Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-sydney-school-bans-same-sex-couples-from-attending-the-formal-togetherAlert – Sydney school bans same-sex couples from attending the formal together

An all-girls Catholic school has been slammed over a policy that bans teenagers in a same-sex relationship from attending the formal together.  

Abbie Frankland, who is in a same-sex relationship, blasted the ‘discriminatory’ policy at St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove, in Sydney.

The outraged final year student has launched a change.org petition demanding a change, with the call already attracting almost 4,000 signatures. 

‘My girlfriend and I, along with many other students at St. Ursula’s in Kingsgrove NSW, Australia, have been eagerly awaiting the school formal for months,’ Ms Frankland said.

‘We’ve purchased non-refundable tickets and outfits in anticipation of this event. 

‘However, we’ve recently discovered that the school does not allow same-sex couples to attend the formal together.

Abbie Frankland (pictured left), a student in a same-sex relationship, who accused St Ursula’s Colleges Kingsgrove of discrimination after she claimed to have been banned from its end-of-year formal

‘This policy not only discriminates against LGBTQ+ students but also puts us in a difficult financial situation as we are left with non-refundable tickets and clothes that were bought specifically for this occasion.’

Ms Frankland noted that 61.6 per cent of Australians voted in favour of same-sex marriage in a 2017 postal survey. Legislation to allow it was passed on December 9 that year.

The proportion of 15-24 year-olds in Australia who identify as LGBTQIA+ is 32 per cent, according to a survey by youth engagement website Youthsense. 

READ MORE: Christian school demands parents sign contract that allows it to expel gay students 

Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College has asked parents to sign an enrolment contract that allows it to expel a child who comes out as gay, just a week before the school year begins.

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Ms Frankland’s petition has so far drawn in thousands of signatures, including one from the sister of NSW premier Chris Minns.

‘Excluding people based on sexual orientation does not model Christ-like love or acceptance,’ Sarah Minns commented on the change.org page.

Another former student claimed in 2017 the school relaxed the policy after students complained.

‘This exact same argument played out before the 2017 Formal. 

‘Don’t let them tell you that it’s ‘always been the rule’, because after much argument former female students and female partners of students were eventually able to attend.’

‘So disappointing to see that 6 years on the school are still stuck in their old ways.’

Others described the policy as ‘draconian’ and even ‘disgusting’.

‘It’s 2023 and I can’t believe we’re still having this kind of problem,’ another woman wrote.

‘Let people love who they love for God’s sake.’

Another person pointed out: ‘I note the Pope has recently opened the door to blessing same-sex couples.’

This month Pope Francis released a statement suggesting blessings for same-sex unions may be possible with some conditions.

St Ursula’s College is a Catholic school and has several policies on high profile social and cultural issues, such as bullying, wellbeing and students with complex social and emotional needs.

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove to allow LGBTQ + students at the event after gay students were allegedly told they coudn’t attend

It also has policies covering domestic violence, gifted students, ‘modern slavery’ and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy.

The school’s wellbeing policy refers to a framework devised with Beyond Blue, which has a strong stance on what makes ‘mentally healthy’ school communities.

Beyond Blue says ‘the convention on the rights of the the child states that children aren’t to be discriminated against for their individual differences’. 

These include on the basis of gender, gender identity or sexuality.

An exemption to the Sex Discrimination Act allows ‘religious bodies’ and ‘educational institutions established for religious purposes’ to discriminate against people on the basis of some attributes protected by the SDA.

Equality Australia Anna Brown told Daily Mail Australia that the school’s policy as ‘outdated’ and a ‘silly’ reason to ruin a young person’s ‘rite of passage’. 

‘Marring this personal milestone with silly prejudice and outdated rules helps nobody, protects nothing and instead ruins what should be a joyous step in a young person’s journey to adulthood,’ Ms Brown said.

‘The overwhelming majority of Australians voted yes to marriage equality and it’s time for religious schools to catch up with community expectations.’

Ms Brown said laws exempting religious schools from discrimination should be changed ‘to reflect what the vast majority of Australians already believe, including people of faith’.

A St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove spokesman declined to comment on the matter.

‘Sydney Catholic Schools is not commenting on the matter which is being addressed at a school level,’ he said.

‘Our priority is seeing our students through to the end of the HSC and 13 years of school with as little disruption as possible.’ 

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