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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » I feel that this is discrimination, but is it legal?

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Author Topic: I feel that this is discrimination, but is it legal?
TonicTwelve
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To make a long story short, our (all girls, Anglican) school has effectively banned from bringing another girl to our Year 11 (and presumably Year 12, though I'm not 100% certain on this) formal. Understandably, a number of us cracked it at the school, we were then told that we MAY be allowed to bring a girl, if the following conditions are met: we must receive permission from our parents, we must have a meeting with a school counsellor with the principle, the vice principle, our partner and our parents and we must have formal and private discussions with the principal and/or vice principle. My basic question is, is near enough good enough? They have compromised somewhat so is that the best that is possible? I don't believe it should be but if we try to take this up further with some unknown higher authority, what hope is there that we will be successful? Or am I just being petty

This really pisses me off that (and I quote) a "caring" school that "warmly welcomes all cultures" can behave like this. Its not an option that I think I want to exercise right now, but I might in the future and regardless, it should be available. I just want to know what I'm getting into before I leap into this because if and when I do, the **** is well and truly going to rain down on me and anyone I get to support me. This is a school that suspended someone because she dyed her hair. And then was told to see a counsellor because she was obviously in mental turmoil and lacking self confidence because she dared to go against the mighty law of school, because she liked and thought her hair looked good red. Lord forbid. So bringing the law/media/whatever else is required to improve this is going to make big waves. Tsunami style waves. On the plus side, the formal isn't for more than 6 months so I've got plenty of time to gather my defences [Wink]

I know most of you are from the USA/Canada so you might not have information relevant to Australia but does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing?

And apologies if I sound just a tad cynical with this school [Wink] I'm just over this attitude generally and other hypocritical policies they have.

Thanks for any info [Smile]

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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I can certainly see why you're upset! By all means, it's a discriminatory action when one set of rules and regs is applied to one population that isn't to the other. In other words, if no one has to go through all this to bring a male date, if folks have to do so to bring a woman, this is discrimination, part and parcel.

It also, with the counseling/discussion components, seems to imply that someone having a same-sex date, and/or being lesbian or bisexual, is some sort of mental illness or crisis, which is not only a good 30+ years behind psychology, but which also discriminatory.

As to whether or not this is lawful, I suspect, alas, that it probably is, but the best person to ask about this would be a lawyer in AU.

A good first step might be to call one of these AU hotlines and ask for a legal referral/advice: http://www.glccs.org.au/

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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I was reading recently about what happened at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School. I think the girls involved did a really good job taking it to the principal and the Equal Opportunities Commission. It's a shame they had to end up leaving the school though.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/no-room-for-girlfriends-at-ivanhoe-girls-dance-20101109-17m4g.html

I'm not sure if you're referring to the same school, but Safe Schools Coalition Victoria is good place to start talking to someone-
http://safeschoolscoalitionvictoria.org.au/

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Sorry for such a slow reply, our computer is in the living room so I have to wait till I have the house to myself before I come on here because my parents would flip out if they knew!

These links were really helpful, thank you so much to you both. I don't go to Ivanhoe Girls but the situation is very similar. I just needed to know what we were getting into before we started, because if this is legally ok and we have no hope of getting them to change it then there isn't much point in getting in masses of trouble for nothing.

Sounding out some people, there is a lot more support for this than I initially realized and I think if we do take the step then I think we're not going to have any trouble getting people on board. It's great to know that the students are so accepting and supportive, even if the administrators aren't!

I think the next step is to have more conversations with the school and if they still won't budge then trying some of those numbers to get some free, accurate legal advice on this. My feeling is that the media really isn't going to be very interested if the school has compromised somewhat and agreed to let us take same sex partners, if we agree to all of the conditions listed above.

So thankyou both again for your help and I'll let you know how it goes!

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eryn_smiles
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Ooh I was hoping you'd update on what had happened [Smile] .

It is great to hear that your fellow students have been really supportive.

It's really easy for me to say this, sitting outside of your situation without the potential to get into trouble. But I think that however far you decide to take this, whether or not what your school is doing is legal, it will never be "for nothing". The way that change comes about is through people making noise. Even if you create greater awareness in your community, that is something.

It sounds good to keep having conversations with your school. I'd encourage you to contact the Safer Schools Coalition for support and advice regardless of what your school decides. Currently they only have 19 member schools but are hoping to roll out as a statewide initiative, and they have the endorsement of your education minister. Their roles include providing tailored support and guidance for schools around specific issues. They've also started some great training days around equipping staff and school leadership teams to address homophobia, trasphobia and heterosexism to ensure everyone feels safe at school.

Wish you all the best with this!

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Sorry for the lack of information, I promise I'll let you know when something happens but schools just got out for the summer so we could a be a while! [Smile] The Safer Schools Coalition seems like an awesome organisation and resource and I'm really pleased that we have something like that here in Victoria. Formal is not for a loooong time, I think its at least 8-9 months away so progress is going to be gradual, but at least I'll time over the summer to read up and get informed before I get going on this.

quote:
But I think that however far you decide to take this, whether or not what your school is doing is legal, it will never be "for nothing". The way that change comes about is through people making noise. Even if you create greater awareness in your community, that is something.
You are so right on that front and it was that quote that really convinced me to take things further. Our community is very much a conservative, family area with 'Christian values,' so to speak. Sexuality and any sexual orientation other than heterosexual, while not really discouraged in general society, is very rarely discussed or considered. Sex ed never really covered sexual orientation, choices or sexuality other than tab-a-into-slot-b-penis-in-vagina intercourse. Contraception and STD prevention was outlined but it was always in the format of "if you HAVE to have sex than do this, its better than nothing." We didn't even had a sex ed program whatsoever until our very awesome school counselor fought for one that she teaches, and has said to us that tells us more than she is really supposed to. She encourages us to find other resources for any other questions we might have or to come and ask her privately. She has also said to some students that she doesn't think it is good enough and wishes she could say more but our school just doesn't really work like that. So increased awareness in the school and wider communities would be a very awesome thing to have and to create.

Having said that, despite this students are generally very open minded and supportive and I think that is great.

And per the getting into trouble? You know I've thought about it some more and it doesn't really worry me. I mean, its not like when you get a detention for talking or something and you think 'well that was stupid, I could have avoided that.' If I get in trouble, well so be it, I'll get over it and at least I'll know it will have made some difference in some way. And I really don't think that they could legally do all that much, probably just send me to aforemention cool counselor, to deal with my rebellious tendencies [Razz] , and my instinct is that she would be very on board with it. Worst case scenario, I get suspended. And again, I'll get over it.


So yes, I'll let you know when something happens [Smile]
Thanks again.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TonicTwelve
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Well I know it's been a long gap between posts but finally we have some level of progress on this! Further investigations with this years Year 12s has revealed that people have been protesting this every year for the last 5 or 6 years, including petitions from parents and teachers and have gotten nowhere. The school's official line is apparently that they need to sell sufficient tickets to allow the event to run and having girls bring girls bring partners from our school will reduce the number of tickets sold. Of course this argument was shot to pieces when someone wanted to bring a girl from outside of our school and still had to go through rigmarole but just decided that she wasn't up for such a fight and backed down.

So plans are being set up. A quick Facebook tally shows around 25% of our year group has expressed support for the idea within 24 hours of the post being made and the number is growing steadily. We have representatives from years 9, 10, 11 and 12, from several different friendship groups. We got a representative from our little group into the formal committee to make sure inclusion remains on the agenda. We are setting up a meeting with the head of pastoral care and/or the school counsellor most probably this week. We are also aiming to set up a GSA, which in one sense will be easier because if they end up saying no then they can hardly stop us eating lunch as a group together.

And then this wonderful, amazing, fantastic, super, awesome resource came out. I'd known this was coming for a while because I'm a pretty active member on the Minus18 (one of the two organisations that developed the booklet) community but still I am just so excited by it. It is exactly what we need, written by students from our own state who have made the kinds of changes we are trying to make. Both the organisations are amazing, but especially Minus. I just can't emphasise enough how amazing the staff are and the community there, the events they run, everything. Sites down for maintainence at the moment but it links to an awesome video about the release of the booklet.

And I am just floored by the awesomeness of my friends, who were driven to talk about this, start planning this and speak against homophobia, often at their own expense, long before they had any inkling that I or another of our friends were queer.

So will keep you guys updated as presumably this will progress, for better or worse, at a fairly rapid rate in the next 8 weeks between now and the formal!

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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This is all so utterly fantastic!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Djuna
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Wow, Caitlin! Awesome work, go you! [Smile]

--------------------
“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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eryn_smiles
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I'm also so glad to hear about all this and proud of you guys. What a great state-wide effort!

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Well we finally managed to set up a time with the school counsellor to have a discussion about this, yesterday. On one hand it was a really positive conversation in that it was the first time I've ever had an in person conversation about this stuff with an adult in any setting and quite honestly, it was a bit of relief to be able to talk about it. There were four of us there, myself, a supportive straight friend, a bi friend and a gay friend and it was kind of understood between us that we weren't straight but we never spoke about it and this conversation kind of opened up the dialogue on that front too which was great.

On the other hand it was quite depressing, in that the counsellor was pretty negative. Negative in the sense that she made it clear we should expect slow progress, be very methodical about this and maybe aim to have the group running by this time next year. Our mental timeframe was more like this time next term. She brought up loads of potential issues around setting it up that we might have around setting up the group such as school religious arguments, parent association backlash and she was pretty concerned about what our emotional safety might be if we are to lead the charge for a less homophobic school environment, given what the current environment is like.

As for the formal, although it is around 4 weeks away, tickets are on sale and organisations are well underway however nothing about bringing girls has been mentioned at any point, positive or negative. It would be interesting to see what would happen, if someone had just put down that they were bringing a girl, but to be honest this isn't something thats going to change this year, but we can and are still working to make the school a more inclusive environment in general, with an end aim of setting up a group.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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eryn_smiles
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Good on you Caitlin! I thnk you and your friends are doing a great job and are certainly braver than I would have been in high school. Even if it might be slow progress, I know that you will make a diffference for the queer students in your school and community. And also generate awareness among the straight students, which can only be a good thing.

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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It's so fantastic to really see your whole arc with this, and I really appreciate the opportunity to see a whole process like this.

My answer, you know, back in the freaking day, with discrimination at the public high school I went to (on this front, but also others) was just to leave. And when I switched to the arts high school I went to, none of these things were issues. So, not only do I deeply commend your dedication and courage, it's also really giving me a view into how some of you fighting these fights are doing that and what this really can look like as a process. News-wise, when changes like this happen, we usually only get word of the result, with maybe a quote or two about how it was first and the process.

You already have to know it, but still: I think you're awesome. [Smile]

(It also sounds like that counselor is really being thoughtful about this and a really good ally. That's fantastic.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Cailtin, what you are doing at your school is awesome and it (and the link to that wonderful resource) has inspired me to set up a GSA at my school, or at the bare minimum put up some posters about homophobia and the like.

--------------------
~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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TonicTwelve
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Awww thank you all, and I'm glad the resource has inspired you to do something moonlight, its pretty awesome [Smile]

The counsellor is pretty fantastic, she is really helpful and in fact offered to set us up with an appointment every two weeks or so, so we can keep her updated and she can offer help/support/ideas or whatever. She has also said that if we want to do anything like run an awareness day or similar she is happy to do the liaising with the school administration so we don't have to out ourselves, stuff like that. It really makes a big difference, to be honest I'm not quite sure what we'd do if we didn't have someone within the school in a position of greater power than us lending their support.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Cian
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Hearing someone have this kind of initiative, bravery and just plain and simple guts is ever so awe inspiring! You are doing such a good job and reading about your efforts just totally made my day. In the sense that someone somewhere is actively fighting, not so much that there is this kind of an issue in the first place.

You are definitely being the change you want to see in the world, aren't you? That is absolutely fantastic.

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TonicTwelve
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Well we had a second meeting yesterday, and if nothing else they're really interesting conversations. We've put up some posters however I think it's a fine line between having posters that raise awareness and encourage people to think and those that almost accuse people of being homophobic by saying STOP homophobia. Because by and large the students are awesome around this issue and the posters and other such activities are more about setting the mood and priming the administration before we ask for a group. The next thing we're doing is organising a gay and lesbian liason officer from Victoria Police to come and speak about homophobia at a school assembly.

The other thing that was brought up was that the counsellor had spoken to the one teacher at our school who is openly gay to see what her perspective on the whole thing might be. She made the interesting point that we shouldn't be trying to start a group, because it emphasises that there is a difference between straight people and queer people. It was a really interesting point that really made me think. I can certainly see where she is coming from on that front, however I think that whether we like it or not, society tends to treat queer people differently and that support from others also navigating that different treatment is a valuable thing to have. But this teacher is quite possibly coming to the next meeting in another coulple of weeks so I'm sure that will be another interesting discussion.

Thanks Cian! That is such a lovely and appreciated compliment. In fact, thanks to everyone, your support has been such a fantastic thing to have in this [Smile]

[ 09-02-2011, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: TonicTwelve ]

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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quote:
She made the interesting point that we shouldn't be trying to start a group, because it emphasises that there is a difference between straight people and queer people. It was a really interesting point that really made me think. I can certainly see where she is coming from on that front, however I think that whether we like it or not, society tends to treat queer people differently and that support from others also navigating that different treatment is a valuable thing to have.
Well, larger issues with statements like that aside, the fact is that your school is ALREADY making that distinction by creating different -- and more restrictive -- rules for its queer students than for its hetero students. So, what you're looking to do is not to create a divide, that's already been done. You're looking to try and UNDO that.

And with creating groups that's about gathering support for each other, in part so that you can collectively work to counter things like this.

In other words, I think what you're doing is about what she's saying she wants. leaving things as they are keeps the division in place she says she doesn't like.

In other words, her logic strikes me as backwards.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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TonicTwelve
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Apologies for long delay, we had spring holidays and then nothing much happened for a few weeks until we had another meeting today.

On the holidays, I had the opportunity to go to a few events for queer youth which were both awesome.. Told my parents I was going to support a friend who is gay, to get around the whole not out issue, don't think they swallowed it because then they kept asking if I wasn't straight but I kept denying it and they laid off eventually. Not a fun conversation. Anyway, we went to one of the Minus18 dance parties which was heaps of fun and great to get some queer community feeling happening for us. Then later that week we went a same sex attracted youth forum nearish to us. That was hugely valuable for the whole school awareness issue, because I was able to go to a 'Combating Homophobia in Schools' workshop with only about 10 people, run by the head of the Safe Schools Coalition and the head of Minus18 with helpful suggestions, as well as picking up an enormous number of brochures and resources for stuff we never knew were out there. Groups for genderqueer/questioning youth, queer youth theatre and singing groups, more queer support groups, directories, posters, stickers etc. It was a really fantastic and helpful day all around.

Fast forward to today about 3 weeks after that and we met with the counsellor again. Since we'd last met, she had met up with the leadership team at our school (principle and vice, head of pastoral care, head of senior school) to discuss some of the initiatives we were hoping to raise. Unfortunately, the school will not allow us to put up posters (apparently not just on this specific issue, they don't want posters at all), definitely will not let us have a group, will not let us run some kind of sexual diversity awareness event. They MAY consider letting someone bring a girl to the formal if they had permission from both of their parents. They MAY allow us to display some material on general diversity on the school bulletin board without being specific about sexual diversity, if we go to the principle's office and out ourselves. Not something any of us are up for. Basically their argument is: we don't have a problem with homophobia at our school, by displaying materials we imply that we do and that we are a religious and conservative school and do not want to make any political statements. Helpful. The counsellor said trying to argue it was like "pushing shit up a hill." No also to the idea of having a gay and lesbian liaison officer speak. Basically no to anything that specifically mentions sexuality.

Counsellor's suggestion was that we find avenues outside the school to channel this energy to make change, because unless we want to out ourselves to the school there isn't a whole lot more we can do there right now apart from continuing to keep trickling the idea through and attempt to get people talking on the issue.

At that point one person had to leave to go to class so it was just me and the aforementioned friend I'd gone with to the event and we kept talking. Conversation got pretty intense actually, sort of turned into a counselling session, because the topic kind of left what we were doing to change the school and moved to how we were coping with and navigating being queer at this school and in general. I'm not entirely sure how or why this happened but once we got talking with her we just kept going. Ended up with me disclosing some stuff around self harm that I'd never mentioned to anyone before. Another reason why homophobia is clearly an issue - out of the three queer students that have come to see her, every one of us has or still is self harming. One of us to the point where she has been admitted to a mental illness clinic on several occasions. Could be a coincidence, but I doubt it. So it was my first experience with any kind of in person counselling, to be honest, being that honest was quite terrifying but it was a relief to discuss it. In fact the whole conversation made me think that I'm not really as ok around the whole queer issue as I thought I was. Potentially going to seek out another visit with her, if I can because considering what I got out of it today, I think it could be really helpful.

Sorry, that ended up being a fairly long post with irrelevant tangents!

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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Just big hugs to you. You are suck a rockstar for fighting so hard for this through all of the challenges, including the very personal ones. I wish we could magic you total success in everything you're trying to do, but alas. [Frown]

At the very least, know you've got a serious cheering section on this side of the pond.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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eryn_smiles
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Caitlin, although I haven't met you, I'm so proud of you and your friends. I'm sorry your school staff hasn't responded as we'd all like. I'd bet that even though you're not able to run a sexual diversity event, the queer students at your school must be already feeling more acknowledged and that someone cares about them. Good on you for being brave and sharing with your counsellor, I'm glad that it helped. I hope one day soon you get to live and study/work in a safe space where all parts of you can be cherished [Smile] . Keep up the awesome work, I'm thinking of you.

[ 10-25-2011, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Thank you both for your lovely, kind and supportive comments. They really do mean a lot. At the moment we're thinking of going with a Facebook campaign because the principal can't really control what we do there at least so long as no bullying is occurring. Because as it stands, the queer students at our school probably aren't feeling any supported because no one knows we're doing it. But that is the next plan of action and hopefully by doing this we can a larger group of supportive students together to lobby the school.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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eryn_smiles
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Hello again, I think that sounds like it could be a really good idea [Smile] . When you mentioned a Facebook campaign around this, I actually remembered a similar situation which happened in NZ earlier this year. I know that their facebook group generated alot of support and interest for the cause, among local students but also the local queer community. Have a read and do keep us updated on how everything goes!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5141393/School-denies-pupil-bringing-boy-to-ball

[ 11-10-2011, 01:25 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Well smallish update.. Facebook group has some momentum, we've got around 30 likes at the moment, however I think there are quite a few of them in there for the novelty factor, not because they actually care. We have two or three 'closet' homophobes, who are irritating in the main because they clearly have an issue with what we're doing, but they won't admit it. They keep using sentences like 'this isn't my view, but if you do this then a whole lot of people will say/think/do this' or 'I'm not homophobic, but..' etc etc. There's going to be a long hiatus on this as we have just finished exams before eight weeks of summer. Still kind of out of ideas but maybe eight weeks off will spark some thinking.

That Facebook campaign is really awesome Eryn, and it's great to see what kind of momentum something like that can gain. I feel like we could do something as effective if we had someone next year who wanted to bring a female partner to our formal. Could that be me potentially? Yes, but I feel like I don't want to bring someone just to make a political statement, I'd only be doing it if it was someone I was dating anyway.

On another, kind of unrelated note, the counsellor had not in fact forgotten about what I had rashly disclosed as I had hoped, but was waiting until after exams to organise a time to meet. She did and I'm not sure I was very helpful because I didn't say very much and mostly just nodded, but I have to check in with her once a week on the holidays via email to let her know what's going on for me and how I'm going.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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WesLuck
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TonicTwelve, I think you're awesome for fighting on this. Many people want to world to change without them having to do it, but you're getting in there and being the change, despite being inconvenienced. And I strongly encourage you to keep doing what you're doing - that is, working on the Facebook campaign and your other stuff in getting things moving, and keeping your personal health as a high priority.

It is a little bit funny (funny unusual not funny ha ha) that despite the reported teachings of Jesus about caring for your fellow members of society, and not discriminating on things that come naturally to people, a lot of Christian colleges and schools place stock in "Christian values", which generally seem to be no talk about sex, or pleasure for pleasure's sake, and definitely no talk about anything other than heteronormality. Even though I'm not religious, it seems that people and groups decide just what being "religious" or "good Christians" means, and many groups are so conservative, when AFAIK, Jesus wasn't and didn't subscribe to discriminating against others the way a lot of schools and colleges still do.

[ 12-12-2011, 03:18 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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eryn_smiles
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Glad to hear how you're doing and that the Facebook group is slowly gaining numbers and momentum. I hope that you're still getting plenty of support around your sexuality, outside of school? Totally agree with what Wes said above about keeping your personal health a high priority. Take care and enjoy the holidays [Smile] Whether or not you're the person who takes another girl to the Formal, I think you're totally brave in what you've done at school so far.

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TonicTwelve
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Really going nowhere with this at the moment.. Year 12 is just uggghh, so much work and pressure, being made out to be the most important year of your life. Working 15-20 hours a week as well. Last week a girl in my year level committed suicide. Theres only 100 of us in Year 12 at my school so we're pretty tight knit and we're all just struggling to deal. She was also the only person in our year level who was out to everyone. Just so frustrated, and all the irrational what ifs keep popping up.. what if I/we'd worked harder on making an LGBTIQ group happen? Would that have made things just a bit better, enough that she didn't feel this was her only option? What if we'd put more posters up, maybe she would have felt a little more supported? Was she copping crap from people, either about being gay or anything else? Could I have noticed something? I know its irrational but just keeps popping up.

One of the friends who was helping with the LGBTIQ campaign also had two more suicide attempts this year so she's not at school any more to somewhat reduce the pressure on her, so our numbers are down one. My parents busted me self harming too, thankfully they didn't walk in on me but they'd been nutting it out for a few months and finally confronted me. Mega surveillance at the moment and I have to go to therapy too. Joy.

So frustrated. I so much want to go up to the principle who says that being gay is not an issue at our school and that they don't want to make a political statement and tell her that every single queer student I know of in our year level has now either committed suicide, made multiple attempts, has previously or is currently self harming. On the other hand, this could be impetus for the principle to change her mind. Everyone is way too raw to bring this up in the near future, but hopefully in a another few weeks, we might be able to rally and have another go, and we have undeniable proof that something's wrong. I know that being queer isn't the only reason why any of us could be doing these thing, but it is a common thread among multiple people and I really think we need to address it instead of pretending the problem doesn't exist.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Karybu
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I'm so sorry to hear about your classmate, Caitlin, and about your school being so uncooperative. Please remember, though, that this is not your fault - it's so natural to wonder after the fact if there's something more we could have done or said or picked up on, all those what-ifs, but you are not responsible.

You say you're going to therapy, and although I'm getting the impression that it's not your choice to do so, it's very possible that your therapist will be a good source of support, and may even have some ideas about how to approach this with your school, if that's something you still feel up to doing.

Sending internet hugs your way.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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copper86
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TonicTwelve, I am so sorry to hear about what is going on. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I've been reading some of these posts; and it infuriates me that these kinds of things are going on within educational institutions.

School is first and foremost a place for learning and socialization; and people first and foremost need to feel accepted, safe, and cared for in order to learn and be socialized. What your school is doing does not seem to be very nurturing. I want you to know that even though we've never actually met, I'll be thinking of you and praying for you.

I really hope that you are feeling better; and that you are taking some time for yourself, to relax and to try and recuperate. You are a pioneer at your school; and I think you should be proud of yourself for advocating for what you believe in.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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WesLuck
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-big hugs for TonicTwelve-
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TonicTwelve
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Thank you all. People on here are just so consistently lovely. Hope stuff is going ok for you all too, thank you so much for your care and thoughts.

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


Posts: 61 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
eryn_smiles
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I hope that you're hanging in there ok, Caitlin, and that your school staff come around in realizing how important (and life-saving, in fact!) it is to support their GLBT students. Take care of yourself [Smile]

--------------------
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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