Parents expect, quite rightly so, that what is presented and taught to their children in primary and high school meets rigorous curriculum standards. As a society we place a premium on the development and maintenance of those standards. With them in place and being properly enforced we can feel confident that the children passing through our education system are going to benefit from what is taught within the scope of the particular subject studied.
A visit to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Report Authority (ACARA) website will provide one with an appreciation of the effort that is made to develop and maintain curriculum standards for children in our schools. A parent who spent half an hour or so scrolling through the ACARA website in all its detail would correctly conclude that what is taught to their children and how it is taught to their children is taken seriously in this country.
Enter now, as has been discussed in the media over the last week or so, the so-called Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) anti-bullying program. It is difficult to describe how much this is not an anti-bullying program, but rather a radical sexuality and gender ideology program.
Parents of children at school, if they have not done so already, should visit the SSCA website and review the material themselves. They should also go to the “Our Supporters” page and click through the list of supporter organisations. Three organisations that deserve particular attention are MINUS18, the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University and Safe Schools Coalition Victoria. It is from within these three key organisations that resources have been drawn to put together the national program. Micah Scott, Lynne Hillier and Roz Ward from the respective organisations have played key roles in the development of the SSCA material and publications.
The material either promoted or available from the SSCA website contain some very interesting ideas that most parents I expect would find quite surprising.
In the book called The Gender Fairy that is recommended as a teaching aid for primary school children, one can only wonder what most kids will make of the advice given by the Gender Fairy to the little girl and little boy on pages 20 and 21 of the book. Quoting directly from the book: “And this is what the Gender Fairy said. “Only you know whether you are a boy or a girl. No one can tell you. If you feel no one knows who you really are, you can tell a grown up you trust.” ” Does this mean there is something wrong with me?” asked the little girl. “No. Not at all,” replied the Gender Fairy. “It is very normal. Some children feel no one can see who they really are.”
The purpose of quoting directly from the book is not to make fun of the author, Jo Hirst. I presume that she sincerely believes what she has written. My question is where does it fit into the Australian curriculum to be telling primary school aged children that no one can tell them that they are a boy or a girl? Moreover, where in the Australian curriculum does it support the proposition that it is “very normal” for a little girl to feel like a little boy and vice versa?
If parents are thinking that the material that their children are being exposed to will be less controversial once they get to high school they would be mistaken. MINUS18 has played a pivotal role in the development of the SSCA material and messaging. They are listed as a Supporter Organisation and their logo appears on the SSCA website. One of the well-known and promoted MINUS18 publication is titled OMG I’M TRANS. Page 30 is headed Playing with your look. It provides some explicit advice that is worth quoting in full:
Binding is a great way to temporarily and non-surgically reduce the size of your chest. A binder is used to compress your chest to make it appear flat/smaller. There are many ways to bind, but it’s important to do it right. Binding improperly can cause injury as you’re putting a decent amount of pressure on your chest and ribs. If you notice any pain in your chest, give yourself a breather and try to restrict yourself to no more than 8 hours of binding at a time. There are some really great retailers online, such as Underworks.
If you can’t get a professional binder you still have other options. Sports compression wear, neoprene back braces, and even layering tight sports bras can all work as budget binders. Just remember to be careful, and if you feel strong discomfort stop, take a break, and try something different.
Absolutely do not use bandages or duct tape. You see it a lot in movies but they are used to apply pressure and usually tighten with movement, so they’re not safe for binding.
Tucking is used to create a flat front in the pants, and reduce the visibility of a penis. It’s often done when wearing tight skirts and/or dresses, or just for personal comfort. Just like binding it’s important to take care, tucking can cause injury if done improperly. Don’t tuck for more than 4-6 hours at a time, and taking a break is a must.
Tucking sometimes involves a technique of placing the testicles back inside the pockets inside your abdomen that lie on either side of the penis. If it feels too weird, a tuck can still work without it. The next step is to pull the penis backwards, in between your legs. Secure everything and make sure it stays in place. Wearing a pair of slightly-too-tight underwear and a pair of tights can be a way of securing your tuck.
A packer can be a big help from bottom dysphoria. A packer is pretty much a penis to pack downstairs. Put it down your pants and hey presto!
You may need a harness to make sure it stays in place, but tight underwear will generally do the job. A good tip starting out is don’t buy too big, make sure it’s secure and you’re good to go!
All in all it’s important to remember that these are just tips! You can use all of them, none of them, or some of them! What matters is that you do what feels right for you.”
Once again I pose the question. Where in the Australian curriculum does it support the provision of this information and advice to children in our schools? I also make the point that there is nothing stopping primary school children looking around the SSCA website and getting themselves onto the MINUS18 website to read about binding, tucking and packing.
Bullying in our schools, for whatever reason, is not acceptable. This is the clear message that needs to be communicated and understood across all schools and all ages. To the best of my knowledge this is precisely the message that we have been presenting to all school students in recent years. That is a good thing and we must continue to work towards eliminating bullying wherever it may occur.
However, the SSCA program should be called-out for what it is. Knowing that the material and publications do not pass muster in terms of the Australian curriculum, it has been dressed up as an anti-bullying program and is being surreptitiously placed before our school children.
Sadly, in my view, we are seeing very few politicians and education academics and bureaucrats taking this program to task. Very few seem willing to put their head above the parapet. This will only change if parents become engaged in the matter and start publically demanding action. For the sake of current and future generations of children, I certainly hope that they do.
By Greg Donnelly