Article: Star Observer

Teachers in NSW public schools have been banned from educating their students about gender theory after an independent review of the state’s sex education resources.

According to a report in The Australian, teachers will now no longer be encouraged to ‘de-gender’ their language and will no longer be able to teach students that gender is a ‘social construct’.

 The review was initiated in September last year in light of concerns around the Education Department’s ‘Teacher Toolbox’ resource, which appeared to be repackaged material from the Safe Schools program.

It was also undertaken to highlight the gender and queer theory embedded in the state’s compulsory sex education program for years 11 and 12.

An update on the review has now been provided to teachers, banning them from using a number of resources including the ‘Teacher Toolbox’ resource and three of the sexual and gender diverse-related activities in the sex education program.

It is not yet clear whether the ban stems from the review’s recommendations or is in place until the department’s responds to the review.

Those that were vocally against the Safe Schools program have spoken out in favour of the ban, including the Australian Christian Lobby’s NSW director Mark Makowiecki.

“The ACL and many parents and teachers are grateful for this decision,” he said.

“It is necessary, however, to make the final report public because scrutiny is warranted.”

Despite the few vocal opponents against Safe Schools and teaching students about gender and sexual diversity, advocates for Australia’s LGBT+ community have spoken out against the ban.

Author of The Gender Fairy, and mother of a trans child, Jo Hirst, said she’s not familiar with the state’s sex education program, but hopes non-binary students will still be respected in the classroom.

“If the report is true then they are not respecting the gender identity of non-binary people, so how are they going to support them?” she asks.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t use binary language but you have to be respectful of non-binary students as well.

“If they’re taking some of the current resources away perhaps they’re redesigning something within the education department.”