Safe Schools judge co-chair of gay youth group Twenty10
The Australian, March 26, 2016
An academic paid with government money to independently evaluate the controversial Safe Schools Coalition anti-bullying program is the co-chair of a gay and transgender organisation that was promoted in the school material.
University of Sydney academic Cristyn Davies is one of the researchers undertaking a $270,000 evaluation of the program.
She is also the co-chair of Twenty10, a counselling service for young gay and transgender people.
Access to the Twenty10 service was promoted on the Safe Schools materials through the All of Us resource.
Liberal MP George Christensen, who is hostile towards Safe Schools, this month said in parliament that one of the biggest concerns he had with the program was the links to outside resources such as Twenty10.
“The safe Schools All of Us teaching resource directs students to the LGBT organisation Twenty10. On the 19th of January this year, Twenty10 held a hands- on workshop for youth on sex toys and sadomasochistic practices,” Mr Christensen said.
Professor Davies yesterday rejected the suggestion of a conflict of interest.
“As part of university expectations of research staff, I provide service to the community in my area of expertise. In this capacity, I serve as co-chair of the board at Twenty10. This is an honorary unpaid position. My role with Twenty10 is on the public record,” Professor Davies said.
The Australian this week revealed that three of the four Sydney-based academics commissioned to independently evaluate Safe Schools had a history of advocating against “heteronormative” sex education in schools.
Heteronormative sex education is the teaching of heterosexuality as the regular form of sexuality.
The Safe Schools Coalition, ostensibly an anti-bullying program based around gay and transgender issues, has been overhauled by the federal government over concerns it pushes a leftist ideological agenda.
The Gillard government agreed to contribute $8 million on the rollout of the program through schools, handled by a government-funded lobby Foundation for Young Australians.
The government mandated that FYA commission an independent evaluation of the campaign as a condition of funding.
While the federal government has done its own revision and is likely to pull funding after 2017, the independent evaluation, due later this year, might still impact the content of Safe Schools, as it will be compulsory in Victorian state schools by 2018.
The evaluation was last year outsourced to Western Sydney academics Kerry Robinson and Jacqueline Ullman and University of Sydney academics Davies and Rachel Skinner after a competitive tender.
Three of those authors — professors Robinson, Ullman and Davies — have written extensively of the need to overhaul the teaching of sex education to touch on issues of sexuality and gender in line with what eventually became Safe Schools.
Professors Davies and Robinson have written essays and co-edited a book.
Professor Robinson co-authored an essay, Growing Up Queer in 2014, which was co-sponsored by Twenty 10.