Opinion

WATERCOOLER: The pain of words when facing sexuality, gender

The logo representing the Trans* community
The logo representing the Trans* community

I HAVE good friends who came out as gay to our group when we left high school 20 years ago. I sometimes wondered why it took them almost six years to tell us - nothing changed as far as our friendship was concerned from knowing.

Reading some of the information contained within the Safe Schools curriculum that seems to have our politicians in a tizz though, perhaps there are a few clues - and for starters it's in everyday language.

Schoolyard gutter talk would always be about something being "So gay," or someone weak being "Like a poof."

And while it's just a throwaway line from a 14-year-old, it's only after reading the first sheet of information in the "All Of Us" lessons from the Safe Schools Coalition I pause to think how awful those lines must've made my friends feel. And not just once. Every day.

Everything they identified with is a word of degradation from the people they identified as allies. I feel truly awful in retrospect.

And then there's the person at my school who openly identified as transgender. They weren't a friend, and we weren't cruel enough to openly mock what was plainly different in a rural high school, but there are still jokes made behind backs. Others aren't so kind.

So when the conservatives dismisses transgender by quoting research stating "80% of people who report transgender feelings early in childhood deny having them later in life", I actually think they are disproving their own argument.

Because why, when not only your peers who don't understand your situation mock you, but the people entrusted with leading your country openly dismiss who you are, would you want to continue that everyday persecution?

Easier to just say "It's okay, I'm normal now," and everyone nods in agreeance - happy that you've been pigeonholed back into their binary idea of sexuality. Little wonder.

I'm glad my child will go to a school signed up to the Safe Schools program, and be educated about all types of sexuality and people who don't identify as the "norms."

While politicians argue whether children should be exposed to such concepts, it is because they weren't educated as such that we are still having the argument now.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SAFE SCHOOLS PROGRAM?

JOIN OUR DAILY WATERCOOLER BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW.

What you're saying on Facebook:

Keri Bristow: "My 10 year old daughter is in a same sex family. She understands more than most adults about LGBTIQ issues and why some parts of society is nasty to us.

"Although she is being brought up in a same sex family we have been careful not to push any of our preferences onto her, we often ask if she likes boys or girls and will she marry a boy or girl when she grows up, and she has always said she likes boys and that is perfectly fine.

"We often joke about which boys she likes and she gets all shy like a typical 10 year old,lol.

"I can tell you that there is no way that educating children on issues of diversity can in any way change their sexual orientation or whether they feel like they are a boy or a girl, it just doesn't happen, children know who they are very early and they just need to be told that if someone else beside you is different then thats ok.

"What has happened is we have raised a daughter who is secure that she is able to explore in her own mind how she feels as a girl and who she feels she is attracted to without pressure from society as to what is "seen" as accepted on not accepted.

"This is how we should be raising our children, and if parents will not talk to their kids about these sort of issues and instil in them that being different is ok, then a program like safe schools should be in place to do that for the sake of a safer more accepting future society."

Lachlan McKay: "I think it's great! Children should be brought up knowing that people of the LGBTI community are just the same as very one else."

Silvio Rodriguez: "I'm just glad we're home schooling. Schools have become ridiculous nowadays. So much red tape and propaganda it's a wonder how any kid grows up with a true sense of self."

Marty Watson: "It's only adults who are polarised by this. Children see everyone as who they are initially until adults impart their values on them."

David Symes: "Just teaching tolerance, respect and acceptance. Nothing wrong with that."

Stuart Everson: "Adults putting agendas onto kids. No wonder the public school system sucks."

Topics:  gay and lesbian, safe schools, transgender




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Hey Mumma: NSW launches inquiry into childhood obesity

Do you think kids need more exercise?

Hospital expected $7m in budget: it got less than 2% of that

Grafton Base Hospital. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

Fears $121,000 in budget for care centre is a delaying tactic

Latest deals and offers

Ulmarra Public School celebrates 125 years

CELEBRATION: Isabella Watts, Sophie Watts, Jean Kratz and Emily Watts cutting the cake at Ulmarra Public School's 125th birthday celebrations on Friday, June 24.

Ulmarra Public School celebrates 125 years

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

Commercial Property June 16 edition

SNAPPED UP: A sushi shop in a106sq mground-floor tenancy with a 43sq moutdoor area in Southport Central Towers on the Gold Coast has sold for $954,000.

RealCommercial edition June 16, 2016.

Iconic North Coast hotel could sell for $80 million

ON THE MARKET: The Beach Hotel, Byron Bay.

Million-dollar views, good income, beer - what more could you want?