A student talks of the benefits of the Camp Out camp on a promotional video
A student talks of the benefits of the Camp Out camp on a promotional video

Gay camp promoted to teens by government schools

STUDENTS as young as 13 are being encouraged to go on a gay school holiday camp as part of a program being promoted through some government schools.

The Camp Out organisation is hosting a camp in Sydney this week for 13 to 17 year olds.

"We are a camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and sex and or gender diverse teens, same sex attracted, curious and questioning teens aged 13 to 17,''  its website says.

"Camp Out offers the chance to attend an away-from-home camp with people who share similar experiences, offering a supportive and safe space to learn and express yourself, an opportunity for capacity building and a fun environment in which to do so.

"Most of all, it's the chance to hang out in a place where you're not judged for who you are, or who you like.

"There's heaps of art, music, sports, games and other fun stuff happening during camp, as well as hangouts like movie nights and bonfires!"

The camp also offers help with dealing with homophobia and transphobio, coming out in high school, with parents or friends, and  "how to be an awesome LGBTIQ ally".

Critics of the program argue that it not the role of schools to be promoting a gay lifestyle for students confused about their sexuality.


But those who have attended, and parents of gay students, say the camp has given them confidence, acceptance and the strength to be who they are without fear of others.

Marking its five-year anniversary on Facebook, Camp Out stated: "On this important day in our activist history, help us continue to build generations of queers who are proud, resilient, creative and fabulous!''

The Australian reported that The Wollongong High School of Performing Arts, on the NSW south coast, promoted the five-day camp in a "roll call notice'' for teachers to read to their classes last month.

Warrawong High School advertised the camp on a poster, and Camp Out's Facebook page shows a photo of a regis­tration pack arriving at Chatham High School in Taree, on the NSW north coast.

The camp has an "ask to touch" ­policy which "means that any kind of sexual or non-consensual touch is not allowed at camp''.

The Australian said news of the "queer camp'' followed an uproar over its revelation on Thursday that Victoria's new family violence curriculum asks Year 8 students to study sexualised personal ads and write their own ads seeking the "perfect partner''.

One of the ads, to be analysed by students as young as 12, includes a "lustful, sexually generous'' person "seeking sexy freak out''.



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