We were fortunate to be at Senate hearings held last year when claims were made in relation to the treatment of a transgender student in a Christian school. Providentially, sufficient details were provided to allow the school to be contacted for further information and the completely false claims to be entirely refuted in our later testimony.
Unfortunately this is not the usual outcome. Anonymous claims are regularly made about the experiences of LGBTIQAP+ students without any opportunity to test the accusations made. Recently, for example, a Senate Committee inquiring into proposal to change the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) heard claims by Equal Voices (a ‘non-denominational, national network of Australian Christians committed to the full inclusion and equality of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer”) including the following –
‘Independent Christian school in Sydney, 2017
A primary aged student submitted a creative writing (fiction) exercise in which he imagined falling in love with another boy. After reading the boy’s story, the teacher ordered the boy to tear out and throw away the story because it was ‘shameful’. The boy was distraught at the teacher’s actions. When his classmates heard of the incident, sexuality-based bullying followed, which caused the boy severe distress.’
The student was said to have subsequently left the school as a result.
While this alleged incident is completely antithetical to the approaches we regularly hear as the practice of Christian schools around the country they do have a powerful impact on legislators.
All of our enquiries have, to date, unearthed no knowledge of such an incident occurring. Where we can identify the particular incident being raised there is invariably much more than what is being presented. This is unfortunately consistent with much of the highly questionable, if not entirely false, research being used to support claims being made by activists in this area. In this era of ‘fake news’ it is often challenging to discern and communicate truth.
EDIT: More recently the IEU have published a Letter to the Editor Being Gay in a Christian school claiming to be from a former teacher in a Christian school. This article was subsequently removed, you can read the claims in this saved copy here.
If you are aware of any potential allegations which may be levelled at your school around these issues please contact us to ensure that we are in a position to respond should it be raised.