Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Dyke-hunting in the Schoolyard #2

Crumbs, this is eye-opening. Online survey from The Age:

Lesbian teachers : Would you have a problem with an openly gay teacher educating a child in grade five or six?
Yes - 43%
No - 57%
Total Votes: 1645 Poll date: 07/03/05
Related: Lesbian student teacher axed

I realise it's a small sample, but it's worrying because The Age - and I assume its readership - is the most progressive, or the least right-wing, at it were, mainstream newspaper in Australia. If nearly half of its readers still have a problem with gays teaching their kids, imagine how John Hun and Jane Terrorgraph reader feel?

Still, the single letter they have (so far) published on this issue is a little more encouraging:

Gays are part of the community
What a strange world we live in. Children in primary school can read and hear all about the heterosexual and relationship travails of those sold to them as role models - Britney Spears, Delta Goodrem, Paris Hilton, sporting stars - but they cannot ask a teacher questions about her loving relationship with a woman without a furore breaking out (The Age, 7/3). This is the result of the climate of fear that a very small number of people have managed to foist on the wider community.
Whether the religious right likes it or not, whether this Federal Government likes it or not, gay people are part of our community. They work, pay taxes, buy property, raise children and have loving, monogamous relationships. They are our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and friends.
Our public schools are not doing their job if they do not acknowledge the role that gay people play in the everyday life of the community. Being afraid of a gay teacher in a school is as stupid as not letting pregnant women teach on the basis that children might guess they have had sex.

Vanda Hamilton, East Melbourne


At 8/3/05 12:37 pm, Blogger Ron said...

You only have to visit OnlineOpinion and Troppo Armadillo and read the comments on recent essays and posts about sexuality to make you realise that homophobia is still rampant.

Sometimes I wonder if any real tolerance of homosexuality has been achieved apart from the comment, "Oh, I've got some friends who are gay". Once you get away from the unreal world of Oxford St, Enmore and Newtown, this feeling is reinforced.

I have a feeling life is not a whole lot easier in most parts of Australia today for queer kids than it was 20,30, 40 or whatever years ago.

At 8/3/05 1:56 pm, Blogger Sam said...

It might be harder for the kids now because unlike 20,30 and 40 years ago they've got a taste of how they should be treated, ie a world where being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, but now it's slowly being taken away from them as we regress. At least the kids back then didn't know any differently.


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