Corey Bernadi is a lunatic. Okay, maybe calling him that is a little harsh, but I have to say, that’s the first word that jumped to mind when I read an email he sent this week.
In case you didn’t know, Senator Bernadi is a very vocal opponent of the Safe Schools initiative, which aims to make schools a ‘safe place’ for LGBT kids.
Now, straight away, Corz and I are standing on opposite sides of the road here. Because I’m all for Safe Schools.
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I hate to think of any child feeling “less than” anyone else, especially when it’s for reasons outside of their control. The colour of their skin, the way they talk, their name, the contents of their lunchbox, whether they like boys or girls more… These are just some of the reasons why kids get bullied.
So any program that makes any kids feel more included, more accepted, less isolated and less alone – well, that gets a giant tick of approval in my book.
I have a friend who recently shared just a snippet of the horrific bullying that rained down on him for being gay.
“I knew by the end of primary school these boys were correct. I was going to burn in hell. I was going to get AIDS and die, alone, hated by everyone,” he shared.
“I knew I deserved the beatings, the abuse. I never raised a hand in my own defence. Why would I? They were right. I was a disgusting, perverted faggot. They’d known all along, thanks to the older brother of a kid I was in Kindergarten with.”
It’s not just that he was bullied to the point that he dropped out of school early that makes my heart heavy.
It’s not just that his life was genuinely and regularly threatened – or that his teachers told him they were powerless to do anything about it.
It’s not that he suffers anxiety and panic attacks to this day, despite being aged in his 40s… Or that his childhood left irreparable damage on his confidence and self worth that will never fully heal.
It’s that we now have an opportunity to change things for our kids, so they don’t go through the same thing. But we haven’t taken that opportunity, because the government has bowed to pressure from Bernardi and his ilk.
So I do think Bernadi is a lunatic. He’s got kids of his own. And he’s actively advocating against a program that makes schools safer, more supportive and more inclusive for all of our children.
Why? Because he’s afraid they might ‘catch’ gay.
And because he believes the program would enable teen boys to “use the girls change room, whilst using the links provided on the information website to find more about bondage clubs and adult sex toys.”
It’s fear-mongering crap. And I’m so disappointed in the government-endorsed message this sends to all Australians: that being different means not being accepted. Again.
Here’s your chance to get your opinion in front of a larger audience. And earn a dollar!
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