Straightening Queensland


CONFIDENTIAL MEMO: Queensland Education Departmant

Part One

From Monday 9 October 2006, the pedagogical excercize requiring high school students to imagine being herosexual in a society where most people are homosexual has been prematurely withdrawn. Taking a hole-off- the-school approach, it is aperitif that Principals be informed of this forthwith decision.

In view of the light that we need to be ready to answer criticisms about the way they did the exercise in schools, and in view of the light that we need to know what response it received from students who done it, the Department has produced the following memo, which is the same as this one, only it is part 2. The following section is to be referred to as Part Two. Part One is the above, and should be referred to as Part One. However, this is a confidential memo and doesn’t really exist.

Part Two.

There is now in circulation a compilation of excerpts from student essays responding to the exercise mentioned in Part One (see attachment). It is believed that National Party MPs obtained the excerpts from a teacher who objected to doing the exercise. These excerpts, if they are made pubic, are likely to enlarge discussion and lead to further penetrating public screwtiny for the next few weeks. We have therefore commissioned a public relations firm to provide us with a few quickie answers just in case any of the excerpts are made pubic. Principals should use these responses as a guide for talking to the media and to parents. It is of the utmost importance that no pubic comment relating to ‘sex’ is made. It should be stated that the intention, however misguided, of the exercise was empathy with a group not a behaviour.


Imagine being heterosexual in a mostly homosexual colony on the moon. How would you feel?

Excerpt 1.

I spose I’d feel good cos there’d be crap competition cos the gays wouldn’t want all the girls would they? Or can girls be homosexual!

Suggested Department Response:

Clearly while the exercise is of questionable pedagogic merit, the student has been challenged. No great harm has been done in this case. We will be addressing, however the need to write in refined English.

Excerpt 2.

I can not imagine this. Why are you asking me this? Do you have some sinister designs. My father is pastor of the Church of Living Righteousness. He has always warned me about people who want ’empathy’. œEmpathy  is a good as being one, he always says.

Suggested Department Response:

This demonstrates how free our students feel to express disagreement. Whatever the pedagogic merits of the exercise, it is clear that there is sufficient feedback for our teachers to know when they have gone too far.

Excerpt 3.

Do I really have to? Last week it was being Aborigine, the week before that it was Arab and the week before that it was being a Liberal. I’ve had enough. And by the way, I’m queer, so what?

Suggested Department Response:

Our students are asked to empathise with an array of situations. But we understand people’s objections in this instance, and the exercise has been withdrawn.

Exerpt 4.

This is hard to imagine. I know that I take things for granted, like holding hands with my boyfriend, and going out and pashing. I guess that would all go if I was made the minority. Last week we made fun of one of the ‘gays from the village’ “ one of the boys in the super maths class. We all just laughed and laughed at him because when we asked him if he was a fag, he took out a packet of cigarettes and said, ‘no, but you can have one if you want’. The problem was his lisp. It was funnier than his joke. I guess if it came down to it, and I was the only ‘straight in the village’ I’d soon know how cruel we’d been. But I’m not gay and to be honest, if you think making fun of gays is the worse thing happening in the play ground…

Suggested Department Response:

Students are encouraged to have imagination, one that is clearly overactive in this instance. We do understand however that there were concerns about this exercise and it has now been withdrawn.

Excerpt 5

I would love it. I would get special attention in the curriculum. I would have support officers making sure my difference was not disadvantageous. I would be able to out-do my other brothers and sisters in shock value. œMum and Mum, I’m straight! 

Suggested Department Response:

Our students are learning the value of equal opportunity; it is unfortunate in this instance, that the exercise envisaged a situation of inverse disadvantage. Clearly, this was of questionable pedagogic merit, and it has now been withdrawn. There is no suggestion that the exercise has in any sense induced emphatic trauma, and were any of our students indeed to feel a sense of disadvantage, having so readily empathised with the group in question, then appropriate counselling will be provided. However, this exercise is not to be repeated.

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