The NSW Teachers Federation has reportedly encouraged teachers across the state to show LGBTI films to their students, in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion.
The Federation recently released a list of LGBTI films and teaching resources that could be incorporated into the classroom, according to The Australian.
“This has positive implications for LGBTI students’ wellbeing and education,” the Federation said in a recent newsletter.
“It also provides non-LGBTI students with a broader range of experiences and can assist with empathy and understanding.”
While none of the films currently appear as prescribed texts in the NSW curriculum, the Federation said research had indicated that when students saw themselves reflected in schoolwork, they were more likely to engage.
A recent study conducted by the Federation and Western Sydney University also found that workplace discrimination against LGBTI teachers in New South Wales was widespread, and called on the Department of Education to adopt policies that overtly acknowledged LGBTI people.
President of the Council on Children and the Media, Elizabeth Handsley, said she was concerned that films with ‘adult themes’ might find their way into the classroom.
“It is an interesting proposition to be showing M films in schools,” she told The Australian.
“You need to be very careful doing so in a school setting… when there’s a whole range of students with a range of maturity levels and background experiences.”
Despite the fact that LGBTI students continue to face discrimination and bullying at disproportionate levels, inclusive teaching programs such as Safe Schools have been derided by conservative parents and far-right organisations like the Australian Christian Lobby since their inception.
In a recent interview with the Star Observer, mother of a trans child and author Jo Hirst said important LGBTI resources for schools weren’t being written because of conservative lobbyists.
“I think what they tend to do is use anything that helps trans people and reframe it in a negative way,” she said.
“Because of the political climate at the moment, these extremist lobby groups have frightened politicians and education departments aren’t allowed to write these resources, so there’s no-one out there doing it.”