‘It’s 2023’: Leaders call out school’s same-sex formal ban


NSW Premier Chris Minns and St Ursula's College
Images: Supplied, NSW Government (front)

The NSW Premier and the federal Education Minister have slammed a Sydney Catholic school banning same-sex couples from attending the year 12 formal together.

Sydney girl’s school St Ursula’s College in Kingsgrove caused outcry with the rule this week after a student’s online petition attracted thousands of signatures.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said, “I think in this day and age you should be able to take anyone you like to your Year 12 formal.

“We are after all talking about teenagers who are close to or over the age of 18.”

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare also urged the Catholic school to reconsider the ban and “show a little bit of common sense”.

“It’s 2023,” the minister (below) told Seven’s Sunrise.

“You should be able to take whoever you want to the year 12 farewell.

“Show a little bit of common sense. I don’t think any of us think that we should be discriminating against children at our schools on the basis of their sexuality or anything else.”

Jason Clare, federal Education Minister

Jason went on, “Your Year 12 farewell is pretty important. It’s the end of your time at school. It’s a great event.

“It should be a moment to celebrate with your loved ones. It’s about time that we say you can bring whoever you love to your Year 12 farewell.”

Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley, also appearing on Sunrise, agreed that “the school’s got this wrong.”

“They should have another look at it. Young men and women should be able to take who they want to the school formal,” she said.

NSW Education Minister Prue Car also told 2GB she’d urge the school to consider the welfare of the students.

“I think you should be able to take who you want to take in 2023,” she said.

St Ursula’s College same-sex couple ban ‘tip of the iceberg’

Equality Australia has warned the same-sex formal ban at St Ursula’s College is “the tip of the iceberg”.

CEO Anna Brown said queer children and staff face discrimination at religious schools nationwide.

“We know of children who have been expelled, denied leadership positions, told they are going to hell, forced into ‘counselling’ or advised to live celibate lives,” she said.

“This is obviously confronting to many people and out of step with the views of the vast majority of people of faith.”

Anna Brown said exemptions in state and federal law currently allow religious schools to discriminate against students on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“These discriminatory practices are not theoretical or academic, as this incident sadly demonstrates,” she said.

“One in three students attend non-government schools, most of which are religiously affiliated.

“These legal gaps could be addressed very simply and quickly. The law should reflect what the vast majority of Australians already believe, including many people of faith.”

LGBTQIA+ groups host their own Queer Formals

Schools banning same-sex couples from formal is one reason why some LGBTQIA+ groups hold inclusive Queer Formal events, for students who miss out.

In Queensland, Brisbane Pride are hosting their Queer Formal free for school-age students on November 18 at lavish Brisbane City Hall.

“There are still many students that suffer discrimination, fear, anxiety and exclusion from their school formal celebrations,” Brisbane Pride explains.

“Religious schools in particular still actively prevent LGBTIQIA+ students from bringing same-sex partners, and do not always support gender diverse students.

“This event is for our queer youth to express themselves however they feel most comfortable.”

And a similar event is also on in Coffs Harbour next month. A local youth service is hosting the Coffs Coast Queer Prom on November 25.

For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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