An Australian state-funded LGBT education programme has been reformed after serious concerns were raised.
Last month several MPs called for the Australian Government to defund the Safe Schools programme, which promotes a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual agenda in primary and secondary schools.
The Government has now issued a list of demands which strip back harmful aspects of the programme.
The Safe Schools Coalition, which runs the programme, will consider the demands and may choose to reject them. If this were to be the case, the remainder of its funding would probably be removed.
Critics welcomed the news as a “strong but measured response”, based on the concerns raised by Christian groups and MPs.
“It’s all going”, Liberal MP George Christensen said: “Boys in girls’ school uniforms, girls and boys using the same toilets, classroom role plays where kids imagine they have no genitalia or they’re gay”.
He was however doubtful that the Safe Schools Coalition would accept the changes and accused them of “attempting to instil queer theory, sexual liberation and Marxism into classrooms”.
The Australian Government makes several demands, based on a review by the University of Western Australia, including that:
Responding to the move, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) welcomed what it called a ‘substantial pruning’.
Lyle Shelton, Managing Director of ACL, said: “We welcome the opportunity for parents to be consulted and for them to have a say in whether or not their children participate.”
But he added that teachers will still be encouraged to drop the pronouns “he” and “she” when referring to students.
… this is ideological madnessLyle Shelton
Mr Shelton added: “Kids should not be confused with the prohibition of words like ‘he’ and ‘she’ or innocuous phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls” – this is ideological madness.”
Last month several MPs called on the Government to defund the Safe Schools programme, including backbencher Andrew Hastie, who described it as “ideological big government reaching into the lives of ordinary Australians”.
He added: “The program advances an exclusive ideology that doesn’t allow for competing views on sexuality and gender”.
“The program decries bullying, yet pushes its own form of bullying by pressuring young children to conform to a particular view of sexuality”.