The Safe Schools program has been billed as the all-in-one answer to the problem of LGBTI bullying in schools. But a new report by University of Sydney Law School Professor Patrick Parkinson paints a far from perfect picture.
Parents and teachers are increasingly concerned that the program goes too far - teaching children controversial queer theory that could change the very fabric of our society.
According to queer theory, we shouldn’t think in terms of ‘boys and girls’, because that doesn’t include everyone - there are lots of people in between, either/or, both/and, or neither.
It claims that 10% of the population is homosexual and so it’s important for everyone to understand about same-sex issues.
The problem with this is, gender theory is firmly contested in the scientific community.
Prof Patrick Parkinson says that the Safe Schools programme is based on wrong information and may harm young people struggling with gender identity issues in adolescence.
Studies show that many teenagers experience some degree of same-sex attraction but in most cases this resolves into heterosexual orientation in adulthood. Knowing this might save teenagers a lot of worry.
Instead, Safe Schools encourages young people as young as 13 to identify firmly as LGBTI when sexual and romantic interests may not even be on their agenda. It prematurely treats them as if they had adult sexual feelings and concerns.
Professor Parkinson criticizes the research behind Safe School’s claims as “academically irresponsible” and says it could cause grave reputational loss for La Trobe University, which developed and continues to support the program.
Problems with the program are becoming increasingly apparent with many reports from teenagers who support traditional views of gender and marriage being bullied at school and labelled ‘homophobic’ because they disagree with the queer theory being taught as fact in schools.
Parkinson’s report recognizes the political agenda behind the Safe Schools program and its potential to harm young people.