I talk to a lot of LGBTQI+ (queer) kids, and I have never met a queer student who hasn’t experienced some form of difficulty at school due to identifying as queer. Being different often gets the wrong sort of attention in schools, but now that we know that conservative estimates suggest over 10% of young people identify as queer, it’s hardly different anymore! But there’s still an awful lot of ignorance.
I’ve been talking to state politicians in Victoria about how we can improve the situation for queer kids, but the typical response I get is “we’re not hearing about any problems”. They think the problem is solved. That school is safe for queer kids. That teachers are enlightened, and that kids don’t bully queer kids. This is not the world we experience.
I figure if I am hearing about the problems (and I am), then the problems still exist. And the government needs to know what queer kids are experiencing, because we have so much work to do to make school safe for them.
To that end, I am collecting queer Victorian kids’ school experiences, so that I can show the government exactly what we’re dealing with. I am not collecting school information, to preserve your privacy, but I am collecting electorate information, so that we can show just how widespread the issue is. To date 100% of the people who have filled in the survey have told me that their kids experience bullying, but it’s a small sample size. I need a bigger sample size, and more electorates.
I want to tell your stories to the government, to make sure queer kids don’t have to fight anymore, just to be themselves at school. This problem isn’t solved, but it can be! So if you are a queer kid in a Victorian school, or you are their family, or you know some people, please share this form and tell your story. Together, we can make the world safer for all of our kids.