Writing in The Age today, Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly objects to the Safe Schools Coalition’s observations.
The material endorsed by the Safe Schools Coalition argues that gender and sexuality are fluid concepts and that all forms of sexuality are acceptable. The belief that there are basically two sexes is condemned as “heterosexism” and students are told to celebrate diversity and difference.
One resource argues “there are many genders beyond ‘male’ or ‘female’; gender can be fluid or limitless” and that “There are no rules about who you can be: all you need to do is be yourself”.
It seems pretty innocuous until he gets to the vexed question of toilets:
Schools are told that if boys identify as girls they should be allowed to participate in girls’ sports and to use girls’ toilets.
So far, so ordinary. But here’s where the arguments go pear-shaped for Kevin:
On one hand the teacher union argues that government schools must be secular and that there is no place for the type of morality and values associated with religion and the Andrews government has removed religious instruction classes from the formal school day.
He’s made a common enough mistake: that objectivity should include bigotry and negative viewpoints. It’s the “balance fallacy”, put by Rational Wiki as:
… a logical fallacy that occurs when two sides of an argument are assumed to have equal or comparable value regardless of their respective merits, which (in turn) leads to the conclusion that the answer to a problem is always between two extremes. It is effectively an inverse false dilemma, discarding the two extremes rather than the middle.
The Andrews government rightly consigned the School Chaplain programme to the dustbin of history. Time and again the people teaching were pushing their religions onto students.
But sex and gender isn’t a religious viewpoint. It’s a fact. It’s not something being pushed down supposedly innocent students’ throats, it’s teaching the next generation that just because you’re gay or straight, bi or asexual, transgender, gender questioning, genderqueer or Intersex, you’re just another human, with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.
Read the full article on The Age.
Then read the excellent rebuttal by Rebecca Shaw on The Guardian Australia. It turns out the first article on this sorry subject matter was (surprise, surprise), printed in the conservative broadsheet The Australian.