It’s a queer theory, with 51 closets to come out of (Part 1 of 2 parts)
News Weekly, May 21, 2016
Queer gender theory is at the core of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program, says Monash University feminist writer Laura McNally.
Many genders: but only one reality.
McNally says that if this term is unfamiliar, there is a good reason: “Queer theory is a highly contested and relatively recent development in the sociology academy.
“Queer theory propositions – such as the 51 gender categories, and growing – are more likely to be found discussed on Tumblr than in any empirical study. That hasn’t stopped them from being rolled out into schools in various countries,”
In the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program:
Resources include OMG im queer and OMG my friends queer;
These texts link to major queer sites with countless resources on the issue;
Children are encouraged to adopt a label such as gay, lesbian, queer or “pansexual”;
The program views all forms of sexual activity as acceptable, normal and safe;
The Minus18 website contains highly sexual resources. The article “When are you ready to do it?” provides no minimum age for sex but does give a range of other advice: “It may come as a surprise, but there is no strict definition for virginity, especially if you’re queer. Penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex, and certainly not the ‘ultimate sex’.”
The law, sex and identity
Our laws and culture define sex as male and female. The genetic difference between male and female may be small, but it clearly defines male and female.
The few exceptions in law relate to a tiny minority of intersex people, and/or to laws that have succumbed to queer theory and recognise anyone self-identifying with any of several sexual orientations and 50 plus sexual identities (transsexual, gender questioning, male to female, etc).
An example of the latter is Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act, which says that discrimination occurs when someone “engage(s) in any conduct which offends, humiliates, insults or ridicules another person” on the grounds of sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual) or self-defined gender identity. Gender identity is said to mean “the gender-related identity, appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual (whether by way of medical intervention or not), with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth, and includes transsexualism and transgenderism”. How is this determined? Well, it’s how you feel.
These are vague concepts in law, wide open to interpretation, with the effect of silencing freedom of speech on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Queer theory analysis considers a wide range of sexual issues, such as cross-dressing, intersex, gender ambiguity, hermaphroditism, gender corrective/changing surgery, to reject the idea that biology defines sexual identity as male or female. It focuses on an array of sexual identities that are mismatches between male/female sex, gender and desire. It goes far beyond the idea of gay, lesbian and bisexual, to include over 50 sexual categories, like agender, androgyne, pangender, transgender, two-spirit, non-binary, gender questioning, and many more.
It argues that gender identity is independent of sexual biology.
The Safe Schools All of Us Unit Guide invokes queer theory, saying: “Sex is about the body you are born with (male, female or intersex [see lesson 6]), while gender is about your identity, or how you feel inside. Gender refers to the way that you feel on the inside. It might be expressed by how you dress or how you behave and for some people these things may change over time.” (p30).
OMG my friends queer, says: “Some people identify with aspects of none or both traditional genders and feel they are ‘genderqueer’, ‘gender neutral’, ‘inter gender’ or feel like they are another gender altogether …
“Some people have a ‘fluid’ gender – it changes over time … Some people have surgery to alter how they express their gender, some people have hormone treatment.” (p9)
There is a fundamental problem with separating sex (male and female) from gender (genderqueer, gender fluid, inter gender, androgyne, etc). Sex is genetic (males have XY and females XX chromosomes), affecting every cell in the human body, as well as body shape, function and psychology (on this last aspect, see also the two-part series “The scientific objectivity of gender difference” by Glenn T. Stanton in the last issue of News Weekly (May 7, 2016) and in this issue on pages 15-17). In contrast, the idea that gender is how you “feel” is a highly questionable, controversial theory. It’s not science.
Yet, queer theory treats over 50 sexual identities based on “feelings” as “normal”, normal enough to be taught as fact in schools and universities. It denies that these “feelings” could be just the teenage working through of hormonal, developmental, environmental and cultural issues; or more serious traumatic experiences.
Of concern, the Safe Schools program gives no recognition to overwhelming social research showing that there is a strong link between early sexual debut and attempted suicide and between early sexual debut and same-sex attraction. Significantly higher rates of attempted suicide and self-harm have been observed among sexually active adolescents than among adolescents who are not sexually active. Neither queer theory nor Safe Schools adequately rescognises that the risk of self-harm is grounds for counseling and possible police investigation in cases of sexual abuse.
Instead, Safe Schools seeks to turn what are private concerns into a public issue for the whole classroom and the school. It wants to exploit both gender-related conditions and students’ sexual attractions to confirm as “normal” all forms of sexual identity and a vast array of sexual practices as part of a sexual revolution.
To this end, various Safe Schools resources recommend to students organisations that link them to adult sex shops, sex groups and porn sites.
Safe Schools advocates that schools promote the extremist queer theory agenda, and take sex education out of the hands of parents. It links students to the Minus18 website which instructs them how to hide their online browsing history (“Cover your tracks”). And resource Guide to Supporting a Student to Affirm or Transition Gender Identity at School advises that it may be possible to consider a student a mature minor and able to make decisions without parental consent in the matter of gender-transition treatment.
The child as agent
Indeed, queer theory views “the child as agent”.
Under Australian law, young people are generally defined as children until the age of 18. They are minors deserving protection from abuse and exploitation sexually, in the labour force and in many other ways.
Consequently, as a result of community outrage over child sex abuse, a long-running royal commission has been exposing the widespread sexual abuse of children.
In contrast, a central tenet of queer theory is childhood “agency”, or the “child as agent”. An agent is one competent to make a decision. As a real estate agent is competent to value and arrange the sale and purchase of land.
In queer gender theory, childhood agency means treating children as competent to make their own (sexual) decisions.
Safe Schools exposes children to a wide range of sexual activities and sexual identities. Does this make them informed “child agents”?
The degree of children’s agency is one of the cardinal questions advocated and debated by queer theorists. By definition, this questions or rejects the idea of childhood latency, when a child is yet to develop hormonally, physically and sexually.
Logically, queer theory questions using the term latency or even the category of childhood – that time when we should “let kids be kids” and not burden them with the social and sexual concerns of the adult world.
But if children are really agents capable of making their own (sexual) decisions, then shouldn’t they just be treated as little/mini adults? Does this mean that children can consent to sex with adults and/or with other children?
Well, this is where views vary and queer theory discourse typically reverts to literary and artistic criticism, or to quoting other academics. However, some queer theorists do seem to indicate answers.
Victoria is home to a number of academics who are on the cutting edge of queer theory and its application to education and public policy.
Dr Steven Angelides is recognised internationally for his contributions to queer theory. He is based at La Trobe’s Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS).
In his article, “What’s behind sex panics? The Bill Henson scandal”, Angelides argues that the public outcry, or “sex panic” – caused when a 12-year-old child agreed to have her nude photograph publically exhibited – was a mask for society’s fear of recognising children’s sexual agency:
“Buried beneath the palpable fear of child sexualisation and abuse by adults is an underlying and perhaps more primary fear of the sexualities of children.”
Angelides argues that children do consent to sex: “What to do with the fact that the sexual child, such as N, is not the passive recipient of the adult gaze or adult sexuality. Often she looks back, speaks back, touches back, and indeed initiates and colludes with adults, not to mention often strips for them or has sex with them voluntarily (with or without parental consent).”
Angelides’ article, “Feminism, child sexual abuse, and the erasure of child sexuality”, has been hailed as a “landmark contribution to queer theory”.  He advocates “critical scrutiny” of the “sociopolitical, legal, and institutional formations” that maintain “arbitrary distinctions between linear and chronological stages of individual development”.
Gary Dowsett, also from ARCSHS, openly advocates the legalisation of pedophilia. In “Boiled lollies and Band-aids: Gay men and kids” (Gay Information, Spring 1982), Dowsett argues that pedophilia must be legally recognised and depicts it as part of a wider sexual liberation.
He wrote: “We need to protect the youthful partners in pedophilia against the legal and social management systems which treat them as delinquents. But for all kids there are rights to be won, and struggles to be waged against institutions that deny them power and their sexual rights, viz schools, reformatories, churches, scouts and guides.”
In his 1996 PhD thesis, Practicing Desire: Homosexual Sex in the Era of AIDS, Dowsett describes “sexual encounters of various kinds” between “adolescent (and occasionally younger) boys” … “and to a lesser degree, with men, in and outside family life. This homosexual activity is more commonplace and normal, even worthy of being thought of as altruistic.”
How does Dowsett’s promotion of legalised pedophilia sit with a society so outraged by child abuse that Australia has a royal commission into the issue?
 Laura McNally, “Does imposing queer theory really lead to safe schools?”, ABC Religion and Ethics, March 14, 2016.
 “When are you ready to do it?”, 1/10/12, accessed January 6, 2016.
 “Here’s a list of 58 gender options for Facebook users”, ABC News, February 13, 2014.
 WichstrømL., HegnaK., “Sexual orientation and suicide attempt: A longitudinal study of the general Norwegian adolescent population”, JAbnormPsychol. February 2003, 112 (1), pp144–51.
 Rector, R. Johnson, J.A., Noyes L.R., “Sexually active teenagers are more likely to be depressed and to attempt suicide”, 2003. Accessed December 22, 2015.
 Sansone, R.A., Wiederman, M.W., Barnes, J., “Diverse sexual experiences and self-harm among women in an internal medicine setting”, Psychiatry, September 2008.
 Micah Scott, “Cover your tracks”, December 31, 2012, accessed January 7, 2016.
 Roz Ward, Joel Radcliffe, Matthew Parsons, Mel Gaylard, Dani Wright Toussaint, Guide to supporting a student to affirm or transition gender identity at school. Accessed February 3, 2016.
 Accessed 8 May, 2016.
 Angelides, S., “What’s behind child sex panics? The Bill Henson scandal”. Lambda Nordica (Sweden), Issue 2, 2011.
 Angelides, S., Feminism, Child Sexual Abuse, and the Erasure of Child Sexuality, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Volume 10, Number 2, 2004, pp141–177.
 Shaw, J., Review: “Queer theory and the child”, accessed May 6, 2016.
 Dowsett, G., Boiled Lollies and Bandaids: Gay Men and Kids, Gay Information, Spring 1982, pg. 34–38.
 Dowsett, Gary, W., (1996), Practicing Desire: Homosexual Sex in the Era of AIDS, Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.
See also, other Dowsett articles:
Dowsett, G. W., Chapter 1, “Body play: corporeality in a discursive silence”, in (Ed) Parker, R., Barboso, R.M., Aggleton, P., Framing the Sexual Subject: The Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Power, 2000, University of California Press.
Gary Dowsett, “Monsters or mentors”, Outrage, Issue 2, May 1983, p41.
It’s a queer theory that says kids can transgender (Part 2 of 2)
News Weekly, June 4, 2016
Part One in this series of articles examined how queer theory is predicated on the notion of the child as agent, capable of making its own decisions. Part Two of these articles examines other controversial aspects of the theory.
Another controversial aspect of queer theory is transgendering – not just cross-dressing, but medical gender transition. Particularly controversial is the idea that the child as agent can choose to transition gender – to male, female or something else.
An example is the Safe Schools program resource, Guide to Supporting a Student to Affirm or Transition Gender Identity at School, which advises schools how to develop a plan to manage a student’s gender transition, even without parental consent – “It may be possible to consider a student a mature minor and able to make decisions without parental consent” (p1).
Safe Schools’ Gender Questioning says: “When under 18, the first medical option available to you is puberty blockers. They’re most effective for people in the early stages of puberty, if you’re younger it’s definitely worth discussing with your doctor.” (p11)
Another Minus18 resource used by Safe Schools, OMG I’m Trans, advises students that “[s]urgery is something you might consider too, and while it isn’t for everyone, for some it can be hugely beneficial”. The booklet says that while chest and genital surgery are currently not available to people under 18 years of age (p11), it provides the contact details for a number of Victorian medical clinics specialising in servicing transgender patients (p22).
Safe Schools resources are self-contradictory in that they state that gender is defined not by physical anatomy but rather by feelings while at the same time discussing the benefits of medical gender transition treatments for the alteration of physical anatomy. Queer theory often embraces inconsistencies. It is ideologically motivated and more concerned with “subjectivities” and the creation of “new truths” than with a rational investigation of any given matter.
OMG im Trans encourages students to use opposite-sex public toilets: “Victoria has no explicit laws about using public bathrooms and you can use whichever ones you want” (p36).
This is particularly relevant in Victoria, where not only is transgender a recognised gender identity under anti-discrimination laws, but also counseling that discourages hormonal treatment and surgery may run the risk of complaint under the new Health Complaints Act. Recently, Victoria has also seen a drastic increase in the number of children seeking transgender medical treatment at Melbourne’s Royal Childrens’ Hospital from one patient in 2003 to 60 in 2014; over 200 patients were expected in 2015.
Gender dysphoria is overwhelmingly a temporary condition. One study estimating that between 80 per cent and 97.5 per cent of all cases observed in childhood and adolescence do not go on to manifest as permanent transgenderism in adulthood.
Is it appropriate to treat school-aged children as “agents” able to consent to transgendering, possibly even to medical procedures that are irreversible and that can leave the person sterile?
There is no universal queer theory agreement on the degree of child agency on such controversial issues.
Queer theory has no clear boundaries between terms like baby, child, teenager and adult. In fact, the theory aims to questions these very ideas by which society creates boundaries to protect younger people.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains part of the “child agent” problem, asking: “Is transgenerational sex (e.g., pedophilia) permissible? … While some queer theorists specifically disallow pedophilia, it is an open question whether the theory has the resources to support such a distinction. Furthermore, some queer theorists overtly refuse to rule out pedophiles as ‘queer’.”
Diederik Janssen summarises the array of relationship issues at stake in treating children as “agents”. In his article, “Queer theory and childhood” (Oxford Bibliographies) Janssen says: “The ‘queering’ and ‘queerness’ of the child are accordingly tied in with that of the family, adult, parent, teacher, and ‘pedophile’.”
While a range of queer theorists oppose pedophilia, at the very least queer theory blurs the lines between our culture’s understanding of the need to protect childhood, the time when we let kids be kids, and promoting the idea that children are agents able to make their own (sexual) decisions.
Queer theory’s advocacy for “child agency” raises other questions.
If children have “agency”, then perhaps all child labour laws should be abolished so that children can exercise their “agency” and go to work when they please? Should the law requiring compulsory education to the age of 15 be abolished so children can choose to attend school when they please? Should the voting age be abolished so that children can vote?
So far these issues don’t seem to have significantly entered queer theory discussions.
A sexual revolution
Queer theory is deeply political and revolutionary.
Using various controversial analytical tools, including forms of neo-Marxist analysis, it argues that neoliberal politics has legally and culturally conditioned both childhood and gender as a means of maintaining power.
Both childhood and gender are just social constructs reinforced by laws and conventions such as defining sex on birth certificates as male or female; separate male and female school toilets; imposing different dress codes for males and females; different toys for boys and girls; having laws provide special protections for children, treating them as minors, different from adults. One law requires that adults have a police clearance to work with children.
In order to destabilise neoliberal social institutions and capitalism, queer theory says it is necessary to dissolve male/female gender and childhood.
Consequently, Diederik Janssen says the battle over child agency is a key issue in queer sexual politics; it’s “a central queer concern: and arguably the crucible, or ground zero, of all sexual politics”.
Safe Schools, heavily based on queer theory, is on the frontline of the fight over children in Australia.
Roz Ward, one of the main academics who created the Safe Schools program at La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre into Sex Health and Society (ARCSHS), says that conventional notions of male and female, sex, marriage and natural family have been imposed on children and society.
These notions only “serve to break the spirits of ordinary people, to consume our thoughts, to make us accept the status quo and for us to keep living or aspiring to live, or feel like we should live, in small social units and families where we must reproduce and take responsibility for those people in those units”, she told the 2015 Marxism Conference in Melbourne. (See extracts from Roz Ward’s speech in News Weekly, February 27, 2016.)
Ward says that doing away with male, female and the hetero-normative family will “create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today.”
She told a Safe Schools symposium that the program is “not about stopping bullying. (It’s) about gender and sexual diversity.” (The Australian, March 22, 2016)
Queer theory in schools is part of a queer sexual revolution that confronts the social order. This includes school activist groups to monitor student and staff attitudes and behaviour, and act as queer thought police.
Deconstructing natural sexuality
Queer theory rejects the idea of schools teaching and affirming as the norm children as biologically male and female but with diverse physical appearances. It also treats children as (sexual) agents.
A group of the leading academics at ARCSHS have described the place of queer theory in education. Elizabeth Smith, Roz Ward, Jennifer Dixon, Lynne Hillier, Anne Mitchell and Dr Tiffany Jones (now at the University of New England) co-wrote “School experiences of transgender and gender-diverse students in Australia,” (Sex Education, 2016).
They say that queer theory is interested in “(de)constructions of sex and gender”, that is, in deconstructing the idea that people are just male or female.
In another academic article, “Saving rhetorical children: Sexuality education discourses from conservative to post-modern” (Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 2011), Dr Tiffany Jones examines the evolution of sex education from conservative, liberal, critical to post-modern, including post-modern “queer”.
She says that queer theory and diversity education see the child as a person “whose ‘sexual identity’ is … fluid, fractured and problematic”. The child “can inhabit and move between sexual identities and cultures, although,” Jones admits, the child “is also ‘subject to’”, or influenced by, the child’s identities and cultures to a certain extent.
Queer theory “aims to disrupt/destabilise the structures (sex, gender, orientation) that uphold the illusion of heteronormativity”, Jones says.
At one level, queer theory aims to “disrupt/destabilise” the natural human experience of sex and gender (that is, male and female, boy and girl). These are regarded as just socially constructed concepts, antiquated ideas upholding “the illusion of heteronormativity”, the idea that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (male and female) with natural roles of being mothers and fathers in a family.
Partly this is done “through deconstruction and (re)creation of texts, including the self or others as texts”, says Tiffany Jones. This refers to analysing literary texts and analysing the lives of children and others, whose lives are seen as “texts”. These “texts” are to be “deconstructed” and “(re)created” allowing many possible sexual identities to be explored and adopted.
As Annamarie Jagose says in “Queer theory” (Australian Humanities Review, December 1996), ultimately queer theory aims to demonstrate “the impossibility of natural sexuality, [calling] into question even such apparently unproblematic terms as ‘man’ and ‘woman’”.
At another level, in schools it teaches, or provides resources that offer, an array of sexual practices that sexualises children, promotes sexual experimentation and the notion of “child agency”.
Queer fault lines
Many have taken “queer” to mean all non-heterosexual people and movements. In fact, queer has no clear definition, but emphasises a wider range of fluid sexual identities than just gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Ironically, even though queer stands as a sexual identity itself, some argue that it challenges the relevance of sexual identities altogether. If all people are queer, sexual identities would become obsolete.
Because queer theory questions the binary male/female nature of people as the norm, there are those in the GLBT community who see queer as messing up the concepts of gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual – concepts which are reliant on the binary nature of gender for their own definition. A gay male is a person attracted to another male. A bisexual is attracted to both sexes. A transsexual is a person wanting to be the opposite sex. For many GLBTs, sexuality is still binary, male and female. It’s not about a fluid choice of over 50 queer sexual identities.
Many GLBTs want to be accepted into the structures of heterosexual society – by redefining marriage to include them, being accepted in the military, and so on.
In contrast, while some queer theorists see same-sex marriage as furthering their agenda, others want to abolish the institution of marriage because it upholds the oppressive structures of society.
In 2010 as Americans were debating and voting on various marriage state referenda, a group of queer theorists published Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage.[19[ The book was hailed as making “the powerful argument that same-sex marriage is an essentially conservative cause, an effort to prop up an essentially unfair system.”
Against Equality marked a major rift between many in the GLBT community who wish to be seen as ordinary members of society, and those queers who see themselves as separate, confrontational and opposed to the ordinary social order.
Another rift exists between many gays and transgenders. Some gays have challenged the idea that medical treatment can change a person’s sex, which idea has been embraced by queer theorists wanting to deconstruct the hetero-normative into a more fluid array of sexualities.
Recently, gay writer Daniel Harris created a storm of controversy when he wrote: “While I fervently support [transgenders] rights to transition, I believe that the whole phenomenon of switching one’s gender is a mass delusion.” He said that it’s impossible to change one’s gender, regardless of how many body parts one chops off. “Gender is not ‘assigned’” and, therefore, cannot be “reassigned” by plastic surgery.
Gender “is revealed, first by the transducer of an ultrasound machine massaging a besmeared and distended belly and then by the obstetrician as he dangles the wailing infant by its feet. One can no more change one’s gender than one’s species.” Pop psychology and postmodern theory be damned, Harris wrote in The Antioch Review, Winter 2016.
Harris is puzzled at how the “public almost universally disapproves of plastic surgery and laughs derisively at celebrities who present a face ‘different from the one they rode in on’”, while praising transgenders like former U.S. Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, who identifies as Caitlyn Jenner.
“I know of no other human-rights movement in which supporters are adjured, not only to advocate for the greater civil liberties of a minority, but to aid and reinforce its self-delusions, to guard those who harbour them from the truth,” wrote Harris.
Some feminists have also attacked queer theory. They fought for the rights of “women”, not for the female identity to be dissolved into a smorgasbord of over 50 different sexual identities.
Monash university feminist Laura McNally, recently criticised Safe Schools for teaching over 50 new queer gender categories.
She said it does not resolve problems of stereotyping and discrimination. It merely creates “more confusion, more anxiety and more pressure for children over an issue that is not their burden to bear”.
“This is not gender neutrality, but gender enforcement,” says McNally.
And like Daniel Harris, feminist Germaine Greer has rejected the idea that a person can change their sex.
In the face of student protests over her views just prior to a speech at Cardiff University last October, Greer told BBC’s Newsnight program that a person can have surgery, hormone therapy and change their dress – a man can make himself look like a woman – but “it doesn’t make them a woman”.
“That happens to be an opinion. It’s not a prohibition; carry on, if that’s what you think it is you want to do. I’ve been accused of inciting violence against transgender people. It’s absolute nonsense.”
Greer added that “a great many” women did not dare to say that transgender people “don’t look like, sound like, or behave like women”.
It is one thing for adults to adopt queer identity theories and live as they please, it’s another to predicate sex education on telling children that their identity is based on how they feel sexually and how they conduct themselves, even when many are not engaged in sexual conduct.
Queer theory aims to dissolve the idea that biology defines male and female identity. It asserts that what we know as natural human sexuality is nothing more than a social construct imposed by the dominant class of the society in which we live.
It is an extreme form of sexual libertarianism that attacks an essential part of human nature.
 Roz Ward, Joel Radcliffe, Matthew Parsons, Mel Gaylard, Dani Wright Toussaint, Guide to supporting a student to affirm or transition gender identity at school. Accessed 26/5/2016.
 Gender Questioning, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Margot Fink, Micah Scott, eds, OMG I’m Trans, MINUS18, 2015, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Health Complaints Act 2016, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Jill Stark, “Calls to help sex-change kids as demand for gender reassignment soars”, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 6, 2014, accessed 26/5/2016
 Legge, K., Making the Switch, The Weekend Australian Magazine, July 18–19, 2015, pp12–16.
 Korte, A. et al., Gender identity disorders in childhood and adolescence: Currently debated concepts and treatment strategies, Deutsches Arzteblatt Int., November 2008; 105(48): 834–841. Accessed 26/5/2016.
 Homosexuality, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2002.
 Diederik Janssen, “Queer theory and childhood”, Oxford Bibliographies, accessed 26/5/2016.
 See extracts from Roz Ward’s speech in “Safer schools or a radical Marxist sexual revolution?” Patrick J. Byrne, News Weekly, February 27, 2016.
 Tiffany Jones, Elizabeth Smith, Roz Ward, Jennifer Dixon, Lynne Hillier and Anne Mitchell,“School experiences of transgender and gender-diverse students in Australia”, Sex Education, 2016, Volume 16, No. 2, pp156–171, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Tiffany Jones, “Saving rhetorical children: Sexuality education discourses from conservative to post-modern”, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Vol. 11, Issue 4, August 12, 2011: pp369–387, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Annamarie Jagose, “Queer theory”,1996, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Ryan Conrad, ed., Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, 2010.
 Walter Benn Michaels, “The trouble with diversity: How we learned to love identity and ignore inequality”.
 Daniel Harris, “The sacred androgen: The transgender debate”, The Antioch Review, Winter, 2016, accessed 26/5/2016.
 Laura McNally, “Gender neutrality or enforcement? ‘Safe Schools’ isn’t as progressive as it seems”, ABC Religion and Ethics, March 24, 2015.
 “Cardiff University rejects bid to bar Germaine Greer”, The New York Times, October 24, 2015.
Safer schools or a radical Marxist sexual revolution?
News Weekly, February 27, 2016
Publicly the person who set up the Safe Schools Coalition program says it’s to stop bullying and suicides, but she told a Marxism conference it was part of a wider Marxist strategy to radically change society.
Roz Ward, from La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, told the Melbourne 2015 Marxism Conference, “In 2010 … I was the person who set up Safe Schools Coalition in Victoria” (SSCV). This program has now been expanded to become the federally funded Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA).
The public defence of the SSCA’s particular format has been that it’s necessary to stop bullying and reduce self-harm among LGBTI students and students claiming various sexual identities other than male or female.
However, to the Marxism Conference, Roz Ward gave a Marxist analysis of how the ruling capitalist class imposed conventional notions of male and female, sex, marriage and natural family on society to “break the spirits of ordinary people”.
Going to school was never
so full of perils.
Like any ideology, sexual Marxism has its own language that needs to be deciphered.
Marxist doctrine says that the capitalist class (the wealthy owners of capital) has used all the main institutions of society – government, the courts, the churches and the culture – to oppress, subjugate and economically exploit the working class.
Ward says that as part of this process of exploitation, capitalists have imposed cultural and moral norms around sex, marriage and the natural family that inhibit sexual freedom.
“To smooth the operation of capitalism the ruling class has benefited, and continues to benefit, from oppressing our bodies, our relationships, sexuality and gender identities alongside sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
“Both serve to break the spirits of ordinary people, to consume our thoughts, to make us accept the status quo and for us to keep living or aspiring to live, or feel like we should live, in small social units and families where we must reproduce and take responsibility for those people in those units,” she said.
Ward argues that this capitalist social and cultural construct extends to every aspect of our society: “Apart from social stigma and discrimination, almost every single structure in society is set up to accommodate only two possible genders, male or female.
“Everything from the toilets we use, the school uniforms, changing rooms, all official documents, passports, the process is that you go through airports, everything is divided into these two limited gender options.”
Just as a political revolution is needed to liberate workers from capitalist economic oppression, Ward argues that a sexual revolution is needed to liberate everyone from capitalist sexual oppression. Indeed, sexual liberation would loosen the capitalist bonds on the culture and the economy.
So what is Ward’s solution to capitalist sexual oppression?
Marxism is her solution. “Marxism offers both the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today, because Marxism has a theory of social change,” Ward says.
To this end, Ward lauds policies of sexual liberation introduced by the Soviet Union after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. This included the introduction of “gender neutral language … something that transgender advocates today see as the key demand to the transgender and other advocacy movements.
“They [the Soviets] also removed the fixed age of consent…”
It’s in the context of a sexual revolution, in the image and likeness of a Marxist political and economic revolution, that Ward sees her SSCV program, which is now the Australia-wide SSCA program in around 490 schools.
This program gives its support to an array of sexual experimentation; it suggests young people can bypass school and other internet filtering systems to access sites that carry porn and sex aids; it presents as safe and acceptable hormone therapy and surgery to become transgender; it presents as acceptable dangerous female chest binding so girls can appear gender ambiguous; it encourages schools to allow for cross-gender students to use the change rooms and toilets of the sex with which they want to identify; and its resources provide links to adult gay organisations.
This curriculum is part of a strategy to make schools an essential element in the sexual revolution that Ward describes as necessary to liberate the whole of society, not just LGBT people, from capitalism.
There is one important line in Ward’s speech that makes this clear.
This line needs to be understood in terms of a core Marxist doctrine that says something like this: for workers to be truly liberated, it takes more than the creation of a communist state like the Soviet Union. For workers in the Soviet Union to be truly liberated, all workers around the world have to be liberated.
To that end, Soviet communism promoted and financed proxy revolutionary movements and wars around the world to create more and more communist states.
Echoing this classical Marxist doctrine, Ward paraphrases gay academic Dennis Altman, saying that “the homosexual cannot win liberation without a general sexual liberation.” In Marxist parlance, this means that LGBT people can truly be liberated only when all people of all sexual orientations and gender identities have open sexual licence after being liberated from capitalist-imposed conventional morality or biology.
Ward’s speech puts the Safe Schools Coalition program in the ideological context of a radical sexual revolution to be pushed through Australian schools.
It is extraodinary that politicians have not examined the ideological context of the SSCA program. Nor have they examined closely the questionable social research that is said to justify the program. Is it really true that 10 per cent of school age students are same-sex attracted?
Instead, two Victorian Labor governments and a Liberal government have backed the program. The Federal Coalition government continued to fund the program after Penny Wong provided funding at the end of the Rudd Labor government.
Will parents of Australian children in schools really give their approval to a program that, on the pretext of preventing bullying, is really about deconstructing the moral and social fabric of our society, including the family?