'Transphobic': One Nation slammed over attempt to ban gender fluidity lessons in NSW schools

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A bill introduced by One Nation that seeks to prohibit NSW schools from teaching gender fluidity to students has been labelled “transphobic” and “discriminatory”.

LGBTIQ advocacy group Equality Australia said One Nation’s Parental Rights Bill “harms trans and gender diverse students by denying their existence and preventing teachers and counsellors from supporting them”. 

While The New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby labelled the Bill “a serious and blatant attack on young people, their families, teachers, school staff and our communities.”

“The Bill erases the very existence of trans children, encourages direct transphobia and positions intersex children as disordered in NSW,” NSWGLRL said.

“It deliberately targets trans and gender diverse kids within our classrooms during some of the most formative times in their lives.”

The Parental Rights Bill, introduced by One Nation into the NSW Parliament last month, would amend the Education Act 1990 to clarify that parents -- not schools -- are primarily responsible for children’s understanding of gender and sexuality. 

The Bill aims to “ensure that curriculum, syllabuses, and courses of instruction at all levels of schooling do not include the teaching of gender fluidity and recognise parental primacy in relation to core values.”

Under the Bill, parents would also be allowed to withdraw students if they “object to the particular teaching on these matters of parental primacy”.

If passed, the Bill states that any person who develops courses to teach gender fluidity would have their accreditation revoked by the NSW Education Standards Authority.

Mark Latham
One Nation NSW's Leader Mark Latham.

Mr Latham countered on Twitter that “like all fanatical anti-science ideologies, LGBTIQ ideology must be defeated, especially teachings in school that biological sex is irrelevant and gender is 'socially constructed'.”

“On Parental Rights, the Bill does not ‘deny the existence of transgender students’ or ‘stop them seeing school counsellors’. It stops teaching of gender as 'socially constructed',” he added.

While reading the Bill in NSW Parliament last month, Mr Latham praised Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government for ending the Safe Schools program in 2017.

He said there are “attempts by cultural dieticians and social engineers” to “take over the role of parents” as “part of the post-modernist attack on the nuclear family.”

Mr Latham also referred to comments made by NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell last year.

She stated: “the reality is, instilling values and encouraging values on social and political issues is not the job of schools. It is the job of parents.”

Christian Schools Australia -- a peer group representing a large network of independent Christian schools -- has welcomed the introduction of the Bill.

“Christian schools have always acknowledged the foundational Biblical role of parents in the education of their children,” said Director of Public Policy, Mark Spencer.

“As Christian schools we want parents to choose our schools for the education of their children because of the values and beliefs we espouse and model,” he added.

But Jenny Leong, Greens NSW spokesperson for Sex, Sexuality and Gender Identity told The Feed that “the Greens oppose this bill in the strongest terms”.

Jenny  Leong
MP Jenny Leong.
SBS News

The Member for Newtown said it’s “extremely disappointing that the NSW Government is giving a platform to transphobic and extremely damaging fringe views of the likes of One Nation.”

“There is no place for transphobia in our school system and this attempt from One Nation to make it official school policy, risking the health, wellbeing, safety and education of trans and gender diverse kids and teachers is nothing short of disgraceful,” she added.

“We need to be focused on making our schools more inclusive, and ensuring that parents, teachers and the whole school community have access to counselling and other support that is reflective of the needs of students -– not causing further harm and division to vulnerable kids.”

The Bill is still under consideration in the Legislative Council. A parliamentary inquiry into the proposed legislation will begin hearings next year. 

The Feed contacted NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay, who declined to comment.