Table of Contents
“How are teachers that are homosexual in Australia affected by their sexuality?” is the question I will be discussing in this paper. The intended audience of my paper is the members of the Board of Education in Australia. I hope that they understand the importance of making a change in the treatment of teachers of different sexualities. Homosexuality is not well addressed in Australia, though there have been bills that have passed to help create equality amongst those who have a different sexuality. The truth is that there are still a lot of issues concerning this topic. The purpose of this paper is to spread awareness about the necessities of treating teachers of different sexuality in the same manner. It is necessary for the people to know what is going on in Australia at present in the educational system regarding this topic. Throughout this piece I used five different topics to create a paper that presents all of the facts and information that will best serve and spread awareness of this topic.
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Through the use of multiple genres, I was able to create a paper that will appeal to the audience through facts and images. These genres help the audience get acquainted to the issues faced by the homosexual teachers in Australia. All of the genres that I have used in this paper are taken from outside sources. This writing piece is completely different than what I am used to writing, and it has different aspects that I am not used to. This writing of this paper was extremely difficult and many times it went so much out of my comfort zone.
This paper has so many aspects and I feel that it has a lot of different perspectives. That is why I like this paper so much. I typically write papers logically and try to be as informative as possible. If I had more time I would have tried to get more out of my comfort zone and done more visual and creative genres. As the audience reads this paper, they will have a variety of different genres to read. The audience should keep an open mind while reading this paper, considering the fact that this is not a typical research paper. The audience should not rush through while reading this paper. They should read this paper slowly and carefully to fully grasp the importance of this topic.
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This paper is so much different than anything that I have every written before. I had to completely change my style and thought process in order to write this paper. The usage of multiple genres while writing a paper was completely unusual to me. All of the papers written by me in the past had only one genre. The usage of multiple genres definitely helped to provide a lot more texture and creativity to this paper.
Behind the scenes of writing this paper, I have written a poem instead of doing the research proposal genre because I wanted to include a genre that appealed to the emotions of the audience. I struggled greatly with writing this paper and coming up with the right genres that will most represent and connect with my topic. I had to spend extra time with this project because of the confusions about how to write a paper with multiple genres.
Genre #1: Change for Homosexual Teachers?
Even though modern generation talks too much about things like diversity, freedom of expression, and autonomy, they are too much conservative when it comes to the topic of homosexuality. Even in the twenty-first century, homosexuality is not accepted as a good life style by many of the societies. As a result of that, many of the homosexuals forced to hide their sexual orientation while taking part in social activities. Homosexual teachers seem to be an important community which faces many problems in schools because of their sexual orientation.
Diversity is accepted as the core of modern day life. After the arrival of globalization, people realized that diversity is necessary in every aspects of human life in order to streamline the progress of the human community. Most of the Australian schools have teachers and students from different countries and different religions. Australia has no problems in providing the same classroom for students from different countries. A lot of teachers teaching in Australian schools are foreigners. It is possible for Australian community to tolerate all these facts in the name of diversity. However, it is difficult for the very same Australian community to accept homosexuals as the teachers in their schools.
Genre #2: Hiding true self while teaching
Rachel Williams mentioned the story of Jonathan, a gay teacher who was confused about revealing his true self while teaching. After the completion of a year in his school as a teacher, a group of female pupils asked if he was gay and he said ‘yes’. Jonathan faced a lot of homophobic language directed at him personally after this incident. He received no support either from colleagues or from senior leaders. The school management also did nothing to help him. He faced a lot of comments from the kids and many of them were intended to wind him up or demean him (Williams).
Many institutions have effective policies related to homosexuality. For example, the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy prohibits any military personnel; homosexual or bisexual, from disclosing his or her sexual orientation in American military. It also prohibits unnecessary talking about the personal sex related beliefs or opinions or relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. However, such policies are not implemented in Australian educational institutions. It is possible for the students or coworkers in Australian schools to enquire about the sexual orientation of a particular teacher. It is possible for the teacher to hide his real sexual orientation and tell lies to the people who asked about his/her sexual orientation. Such a scenario will prevent the teachers from expressing his/her true self in front of others.
Repetend # 2: Secretly I’m Hiding My True Self
Day in and day out
I go to work to teach straight
I have to hide that I’m actually gay
Hiding because I’m not accepted in Australia
Students think I’m straight
What if they knew I wasn’t?
Maybe they’ll accept me
But it isn’t accepted
On television it is
On the radio it is
To the world it is
But in reality,
I still have to hid my true self
Genre #3: Dealing with religious beliefs
A homosexual teacher may face endless battle in schools, not only with the students but also with the fellow teachers. They will face a lot of stereotyping issues and will be considered as second class citizens of Australia. The problem with the Australian society is that it is highly religious in nature. Most of the Australians believe in Christianity which disallows homosexuality. As in the case of Christianity, Islam is also not much tolerant towards homosexual habits of people. It should be noted that a vast majority of the people in this world have belief either in Christianity or in Islam. Unfortunately both these religions do not accept homosexuality as a life style. In fact there are only few religions which accept modern life styles such as homosexuality. In other words, homosexuals face lack of acceptance in many of the societies or countries in the world. The case of Australia is also not an exception.
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According to The Australian, “Labor was considering a secret plan to extend 18C to include people claiming they had been offended or insulted because of their sexual orientation, disabilities or age” (Deutrom). Various religious leaders including Christian and Muslim leaders criticized this move. According to them, such a move would intrude into the freedom of expression rights of people. They were afraid that extending the reach of 18C to sexual orientation could prevent them from preaching against homosexuality during sermons or gatherings.
Religious leaders in Australia are keen on protecting the interests of the believers. However, they are not so when it comes to the issues like the autonomy of homosexuals. As in the case of believers, homosexuals also have the right to survive in the society. They should not be prevented from revealing their true identity in any of the main streams of social life in Australia. It is the discretion of the believers whether to admit their students in church schools or other schools. Public schools are places in which all people have equal rights. The constraints of religion or sexual orientation should not play a part in public schools. Only those parents who are ready to accept or recognize homosexual teachers should send their children to public schools. Others can think about private schools or church schools in which only heterosexual teachers conduct classes.
Of course religious leaders or believers have the right to call homosexuality a sin. At the same time, homosexuals have the right to call homosexuality as a sacred thing. There is no point for these two ideas to clash each other. The existence of this world lies in the ability of a society to demonstrate tolerance towards different beliefs, traits and customs. Neither Christians nor Muslims or Hindus can claim that their beliefs and traditions are absolutely right. In fact nobody knows the truth about the life in this world. Even science failed to unveil the secrets behind life yet. Nobody knows from where we come and where we go after death. Many people believe that life happens only once and it is logical to enjoy it as much as possible. Under such circumstances, it is unethical to prevent some people from leading a life of their choice. Lesbians and Gays should be allowed to lead the life of their choices. There is no point for religions to interfere in their rights. Lesbians and Gays should be able to lead a normal life in the society. They should be able to reveal their sexual orientation and take part in all social matters just like other people.
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Genre #4: Dealing with the legality of discrimination in schools
As per the existing laws in Australia, it is possible for religious schools to discriminate against LGBT teachers and students. LGBT individuals have the right to get protection under federal laws. However, laws like the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Amendment and the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 exclude religious organizations from obeying these laws (The Conversation). In other words, religious schools in Australia get many privileges over other schools legally. Even politicians are not keen on interfering into the antisocial practices in religious schools. They want to use topics such as homosexuality for political gains. They are not keen on treating this matter logically or humanitarianly.
“Equal rights advocate Phil Browne said Section 25 of the Anti-Discrimination Act forced people to be secretive and lead double lives, increasing fear and stress levels” (Chilcott, p.1). It is difficult for a person to lead a dual life. Homosexual teachers forced to show one face in classrooms and another face in their private life. The inability to demonstrate their true identity would increase the stress levels of such teachers enormously.
Even though religious leaders oppose the idea of allowing homosexual teachers to teach in schools, parents are in favor of having homosexual teachers in schools. According to a research conducted in 2009, 97% parents felt that homosexuality should be included in sexual health education (The Conversation). It is evident that parents keep an open eye towards this issue. They know that it is unwise to disallow topics related to homosexuality in schools. If homosexuality is teachable in schools, there is no point in preventing homosexual teachers from doing so. In fact homosexual teachers are the best ones who can handle this topic very well. They have the practical experience in explaining this topic properly to the students. Heterosexual teachers cannot deal this topic properly because of their lack of practical experience in this topic.
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Genre #5: Dealing with the human right issues of LGBT teachers in schools
According to Tanya Chilcott, “GAY teachers are keeping their sexuality a secret because of fears they could be sacked or discriminated against”. Treatment of many of the homosexual teachers is not much friendly in Australian schools. Even though it is not customary or necessary to ask the sexual orientation of a person while appointing him/her as teacher, many of the Australian school management have the habit of asking such things before recruiting new teachers. Many of the LGBT job aspirants forced to hide their sexual orientation at the time of interview because of the chances of failing in the recruitment process. Many of them forced to hide their true identity even after getting appointment. It is possible for the management to make reason for throwing out such teachers once they came to know about their sexual orientation.
The right to practice or follow any sexual orientation is a natural right. People have all the freedom to practice anything if such things will not cause any damage to another person. Homosexual teachers are not causing any damages to students while they conduct classes. It should be noted that teachers are sharing their knowledge to the students while teaching. Therefore, the knowledge of a teacher should be valued in schools rather than his/her sexual orientation
Genre #6: Job stress of homosexual teachers
Job stress is experienced by all professionals. However, homosexual teachers experience more job stress than normal teachers. Because of the barriers in revealing their sexual orientation, many of the homosexual teachers forced to exhibit their false identity in schools. They often fear about the consequences once the school authorities came to know about their sexual orientation. As a result of that, their job stress will be much more than that of normal teachers. Peace of mind is necessary for any employee to excel in his profession. In the case of LGBT teachers, peace of mind could be a distant reality at least in schools.
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LGBT teachers or homosexual teachers should get same treatment received by normal teachers in Australian schools. School should value only the teaching abilities and the knowledge levels of the teachers rather than their sexual orientation. Practicing any sexual orientation is a natural right to teachers. As in the case of other people, homosexual teachers also have human rights. It is the responsibility of the society to value such rights.
- Chilcott, Tanya. “Queensland Homosexual Teachers Fear Discrimination If They Come Out”. <http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-homosexual-teachers-fear-discrimination-if-they-come-out/news-story/66205456931748465db8363ad578e973> Accessed 31 July 2017
- Deutrom, Rhian. “Religious Leaders Reserve The Right To Call Homosexuality A Sin”. The Australian. March 24, 2017. Print
- Ferfolja, Tania, and Efty Stavrou. “Workplace Experiences of Australian Lesbian and Gay Teachers: Findings from a National Survey.” Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy 173 (2015): 113-38. ERIC. Print
- Ferfolja, Tania. “Australian Lesbian Teachers–A Reflection of Homophobic Harassment of High School Teachers in New South Wales Government Schools.”Gender and Education 10.4 (1998): 401-15. ERIC. Print
- Ferfolja, Tania. “Teacher Negotiations of Sexual Subjectivities.” Gender and Education19.5 (2007): 569-86. ERIC. Print.
- Harwood, Valerie. “Telling Truths: Wounded Truths and the Activity of Truth Telling.”Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 25.4 (2004): 467-76.Professional Development Collection. Print.
- Jones, Tiffany, Emily Gray, and Anne Harris. “GLBTIQ Teachers in Australian Education Policy: Protections, Suspicions, and Restrictions.” Sex Education 14.3 (2014): 338-53. Professional Development Collection. Print.
- “Posts about Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives on Art Blart.” Back to the Front Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2017.
- Rasmussen, Mary Lou. “The Problem of Coming Out.” Theory Into Practice 43.2 (2004): 144-50. Academic Search Premier. Print.
- Riggs, Damien W., and Clemence Due. “Moving beyond Homonormativity in Teacher Training: Experiences from South Australia.” Sex Education 13.Sup1 (2013): S99-112. Professional Development Collection. Print
- Robinson, Kerry. “Doing Anti-Homophobia and Anti-Heterosexism in Early Childhood Education: Moving beyond the Immobilising Impacts of “Risks”, “Fears” and “Silences”. Can We Afford Not To?” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 6.2 (2005): 175-88. ERIC. Print
- “Should LGBT Teachers Come Out to Their Pupils?” Vice. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2017.
- “Since 1978, Collecting and Preserving Australia’s Very Queer History.” Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 June 2017.
- The Conversation. “Australian Schools Must Promote LGBT-Inclusive Education”. <http://theconversation.com/australian-schools-must-promote-lgbt-inclusive-education-23260> Accessed 31 July 2017
- Williams, Rachel. “Being Gay At School Remains Difficult For Teachers”. The Guardian. 26 November 2012. Print