A TASMANIAN school chaplain has apologised for a homophobic comment posted on his Facebook today that said “homosexuality is not normal” and has been referred onto counselling by the state education department.
Along with the “not normal” remark, Hobart College chaplain and Kingborough youth outreach officer Troy Williams reposted a quote via his Facebook that also stated “no-one was born gay”.
“I’ve made a mistake and learnt from it. I’m deeply sorry for any offence I’ve caused. I was very careless in posting that image for discussion. I will work with my employers to ensure there is no repeat,” he said.
The Tasmanian Education Department has said that Williams breached its code of conduct and referred the issue to his employer, the Scripture Union.
Scripture Union have described the post as “inappropriate”.
“Chaplaincy is about supporting people whatever their issues are, and it’s just unfortunate that someone’s acted outside of that,” Scripture Union chaplaincy development manager Peter Swift said.
Along with the Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff, acting Kingborough Council Mayor Steve Wass condemned the comments as “unacceptable” and said they were in opposition to efforts by the council to combating prejudice and discrimination.
Rockliff has called for an urgent explanation from Scripture Union, saying that Williams’ comments have no place in Tasmanian schools.
“Bigotry, in all its forms, is unacceptable in our community, and it certainly has no place in our school environment,” he said.
“That extends to the social media accounts of those who work in our schools, who are all role models for our students.
“We expect much better.”
Tasmanian gay rights activist and Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Rodney Croome said the “dangerous” post had potentially harmful effects on LGBTI youth.
“I was quite horrified because what this post says to young gay people is that someone they should be able to trust and who should support them thinks that their sexuality is abnormal, unnatural and a choice,” he said.
“Those myths aren’t just wrong, I think they’re very dangerous to the wellbeing of young same-sex attracted young people.
“That not only means young gay people won’t be able to seek support from him, but he’s actually making their life worse, he’s perpetuating stigma against them.”
Was your school inclusive and supportive of its LGBTI students, or were you a victim of direct homophobia and bullying? Take this quick survey to help schools improve the support they provide. It’s quick, free, anonymous and open to all: https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/547d319
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