1990: Son removed from school over safe-sex

safe sex

The AIDS crisis brought out the best in the LGBTIQA+ communities and their supporters but the worst in some others. In WA, a mother took her 15-year-old out of school rather than have him hear about safe sex.

The Canberra Times reported in July 1990 that Beverley Carson spat the dummy after learning an HIV-positive speaker had addressed her son’s Year 11 class.

Luke Coomey and Safe Sex Education

HIV Hero Luke Coomey gave hundreds of talks in WA schools and other venues to educate and inform the public about HIV. Thanks to the efforts of Luke and other volunteers, countless young people received life-saving information about safe sex.

WA’s Labor Education Minister Kay Hallahan paid tribute to Luke following his death in September 1992.

“As the founder of People Living with Aids, he worked tirelessly to raise community awareness and understanding of the disease.

“Mr Coomey embarked on a lecture tour of Perth high schools to relate his experience of AIDS to students.

“He touched the hearts of the hundreds of students who benefited from his lectures.”

“An erroneous and heinous doctrine”

But down in Albany, 400km south of Perth, Beverley Carson disagreed.

She pulled her son out of school the moment she heard about the safe sex talk.

“When I realised the school had permitted a homosexual to preach what I consider an erroneous and heinous doctrine known as safe sex, I got angry.

“It would be far more appropriate for schools to have someone teach the gospel of God and no sex outside of marriage.” 😖

However, the ‘committed Christian’ did not find much support among her fellow residents.

The Canberra Times reported her stand caused a major debate in the rural town. Judging by the letters to the local newspaper, most people supported the school hosting Luke’s safe sex message.

More history of the AIDS Crisis:

AIDS crisis adviser Bill Bowtell reacts to AIDS drama In Our Blood.

Bill Rutkin and Sister Angela Mary: the unlikely allies who spearheaded Queensland’s response to the early AIDS crisis.

Duck News: Queensland’s 1980s gay community newsletter.

Luke Coomey, R.I.P. ❤️

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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1 Comment

  1. 28 December 2023

    Reflecting on the 1990 incident in WA via QNews, it’s astonishing to see how attitudes toward safe sex education have evolved. Luke Coomey’s courageous efforts in educating teens on HIV were pivotal. Such history underscores the importance of continued advocacy for comprehensive sex education. #SafeSexEducation #HistoricalPerspective #HealthAwareness

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