*Age Of Consent & Legal Sexual Activity for the State of Queensland, Australia - A campaign to remove our Sodomy Law (which was enacted in 1990).

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12th April 2008  Email to Premier Anna Bligh and to Attorney-General Kerry Shine referring to my 12th April 2008 email to the Courier Mail and their 12th April 2008 cover story “School bans gay couples” (by Robyn Ironside). The same journalist also wrote a complementary page 2 article “Teenagers well aware of their sexual preferences”- which included the unequal age of consent.

 

 

----- Original Message -----

From: John Frame

To: Premier Anna Bligh ; Attorney-General Kerry Shine

Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 4:18 PM

Subject: re Courier Mail lead story 12th Apr '08 "School bans gay couples"

 

For the attention of Premier Anna Bligh and Attorney-general Kerry Shine.

 

Dear Premier and Attorney-General,

 

I am sending, for your reference, a copy of the "message for publication" which I emailed to the Editor of the Courier Mail today regarding their front page story (12th April, 2008) on the discriminatory treatment of same sex attracted youth in Queensland.

 

The Courier Mail printed a companion article on page 2 by the same author, titled "Teenagers well aware of their sexual preferences", in which attention is drawn to Queensland's unequal age of consent.

 

I urge you to read the two complete Courier Mail articles by Robyn Ironside, which I have included further below.

 

I also urge you to show compassion for Queensland Youth by enacting an equal age of consent at 16 (as was specifically recommended to Parliament by Peter Beattie's 1990 PCJC Committee) and by also raising the age of an adult under Criminal Law to 18 (to be in line with the way that rest of Australia treats its youth).

 

It is especially important that you act urgently - while you know that you have the necessary numbers to guarantee the passage of this socially just and vitally required reform.    

 

yours sincerely,

 

John Frame
jvframe@ozemail.com.au
www.queerradio.org/AgeOfConsent.htm

Ph: 07 3350 1562 / mobile: 0409 501 561
Post: 82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.
 
----"There is no substitute for equality"----

 

----- Original Message -----

From: John Frame

To: cmletters@qnp.newsltd.com.au

Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 3:31 PM

Subject: re CM lead story 12th Apr '08 "School bans gay couples"

 

FOR PUBLICATION:

 

Queensland should be proud of its youth.

 

The CM's 12th April '08 lead story by Robyn Ironside should make most Queenslanders proud that, in spite of having the nation's only Criminal Code which actively discriminates against same sex attracted youth, those same youth still have the courage and moral conviction to seek practical equity with their much more numerous heterosexual peers.

 

The article informs us that the majority of youth are aware of their sexual preference by 8 years of age and that schooling has no influence on the reality of that preference. All good parents should welcome a time when the sexual orientation of their children presents no negative consequence to either their school or the law.

 

The current Queensland Criminal Code acts to reinforce the attitudes of those who seek to actively oppress the level of self-acceptance and peer support which is afforded to same sex attracted youth. Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner called for urgent law reform in July 2005. True equity at law is necessary in order for all youth to develop their full potential as healthy, loving and productive citizens (as well as cherished family and friends). 

 

yours sincerely,

 

John Frame
jvframe@ozemail.com.au
Ph: 07 3350 1562 / mobile: 0409 501 561
Post: 82 Main Avenue, Wavell Heights 4012, QLD, Australia.

----"There is no substitute for equality"----

 

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Front Page article from the Courier Mail today, Saturday 12th April 2008:
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23525364-952,00.html

"School bans gay couples"
Robyn Ironside

April 12, 2008 12:00am

ONE of Queensland's most prestigious private boys schools has told final-year students that they can not take partners of the same sex to their senior formal.

Several students at Churchie - the Anglican Church Grammar School - have made it known they want to escort boyfriends to the June 19 formal, but the school is insisting they take a member of the opposite sex.
Your say: What do you think of the school's stance on this issue?
Churchie headmaster Jonathan Hensman said none of the students had approached him directly, but a staff member had raised the issue on their behalf.
"The senior dinner dance is an opportunity for our young men to escort a young woman in a formal school environment," Mr Hensman said.

"We don't intend to change our practice. As well as being a social occasion, it's an education forum and to that end the school decides what is appropriate behaviour and what is not."

Mr Hensman said the issue had not "formally" arisen in the past, that he could recall, but the question was not unexpected given "the changing times".

"Not all students take their girlfriends. Some take a female friend. It's about protocols and decorums," he said. But Mr Hensman said if any of Churchie's seniors approached him formally, he would consider taking the request to the school council.

State schools made their own decisions on guidelines for school formals, a Queensland Education spokesman said.

Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth said sexuality discrimination was unlawful, and that applied to private and public schools as well as other organisations.

However, Churchie is not alone in its stand against same-sex couples attending school formals, with Queensland Catholic Education Executive Director Mike Byrne saying their schools would not allow it either.

Mr Byrne said Catholic schools were committed to modelling behaviours in keeping with the values and principles of a Catholic institution.

"As such we would not see it as appropriate for couples in a same-sex relationship to attend an event such as a school formal," he said.

"Where young people are concerned, there are often matters associated with sexuality and relationships - both heterosexual and homosexual - where schools provide a range of support services for students."

Although Ms Booth could not comment specifically on the Churchie case because it was "a potential complaint", the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner said schools should not treat students differently on the basis of their sexuality.

"What we hope is that there can be a discussion about the issue, that's what happens in the commission, and that's where we hope the matter can be sorted out."

The Queensland Education spokesman said schools "consider the Inclusive Education policy when planning a range of activities, including school formals . . . and that requires schools to foster learning environments where all students are valued for their diverse backgrounds".

Queensland University of Technology School of Justice lecturer Dr Angela Dwyer said Churchie's stand on the issue of same-sex formal partners would be "devastating" to those involved.

"We're talking about someone's identity here. The way that they feel and the way that they express themselves is basically being squashed by the school," said Dr Dwyer, who is writing a research paper on "How queer young people are policed".

Another expert on sexuality and education, Iain Hay from the University of Canberra, said it would be very stressful for gay students prepared to come out in front of their peers, to then be told it was "inappropriate".

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Courier Mail 12th April 2008, page 2:

(NB: this article only appeared in the print edition, not online)

"Teenagers well aware of their sexual preferences"

(by Robyn Ironside)

SIXTEEN or 17 is not too young to know you are gay, according to
sexualities and social justice expert Dr Angela Dwyer.

The Queensland University of Technology School of Justice lecturer said of the "50 international research papers" she had read, most young gay people knew from the age of eight they preferred members of their own sex.

"It's that age when they start to realise that they don't feel the way other people do", Dr Dwyer said.

"Some say that it's much earlier, as young as three in some cases. If the parents are extremely homophobic it can take a young person longer to make that realisation."

Dr Dwyer said it was unrealistic for a school to think it did not have any homosexual students, but it was not possible for a school to contribute to a person's sexual orientation.

Education lecturer at the University of Canberra, Iain Hay said homosexuality and lesbianism was no more common in single-sex schools than it was in co-educational schools.

Under Queensland law, the age of consent for gay sex is 18, and 16 for heterosexual sex. But teenagers who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality have the same rights as adults, he said.

- Robyn Ironside