TELEVISION personality and mum Sonia Kruger has lashed out news that the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) will award educational scholarships to Year 10 students who identify as LGBTI.

The scholarships are worth $7000 over three years and will be awarded to high potential students facing significant economic, family or social challenges

 The Australian newspaper broke the story on the front page of Monday’s paper suggesting the move by the ABCN to support students who were sexual and gender diverse was “sparking fresh concerns about the creeping influence of LGBTI rights activism on schools”.

“The shift (in ABCN’s scholarships) comes as the LGBTI lobby has become increasingly ­influential, including within schools, where programs such as the government-funded Safe Schools Coalition has sparked fears about young people being ­exposed to politically motivated ideologies around gender and sexuality.”

The scholarships application form asks candidates to identify their gender as male, female, transgender or prefer not to say and also asks students whether they identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or prefer not to say.

Photo: The Australian

Photo: The Australian

Kruger appeared on Channel Nine’s Today program on Monday morning and shared her thoughts on the issue, saying she thought giving scholarships to LGBTI people was reverse discrimination.

“It sort of feels like reverse discrimination to me, in a way. To ask a student if they identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, you’re asking someone about their sexual preferences and I find that that’s a really odd thing to do, in any kind of capacity, whether it’s a job or a scholarship. I think a scholarship should be given on merit.”

David Campbell, a well-known marriage equality supporter, was also on the Today panel alongside Kruger this morning and said there are many scholarships not given to LGBTIQ+ students and anyone who criticised the ABCN’s decision was living in the Dark Ages.

“It’s hardly a big deal,” he said on-air.

Kruger has come under fire again on social media, only weeks after she called for the Australian government to ban anyone of Muslim faith from coming in to the country.

After copping a lot of flack for her comments, she took to Twitter to defend herself saying, “following the atrocities of last week in Nice where 10 children lost their lives, as a mother, I believe it’s vital in a democratic society to be able to discuss these issues without being labelled racist.”

The Pinnacle Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports LGBTI students who are marginalised or disadvantaged by providing them with financial scholarships.

Its CEO, Sean Linkson, told Star Observer he started The Pinnacle Foundation because he knows from first-hand experience how hard it can be to focus on studying while questionining your sexuality and gender.

“Even though I was surrounded by a loving family, I was still the recipient of lots and lots of discrimination and homophobia and bullying,” he said.

“I still know what a poisonous tongue sounds like, I still know what hatred feels like when hatred hits you in the heart.

“That was enough to spark the genesis of the Pinnacle Foundation, because I know there were a lot of kids out there who didn’t have the mechanisms or infrastructure of support to get through the crushing bigotry, that crushing hatred that so many of them experience.”

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