showed how far we’ve got to go, so we’re more than happy to make sure this tool is available to our schools.”

Ms Newell said the NSW Department of Education had been supportive of their toolkit.

“We’re really excited to share with everyone that the Department of Education are really positive about this resource, they’re really excited about it, they acknowledge that it’s completely linked to the curriculum,” she said.

In a statement, the NSW Education Department said public schools determined which resources they used to support their academic, student wellbeing and other programs and the department did not endorse externally produced resources.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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