Australian school children are to be told that heterosexuality is not the norm, according to a new education department pilot program called “Proud Schools.”
“Heterosexism” is one of the evils that the Proud Schools program is intended to stamp out, along with “homophobia and transphobia,” education officials have said. According to the minutes from the Proud Schools steering committee on March 22, 2011, the program focuses on reversing “the dominance of heterosexism rather than on homophobia.”
The program defines “heterosexism” as the practice of “positioning heterosexuality as the norm for human relationship,” according to the Proud Schools Consultation Report. “It involves ignoring, making invisible or discriminating against non-heterosexual people, their relationships and their interests. Heterosexism feeds homophobia.”
The committee suggested that teachers must monitor the playground in order to stamp out “heterosexist” language among children in out-of-class hours.
The education department has allocated $250,000 for the pilot program that is running now in 12 state schools.
The program was initiated in 2010 by Labor’s former Education Minister Verity Firth and has been implemented and supported by current New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. Piccoli said his department was dedicated to “stamping out homophobic bullying”. A similar program is already in use in Victoria, called the “Safe Schools Coalition” to “support sexual diversity”.
Proud Schools recommends using Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education classes, starting in Year 7 (12- and 13-year-olds), to “incorporate learning about same-sex attraction and sexual diversity.”
Homosexualist groups and left-leaning columnists are furious and aiming editorial attacks at the Sydney Telegraph for having criticized the program as “politially correct” and for having revealed the text of the Proud Schools steering committee.
The Telegraph’s Miranda Devine wrote that “at least” 10 Liberal Party MPs are “extremely concerned” about the program, and will complain to Education Minister Adrian Piccoli this week.
Devine quoted Upper house MP Fred Nile who called the program “propaganda” and asked the government to defund the program.
“I’m totally opposed to the brainwashing of high school students, especially when they are going through puberty,” Nile said. “Homosexuals at most make up 2 percent of the population – I don’t know why the education department would give priority to promoting this.
“We will have more confused teenagers than ever…children should be allowed to develop themselves,” he said.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell defended the program, vowing that it will not be shut down.
“I don’t believe that sexual orientation is any more a matter of choice than one’s gender,” O’Farrell said. “Whether discrimination is on the basis of gender, sexuality, race or something else – it is unacceptable.”
In an editorial, the Telegraph said that it “goes without saying that any measures to stop bullying or abuse in our schools are desirable and welcome,” but the newspaper questioned whether the Proud Schools program “is so ridiculously proscriptive and politically correct it might have the opposite effect.”
“Indeed, it appears that far from merely promoting tolerance, the program seeks to advance a political agenda. Teaching high school students that gender and sexuality are ‘fluid’ concepts and that ‘binary’ notions such as gay and straight are ‘heterosexist’ is not an anti-bullying message. It is presenting a particular view – and doing so as though it is scientific fact.”
Gay News Network reports that Devine’s article has been “condemned” by Opposition Education spokesperson Carmel Tebbutt and Green Party MLC Cate Faehrmann, the homosexual groups ACON and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.