LIBERAL MPs in Western Australia have renewed attacks against Safe Schools ahead of this weekend’s state election, making claims about the program that many advocates have dispelled as inaccurate.
While Labor and the Greens have both promised to fund the anti-bullying and pro-LGBTI program if elected, the Liberal party has said it will not if elected to a third term in government.
“I will never accept Labor’s proposal to use your money to fund the so-called Safe Schools program, which is anything but safe,” he said.
“I’ll never accept it’s okay to tell a child as young as four that they can choose and change their gender on a daily basis.”
Despite Francis’s claims that the program would teach four-year-old children about gender theory, the program has only ever been rolled out in high schools in Western Australia.
In a report by OUT In Perth, Chief Executive of the WA AIDS Council Andrew Burry said the program is an important resource for teachers.the
“The Safe Schools program is simply professional development for teachers and allied staff and is implemented at schools, only through consultation with their parent body,” he said.
A spokesperson for the National Office of the Safe Schools program also discounted the claims made by Francis, saying that none of the program’s approved resources suggest that gender can change daily.
“[Safe Schools] continues to support secondary schools as its main focus. We also respond to requests from primary school educators for assistance such as support, advice, and staff training in meeting the needs of their students and school communities,” they said.
Despite Francis’ claims being dispelled, fellow Liberal member Peter Abetz similarly posted a video to Facebook denouncing the Safe Schools program and the funding the Labor party intends to push into it.
“[Labor leader] Mark McGowan is going to give money to a group to push radical gender ideology into our schools,” he said.
Abetz then highlighted The Gender Fairy, a trans-inclusive children’s book penned by author and trans advocate Jo Hirst, calling it ‘nonsense’.
“As a father, I know that it’s nonsense,” he said.
“Because our gender is determined by our biology.
“Labor are intent in pushing this nonsense into our schools at the expense of our children.”
While the video lends much time to Abetz deriding Hirst’s book, The Gender Fairy is in fact not a Safe Schools resource.
Hirst took to Twitter to defend both her book and the Safe Schools program.
— Jo Hirst (@thegenderfairy1) March 9, 2017
“The Gender Fairy is not a Safe School’s resource,” she wrote.
“Trans kids are normal, and some are four years old.”
The planned funding and continuation of Safe Schools will be a major election issue facing LGBTI people in Western Australia. If elected the Labor party will use $1.4 million in funding towards the program over the next four years.
The 2017 Western Australian state election is scheduled for Saturday.