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This Politician Just Praised The Hell Out Of A School Principal For Standing Up For Trans Kids

Janet Rice thanked the principal for taking an important stand.

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Senator Janet Rice has written to congratulate the principal of a school for standing up for LGBTI students after a mum withdrew her kids in protest against an anti-bullying program.

Mum of four Cella White pulled her kids out of Frankston High in Victoria after taking umbrage at content in the Safe Schools Coalition program that teaches kids about transgender issues and urges them to respect diverse gender identities.

The Safe Schools Coalition (SSC) is an anti-bullying program focusing on LGBTI students with almost 500 member schools across Australia. The Victorian Labor government has pledged to introduce the program in every school by 2018.

“It was announced in science class that boys could wear school dresses next year. They’re telling my children to call transgender children by their requested pronoun," White told The Herald Sun.

“What is the benefit to my son? He’s got a learning disability, he’s struggling with his times tables, he doesn’t need to deal with this.”

White added that she didn't want her daughter to share a bathroom with transgender girls.

“It could be a year 12 student of the opposite-born sex in the bathroom with my year 7 daughter who is blind,” she said.

However, Frankston High principal John Albiston stood by the program, saying “By joining the Safe Schools Coalition we show that we openly celebrate differences and support students who identify with the LGBTI community."

Now, Senator Janet Rice has applauded Albiston for "showing the courage to stand against the discrimination of LGBTI students and their families".

Rice said that high school is a critical time for young LGBTI people, who experience a suicide rate six times higher than the general population.

"Every single young person I’ve met who’ve been involved in SSC programs have absolutely loved it. Not only has it worked in making LGBTI young people safer, happier and healthier, it’s brought countless allies to in to our community," Rice wrote.

Rice also took aim at the Australian Christian Lobby, which has has long campaigned against the government-funded SSC, saying it teaches "radical sexual experimentation" and ought to be defunded.

"When I see fabrications from an outdated lobby group undoing some of the good work you and the Safe Schools Coalition have done, I have to call these people out," she wrote.

She rejected the implication that the program undermines parental authority,

"I’m sure you’ll agree that the program in no way undermines parents’ authority. When I sent my two sons to school, I did so in full knowledge that they would be taught things I wasn’t qualified to teach them. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t have learnt more than the basics of history, biology or PE. This is no different."

Here's the letter in full:

Dear Mr Albiston,

I’m writing to congratulate you and the Franskton High School community for showing the courage to stand against the discrimination of LGBTI students and their families.

As you are aware, the Safe School Coalition (SSC) provides a vital service for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, as well as teachers, families and other students. It aims to enable a school environment where students feel “safe, happy and healthy and to be treated with dignity and respect”.

We know that about 1 in 10 people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or queer.

We know that high school is a critical time for these people as they make the decision to come out.

And we know that because of this, the suicide rate of LGBTI young people is around six times higher than the general population.

So when I see fabrications from an outdated lobby group undoing some of the good work you and the SSC have done, I have to call these people out.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the program in no way undermines parents’ authority. When I sent my two sons to school, I did so in full knowledge that they would be taught things I wasn’t qualified to teach them. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t have learnt more than the basics of history, biology or PE. This is no different.

They also suggest that this is something other than an “anti-bullying program” and that “most parents would be very concerned” about it. But there is zero evidence of that about the program, and all you have to do is to talk to some of the students at your school to know its value.

Every single young person I’ve met who’ve been involved in SSC programs have absolutely loved it. Not only has it worked in making LGBTI young people safer, happier and healthier, it’s brought countless allies to in to our community.

I commend you for your work with the SSC.

The Greens share your vision for a society where LGBTI young people – and their families – aren’t faced by the discrimination shown in these outdated remarks.

Until then, we will do everything we can to support your efforts to stamp it out.

Thank you,

Janet Rice

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

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

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