With increasing scrutiny, supporters of the “Safe Schools” “anti-bullying” program have settled on a repeated mantra – “It’s vital in delivering an anti-bullying message and creating a safe school environment”.
“..Safe Schools Coalition is about supporting gender and sexual diversity. Not about celebrating diversity. Not about stopping bullying. About gender and sexual diversity. About same-sex attractive. About being transgender. About being lesbian, gay, bisexual – say the words – transgender, intersex. Not just “Be nice to everyone. Everyone’s great.””
Accusations of homophobia/transphobia would predictably follow from statements like the above. Except in this case, it was said by Roz Ward, co-founder Safe Schools Coalition Victoria as captured in an undercover video. Along with a current petition asking that the list of schools using the program be unpublished, a pattern of non-disclosure is emerging. Clearly, there is more to the program than is publicly being admitted. Clearly, the public is being lied to.
Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves, how do we best care for those who are conflicted about gender and sexuality?
The People Behind The Program
When trying to understand actions, the first and most important question is, “what are the motives behind them?” As much as someone’s title is useful but not determinant of the quality of the statements they make, so it is with the title and the ideas behind programs such as “Safe School”.
With that in mind, it is worth noting the wider ideologies behind this program. This article reveals such insights as found in one of its key promoters, the aforementioned Roz Ward. You may also be aware that Victoria is planning to push ahead with the program, federal funding or not, with the aim of making it compulsory for all schools. In other words, what was promoted as an “opt-in” program to ease the reservations of parents will no longer be so. The slippery slope has once again become evident.
A deeper analysis of the program may be found here, which includes further insights into how the school system is seen as a tool to distort the next generation’s perception of their sexuality and gender.
Care for the Confused
Love does the hard things. Sometimes, that means reaching out beyond your comfort zone to where the solutions lie for the most vulnerable. Sometimes, that means challenging the prevailing assumptions and statements to breath life into your everyday discussions. It may be risky but it is necessary.
I recently had a discussion with a principal of one of the largest primary schools here. When I brought up the subject of the “Safe Schools” program, he said that the critics of it were just focused one a small aspect of it and it was something which was needed for the children who say they have gender and sexuality issues.
What struck me about those statements is his lowered view of sexuality which he held inconsistently when he agreed with me later that it would be inappropriate to introduce such subjects to young children. So it does matter even if he has been deceived into thinking it’s “a small aspect” of the program (as documented, it’s not). It’d be like thinking it’s ok to have a drink because it was 99% pure water but only 1% arsenic.
One of the prevailing assumptions of the “Safe Schools” program is that variances in gender identity and sexuality are to be promoted. Mandatorily if required. This is an assumption challenged by a former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins University Hospital (pioneers of “sex-reassignment surgery” in the 1960s.), Dr. McHugh:
“Policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention,”
“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”
Regarding a 30 year follow up of 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden:
“Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.”
On a study by Hopkins 10 years after pioneering “sex-reassignment surgery”:
“..subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery”
“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,”
On medically intervening children with gender confusion:
“Given that close to 80%* of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated, these medical interventions come close to child abuse.” (*data from a study by Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic)
“People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”
Please consider his whole discussion here.
Finally, here are some more statements from the above undercover recording of the Safe Schools Coalition National Symposium 2014:
“If, and when, and sometimes, in that case when the parent did complain – we have complaints sometimes directly from parents who are not [inaudible] in what we’re doing. When people do complain, then school leadership can very calmly and graciously say “You know what? We’re doing it anyway. Tough luck.”
“It’s important to know that it does come up a lot. People say “What about the parents?” a lot. Schools give parents…Parents have a lot…seem to have a lot of power over schools. Parents don’t have the power to shut this down. There’s an insignificant minority that might have an issue with it. None of them really ever say anything.”
“That’s part of the school culture. That’s part of the school community. You’re either a part of it or you’re not really, at the end of the day. And no one’s taken their kid out of school…”
Such comments come from a mindset that those who disagree are in a minority (a questionable assumption) and will silently consent to handing their children over to such indoctrination either through ignorance, intimidation or apathy. Quite the opposite is required to address this and it was the bravery of a mother, Cella White which brought this program into greater visibility when she did exactly what they didn’t expect – she withdrew her children from Frankston High School back in February of this year. Unfortunately and predictably, she was then subjected to verbal intimidation.
And intimidation is the unfortunate modus operandi of those who push this agenda. Intimidation in verbal, legal and more recently, physical form where the office of a politician raising concerns about this program was ransacked.
Once again, please consider your part in being part of the solution. For this particular issue, please add your voice and encourage others to do so. Please don’t let them win by default.