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Bernard Gaynor Wouldn't Let a Gay Person Teach His Kids and He's Not Afraid to Say It

By Yvette Vignando - 24th January 2013

And he's right about the fear factor - there is nothing much to be afraid of – it’s generally safe and in most cases legal to express your views in Australia, no matter how offensive they are to other people.  Not only is it safe, it’s preferable for our society to have well-informed voters - they now know about the anti-homosexual views of some of their electorates' political hopefuls.

Two of Bob Katter’s Australia Party candidates – Bernard Gaynor and Tess Corbett – have made it known respectively, that they are morally afraid of having their child taught by a gay person (& see 2UE interview ) or having “gays, lesbians working in (her) kindergarten”.

However, I would be afraid and ashamed to live in this country if most people were not offended by Ms Corbett’s equating the protection and granting of rights to gay and lesbian people with granting rights to paedophiles. The Hamilton Spectator reported that Ms Corbett answered "yes" to the question of whether homosexuals should be in the same 'category' as paedophiles.  In my opinion, her comments were offensive and ridiculous. And although it is Mr Gaynor’s prerogative if he chooses to remove his child from a classroom because he has somehow found out about the sexuality of his child’s teacher, I would also be ashamed to live in a country where that was the majority viewpoint.

Why would parents be concerned about a gay person teaching their child, and why would parents be concerned about gay people working in their kindergartens?

Our three children are being well educated in the public education system – I know nothing about the sexuality of their teachers apart from what I might guess from those who are married to partners of the opposite gender – and even then I might be wrong. I have to guess because their sexuality is irrelevant to the job they are doing – teaching the school curriculum. It has not been my experience that any teacher has attempted to “indoctrinate” (the words of Mr Gaynor) our children in their private lifestyle choices of any kind.

Until Mr Gaynor or Ms Corbett can show evidence of teachers attempting to “indoctrinate” children into “accepting their lifestyles” or evidence of sexuality affecting teaching skills, their moral panic must only come from baseless fear.

It is hard to imagine contexts in which straight or gay teachers would feel inclined to reveal private information about their sexuality to their students or to their students’ parents. But let’s just say there was an appropriate context, perhaps in sex education lessons or lessons on human rights – even then it’s a stretch to imagine why a teacher would need to reveal that information.

Let’s say gay teachers did tell their age-appropriate classes, in some notionally appropriate context, that they were gay, and let’s say that they said they wanted gay people to be given the same human rights and national legal rights as heterosexuals. Would that be indoctrination (meant in the non-perjorative sense)? No, it would not - as long as those teachers allowed students to discuss and critique their opinions - and, once again in my experience, this is what all good teachers do when it comes to discussing opinions. The only places where children in the public education system are indoctrinated in Australia, are in religious education lessons. And just to clarify, religious indoctrination is all about teaching a set of beliefs in an authoritative way – and in Australia parents are allowed to choose how much of their children’s educational environment is shaped around religious doctrine – because that is their right.

So I do find it offensive to hear Mr Gaynor explicitly suggesting that any or all of Australia’s gay school teachers might “indoctrinate” our children – what utter nonsense.

And like Mr Gaynor, living in this democracy, I am not afraid to say: I would not want a person like Ms Corbett teaching our children because an adult who states “you should be able to discriminate” and who equates granting of rights to convicted paedophiles (whatever that means) to granting rights to homosexuals needs to go back to school herself.  

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