AN online group has spoken out against the support of LGBTI youth provided by the Safe Schools Coalition, and encouraged its followers to prevent teenagers from attending an upcoming formal for sexually and gender diverse people.
The Facebook group recently asked followers to purchase tickets to the formal as a way to prevent teenagers interested in attending from going.
“The more tickets sold to us the more youth we protect,” the STOP SAFE Schools Coalition post read.
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Youth-led LGBTI organisation Minus18 and Safe Schools Coalition recently introduced a national resource to help teachers make high schools more inclusive and knowledgeable on sexually and gender diverse students.
Minus18 are also the organisers of the upcoming same-sex formal.
Chief Executive of Minus18 Micah Scott said he felt exhausted looking at the group’s page on Facebook.
“It’s one thing to be critical of a program or to be critical of services and organisations, but it’s a completely different ball park to rally against young people who are already vulnerable,” he told the Star Observer.
“For most young people the formal is the one night of the year where they can be themselves, and to have an event like this is one of the single most empowering things you can have as a teen when you’re LGBTI.
“Reading through the comments reading their social media page, I just think it comes from a place of ignorance and hate… and it takes a special kind of hate to hijack a celebration of diversity.”
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Minus18 have set up a crowdfunding site allowing people to sponsor a young person to attend the formal, which has already seen major success over STOP SAFE Schools Coalition’s attempt to sabotage the sales.
At the time of publication the sponsors have donated a total of almost $28,000.
“It’ll enable us to extend the capacity of the venue, and can work to counteract the false sales we’re experiencing,” Scott said.
“This is really the direct result of what happens when the Australian Christian Lobby and conservative groups start attacking LGBTI programs… the guise they have is to protect young people, but young people unfortunately get dragged into it.”
Josh Makawe is a 17-year-old student who plans to take his boyfriend along to this year’s formal, after not being allowed to take someone of the same-sex to his school’s formal.
“At my last school they were accepting of me being gay, but they were hesitant about me taking someone,” he told the Star Observer.
“They didn’t really give me a reason, they just said no.
“The same-sex formal is a really good place and you won’t be able to experience it in your own school… young people should try their best to ignore people who are full of hatred towards something that’s normal, something that’s okay.”
If you’d like to sponsor an LGBTI youth to attend Minus18’s same-sex formal, visit here.
STOP SAFE Schools Coalition was contacted for comment but did not reply.