Gippsland Grammar’s students celebrated IDAHOBIT Day

Left: Year 12 students Naomi Sjerp, Peggy McDonald, Olivia Miles and Danyka Lujan. Right: School captain Mia Mackintosh, 2020 school captain Ellen O'Brien, the Bishop of Gippsland, the Right Reverend Richard Treloar and school captain Rory McLeod. Photos: Contributed

Gippsland Grammar’s students celebrated IDAHOBIT Day with a rainbow of colour, cupcakes and inclusivity across its senior Garnsey Campus last week.

IDAHOBIT Day is the ‘International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia’ (IDAHOBIT) which falls on May 17 each year to mark that day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases.

The day has since evolved into an annual

celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and is also an annual occasion when Gippsland Grammar can publicly reaffirm its commitment to provide a welcoming, safe and respectful teaching and learning experience for all.

At Gippsland Grammar on Monday, May 16, School Captains Mia Mackintosh and Rory McLeod were joined by a previous school Captain Ellen O’Brien and the Bishop of Gippsland to speak with students from Years 7-12 about the importance of inclusivity.

The Bishop of Gippsland, the Right Reverend Dr Richard Treloar commended Gippsland Grammar for recognising IDAHOBIT Day and noted it was a school where there was no place for discrimination of any kind towards members of the community who are same-sex attracted or who identify with a gender other than their birth gender.

Bishop Treloar also referenced recent media coverage of Anglican schools in Sydney, where new Principals and Board members are being required to sign up to a statement of belief which includes a commitment to more traditional views of marriage, and he assured the student body and staff present that this will never happen in Anglican schools in Gippsland.

Gippsland Grammar’s school captains also took the stage and spoke about why days such as IDAHOBIT were important for the students to understand and embrace.

“As a year level we understand the importance of us setting the standard of homophobia not being tolerated at our school,” Rory McLeod said.

“We hope this sets a clear expectation of

behaviour and that (we all) carefully consider how our language can affect others.”

Referring to the ‘ALLY’ badges that many staff and students chose to wear as a show of support, Rory’s fellow school captain Mia Mackintosh agreed.

“These badges have meaning,” she said.

“And they act as an indication of our support to the community. Perhaps they will start a conversation among people around you about your own behaviours and you might consider standing up to discrimination you hear.

“We know it’s not easy, but having a friend call out another friend will be a real wake up call for them. This is something we should all work on and understand the importance of. We all deserve to feel safe at school and this is a step towards that.”

Rory and Mia then introduced the school’s 2020 school captain Ellen O’Brien who returned to the campus to speak about her own experiences being a member of the LGBTQTI+ community.

On Tuesday, the Campus was a rainbow of colour as the Year 12 students held a cupcake sale with all proceeds donated towards programs that support LGBTQIA+ youth in Australia.

Right: School Captain Mia Mackintosh, 2020 School Captain Ellen O’Brien, the Bishop of Gippsland, the Right Reverend Richard Treloar and School Captain Rory McLeod. Photo: contributed.
Year 9 students Aralai Eldred and Kiri Higgins.