ONE of the organisers responsible for the controversial letter to government calling for a “tolerance”-based Safe Schools alternative has withdrawn the letter and apologised to the LGBTI community.
The campaign, led by celebrities including Troye Sivan, asked the government to commit to funding an anti-bullying and anti-violence program based on “tolerance” but not “acceptance”.
Organiser Ben Grubb today released a public apology for the letter, which has been withdrawn and will no longer be available for others to sign on the Change.org petition platform.
“One of the biggest mistakes I made—and it was made by me alone—was in the drafting of the letter, with the word ‘acceptance’ omitted from the framework proposed for teaching, and the letter referring to not seeking ‘approval’ of the way certain members of our society live,” wrote Grubb today.
“Instead, the words ‘tolerance’ and ‘mutual respect’ were used.
“I am sorry to the [LGBTI] community, many of whom have told me that doing this represented the letter pandering to conservative views. I wish to unreservedly apologise to them.”
Grubb also noted that the letter was insufficiently inclusive, referring for example for gay suicide rates without discussing the same for trans people or other members of the LGBTI community.
He acknowledged the group of signatories was also not diverse, and made up overwhelmingly of “allies” with little representation from the actual queer community.
“If anything good can come from this, it is my hope that LGBTI kids in Australia are looked after and that it starts a necessary conversation about what happens next for LGBTI youth and anti-bullying education in schools on a national basis,” wrote Grubb.