l) Old campaigns, actions & notices
Protest against homophobia in the NSW school system
Here's a sample letter to NSW Carmel Tebbutt from Sam and Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne, protesting the Minister's ban on a sexual diversity program in western Sydney.
The Hon. Carmel Mary Tebbutt, MLC
Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone (02) 9230 2111, Fax (02) 9230 6371
Phone (02) 9228 5360, Fax (02) 9228 5366
I write to express my support of diversity and tolerance programs in schools like the one you have recently condemned in NSW.
Gay and lesbian children (and those just perceived to be gay or lesbian) are currently suffering terribly in Australian schools. A report released last week by La Trobe University shows the extent of the homophobic bullying these young people endure. One in two suffer verbal abuse and a good proportion also suffer physical abuse - including rape. The report can be found here
I respectfully ask that you read this report, in particular the first hand experiences of these kids. I challenge you not to cry at their anguish, as I did.
There is nothing wrong with teaching children to be empathetic towards others - in fact, it's been proven again and again to be successful. I would suggest that if this same program encouraged kids to imagine themselves being the only white people in a society of black people, you would not have reacted in the way you have.
Gay and lesbian kids are killing themselves - and straight kids who are subjected to homophobic bullying are also ending their lives.
You have a responsibility to end this suffering - to stand up and say "enough is enough" - to actively promote diversity training. Do not fail these children because of right-wing religious zealots and conservative colleagues.
Protect our future generations - I beg you.
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