Marrickville Council will lobby the Rudd Government to put gay and lesbian families back in the national strategy for early childhood education and care.
The second draft of the Government’s Early Years Learning Framework released last month drew criticism from experts for dropping all references to gay and lesbian families, but keeping specific references to other issues like Aboriginality, disabilities and linguistic diversity.
Marrickville Council last week decided to write to Education Minister Julia Gillard and parliamentary secretary for early childhood education Maxine McKew to reverse the decision.
Cr Marika Kontellis raised the motion because the issue was of particular concern to Marrickville Council, the first to trial materials that included gay and lesbian families.
McKew issued a statement last week amid allegations of political correctness in the first draft, saying consultation on the framework was ongoing and the government will not be making it compulsory that pre-schools fly the Aboriginal flag or any other agenda.
Her office declined to answer questions about the removal of the words gay and lesbian.
Lesbian mother Vicki Harding, who wrote the Learn To Include children’s books, said the words themselves had power.
Very few people think of gay and lesbian families when they see the word -˜families’. You do have to make an effort to include them or people will forget about them, she told Sydney Star Observer.
It seems to me that somebody is being shy about using the words -˜gay’ or -˜lesbian’. People say we’re included [implicitly], but if they won’t use the words then there is an issue with the words for them.
Having the words -˜gay’ and -˜lesbian’ included in the framework would give educators a doorway to be proactively inclusive, Harding said, such as putting the Learn To Include books in childcare centres.
Teachers are worried if they bring it up in a classroom and a parent complains.