31 August 2008

Bravery from gay pupils

The Dominion Post has reported how some gay high school pupils are being prohibited from attending school balls, unless they "unless they sign contracts confirming they are homosexual" according to an organisation called Rainbow Youth.

Frankly the mere fact that there are some gay high school pupils willing to be "out" in the media is itself an act of bravery, and a significant step forward from a generation ago. That should be a reason for all lovers of freedom to celebrate - young people should not be scared to be who they are.

Now the article itself is lazy journalism (and some journalists think bloggers are "light") as it interviews not one school principal about its policies, so there hasn't been a chance to determine what school policies actually are - simply what a lobby group says (it may be right or wrong, but it is wrong to not check with some schools as to what their views are). However it is wrong for the Human Rights Commission to be involved. This should be a matter between pupils, schools, parents and others who wish to make their points of view heard.

My view is schools should be open, and frankly let pupils bring whoever they wish as long as they do not pose a risk to others. The sex of a partner should be irrelevant. Independent schools have the choice to make their own decisions on this - as any private institutions should. That doesn't mean that they would be right in being bigoted on this, but it should be their choice. State schools should not have that choice at all - the state should not be bigoted.

So I offer my support to pupils who seek to end such bigotry, good for you. I'm not gay, but I remember chillingly the bigotry in the mid 1980s when the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was being put through Parliament. Those who opposed that were nasty vile filthy bigots. Teenage years are difficult ones as it is, without people threatening or judging you for what are harmless feelings.


Elijah Lineberry said...

Why is it 'brave' Scott?

Gosh..it is not as if anyone is incapable of standing up for themselves and simply doing it anyway is it?

Blair said...

Quite perplexed at the almost unanimous fuss over this. To me it simply seems practical. The moment schools allow same sex partners to a ball is the moment everyone brings their best mate along a la Chuck and Larry.

The way I see it, the rule is to protect same sex couples from having their relationships or identity trivialised by straight students who just want to drag their best mate along.

It strikes me that if you are really are gay, and are going to be so bold and brave as to take a same sex date to a school ball, signing a bit of paper confirming your sexual orientation is hardly going to be a big deal to you. I'm not going to weep tears over it and neither should anybody else.

Libertyscott said...

Elijah, well homophobia still exists and fear of bullying still frightens young men and women from coming "out".

Blair you may well be right, which is my beef with the article which hasn't actually asked the schools anything. I'd like to know, but it is certainly not a battle the HRC should be involved in - but one between the pupils and the school (and parents).

Elijah Lineberry said...

I suppose you are correct, Scott...but I went to my school ball with another chap and had no problems.

Of course people can draw their own conclusions as to how likely it would be for someone to prevent me from doing something without expecting a level of retribution in return! ha ha! ...so yes, gosh, suppose it all comes down to 'personality'