Hi all. I've read the programme. It is called the Safe Schools Coalition Australia and schools have to sign up for it (at this stage - although the Victorian government has ordered its school to sign on by next year or else) so the programme isn't nationwide. Essentially, it is a transgender/gay awareness programme passing itself off as an anti-bullying policy but from what I read, I found it to be clearly about gender deconstruction (or reconstruction, depending on how the content grabs you). Materials include posters, charts, role play exercises, classroom bookwork and directed conversations.
Initially, it was for implementation in early childhood up but after a review where some consternation was raised by many groups and upheld, the government has now said it will only be implemented in high school. However, i believe that there are primary schools still running the programme as my course is primary education and we were told to read it so we could "utilise it in the classroom". Given that not every school wants this programme I found it a bit presumptive of the university to assume this. But there you go. That's how I ended up with it.
Examples I can give you are thus:
Roleplay for very small children about a complex issue like gender identity. Called the Gender Fairy, the exercise demands that half the class play their gender and the other half the opposite gender with the underlying principle being that "no one can tell you if you are a boy or a girl, only you can".
Exercises include imagining the loss of your genitalia (gender assignment operation) and terminology such as 'ladies and gentleman' are to be replaced with gender neutral references such as "all of you" or "good evening everyone". Putting up posters and accessing websites for gay and transgender (adult) communities and to resist teaching staff if instructed not to.
This theme is continued in other exercises such as directed class conversation exercises where boys who identify as girls are advised that they can use the girls' facilities which include toilets, showering areas, camping quarters. I could not find any references to safeguard sexual and physical safety of girls, particularly students who have survived trauma or who just feel uncomfortable about a boy wandering in their area. The overall feel was "get with the programme". Associated materials include boys in girls uniform with the underwritten directive that gender is not uniform. Girls who think they are boys are shown how to flatten their breasts whereas boys are shown, via illustration and roleplay how to tuck in their genitals and 'soften the look' of their hands. I'm kinda wondering how a minor is shown to manipulate his genitalia via roleplay. I'm curious about that one. Does the teacher have a solitary tutoring role or does the class join in or..? Anyway, I digress.
The programme lists statistics regarding how many children it feels have gender dysphoria, a claim I was unable to find in any publication. I noticed too that several publications that were referred to have now been withdrawn from the public domain so, alas, I cannot produce the "How to support your child on their transgender journey" for you. But I did manage to find another similar document designed for use in the classroom and you can find that here. Bear in mind that this publication is for use in late primary and highschool classrooms.
The programme can either be taught in lesson format or can be used as a resource.
Its purpose is said to be anti-bullying.
However, I feel it is anything but. My overriding concern was the intense focus on gender and this unshakeable feeling of being indoctrinated. While dissent was encouraged in students who identified as being LGTBI, to be outside this community and elicit the same expression was to suggest that you were part of the bullying crowd. I really resented that. To argue for one's rights does not make one a homophobe or anti-transgender. I also felt the emphasis on gender deconstruction disguised as an anti-bullying education was insulting and the assertion that gender fluidity was a reality was offensive. For a start, gender fluidity is not an established fact but a theory. I also felt the statistics to support various claims in the programme were wildly inflated. The LGBTI community is minute when counting their number against that of the entire population so claims of 20% of children being gay or transgender etc I found lacked credibility when I attempted to find written evidence that would sustain such a claim. What I did find was that it was closer to .1%. Yes, that's a decimal before the numeral. I then looked at the authors of the programme and was a little concerned to find that not only were they part of a gay focus group but that most were gay and some had some very pronounced political leanings. All had very little experience teaching the students they were writing for if at all. The lack of experience and overt bias surprised me.
I am disappointed that a programme being promoted as an anti-bullying mechanism, to me, smacks of social engineering. While I totally understand and accept that there are some children out there who do have gender identity issues, it is not the norm nor should it be considered normal in terms of prevalence. I found a lot of the material age inappropriate and inaccurate and dismissive of the parental right to educate the child as they see fit.
I do feel we need something like this in schools as there are children out there who do need support. But not like this. How this ever got past any review committee is astounding to me and as a parent I will be querying any school I enrol my child in as to whether they are part of the Safe School Coalition and if they are, my child will not be attending.