Much has been said and written about the so-called Safe Schools program. Indeed, this happens to be my 22nd article on the issue. But many others have been concerned about this and have detailed its many shortcomings. One of the most extensive and most recent attempts to do so is by Sydney University Law professor Patrick Parkinson.
His just released academic paper, “The controversy over the Safe Schools program — finding the sensible centre,” is a carefully researched examination of the program. The 32-page paper contains 92 footnotes, and is a thorough and useful assessment of a very flawed program.
He introduces the paper as follows:
The Safe Schools program has attracted great controversy. On one end of the spectrum it is defended as an anti-bullying program. On the other end of the spectrum it is regarded as social engineering. It is important to have programs in schools that offer support for same-sex attracted youth, or those experiencing confusion about their gender identity, particularly those who do not have support at home. However, this particular program has some serious flaws.
This paper seeks to draw attention to various problems in the Safe Schools materials which ought to be rectified if a program like this is to continue to be offered in schools. First, the materials present statistics on same-sex attraction and transgender prevalence that have no valid scientific basis. Secondly, they present sexual orientation as fixed when for school-aged adolescents it is very volatile, and many same-sex attractions are transitory.
Thirdly, they present gender as fluid when for about 99.5% of the population, there is complete congruence between sexual characteristics and gender identity. Fourthly, they promote gender transitioning without the need for any medical and psychological guidance and even without parental knowledge or consent. Finally, they offer potentially misleading legal advice to teachers. While a program of this kind may offer benefits for some young people, there is reason to be concerned that it may cause harm to other young people who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion. There is certainly a place for an anti-bullying program that addresses the issues with which the Safe Schools program is concerned, but this program needs to be rescued from its progenitors.
Let me offer a few more quotes here. Consider this in the section on “The volatility of teenage same-sex attraction”:
Even if the adult figure for identification as exclusively or mainly gay or lesbian were corrected to be about 2% (or more detailed and accurate figures were given for adolescent same-sex attraction) it would not resolve another problem: it seems as if the entire program is premised on the assumption that same-sex attraction is something fixed, and defines a young adolescent’s identity, rather than being, for many, a transitory phase in psycho-sexual development.
Talk of ‘coming out’, being ‘queer’ and so on presupposes that a year 7 or 8 girl’s attraction to another girl is definitive of her sexual orientation as she grows into adulthood. The evidence suggests that this may be the case for some, but it is unlikely for most. There is, in other words, a major difference between having feelings of romantic attraction towards someone of the same gender as an adolescent, and going on to enter into a continuing same-sex relationship. There is also a gulf between ever having had a same-sex experience and identifying as an adult who is either exclusively, or predominantly, gay or lesbian in orientation.
And this is from “Gender Fluidity as a Belief System”:
What then could be the explanation for the exaggerated statistics promoted by the Safe Schools Coalition? A likely explanation for the exaggeration of transgender and intersex conditions is that it is regarded as necessary to support the authors’ belief system to show that gender is “fluid” and can even be chosen. This idea has its origins not in science but in philosophy. Leading gender theorist Judith Butler, for example, wrote in 1988 that
“…gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time – an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts… Feminist theory has often been critical of naturalistic explanations of sex and sexuality that assume that the meaning of women’s social existence can be derived from some fact of their physiology. In distinguishing sex from gender, feminist theorists have disputed causal explanations that assume that sex dictates or necessitates certain social meanings for women’s experience.”
The differentiation made between sex and gender, and the notion that gender is fluid and may be socially constructed, lie at the heart of the Safe Schools program. Here is a passage from All of Us instructing teachers on how to explain this idea to 7 and 8th grade students: “Explain that sex is about the body you are born with (male, female or intersex), while gender is about your identity, or how you feel inside. Gender refers to the way that you feel on the inside. It might be expressed by how you dress or how you behave and for some people these things may change over time.”
This is now quite a widespread belief system, especially in parts of the western world. This belief system is deeply held by some, and has many characteristics of being a religious belief. As with religions, there is a new language, helpfully explained in detail in All of Us for the uninitiated. The 99.5% (or more) of us who do not think we are transgender are “cisgender”, as if we represented just one type of gender identification. A vast array of terms have been developed to allow people to describe themselves as neither male nor female, and such terms have been adopted by social media such as Facebook.
The belief system also has its rituals. When students introduce themselves at formal meetings in university student unions across Australia (such as debating events), they are asked to say what their name is, the gender with which they identify, and their preferred pronoun….
His conclusion is also worth reproducing here:
It is unlikely that the concern about the Safe Schools program will go away. Without significant changes, the Safe Schools program risks conflict between school principals and teachers, and between schools and parents. Large ethnic communities are likely to become more vocal in their opposition. If parents knew that their school would assist their child to change gender identification at school without their knowledge and consent and without any expert medical or psychiatric involvement, the vast majority would, I expect, be extremely concerned. For the most part, politicians have defended the Safe Schools program because it is an anti-bullying program. If they continue to do so, without insisting on major reforms to it, they are likely to experience a severe political backlash in the more culturally diverse constituencies. Furthermore, the risk is that opposition to it will become so strong that eventually the baby will be thrown out with the bathwater and neither this program, or one like it, will continue to exist. That would be detrimental. In any school there will be students who are struggling with aspects of their psychosexual development.
There is a need to support same-sex attracted youth, especially those who are unable to discuss these issues in their families. Many will not be same-sex attracted ten years later, but while they struggle with their sexual orientation, they need support and reliable information about same-sex attraction in the appropriate classes in the school curriculum. So it is with young people experiencing gender confusion. Expert professional help from those with the relevant medical or psychological expertise is essential. The program, or something like it, will no doubt do much good if it is brought back into the sensible centre. While a program of this kind may offer benefits for some young people, there is reason to be concerned that it may cause harm to other young people who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion. This is not good enough for an educational resource. The Safe Schools program needs to be rescued from its progenitors.
One of the most telling facts which show us just how bad this program is, is the number of our elites who sing the program’s praises, yet refuse to send their own children to schools which have it! Miranda Devine has just penned a piece on how NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has been defending this program. She too cites the Parkinson paper, and then closes with these words:
Plucky Revered Fred Nile is about the only NSW MP game to stand up to Piccoli over Safe Schools. Just turned 82, at Budget Estimates on August 29, he forced Piccoli to state his continuing support for the discredited program and elicited the disturbing revelation, that a four-year-old about to enter kindergarten has identified as transgender.
Rev Nile pointed out to Piccoli that his children go to Catholic schools so aren’t exposed to Safe Schools material. “It says how much confidence you have in the programs when your children attend schools that do not have it,” he said. Exactly. Like Mike Baird, Bill Shorten and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, these great defenders of Safe Schools have ensured that their own children are safe from it.
Use the link below to read the entire paper by Parkinson, and then share it far and wide. Enough is enough. We need to protect our children from the social engineering ideologues who care only about adult radicalism, and not our children’s wellbeing.