When Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine writes about LGBTI issues, it’s fair to say she’ll get something wrong. Yesterday, splashed across the front page as a “PC madness exclusive”, Devine claimed the term “girl” had been banned at Cheltenham Girls High as part of a proposed implementation of the Safe Schools program.

Safe Schools, contrary to Devine’s claims, does not specifically ban gender titles but promotes acceptance for transgender people and those who don’t identify as male or female.

The school has categorically rejected Devine’s claims that “girls” is banned. The school told SameSame that it will not change the way students’ gender is referred to.

Today, Devine avoided correcting the record, but stated the school shouldn’t be implementing the Safe Schools program without parental permission. She also claims that “mum and dad” is banned and that boys are being directed to dress up as girls as part of free play in a guide developed by the NSW Teachers Federation.

A quick review of the guide (released in 2011) — available online but not linked in Devine’s piece — reveals a misreading of the guide. This is what it actually states:

“… allowing and encouraging non-gender specific free play, for example boys dressing up and girls using construction materials”

Far from “mum and dad” being banned, the guide promotes teaching the diversity of family units and welcoming same-sex parents into classroom activities. Devine is earning a reputation for misreporting LGBTI issues.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey