It was lovely to have had the opportunity to meet up with a wide range of LGBTIQ SIG members from around the state at our recent SIG lunch. Aside from meetings and the odd rally the LGBTIQ SIG doesn’t get to meet up much. The lunch provides an informal opportunity to meet each other face to face and network with like-minded individuals, and it was great to see so many people keen to catch up over lunch.
Recent media reports have continued to beat up stories about Safe Schools and inclusive practices. Federation was contacted by the media but decided not to respond on this issue. It was not an easy decision to make but we knew our comments would merely be used to generate further attacks on the Safe Schools program and keep the story longer in the public eye.
Federation’s policy position is clear: “Research reports confirm that people who are or are perceived to be same-sex-attracted or gender-diverse experience disproportionate levels of violence and harassment compared to the general population. Research also tells us that a significant proportion of this harassment and violence occurs in schools.”
Federation acknowledges and understands that teachers in various settings including early childhood, primary schools, secondary schools and post-compulsory education have a great depth of knowledge and experience in the work they do, including making their classrooms safe and inclusive for students of all diverse backgrounds.
The union will continue to defend universal human rights, including the right of every student to be treated equally, respectfully, inclusively and safely.
If members have questions about Federation’s policy position or seek further information on this matter, our website contains a variety of information and advice under the “My Interests” tab, then LGBTIQ.
Trade Union Training Officer and Officer attached to LGBTIQ matters
Wear It Purple Day
Celebrating Wear It Purple Day on August 26 can provide an opportunity to practise important social and emotional skills to develop a sense of shared responsibility for keeping classrooms and school communities safe, respectful and inclusive for all members.
Teacher Toolbox — new Department resource
The Department of Education's Teacher Toolbox for delivering content relating to diversity of sex, sexuality and gender aims to complement existing school resources and assist in the delivery of syllabus content relating to identity, relationships, sexuality, gender, diversity, discrimination and sexual health.
Education International has released the first edition of its Rainbow Newsletter on lesbian, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues in education and education unions.
The newsletter seeks to support the work of the EI-LGBTI network and to keep members informed on EI and affiliates' work to promote LGBTI rights.
A new social support group for LGBTIQA+ young people aged 12-18 has been launched by Twenty10 incorporating Gay and lesbian Counselling Service NSW.
Marriage equality activism
A marriage equality rally will be held in Sydney on Saturday August 13.
Here and Now inclusivity training
Twenty10’s Here and Now program helps explore how better practice principles can make a difference for you, your students and your school when working with LGBTIQA+ people. It introduces the latest research and thinking around inclusive practices as well as strategies to challenge homophobia, transphobia and heteronormativity so you can make a real difference for your students and colleagues, starting right here, right now.
Changes have been made to the Safe Schools Coalition website following a review by Emeritus Professor William Louden and the federal government's recommendations for changes.
Also, staff training provided to NSW teachers via the Safe Schools Coalition, NSW will now contribute toward additional hours of QTC Registered Professional Development for teachers working towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.
Scholarships and mentoring
The Pinnacle Foundation scholarships program can assist with financial support but, equally as important, they provide mentoring support from someone who is also LGBTIQ and in the same professional field to guide young people through their studies.
Departmental memo on Safe Schools
The Department’s recent memo on Safe Schools focuses on supporting schools in the implementation of the program and should not be interpreted as a deterrent to inclusive practices that create safe and supporting educational settings for same-sex-attracted and gender-diverse students and their families.
Mark your calendar
Wear it Purple Day
Intersex Awareness Day
International Day of Tolerance
Transgender Remembrance Day
World AIDS Day
Human Rights Day
LGBTIQ Special Interest Group
The LGBTIQ Special Interest Group (SIG) is open to any interested member of the NSW Teachers Federation. It is concerned with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) issues and how these issues affect teachers and schools.
Meetings take place in Sydney, with the next one scheduled for 12.30pm on Saturday October 22 at Federation House, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills.
The meeting provides members with the opportunity to discuss relevant LGBTIQ issues, inform Federation of specific areas of concern and provide advice to the union on policies relating to LGBTIQ issues. Teleconference facilities will be available for those who are not able to be at the meeting in person. To RSVP and obtain teleconferencing information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIG welcomes new members. To join the LGBTIQ SIG please contact Federation on (02) 9217 2100 or email email@example.com. Teachers can also obtain information on LGBTIQ issues here on Federation’s website.
If you have feedback in relation to the newsletter or website, or information regarding LGBTIQ issues please contact Mel Smith, NSW Teachers Federation at (02) 9217 2100 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you, or a colleague, is experiencing homophobia, discrimination or harassment contact your local Organiser for advice, or alternatively you can call our Professional Support Team on 1300 654 369.