With the electoral rolls having closed for the upcoming same-sex marriage survey in Australia, the No campaigners have hit the ground (and the TV screens) with ads that are both dishonest and deceptive.

The first lie that was perpetuated was by a former leader of a major political party who likened the survey to political correctness and said that if people don’t like that they should vote No. Okay, when you have to say follicle challenged rather than balding or bald, it may be a little far-fetched at times, but it is preposterous to link that with same-sex marriage.

Not content with that, the first of the ads has espoused the lie by a mother that her son would be able to wear a dress to school. No school in the country, let alone the world, would force a cisgender male to wear a dress to school! What the Safe Schools programme does is allow people who may be gender fluid or androgynous to express this without fear of being abused because of it!

Then, if this weren’t preposterous enough, viewers saw the horror of one woman that her son was asked to role play a same-sex attracted person! If she knew anything of history, she would know that in Ancient Greece many plays had all-male casts and roles of females were typically taken by boys whose voices had not broken.

Many of us who grew up in the 1970s, 80s and 90s will have laughed at the highly camp Mr Humphries from Are You Being Served, even if some found him insulting of gay people, yes, it’s true, he was a satirical example, and the actor who played him, John Inman, was gay in real life and the character was an extreme send-up, but more serious roles, such as Chris Pappas (played by James Mason on Neighbours) have been played by actors who are heterosexual in real life. Being asked to role play a character who is gay should not be greeted with horror by any parent any more so than a fourteen year old being asked to play the role of fifty year old Russian firefighter! Furthermore, being asked to play that character should succeed in causing the student to be more empathetic towards peers who may be in the early stages of “coming out”.

The fact of the matter is, Safe Schools is aimed not at forcing cisgender kids to be turned gay, they can’t be, Safe Schools is aimed at making schools safe for kids who are gay rather than having them manipulated into being something they are not. Having been at school in the 1980s, I was fortunate to have escaped the era where boys were forced to do woodwork or metalwork and girls needlework or typing as they were forced to adhere to gender stereotypes, let us not forget that some of the world’s leading chefs, such as Ainslie Harriot, Jamie Oliver and a few others, are men.

Rather than Safe Schools turning kids into something they are not, unsafe schools are manipulating LGBTIQ kids into being something they are not as they are forced to fit a stereotype that is out of date and denies them opportunities that cisgender, heteronormative people have as a right.

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