There are a number of opportunities this term to acknowledge diversity in our communities, including Transgender Remembrance Day. World AIDS Day continues to be a significant day, especially within our gay community, while Human Rights Day provides a teaching opportunity that includes LGBTIQ rights and can be linked to the curriculum (perhaps even involving the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity). Intersex Awareness Day was marked on October 26.
While last term saw many schools celebrating the diversity of their LGBTIQ students and families with Wear It Purple there were continuing media attacks on inclusive programs such as Safe Schools Coalition and even on Department resources that provided support to teachers on LGBTIQ topics. These were attacks by conservative forces that do not accept the diversity that exists within our society and that who seek to create a climate of fear, hostility and hate. Federation maintains that in order to fulfil legal and moral obligations, the Department and public schools need to ensure that all teachers, students and their families are safe, free from discrimination and welcome in the school community.
The end of the school year is almost upon us so it’s a good time to plan for next year. Perhaps your school could take up training to support LGBTIQ students and their families or update policies to be more inclusive of gender-diverse students; perhaps you can make your classroom more inclusive. To help you, a range of online and face-to-face training resources is available. Check Federation’s LGBTIQ pages at https://www.nswtf.org.au/my-interests/special-interest-groups/lgbtiq.html for further information.
Trade Union Training Officer and Officer attached to LGBTIQ matters
Ashfield Youth Centre major project in December
Keep checking the Ashfield Youth Centre website for the December dates of its big production, on the media and political storm over the Safe Schools program. Rehearsals start this week on this exciting political production.
Plebiscite to be blocked
Federation welcomes Labor’s decision to join Greens and Independents in voting against the plebiscite on marriage equality because this could eventuate in a faster breakthrough on the issue.
Safe Schools debated in NSW parliament
Politicians from all sides spoke out in favour of Safe Schools when a petition was brought before the NSW parliament to debate the program.
Mardi Gras 2017
The Mardi Gras season is fast approaching and Federation is looking forward to being involved again this year. Join the fun!
Research on LGBTIQ young people
Useful summaries and links to leading Australian studies investigating the experiences of young LGBTIQ+ people and their educational experiences.
Mark your calendar
Here are some significant dates for the rest of the year:
Wear it Purple Day August 26 Intersex Awareness Day October 26 International Day of Tolerance November 16 (UN observance) Transgender Remembrance Day November 20 World AIDS Day December 1 (UN observance) Human Rights Day December 10 (UN observance)
LGBTIQ Special Interest Group
The LGBTIQ Special Interest Group (SIG) is open to any interested member of the New South Wales Teachers Federation. It focuses on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) issues and how they affect teachers and schools.
Meetings take place in Sydney, with the next one scheduled on Saturday October 22 at 12:30pm 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 on union policy relating to LGBTIQ issues. Teleconference facilities are available for those unable to attend the meeting in person. To RSVP and gain teleconferencing details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIG welcomes new members, be they LGBTIQ identifying, or allies. 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 on the newsletter or website, or information regarding LGBTIQ issues, please contact Mel Smith, NSW Teachers Federation, on (02) 9217 2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or a colleague is experiencing homophobia, discrimination or harassment contact your local Organiser for advice or call our Professional Support Team on 1300 654 369.