Cate Mcgregor changes stance on Safe Schools


Cricket commentator and former Lieutenant Colonel, Cate Mcgregor, has denounced and apologised for her opposition to the controversial Safe Schools program last year. Mcgregor had received backlash from LGBTQ media and community organisations after opposing Safe Schools, when she accused the founder Roz Ward as being a ‘Trotskyite’.

Mcgregor claimed that her mind changed after hearing testimonies about how Safe Schools had helped, and possibly saved, transgender children.

She has received some backlash from some people for her stance.

Mcgregor is free to change her mind. And to be honest, I think there was a lot of scaremongering about Safe Schools. Frankly, I think a lot of that was fueled by homophobia and trans – phobia.

I remember finding and reading through the All of Us online. While I didn’t agree with everything that I read (I didn’t see the point in the role – playing of being sixteen and in a same – sex relationship when the children were about thirteen/ fourteen), but, there was good in it. I did like the way that the resource went beyond the  gay/ straight dichotomy.

I also liked the idea of the videos featuring LGBTI teens. I think that would’ve been a good way to tear down stigma and negative stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people. I think there could have been a bit more on those who are questioning and unsure of their orientation.

I hoped that Safe Schools would start a conversation LGBTQ+ students and how they can be supported. I hoped that it would bring assurance to LGBTQ+ students who were being bullied or struggling to accept themselves. I firmly believe that acceptance and non – judgement can’t be merely implied. It needs to be explicit. Negative voices and doubt need to be confirmed wrong. It would be great for teachers, Student Advisers, School Counsellors and other support staff to initiate and welcome discussion, rather than students having to find the courage to initiate it, when, all too often, fear of rejection is all too real.

I liked the way that asexuality was mentioned  in the resources. This could lessen the alienation that so many young asexual people go through.


Then, it all went to hell in a  hand basket.  A damning video circulated the internet of a conference with Roz Ward as speaker. It exposed the ‘truth’ about the Safe Schools program; that it wasn’t an anti – bullying program, but a pro – LGBT program. Conservatives lapped this up and there was increasing pressure for State governments to can the program.

Then, during last year’s same – sex marriage debate, the real smear campaign started. Not only were opponents of Safe Schools screaming about ‘gender fluidity’ and ‘penis tucking’, there were also accusations that children, some who were in primary school, were modelling plasticine into vulvas and kids being taught about sex toys and masturbation. The Department of Education and supporters of Safe Schools, including former Australian Medical Association President, Kerryn Phelps. vehemently denied the claims. I had never read anything to suggest such things. To be honest, I can’t help but think that tactic was used by some to imply a link between LGBTQ+ people and paedophilia.


Personally, I don’t know whether Safe Schools should be modified, stay 5he same, or just go. But I DO knpw that LGBTQ+ students. They should feel safe, cared for and free from judgement. Victims of homophobia, trans – phobia, etc need to be confident that if they speak out, that they will ne supported and that such behaviour will not be tolerated by anyone.

Critics of Safe Schools keep saying that no child should be bullied. I agree. And LGBTQ+ students should be accepted and supported, a factor that people seem to want to swerve away from.


Gender/ sexuality Opinion/Commentary

Safe Schools being dumped in New South Wales – predictable and a lost opportunity

New South Wales Education Minister, Rob Stokes will cut off funding for the controversial Safe Schools Program after June 30. However, Mr. Stokes has also said that the program will be replaced by a holistic anti – bullying program, with input from teachers and principals of private and Catholic schools. This decision has recieved some praise on social media:


Personally, my feelings about Safe Schools have been mixed. When I first heard about the program, I was skeptical, then when I looked at the resources, including the ‘All of Us’ booklet online, I thought maybe it wasn’t a bad idea. What I liked about it was the fact it went beyond the gay/ straight dichotomy. I never understood the role playing exercises, though. Then, it all became a farce. The program’s founder Roz Ward said that the Safe Schools was deliberately about sexuality, gender and anti – Capitalism. Much of the information is arguable, to say the least and The Australian alleged that students were being interviewed about their sexuality without parents’ knowledge or consent.

There has also been concern about the content being taught in preschools and primary schools, with critics arguing that the it sexualises children. When the program was reviewed last year, the primary school curriculum was deemed inappropriate and was taken out all together. Despite concerns, some State premiers, like Victoria’s Daniel Andrews has hard – headedly latched on to the program, with plans to make it compulsory in all Victorian high schools by 2019.


I am so disappointed tbat this has gone down the way it has. I firmly believe that there is place for high schools to openly discuss issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and offer support LGBTQ+ students and their families. I can say from personal experience that being bullied because of your sexuality is hard. To be honest, I think what makes it harder than other forms of bullying is the fear of rejection and self – loathing. With the inclusion of asexuality and other members of the LGBTQ+ community being recognised. To be honest, it may have made a few years in high school a little bit easier.

However, I don’t think the program was done correctly. Skewing data and turning such a sensitive issue into a political manifesto doesn’t help anyone. Also, I don’t think it should have been labelled an ‘anti – bullying’ program, when it was proved to be more. Also, I think parents and guardians should not have been left in the dark about content or activities, including any research activities that were to take place (surveys, interviews, etc).


Maybe a holistic anti – bullying program would be better than one that solely focuses on LGBTQ+ students. But I still say, correct information needs to be given to teachers and other staff to assist LGBTQ+ students. Students should know withiut a shadowvof a doubt that they’ll be supported and teachers and counsellors should be armed with correct information, including on asexuality (I know I keep bringing it up, but it’s something I do feel strongly about).


How do you feel about the Safe Schools program? If you’re against it, what do you think can replace it?