LGBTQ+ rights protesters march in Poland

Poland’ s flag
Image: Pixaby

Poles are fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.

On Saturday, nearly 7,500 people marched in Gdansk in Poland’s north for the LGBTQ+ community.

Protester held pride flags and slogans “We make love, not war” and “Jesus would walk with us”.

The protesters were met with counter protesters. One protester said:

I am not against homosexuals, these are just ordinary people like us. But I don’t want to them to get to our children

Protester *Margaret* (name given to SBS)

40 – year – old, Nikodem Mrozek said that society’s attitudes were getting better. Unfortunately, Polish politicians still demonised LGBTQ+ people.

The state of LGBTQ+ rights in Poland right now

The state of LGBTQ+ rights in Poland isn’t good. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) ranked Poland as one of 5he worst among members of the European Union.

Sexual relations between members of the same sex have been legal since 1932. The age of consent is fifteen, regardless of gender or sexuality.

However, the influence of the Catholic Church on Polish politics and society often trump the LGBTQ+ Poles.

According to Stonewall UK, same – sex marriage isn’t legal. Same – sex relationships aren’t recognised legally aat all. Same – sex couples can’t adopt children jointly or through second parent adoption.

It’s implied that all Polish citizens are equal under law and should be free from discrimination. However, Polish law doesn’t protect people based on gender or sexual orientation. Trans and gender diverse people have no legal protection from discrimination.

There is no law granting gender affirmation recognition. However, legal documents, such as birth certificates can be amended, but it has to be approved by the court.

LGBTQ+ rights has been a constant fight

LGBT rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

In Poland, LGBTQ+ rights is a constant uphill battle.

Last year, anti – LGBTQ+ sentiments were heatimg up in Poland. There were debates in capital, Warsaw about banning Pride parades and prevent gatherings.

There’s been a history of ‘LGBT – free zones’. However four provinces back – pedalled declaring ‘LGBT – free zones’ after the EU threatened to pull funding. ‘LGBT free – zones’ can be seen as violating the EU’s anti – discrimination laws.

Despite pressure on conservative Polish politicians, LGBTQ+ Poles still haven’t felt safe. “I don’t feel that I can fully be myself”, one gay Polish man told the BBC last year.

Members of the Catholic Church fear – mongered about LGBTQ+ people, liking them to ‘Marxists’ and ‘paedophiles’. There was also fear – mongering over the destruction of the nuclear family.

What is (was) an LGBT – free zone

In 2020, a third of Poland was considered LGBT – free zones. The ideology was symbolic, rather than legal.

LGBT – free zones were areas where Pride events were banned. No one could ‘promote’ homosexuality.

As a result, many LGBTQ+ Poles felt pushed back into the closet. It was backed by then – President, Andzej Duda, who compared ‘LGBT ideology’ to Communism.

I hope LGBTQ+ Poles get rights and acceptance. However, more protests and defiance will likely need to take place. Homophobia and transphobia seem to be imbedded in Polish society. That may be hard to shake. But maybe the protest on Saturday was a start.

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News Opinion/Commentary

Roe vs Wade was always at risk

US Supreme Court, Washington D.C
Image: iStock

Quick note: This post isn‘t about my views on abortion. Instead, I want to focus on the possible repercussions.

This week, Politico revealed leaked documents that confirmed SCOTUS judges’ plans to overturn Roe v Wade. Next month, SCOTUS will make the final ruling.

This will take abortion legislation away from Federal law and back to the States.

At least twenty States will criminalise abortion outright if Roe v Wade is overturned. It’s speculated that Texas will push forward snap legislation to outlaw abortion in most circumstances.

1973 ruling

In January 1973, a large majority of Supreme Court judges (7 – 2) ruled to restrict states’ ability to outlaw abortion.

This was in response to a 1970 court case, ‘Jane Roe’ (real name, Norma McCorvey) and Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade.

The Supreme Court disagreed with McCorvey’s demand to exclusive abortion rights, but agreed that a woman’s right to choose, to a degree, was in line with the Fourteenth Amendment. At the time, Justice Harry A Blackmun wrote:

We… conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.

Justice Harry A Blackmun

Dobbs vs Jackson: the trigger

Last year, Dobbs vs Jackson challenged. Mississippi’s strong abortion restrictions.

Jackson Women’s Health Organisation argued the unconstitutionality of the Gestational Age Act. The 2018 Act criminalised abortions after fifteen weeks. Medical emergencies and foetal abnormalities were the only exceptions.

This contrasted from Roe vs Wade‘s stance that abortions can be performed for up to twenty – four weeks without State interference.

The US District Court ruled in Jackson Women’s Health Organisation’s favour. The law was ruled unconstitutional and had to cease.

Pro choice protest where a protester holds sign: “Keep abortion legal”
Image: iStock

What other rights are at risk?

If Roe vs Wade is overturned, then what else can be overturned?

Commentators have speculated that same – sex marriage and even interracial marriage could be up for scrutiny.

Personally, I highly doubt that interracial marriage will be attacked. I mean it’s 2022. People realise that people can marry each other regardless of race, yeah?

In contrast, I think Obgerfell vs Hodges is vulnerable.

I remember when news came out that SCOTUS granted same – sex marriage across all fifty states. People, (including me), put a rainbow filter on Facebook profile pictures.

However, not everyone was celebrating. Conservative commentators slammed the ruling, arguing that marriage was not a constitutional right. Not surprisingly, the same commentators hyperventilated when Australia was in the full throws of debate too. But I digress.

Same – sex marriage has also clashed with religious freedom. The one case that comes to mind was Kim Davis, a marriage clerk who was jailed after refusing marriage licenses to same – sex couples.

Owners of wedding cake businesses claimed that they faced hefty fines after refusing to make a wedding cake that a same – sex couple requested.

Given that SCOTUS has a conservative majority, it may be a nervous wait and see. From Australia, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for LGBTQ+ Americans that Obgerfell vs Hodges isn’t overturned.

Only time will tell what will happen in the US. Things can massively change for a lot of people.

What do you think? Do you think Roe v Wade will have repercussions on other rights? Let me know your thoughts.

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Media

‘Piers Morgan Uncensored’ and the privilege of free speech

Last Tuesday, Piers Morgan Uncensored debuted on Sky News Australia.

In the intro, British commentator, Piers Morgan railed against censorship.

…I’m going to be constantly celebrating the one thing you can’t abide; free speech. And that’s real free speech, not your kind of free speech where you’re opinions are allowed. Anyone with a different opinion has to be shamed, abused and cancelled; their careers and reputations destroyed. No, free speech is supposed to be the bedrock of any real democratic society. The kind where it’s OK to disagree. It’s alright to respect and tolerate each other’s views. It’s even OK to go for a beer with someone you’ve just spent a whole hour arguing with about the burning issues of the day.

Piers Morgan Uncensored, from 26 April 2022, Sky News Australia

Former US President, Donald Trump was Morgan’s first guest.

Topics centred around the culture wars

So, what ‘hot topics’ did Donald Trump and Piers Morgan talk about? As Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski said, it was largely culture war topics.

The main topics Trump and Morgan covered included:

  • Trump’s ban from Twitter and Elon Musk wanting to buy the company
  • ‘What’s a woman and swimmer Lia Thomas (yawn!)
  • The British Royal family (mainly Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
  • Golf
  • Trump’s claims that the US 2020 election was rigged (again)
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • Trump starting his own platform (Again?)

Trump gushed about Queen Elizabeth II, saying she was ‘incredible’ and comparing her to Mother Teresa.

Of course, Trump and Morgan bashed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Trump said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should lose their royal titles. He also crudely suggested Prince Harry’s and Markle’s marriage wouldn’t last.

In talking about Olympic swimmer and transwoman, Lia Thomas, Trump fumed saying “people, won’t stand for it” and that it was “ridiculous”.

What does Piers Morgan Uncensored say about freedom of speech and privilege?

Riveting stuff, eh? Trump and Morgan was talking about stuff people have been talking about ad nauseum for years.

Of course, there was no mention of hormone therapy transwomen go through or the guidelines that sports bodies have. There never are. But I digress.

Like Kyle Kulinski said in his video, the topics Trump and Morgan discussed were surface level topics. They didn’t challenge the status quo. In fact, it was the opposite. They maintained the status quo. Heck they ARE the status quo!

If anything, Piers Morgan Uncensored proves free speech is in tact for the privileged. Piers Morgan is not a victim. Neither is Trump. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Piers Morgan’s net worth this year is around US$20million.

Piers Morgan was always going to be able to continue working in the media after he stormed off stage on Good Morning Britain in March last year.

Overall, I don’t think Piers Morgan Uncensored is a bad show. Actually, Piers Morgan is a good interviewer. However, I sense he’s going to become a broken record very quickly. I could be wrong.

Did you see Piers Morgan Uncensored? What did you think? Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Gender/ sexuality LGBTQ rights

Katherine Deves proves that anti – trans activist have no legitimate argument

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Last week, Warringah Liberal candidate, Katherine Deves caused outrage over past anti – trans comments.

In tweets that are now deleted, Deves compared trans activists to Nazis and the opponents of ‘trans ideology’ as being opponents of the Holocaust.

She also spread fears of parents of transgender children being at risk of creating a ‘Stolen Generation’. I think she might’ve been alluding to Vancouver father, Rob Hoogland.

And then there was allegedly this tweet:

…half of all males with trans identities are sex offenders

From an allegedly deleted tweet from Katherine Deves

Since these revelations, Deves apologised and claimed she received death and rape threats. This is reprehensible and shame on anyone who takes part in that behaviour.

Was the tweet about prisoners? Liberal senator, Matt Kean argued with 2GB’s Ben Fordham on whether or not Deves specifically was alluding to prisoners or transwomen in general. I think Kean took a step too far accusing Deves of comparing transgender children to sex offenders.

Despite pressure, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison refused to ban Deves and has defended her right to free speech. However, Mr Morrison has also backpedaled any plans to ban transwomen competing against cis – gender women.

Deves’ comments not a surprise

It was only a matter of time that someone made comments like Deves.

Since same – sex marriage was acheived in 2017, trans and non – binary people have been the new bogey people.

All of a sudden, trans and gender non – binary people are predators, brainwashing children, etc.

Trans debate: just history repeating itself

Does this sound familiar? It should to LGBTQ+ Australians. During the same – sex marriage debate, LGB+ people were frequently accused of brainwashing children.

The Safe Schools curriculum was falsely portrayed as teaching young children about sex toys and masturbation.

Same – sex parents were often seen as detrimental to children’s welfare, despite the lack of peer reviewed studies that supported the claim.

I believe that this debate is largely another attempt to demonise a minority. And, just with the same – sex marriage debate, opponents of trans and non – binary acceptance prove that they lack a strong argument. This is proven by Deves’ hyperbole.

The language in the debate

From WordPress Free Images

Is it just me? Has anyone else noticed the language used in the gender debate? Notice that the term ‘transwomen’ is rarely used by critics? It’s always ‘biological men’ or that someone was ‘born male’.

No discussion about transition. I wrote about Royal Children’s Hospital’s stance on children and transitioning and steps often taken in my last post.

There has been a lack of discussion on the effect of hormone therapy on trans people. Why have these factors been largely ignored in the debate?

Look, I could meet Deves half way if she said that transwomen athletes should have a certain amount of transition before competing against cis – gender women. I also think everyone should be protected from predators, regardless of the gender identities of perpetrators or victims.

However, I don’t think this is what this debate is about. This is about looking for another pariah. Another minority group to spread fear and lies about.

The cat’s out of the bag now. It just took Deves to go one step too far to expose it.

What do you think about Katherine Deves’ comments? What do you think about transwomen sport? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Gender/ sexuality

The fear – mongerimg about trans and non – binary people has no basis

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The Trans Day of Visibility was on the 31 March. The day aims to acknowledge the achievements of trans and non – binary people. It also highlights the discrimination trans and non – binary people still face.

Transgender and gender diverse people are the hot topic of the day. Unfortunately, ‘issues’ like Lia Thompson winning in swimming take up a lot of time on social media, media and for policy makers.

So does children transitioning. This is despite Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital stating that gender affirming treatment is done in two stages.

Stage one takes part under the age of sixteen. This includes social transitioning, affirmation and, yes, puberty blockers. These parts of transition are usually reversible.

Stage two of gender affirming treatment only takes place when is a child is sixteen or older. This stage includes hormone treatments and surgery. At this stage, treatment is largely irreversible.

No one is ‘turned’ trans

Commissioner for LGBTQ communities, Todd Fernando, emphatically denies that anyone is ‘turned trans’ due to affirmation of trans and gender diverse identities.

He wrote in The Age that the existence and bodily autonomy is “not up for debate”.

Gender affirmation can save lives

Let’s cut to the chase. Affirming trans people’s identities can save lives. Fernando linked a number of studies that suggested that gender affirmation, including puberty blockers are life saving to many trans and gender diverse youth.

Young trans and gender diverse people who undergo gender affirming hormone therapy and puberty blockers are less likely to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Psychology magazine, Psychology Today reinforced this belief. After reviewing sixteen studies Jack Tarbi MD concluded:

…the body of research indicates that these interventions result in favourable mental health outcomes.

Jack Tarbin MD MHS, Psychology Today, January 24 2022

In contrast, non – affirming actions can end in disaster. This is why there has been such a strong push to ban so – called ‘conversion therapy’, including against trans and gender – diverse people in Australia.

Fear mongering about trans and gender non – binary people is (recent) history repeating itself

LGBT rainbow Pride flag
Image: iStock

I’m not trying to be disrespectful. And I’m not trying to play the No True Scotsman card.

However, I’m sceptical of the stances of some LGBTQ+ people. It’s strange to me, for example, that a transwoman would want to ‘debate’ people like Ben Shapiro or Steven Crowder on whether they should be referred by their preferred pronouns.

I mean YouTuber and transwoman Blaire White debated what people should refer to her as ‘she’.

Remember the fear – mongering over Safe Schools teaching young children about sex – toys? How gays and lesbians were accused of ‘indoctrinating’ children? And don’t get me started on the slippery – slope arguments against same – sex marriage.

My point is, the fear – mongering over trans and gender non – binary people is history repeating itself. Children are being used as pawns (again) and it seems most arguments are just misinformation. Again.

I think the evidence is clear. Falsely demonising trans and gender non – binary people does harm. If we really care about children, we have to accept them for who they are. Including if their trans or non – binary.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Children left hungry in childcare centres

Young children sitting down at a fable eating friit from lunchboxes
Image: iStock

This is infuriating.

According to Herald Sun, some childcare centres spend A65c on food per child. The food is often low in nutritional value. 

Some childcare coordinators and cooks admitted that they never spent more than A$5.00 of food a day. Some spent as little as A$2.15. That includes snacks. 

A Newscorp investigation revealed food offered children included: bread and butter and packet pasta. None of the food had any protein. 

In a United Workers Union survey, 2o% of directors and cooks thought the food budget wasn’t enough. 60% of respondents even bought food for the children out of their own pocket. 

In a private Facebook group, a commenter fumed:

I feed my dog more a a day than the budget I get. If parents knew they’d be appalled.

Dietitian from University of Queensland, Bonnie Searle witnessed children asking for seconds, but the food had run out. 

Searle also saw deceptive menus. Menus would advertise “gourmet sandwiches”, only for children to be offered Vegemite or jam sandwiches. 

Sometimes, childcare providers gave children fruit that had become brown and slimy.

Searle condemned centres for lack of nutrition:

A big plate of fruit is not going to keep children full. They need some fat and protein. The food groups we did not see enough of were vegetables and meat. 

Children who don’t get enough food or the right nutrition ran the risk of not being able to regulate their emotions or concentrate. 

Could this be contributing to rise in in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses?  Now, I do believe this is a genuine disorder, but it does make you wonder.

Why don’t parents just pack children food?

When I was reading about this, some people asked why can’t parents just pack their children food? Well, apparently, many centres don’t allow it for fears of allergic reactions. 

If this is the case, then everyone is in a no – win situation. 

It’s not good enough.

End private childcare and have it properly funded

People have told me a lack of food in childcare is neither surprising or uncommon. Coordinators of private childcare centres put profits over the well – being of children. 

If this is the case, there is one solution. The government has to fund childcare 100%. No more private providers. They obviously can’t be regulated properly. This goes for the aged care sector as well. 

When people bring this up, protesters complain and ask why should they pay for other people’s children? So what if you don’t have children? Do you have nieces? Nephews? Children of friends who call you their cool “aunt” or “uncle”?

I don’t have children. Most adults, including myself want to see children thrive. Children need a healthy environment, including healthy food. 

The National Quality Standard

In 2010, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) introduced the National Quality Standard. These were very strict and very detailed.

Since the Liberal National/ Coalition Party has been in power, these standards have been watered down. While Standard 2.1 covers a “healthy lifestyle”, there is no specific demand that a childcare provider must provided healthy food or water, like it did when the Australian Labor Party were in power. 

Maybe they should at least bring that standard back. And hold ALL centres to that standard. Children deserve it. 

 

What do you think about childcare? What improvements should be made? Do you think they should all be government run? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Culture Social media

Using social media and blogging for change: Influencer advocates for people with a disability

Image: Canva

Want a light – hearted story?

Peta Hooke is a social media influencer.

People may look at the terms ‘social media influencer’ and have certain ideas. Chances are, Peta Hooke doesn’t fit those ideas.

She has cerebral palsy and uses a an electric wheelchair.

Hooke uses Instagram to advocate for people with disabilities.

At first, Hooke was hesitant. She told ABC Life that she feared that Instagram wasn’t a safe place for people with disabilities.

I remember when Instagram became a thing in my friendship group in the summer of 2011. At the time, Instagram didn’t feel like a safe space for someone like me.

Hooke worried that Instagram was just another platform for the privileged.

Hooke joined Instagram

Hooke ended up joining Instagram. She created a heavily private account and she admired attractive influencers.

She then started a podcast and used Instagram to promote her advocacy.

She said utilising Instagram made her “sick with dread”.

Despite her fears, no one laughed at Hooke. In fact, she has built up a supportive community of followers.

Using social media for advocacy

Since building a following, Hooke has used her daily life and content to educate and change minds. She also aims to expand what people define as having a disability.

She wants to inspire people with disabilities:

I hope through my presence on Instagram I am implicitly encouraging other disabled people to find the same power.

People with disabilities need visibility. And chances

Black woman in wheelchair on a footpath down the street
Image: iStock

When I first read about Peta Hooke, I thought it was great. People with disabilities: physical, intellectual or mental need a chance.

They need chances to live and to work, just like anyone else. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are over represented in unemployment statistics.

Having people with disabilities visible and mainstream is important. People need to realise that people with disabilities are just people. They may need a little help or slight adjustments. They can be a baser to society when given the chance.

Challenging beauty standards and influencer culture

It’s great that Hooke uses her platform to challenge beauty standards and influencer culture. People are becoming more and more aware of the damage social media can do. For years, people have worried about teens and influencer culture’s impact on their self – esteem and mental health.

Creator and former Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even admitted that platforms like Instagram were made to be addictive. Algorithms are deliberately programmed in a way to make certain images popular.

A call to able – bodied people

Anyone can be a part of the change. For those in privileged positions, please consider supporting content creators from marginalised communities.

Like, share and follow their content. Show other people the talents and abilities of people with disabilities. And for those who do support content creators with disabilities (including my followers), thank you very much.

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Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Kanye West’s meltdown shouldn’t be a surprise

Image of human face and a heart in the brain Image: iStock

Kanye West made headlines. Again. West has been accused of harassing Kim Kardashian’s current partner, Saturday Night Lives’ Pete Davidson after Davidson listened to West’s new album Donda 2. 

According to court documents, West:

“…disseminated on social media the parties’ private communications and misinformation about personal family matters and co – parenting which has caused emotional distress”.

Kim Kardashian told People magazine that she asked West to keep the divorce private. West didn’t respect her request.

Davidson quite social media

Pete Davidson has deleted his Instagram account since the incident with West. He denies that West was the reason he deleted the account.

Kanye West embraced by conservatives while his mental health was failing

Kanye West was embraced by conservatives when Donald Trump was the US President. 

YouTuber and podcaster, Kyle Kulinski saw West’s over the top behaviour as a red flag. Kulinski speculated that West had bipolar disorder. Turns out he was right.

While he originally denied it, West admitted to David Letterman that he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and experienced paranoia.

Not long after this, West became a critic of the ‘Blexit’ movement – African – Americans who rejected the Democrats and their policies. Conservatives’ love affair with West had waned.

Last year, he professed that he became a Christian. He made the Christian – themed album, Jesus Is King.

Troubling behaviour that was ignored

Just a quick note: I’m not a mental health professional. What I’m about to write is based on my non – expert understanding of bipolar disorder.

Red flags of West’s behaviour have gone back years:

  • In 2009, when Taylor Swift was accepting her MTV Video Music .Award. West jumped up on stage declaring that Beyoncé should have won the award
  • When Forbes magazine interviewed him, West reportedly ranted for hours, not allowing the journalist to speak
  • His visit with Donald Trump at the White House. Again, no impulse control. This is where West actually denied he had bipolar, saying his behaviour was due to sleep deprivatiob (side note: people with bipolar often experience sleep deprivation, which in turn exacerbates their symptoms).
  • His bizarre tweets, talking about Donald Trump and “dragon energy”. This nonsensical tweet was praised by commentator, Daisy Cousens. Kulinski sawxit as the red flag it was.

Apart from these signs, Kim Kardashian has shared on Twitter that West goes to a “sunken place”, hinting at West’s episodes of depression.

These are just a few incidents. They should have raised alarms, not praise.

Kanye West took aim at family

West’s behaviour went even more bizarre. In 2020, he went on a Twitter rant against Kardashian and his ex – mother – in – law Kris Jenner.

In the tweets, West accused Jenner of “White surpremacy at its highest”. He also wrote:

This Ye. You wanna talk. Or go to war?

He expressed paranoia and accused Kardashian of wanting to “lock me [West] up”.

Final note. I’m not saying that people who suffer from bipolar are inherently abusive. And there is no excuse for abusive behaviour. My point is that Kanye West has had a history of problematic and possibly pathological behaviour. Much of it was largely ignored or praised in the media. That’s not OK.

If you’re in Australia and are struggling mentally, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you want help or information, you can also go to Beyond Blue or call them on 1300 2264 636.

One more thing: Australia will have a Federal Election in a few months. I’ll encourage anyone to wrote to their MP and demand that mental healthvbe properly covered under Medicare.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

The ‘Religious Discrimination Bill was always an attack on the LGBTQ+ community

Image iStock

The Religious Freedom Bill has been suspended indefinitely. Let’s hope it never sees the light of day.

This has been a big blow to Scott Morrison. It has disappointed conservatives and torn the Liberal National Party (LNP) apart.

The Religious Discrimination Bill has collapsed because it’s true intent has been exposed.

The ‘Folau clause’

This was the first victim of the Religious Discrimination Bill’s collapse.

Israel Folau was a Rugby Union champion who was sacked in 2019 after he repeatedly defied Rugby AustralIa by posting anti – LGBTQ posts on social media.

The last offending post was a paraphrase of modern translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9.

Folau threatened to sue Rugby Australia for religious discrimination. The case was settled outside court and Rugby Australia paid an undisclosed settlement to Folau.

The ‘Folau clause’ would have prevented employees being sacked under similar circumstances.

Citipointe Christian College contract controversy

Image: iStock

About a month ago, Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane came under fire after their enrolment contract that was leaked.

The contract denied the identities of trans and non – binary people. They also listed homosexuality as a sin among bestiality and paedophilia.

This caused fear for LGBTQ+ students. School principal, Brian Melhuran denied that students have been expelled for being LGBTQ+.

A former Citipointe Christian College student also alleged that students were shown a video of a person being beheaded in class as a deterrent to being LGBTQ+. Staff allegedly told students that’s what will happen in Hell.

The backlash against the school has been fierce. A change.org petition calling for a revocation of the contract gained over 150,000 signatures. In contrast, an Australian Christian Lobby petition defending the school has around 41,000 signatures.

As a result, Mulheran finally buckled and the contract was withdrawn.

Citipointe Christian students and Mulheran reported being harassed and receiving sdeath threats. This is NOT OK and shame on those who participate in that behaviour.

Citipointe fiasco causes panic and backflips

Scott Morrison has vowed to close existing loopholes in the Sex Discrimination Acts in numerous States. Currently, religious schools and institutions are exempt from discrimination laws against LGBTQ+ people.

Scott Morrison vowed to protect lesbian and gay students from expulsion from schools.

However, trans, non – binary people and their advocates were left disappointed. Trans and non – binary students were not granted the same protection.

Religious Discrimination Bill was always an anti – LGBTQ Bill

If something positive came out of Citipointe Christian College fiasco, it’s that the cat is out of the bag.

If the Religious Discrimination Bill, people like Brian Mulheran would have been emboldened.

Luckily, enough people saw through the spin. People were willing to stand up against bigotry. And as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I myself, I want to thank all those who stood up and protected vulnerable people.

Let’s never allow legislation that gives bigotry a foothold. We need to keep up the fight.

Do you agree disagree? Was the Religious Discrimination Act just an excuse to discriminate? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Christian school backtracks on contract and PM vows change to Religious Freedom bill. A win for the LGBTQ+ community?

Image: iStock

Did Australia see ‘religious freedom’ in action?

Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College came under fire when they demanded parents of would – be students sign a contract that called homosexual and bisexual ‘acts’ a sin. They also refused to acknowledge the gender identity of a student who was trans or non – binary.

The contract listed homosexuality and bisexuality as ‘sins’, along with bestiality, fornication and incest. Unlike what other reports I’ve seen, no, the contract didn’t liken bestiality, etc with homosexuality and bisexuality.

The backlash

The condemnation was swift and fierce. A petition calling to recall the contract gained over 150,000 signatures. This is in contrast with an Australian Christian Lobby petition defending the school, which got around 30,000 signatures.

Pastor and Principal, Brian Mulheran dug his heels in, but denied that LGBTQ+ students get expelled for their orientation or gender identity:

While I have been principal at the college, we have not expelled or refused to enrol any student on the basis that they are gay or transgender.

Former students spoke out against the school. One student even alleged a disturbing incident when students saw a video of authorities beheading LGBTQ+ people to act as a deterrent. 

Last Friday, advocates organised a protest at King George Square in Brisbane.

Parents refused to sign contract

Parents told the ABC in an article that they refused to sign the contract. They condemned the college of discriminating against students on the basis of religion, as well as gender and sexuality. 

They argued that the contract violated Christian values. That depends on how you define ‘Christian values”. Do you define “Christian values” based on the Golden Rule? Or a modern loose interpretation on a handful of passages in the Bible? Pastor Mulheran apparently defines it by the latter.

The problem with ‘just go to another school’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned discrimination against LGBTQ+ students. He even vowed that the pending Religious Discrimination Bill will actually protect LGBTQ+ students.

He has also promised that he’ll try and reverse anti – discrimination exemptions that are in place in a number of Australian States and Territories. 

These ‘promises’ have faced opposition among the Liberal/ National Party members.

One common argument against protections is that parents should ‘just look for another school’.

There are a few problems with this. Citipointe Christian College is K – 12. Children may not realise their LGBTQ+ by the time they are four or five. 

Some don’t know exactly what their sexuality or gender identity is until years later. So, if a student, who has been at Citipointe Christian College from Kindergarten, realise they may be gay at sixteen, what, should they just leave? It doesn’t make sense. Put the onus on schools, not parents or students.

 

Schools need to be inclusive

I’ve written before about my struggle with my sexuality when I was at school. It was hard to admit I was struggling with my sexuality in school. And I was offered nothing but support.

I’d hate to think how it would’ve been if the school wasn’t supportive. This is why I strongly believe that all schools should be welcoming and accepting of all students. They need to be a safe place for students, especially if they are not supported by parents or caregivers. Discrimination against students can’t be tolerated.

Latest updates

Pastor Mulheran released an ‘apology’ of sorts. There have been calls for him to resign. He is currently taking leave. It’s not known when/ if he’ll return. 

In Parliament, the Religious Discrimination Act and discrimination act exemptions are being debated.

My take? Scrap the exemptions and forget the Religious Discrimination Act. Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people was always the aim of the Religious Discrimination Act.

What do you think of Citipointe Christian College or the Religious Discrimination Act debate? Feel free to put your thoughts (respectfully) in the comments below.