back to top

This Website Has Got An LGBTI Anti-Bullying Program Hopelessly Wrong

*taps mic* uhh, just quickly...

Posted on

As Australia awaits the findings of a review into the Safe Schools Coalition program, conservative lobby group the Australian Family Association has launched a website devoted to bringing the anti-bullying program down.


But there's one tiny issue โ€“ most of the things they say are part of the program actually aren't. Let's break it down.


1. Gay and lesbian sex techniques?

Nope. Safe Schools Coalition resources do not include "gay and lesbian sex techniques".

Verdict: No ๐Ÿ™…

2. Boys wearing school dresses?

Nope. The Safe Schools material includes statements like "gender is not uniform", and images of students wearing school uniforms. But it's in the context of affirming the identity of transgender students โ€“ so it's very likely the AFA is talking about an image of a transgender girl wearing a girl's school dress, not a boy.

Verdict: Nope ๐Ÿ™…

3. Chest binding for girls to inhibit breast growth?

Nope. No resource includes advice on how to chest bind. Also, it's worth nothing โ€“ chest binding generally is not used to inhibit breast growth and is not an effective way of doing so. It's most often used by transgender men and boys to temporarily alleviate gender dysphoria, and so many LGBTI websites offer advice on how to do it safely.

Verdict: Nah ๐Ÿ™…

4. Penis tucking?

Nope. Like chest binding, penis tucking is often used to alleviate gender dysphoria among transgender women. Both practices are also medically safe, according to Australia's leading pediatrician on gender dysphoria, Michelle Telfer from the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital. But... advice on how to tuck your penis is not in the Safe Schools program.

Verdict: No siree bob ๐Ÿ™…

5. Sex toy links?

Nope. This... this is just a lie.

Verdict: Absolutely not ๐Ÿ™…

6. LGBT networks?

Yes! Some Safe Schools Coalition resources include information for LGBTI-specific help, support, and community services. Some of the networks it links to include youth groups Minus18 and Twenty10, phone counselling service Qlife, and sexual health groups like Family Planning NSW.

Verdict: Yes! ๐Ÿ‘

7. Fetish club links?

Nope. This is another lie.

Verdict: No way ๐Ÿ™…

So... why do they think all this?

The short answer is that opponents to the Safe Schools Coalition program have conflated material that appears on other websites with the content of the Safe Schools program.

For instance, chest binding and penis tucking are an everyday reality for many gender diverse people, and this is why information on them is out there. There's a guide to safe chest-binding on the Minus18 website, which is a contributing organisation to the Safe Schools Coalition. But that guide has nothing to do with the content that is taught in schools.

OK, that's all.


Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.