Calling Business to Save Safe Schools



Entertainer Paul Capsis



As news comes from the US that Safe Schools programs don’t just make schools better for LGBTI kids, but the whole school community (see below), much-loved cabaret star Paul Capsis and Australia’s first openly gay newsreader – media personality Geoff Field – have joined marriage equality activist and former PFLAG national president, Shelley Argent OAM, and Scott Sharrad, the President of the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, in putting their names to an open letter calling on corporate Australia to join them in speaking out in support of Safe Schools.

Newsreader Goff Field

Newsreader Goff Field

More than 150 people have put their names to the open letter, including veteran gay broadcaster and journalist Doug Pollard, Community Brave foundation founder, Rami Mandow, Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia, and ALEPH Melbourne Jewish LGBTI support group convener, Michael Barnett.

The open letter originated from a personal Facebook post which went viral over the weekend and calls on the corporate sponsors and supporters of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and the Midsumma festival in Melbourne to join the LGBTIQ community and their allies in speaking up in support of the Safe Schools program.

Shelly Argent

Shelly Argent

The original Facebook post has attracted over 500 likes and other reactions, and almost 175 shares as well as scores of comments.

The open letter has been sent to 20 corporate sponsors and partners of Mardi Gras and Midsumma and can be read here.

The letter is signed by

Shelley Argent OAM, former PFLAG national president, mother of gay son
Beth Delbridge, PFLAG member
Paul Capsis, cabaret star
Geoff Field, Australia’s first openly gay newsreader
Scott Sharrad, President, Council of Australian Humanist Societies Inc.
Michael Barnett, ALEPH Melbourne
Rodney Chiang-Cruise, Gay Dads Australia
Rami Mandow, Community Brave foundation
Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland
Lyn Eales, youth projects coordinator, SSAFE in the South West (Victoria) Project
Karl Hand, pastor, Metropolitan Community Church
Dr. Gávi Ansara, LGBTI health researcher
Doug Pollard, gay broadcaster, journalist & blogger
Chrys Stevenson, writer & skeptic
William Brougham, journalist
Serkan Ozturk, founder, PR 4 The People & journalist

Anne Ogilvie – Kevin Howard – Ron Van Houwelingen – Karin Angelika Gottschalk – Ian McMillan – Peter Soutar – Alan Zurvas – Doug Steley – James Houghton – Murray McLachlan – Evelyn Gray – Jason Peter Masters – Ross Duffin – Chloe Mackenzie – Stephen Collins – Greg Iverson – David Rook – Supre Schultz – Peta Yaxley – Ilana Green – Tex McKenzie – Murray W Downie – Peter T Morris – Gerald Moloney – Addison Jones – Joshua Ellison – Katie Hilditch – Samantha Pearce – Paige Deery – Christian Miel – Kris Penini – Chris Mackrell – Kaye Jones – Cliff Jones – Madelaine Jones – Nick Widdowson – Caldwell Jones – Cuthbert Jones – Tara WB – Kristine Johnson – Tex Oryan – John Wilkinson – Mez New – Bruce Beet – Michael Carley – Lynda Grierson – Eli Up – Dawn Llewellyn – Lucy Sassafras – Jim Hyde – Pat Monstor – Phoebe Mactaggart – Shane Blessley – Dr. James Ntoumenopoulos BDSc. – Derek Williams – Carolyn McGregor – David Byles – Sarah Dowell – Renathe Eiriksdotter – Lloyd Copper – Sandy Stewart – Tori Parker-Lacey – Aaron Johns – Joshua Richards – Graeme Hanigan – Caitlin Smith – Grainne Ridd – Michael Cutrupi – Russell Jacobs – Linah Winoto – Judi Muir – Ricky Klingsporn – Shauna-Marie Wilson – Ivy Craw – Brielle Sage Twelftree – Vicky Hayden-Majajas – Holly McNamara – Jaime Schultz – Ryan Keanan – Bonnie Bones – Peter Weeks – Eileen Lorimer – Helen Ryder – Natasha Ishani – Sarah Randall – Georgy Love – Tristan Williams – Thomas Castiana Sahal Vagonbrei – Emma Medcraft – Jordan James Alcock – Tara Daniel – Barbara Copper – Alex Baker – Lila Gracie O’Rourke – David Lauder – Justine Hotten – Finn Atley – Elizabeth Prochhaska – Shaun Dunn – Brent Allan – Jonathan Singleton – Deb Fazackerley – Sebastien France – Craig Kemp – Stephanie Bullock – Julie Dunne – Mark Dunne – Lynn Austin – Hannah Paynter – Alex McGillivray – Cai Wilkinson – Brooke Bennett – Nick Freeleagus – Ria Mooney – Christophor Johnstone – Zoey Hewll – E. J. Boulton – Jemima O’Callaghan – Dino Di Felice – Ralene Reuveny – Jacques De Vere – Judie Taylor – Linda Swayn – Merrin Rudd – Brent Stevenson


Star Observer is reporting a lukewarm response from the business community, with only Seek and Lush Cosmetics offering full-throated approval of the Safe Schools program.


In related news, recent research published in the USA in the past four weeks also shows that Safe Schools programs have far-reaching positive effects across the whole community.

The study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that both heterosexual and gay/lesbian students report less binge alcohol consumption when living in states or cities that have greater proportions of schools with programs and policies that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)