Teenagers in Australia are being taught LGBTQ+ sex education around a third gender in a controversial lecture.
Queensland Health is hoping to ‘expand the idea of sexuality beyond the narrow focus of sex and genitals’ in a handful of Brisbane high schools by sending a sexual health doctor to talk to the students.
The lecture, which is called the ‘Genderbread Person,’ is based on a model designed by self-described social justice comedian Sam Killermann to better understand the social construction of gender.
According to the Genderbread.org website, ‘gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation are independent of one another’.
It goes on to say gender identity – which is how you, in your head, think about yourself – can be anywhere between ‘woman-ness’ and ‘man-ness,’ incorporating terms such as ‘genderqueer,’ ‘agender,’ ‘third-gender,’ and ‘bigender’.
As reported by The Courier Mail, the lecture is presented by Dr Joseph Debattista, Queensland Health’s Metro North co-ordinator of sexual health, HIV and hepatitis – with the doctor saying he will ‘present the concept of the Genderbread Person as a model for understanding sexuality’ in his note to schools.
Firstly, it will be important to expand the idea of sexuality beyond the narrow focus of ‘sex and genitals’, and view it as the innate ability of all humans to share themselves and communicate who they are with others.
To understand ourselves as individuals, we will be looking at the four layers of sexuality as presented in the Genderbread Model: biological sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression and exploring the nature and diversity of each layer.
As we look at each layer, it will be emphasised that within each layer, there exists a range of possibilities or variations, and that each layer is independent of the other and is not necessarily connected.
In this way, we must avoid making assumptions or generalisations about people’s expected behaviour and begin to appreciate the complexity and diversity of each person.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said two or three schools each year asked for the gender lesson, adding: ‘It’s important for young people to learn about sexual health and safe sexual behaviour’.
The spokesperson continued:
Young people who identify as LGBTI+ are more likely to attempt suicide, especially if they experience abuse and harassment.
This education aims to promote understanding and respect for the dignity of all people.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said the Genderbread program had been banned in schools throughout New South Wales three years ago, describing it as ‘discredited politically correct propaganda’.
The opposition leader went on to say how this particular programme teaches children their instincts are ‘almost always wrong,’ and that while we need to support ‘confused and vulnerable kids,’ her fear is that ‘this program will do more harm than good’.
An Education Department spokesperson said schools could request the gender lectures, with parents and students having the opportunity to opt out.
The spokesperson said:
The Department of Education does not mandate the use of specific programs regarding gender identity and schools are not required to report centrally on their use of programs or resources.
This comes after new laws were passed in five Australian states to allow transgender and gender-diverse people to change the gender on their birth certificates.
We did it! Birth certificate reform has passed in Victoria. ⠀
Victoria joins Tas, NT, SA and the ACT in passing laws that make it easier for people to update their birth certificates without facing unnecessary and invasive medical interventions.
⠀#MyIDMyIdentity #SpringSt pic.twitter.com/G6eHpwVCOL
— EqualityAustralia 🌈 (@EqualityAu) August 27, 2019
The change in policy means people in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory will be able to change their birth certificate to reflect the gender they identify with – without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Tasmania became the nation’s first jurisdiction in which gender on a birth certificate is optional, after state parliament passed laws in April which came into effect on September 5.
Hopefully these changes are just the first of many towards a greater acceptance and improvement of trans rights across the country and worldwide.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open Mondays and Fridays, 8pm to midnight and is run by trans volunteers.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).