St. Ursula’s College, a Catholic school in Sydney, has reversed its anti-LGBTQ+ policy of not allowing same-sex couples to attend its end-of-year formal.
This change comes after significant pushback against the school’s previous stance, which prohibited a student, Abbie Frankland, from bringing her girlfriend to the event.
Frankland, a senior at the all-girls school, initiated a petition after the school denied her request. Garnering over 4,900 signatures, the petition called for an end to what was labelled as a “discriminatory” policy and urged the school to reflect the broader Australian support for LGBTQ+ rights.
The successful campaign led to the school’s decision to lift the ban, as Frankland joyfully announced on the petition page on change.org, ahead of the prom scheduled for 9 November. In her update, she thanked everyone who supported their cause and hoped their story would encourage others to stand against discrimination.
The issue caught the attention of prominent figures like New South Wales Premier Chris Minns and Federal Education Minister Jason Clare. Minns advocated for the student’s freedom to choose their prom dates, emphasising the importance of inclusivity for teenagers nearing adulthood. Similarly, Clare called for applying “common sense” in such policies, pointing out the outdated nature of the ban.
While Sydney Catholic Schools, the administrative body for 147 schools, typically holds year-end events that are partner-free or only allow opposite-sex dates, they refrained from discussing individual school policies. A spokesperson highlighted the desire not to detract from the students’ focus on their Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams amidst societal debates occurring in the media.