Lesbian mother Marley Greenwood is holding a forum on October 12 for same-sex parents to discuss issues their children may face in the education system.
The forum, at the Addison Road Centre in Marrickville, will feature a panel of education experts and professionals in the sector.
“This is an opportunity for same-sex parents in our community to have their say, to raise questions and talk about concerns they may have,” Greenwood said.
“On the panel will be representatives from the Board of Studies, the Department of Education and Training, and the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education, along with Labor MLC Penny Sharpe.”
Greenwood and her friend Bernadette had the idea for the forum after they experienced a lack of inclusivity in schools, even in relatively gay-friendly areas like the inner west.
“We shared with each other our kids’ stories and experiences at school surrounding the issue that both our children have two mothers,” Greenwood said.
“Sometimes those stories were positive but sometimes we were quite frustrated about things that were happening or things that were not happening at school and the situations our children were sometimes put in.”
The mother of two went on to say that despite the increasing number of same-sex couples raising children, there is still a lack of inclusive language and a lack of awareness of diverse family structures.
“One day my eldest son said to me he felt sad, that in his peer support group the Year 6 leaders asked the children ‘Put your hand up if your dad taught you how to ride your bike’,” Greenwood said.
“He told me he just wanted to say he could ride a bike and who taught him to ride a bike. So for him the issue wasn’t that he didn’t have a dad, the issue was that he didn’t feel like he was able to participate.”
The forum will also highlight the need for better communication between teachers and education professionals.
“Hopefully we can promote strategies that result in positive outcomes for rainbow children,” Greenwood said.
INFO: RSVP to [email protected] by October 7. The forum starts at 7pm.