In an announcement made over the Easter long weekend, the NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, said that once federal funding for the Safe Schools Coalition NSW program runs out later this year the state government would not continue to support the program. Instead, it would be replaced with a new anti-bullying strategy.
While the non-funding information was not new the announcement of a replacement program was and Federation consequently wrote to Minister Stokes to request more information. The letter also sought clarification around which, if any, elements of the Safe Schools program would be incorporated in the new anti-bullying program and how the wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ youth in schools would be safeguarded.
While incorporating LGBTIQ perspectives into a broader anti-bullying program will provide some resources for teachers we need to make sure that these perspectives are not watered down and that explicit support can be provided for vulnerable LGBTIQ students. Additionally, it is imperative that teachers' perspectives is incorporated into any expert panel that would oversee such a program. There is little use in an expert panel of people that would consider literature on the topic of bullying but fail to understand the demands and complexity of being responsible for a classroom of students.
Federation is seeking to ensure that whatever program “replaces” Safe Schools in NSW will be inclusive of LGBTIQ students and support teachers in their obligations to provide an inclusive environment that values diversity and respects differences.
Trade Union Training Officer and Officer attached to LGBTIQ matters
Mardi Gras celebrations
Mardi Gras was a great opportunity for LGBTIQ members and allies to be involved in activities with Federation, with the union being involved in both Fair Day and the Mardi Gras Parade.
Transgender Day of Visibility
Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is an annual day to recognise and celebrate trans and gender-diverse people in our communities by making them visible and heard.
While many regard LGBTIQ rights as already won in Australia, the reality is that’s not the case. On 17 May, the LGBTIQ community and its allies drew attention to the fight that still exists for LGBTIQ people to be considered equal to their peers.
Sydney Pride March Against Trump and Turnbull
On June 11, Sydney activists will join in solidarity with activists in the US who have called a for a Equality March for Unity and Pride to bring people together in opposition to Donald Trump.
Read about LGBTIQ issues in education and education unions around the world in this newsletter from Education International, the world’s largest federation of unions representing organisations of teachers and other education employees.
Free and Equal
Last term, the United Nations launched a new micro-campaign through its Free and Equal network to raise awareness of the scale and impact of anti-LGBTIQ bullying.
Free Safe Schools training
Federation will be hosting a free Safe Schools Coalition NSW seminar on Thursday 8 June on supporting gender-diversity and transgender students in schools.
Here And Now is Twenty10’s core workshop for building confidence in working with people of diverse genders, sexualities and intersex status.
Mark your calendar
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day and the march in February and March are the standout dates of significance for the LGBTI community. There’s also a full calendar of important dates for the year.
Wear it Purple Day
Australian LGBTI History Month
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 New South Wales 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 on 12.30pm on Saturday 5 August at Federation House, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills. The meeting gives members 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 to the meeting and gain the details for teleconferencing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIG welcomes new members, including LGBTIQ identifying members, or allies. To join the LGBTIQ SIG please contact Federation on (02) 9217 2100 or email email@example.com . Teachers can also access information on LGBTIQ issues 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, are experiencing homophobia, discrimination or harassment contact your local Organiser for advice or call our Professional Support Team on 1300 654 367.