Australian Education Minister Bans Documentary About LGBT Families

Here’s a confusing story: There’s an Australian documentary called “Gayby Baby” about gay and lesbian couples raising children that has received accolades, sold out at the Sydney Film Festival as well as at showings in Canada and New Zealand, and was screened just last week for the New South Wales Parliament as part of the introduction for an LGBTI friendship group in the legislature. Screenings of the PG-rated movie were organized across 50 schools in Australia and 20 in New South Wales specifically as part of Wear it Purple Day, but the New South Wales Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, has banned those screenings in the NSW schools.

It’s not that Piccoli is a homophobe – he’s supported anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia programs in schools. His office claims that Piccoli doesn’t object to the content of the film, he’s just concerned that the screenings were banned to avoid having students miss class time. (It’s an 85-minute movie, by the way: I’m not sure it would really take up that much of the day.)

But Piccoli personally intervened at a screening at Burwood Girls High School, where four parents had sent e-mails to the school expressing concern about the documentary’s content. The school has also been criticized by religious groups for planning to screen the film – all of which makes it sort of hard to tell if that worry over missed class time is genuine.

New South Wales Premier makes the situation even more vague with this statement: “I think tolerance is a good thing. But I think there should be some parameters around it. This is something that can be provided but done outside class time.” There should be parameters around tolerance? What?

Besides, no parameters were set up – Piccoli just outright banned the film from being screened. That leaves LGBT families with a really bad impression, as the documentary’s director, Maya Newell, points out: “The minister could have told all these families that they are equal and respected. He chose not to do that.”  

 

[Sydney Morning Herald]

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