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Not so straight: a national study examining how Catholic Schools can best respond to the needs of same sex attracted students

Sex discrimination Homophobia Religion Religious education LGBTIQ+ Australia

The Christian Church believes that every person is made in the image and likeness of God. The human person is defined in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis on the basis of a relationship with God.

This report, prepared as a resource and training document for school administrators in Catholic schools, focuses on the needs of “same sex attracted students” among the 660,000 students who attend Catholic schools in Australia today.

Not So Straight is a national study examining how Catholic schools can best respond to the needs of same sex attracted students.

Such young people are well represented in our social service programs and are significantly over-represented in that group of young Australians who resort to self-harm or suicide. Yet in many schools same-sex attracted students remain completely invisible and there is a virtual absence of discussion on, and engagement with, the issue of homosexuality. This is despite two recent Australian studies that have identified 11 per cent (Hillier, Warr & Haste, 1996) and 8-9 per cent (Lindsay, Smith & Resenthall, 1997) of secondary school students as not exclusively attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Not So Straight highlights “good practice” among those Catholic secondary schools that have responded to the needs of such students. These are schools that have taken steps to make their campuses both safe and inclusive learning environments.

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