ZB

Aussie plan to ban the words 'boys and girls'

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Apr 2022, 2:56pm
Schools in the Northern Territory may ban gendered language and single-sex sporting activities. Photo / Getty Images
Schools in the Northern Territory may ban gendered language and single-sex sporting activities. Photo / Getty Images

Aussie plan to ban the words 'boys and girls'

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Apr 2022, 2:56pm

Progressive guidelines set to be introduced across Northern Territory schools in Australia will encourage teachers not refer to students as "boys and girls" under a plan designed to boost inclusion. 

Key changes were outlined in a leaked draft of the NT education department's Diverse sex, sexuality and gender identity in schools guidelines published by Sky News on Tuesday. 

The document contained recommendations for staff to avoid using gendered language like "boys and girls" and "ladies and gentlemen" as it "can be alienating for gender-questioning and gender-diverse children", according to the publication. 

"Avoid this by using vocabulary such as 'students', 'class', 'crew', 'everyone', people' or 'Year X' that are more inclusive," the draft reads. 

Schools would also be encouraged not to separate children based on their gender for sport days in a tactic hoped to reduce the withdrawal of transgender and gender-diverse children from sport. 

It was recommended that schools instead establish non-gendered teams and sporting activities. 

"Many transgender and gender-diverse children often withdraw from taking part in sport and physical activities because they feel highly uncomfortable or are forced into teams that do not match with their gender identity," the draft guidelines read. 

"Swimming and aquatic activities or any other sport where tight-fitting clothing is worn can be unsettling for children who identify as a gender different from their physical attributes. 

Teachers arranging excursions, including overnight camps, would be encouraged to "consult with LGBTQI students, parents and support teams to confirm preferences" ahead of a trip. 

The measure would ensure each child has access to appropriate personal facilities, and would be allowed to sleep in rooms with other children of their affirmed gender. 

The bold plan would focus on students feeling safe and comfortable. Photo / Getty Images 

Those with a desire for increased privacy should also be provided with "reasonable personal facilities and accommodation options, which may include a private room", the draft read. 

It added alternative solutions should be sought in an instance that a child or their peers indicate they don't "feel safe and comfortable sharing", which could suggest the involvement of "possible exclusionary behaviour and potential bullying towards the LGBTQI child". 

Teachers were encouraged to have processes like switching kids who didn't feel comfortable, and closely monitoring student interactions to reduce the likelihood of ongoing bullying. 

The draft said educating children and parents about human rights and discrimination was a "good first step to avoiding concerns", as was emphasising that the "safety and wellbeing of each and every child takes priority". 

News.com.au understands several of the recommendations outlined in the draft have been changed since it was published. 

NT Education Minister Lauren Moss, who opted not to discuss details of the guidelines, said the document was still subject to the review process. 

"I think it's really important that we are creating welcoming and inclusive environments for all students and that includes our students who are LGBTQI," she said, according to Sky News. 

"We know that often these students are young people and children who experience greater levels of harm or greater levels of isolation or greater levels of bullying and we need to make sure that we are working together as a school community to support all of our students and make sure that they all feel welcome." 

Country Liberal Party Senate candidate Jacinta Price slammed the guidelines, saying she was "stunned that the Gunner Government would even consider attempting to apply any Marxist ideology into our schooling system here in the Northern Territory". 

"It goes to show that the Northern Territory Government's priorities are all mixed up," she said, Sky News reported. 

The NT education department has been contacted by news.com.au for comment. 

- by Brooke Rolfe, news.com.au