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Andrew Barr to bring more gay education to Canberra’s schools

By johnboy 21 January 2011 36

Andrew Barr Twitter Feed

The Sydney Morning Herald has a story on a new program being rolled out in NSW schools to “encourage gay role models and open discussion of homosexuality in schools” called “Proud Schools”

The Canberra angle is that the Education Minister Andrew Barr has just tweeted that he’s hoping to bring the program to the ACT’s schools.

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Andrew Barr to bring more gay education to Canberra’s schools
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shadow boxer said :

I watched with some interest as a male friend of my year 11 daughter came out last year.

this being the modern times he chose to do it through Facebook followed by a full drag routine at the a school performance.

I have to tell you the overwhelming response was “meh”, bit of gossip for a couple of days and nothing more was ever said.

He’s a bit of a drama queen so I think he was a little disappointed in the reaction.

I have a similar story – I am amazed how many of my 13 year old daughters male friends are openly gay. We have a come long way from when I was at school.

shadow boxer 12:40 pm 08 Apr 11

I watched with some interest as a male friend of my year 11 daughter came out last year.

this being the modern times he chose to do it through Facebook followed by a full drag routine at the a school performance.

I have to tell you the overwhelming response was “meh”, bit of gossip for a couple of days and nothing more was ever said.

He’s a bit of a drama queen so I think he was a little disappointed in the reaction.

Kalfour 11:48 am 08 Apr 11

Virgo1972 said :

I also object to the word ‘homophobic’. A phobia is a persistant, irrational, innate fear of something. I’ve heard lots of anti-gay comments in my time but i’ve never seen anyone actually have a phobic reaction to a gay or lesbian person. This is a term created by the gay community that is designed to envoke sympathy to an otherwise unworthy cause. I’m very keen to hear others opinions on this.

It’s interesting that you should bring this up. A lot of the “homophobic” attitudes are not fear driven, making you technically correct (I’m not keen to argue semantics here). But some of public reactions are fear driven, and the “gay panic defense” has actually been used in courtrooms as justification for assault (and in some cases murder) of gay/lesbian/trans/queer people. There have been multiple cases where the offender has actually argued that they were driven to violence by being so uncomfortable in the presence of a gay person.
Little kids don’t care about these things, but by high school it starts to be a huge issue. I’m not sure that educating kids about the issue will help, but it probably won’t hurt.

Holden Caulfield 9:24 am 24 Jan 11

Virgo1972 said :

Andrew Barr might be the Minister for Education and gay, but he’s not a parent. I hope he’s planning a lengthy timeframe for parental consultation prior to any implementation plan as majority approval will take a very long time.

I also object to the word ‘homophobic’. A phobia is a persistant, irrational, innate fear of something. I’ve heard lots of anti-gay comments in my time but i’ve never seen anyone actually have a phobic reaction to a gay or lesbian person. This is a term created by the gay community that is designed to envoke sympathy to an otherwise unworthy cause. I’m very keen to hear others opinions on this.

Get over yourself girlfriend!

Davey 11:21 pm 23 Jan 11

Anyone who thinks that school students are likely to be less homophobic, or more understanding has a loose grip on reality. Children are mean and nasty and bully like there is no tomorrow. Anyone who comes out in high school unless they are already a jock may as well sign a social death warrant for themselves. To hear some of you people talk about this like it’s ‘not important’ or ‘i’d rather have my kids know how to read’ (as if they don’t have hours upon hours already spent teaching them how to read and write and learn mathematics), it displays a complete detachment from reality, not to mention lack of compassion. There are already generic anti-bullying programs going on in primary and high schools for the past decades btw, maybe if you actually asked your kids about that you might know that. Then you might try asking them how they would treat someone (e.g one of their friends names) if they came out as gay. Or you might try passing the word around that your own kid was gay and ask them how badly they’ve been harrassed and spurned at school. Then you can come back on this forum and admit your wrongness.

I’m gay btw, in case you couldn’t tell. And you wouldn’t have caught me dead admitting that when I was at school.

JessicaNumber 7:37 pm 23 Jan 11

Well I’m in my late 20s and went to school in Victoria but I was quite pleasantly surprised when I started university and discovered that it was totally cool if you were gay/bi/confused/whatever. Kids don’t need to be fretting over sexual identity and it can only do them good to show them that.

Eby 5:30 pm 23 Jan 11

Gerry-Built said :

Eby said :

Currently, students in schools who identify as homosexual do not have access to appropriate information, education and support (e.g. on relationships) that other students have.

…just wondering how you figure this is the case?

I’m also wondering what other environments were in the study you mentioned, given that home, and school (and possibly P/T work) would be the most common environments for “young people” to be in. Most kids don’t discuss (their own) sexuality with their parents, and are extremely unlikely to do so should they be aware of any negative feeling surrounding homosexuality from their parents. Work is *not* an appropriate environment to discuss sexual preference etc, which pretty much leaves the only location they frequent – school. As a melting pot of the community, and a place where they spend most of their days – it is just as likely most kids (including those that experience homophobia there) would also select it as the most supportive environment – as well as the “most [whatever]” you care to identify, in any given questionnaire…

Sure, of course it would be due to the fact that most kids spend the majority of time at school. That just reinforces the point I am making; that schools are a key area where we should be progressing these things. Young people that experience homophobia/discrimination in schools are more likely to experience disengagement from school, mental health issues, social isolation, increased use (or possibly abuse) of alcohol and other drugs; and sometimes even suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviours.

In relation to young people not having the same access to appropriate information, education and supports; I ‘figure this to be the case’ because sex education in schools currently focuses on heterosexual relationships, so young gay and lesbian students don’t get adequate access to information or education on safe sex for homosexual relationships. While some young people may have had positive experiences talking to teachers or school counsellors for support, many have identified negative experiences, or a fear of talking to them due to bullying and stigma associated with homophobia.

Vix 5:03 pm 23 Jan 11

Virgo1972 said :

Andrew Barr might be the Minister for Education and gay, but he’s not a parent. I hope he’s planning a lengthy timeframe for parental consultation prior to any implementation plan as majority approval will take a very long time.

I also object to the word ‘homophobic’. A phobia is a persistant, irrational, innate fear of something. I’ve heard lots of anti-gay comments in my time but i’ve never seen anyone actually have a phobic reaction to a gay or lesbian person. This is a term created by the gay community that is designed to envoke sympathy to an otherwise unworthy cause. I’m very keen to hear others opinions on this.

Perhaps you should look up homophobic in a dictionary…

Gerry-Built 4:56 pm 23 Jan 11

Eby said :

Currently, students in schools who identify as homosexual do not have access to appropriate information, education and support (e.g. on relationships) that other students have.

…just wondering how you figure this is the case?

I’m also wondering what other environments were in the study you mentioned, given that home, and school (and possibly P/T work) would be the most common environments for “young people” to be in. Most kids don’t discuss (their own) sexuality with their parents, and are extremely unlikely to do so should they be aware of any negative feeling surrounding homosexuality from their parents. Work is *not* an appropriate environment to discuss sexual preference etc, which pretty much leaves the only location they frequent – school. As a melting pot of the community, and a place where they spend most of their days – it is just as likely most kids (including those that experience homophobia there) would also select it as the most supportive environment – as well as the “most [whatever]” you care to identify, in any given questionnaire…

Eby 3:56 pm 23 Jan 11

Virgo1972 said :

Andrew Barr might be the Minister for Education and gay, but he’s not a parent. I hope he’s planning a lengthy timeframe for parental consultation prior to any implementation plan as majority approval will take a very long time.

I also object to the word ‘homophobic’. A phobia is a persistant, irrational, innate fear of something. I’ve heard lots of anti-gay comments in my time but i’ve never seen anyone actually have a phobic reaction to a gay or lesbian person. This is a term created by the gay community that is designed to envoke sympathy to an otherwise unworthy cause. I’m very keen to hear others opinions on this.

Firstly, while I’m sure situations in schools have improved, kids do still get bullied for being gay or lesbian; and not just by other students either. I’ve heard a number of stories of teachers and school staff also gossiping or not providing appropriate support to their students (e.g. telling them it’s just a phase).

Recent research has highlighted that young people who experience homophobia (discrimination, whatever you want to call it) mostly experience it within schools, more-so than any other environment.

In terms of the word phobia; while it may not be the correct word; I don’t think anyone really uses it in the same way they would talk about arachnophobia – we are actually talking about discrimination. Get into an argument about semantics if you want, but don’t let it get in the way of the real issue – discrimination.

In relation to the argument about ‘equality’ and therefore not creating a fuss – in order to achieve equality in these areas, we need to use equitable strategies. Currently, students in schools who identify as homosexual do not have access to appropriate information, education and support (e.g. on relationships) that other students have – this is about working towards that equality.

JustThinking 1:43 pm 23 Jan 11

georgesgenitals said :

It would be more useful to focus on bullying in schools. This would help a lot more children, and would pick up on many of the themes Barr wants to target with his program anyway.

Totally agree!
Start taking action (real action) against bullies and bullying.

It isn’t like it is just “everyone elses problem”
Almost all of us in here would either have a child or know someone with a child who is being bullied OR who is a bully.

Mysteryman 12:44 pm 23 Jan 11

johnboy said :

Apparently you lot are demonstrating the need for this program: http://twitter.com/#!/ABarrMLA

Yet another example of the Labor government trying to treat us like children. They are supposed to our representatives, not our parents. It’s a shame they care so little bout what their constituents think.

georgesgenitals 8:08 am 23 Jan 11

It would be more useful to focus on bullying in schools. This would help a lot more children, and would pick up on many of the themes Barr wants to target with his program anyway.

clp 10:47 pm 22 Jan 11

Actually all this has done for me is point out how daft twitter really is and that Andrew Barr should get over it.

I’m fine with the program in essence but don’t release info in this manner unless you want people to make silly comments about it.

Tool 1:34 pm 22 Jan 11

And in true political style, responses are not diplayed on his twitter page.

My time is already being taken up teaching my kids Sharia Law, not to refer to us as parents, erasing holidays like Christmas and Easter from their calendars, and now this; I guess soon there will be no time to actually teach children general fundamentals about anythiong other than how to remain politically correct with our minority groups and eliminate that new beast called bullying (I am glad nobody was gay or bullied when I was at school 30 years ago).

Instead of being agenda driven likely as he is a spokesperson for homosexuals, perhaps he could focus on addressing how children are being bullied and cyber awareness etc.

Deref 8:43 am 22 Jan 11

Gerry-Built said :

Deref said :

Bloody excellent. Prejudice has no place in Australia and the place to start is education in the schools.

Education begins at home. Most school students’ negative attitudes are bought from home, particularly in regards to homosexuality. Schools, and their staff, are just expected to deal with the results of poor parenting… Which is simply being reinforced at home, in the case of the children that actually need such a program.

Perhaps Barr could support schools better in their ability to actually discipline offenders more appropriately.

Indeed. Sadly, though, you can’t go into every home and slap ignorant parents – but you can teach more enlightened attitudes to kids at school.

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