Image for 'All Of Us' is a game-changer for Australian schools

'All Of Us' is a game-changerfor Australian schools

LGBTI youth network Minus 18 and the Safe Schools Coalition are helping create change in Australian schools, announcing All Of Us – a groundbreaking educational resource created to support teachers in increasing students’ understanding and awareness of gender and sexual diversity and intersex topics.

“All Of Us will make a real difference to how students across Australia understand each other and the world around them,” says Sally Richardson, the National Director for Safe Schools Coalition Australia.

“Introducing gender and sexual diversity and intersex issues into the classroom, this comprehensive unit guide for teachers shows the real life experience of young people in Australia, teachers and students create the kind of space we all want to be in, where all members of the school community can be themselves and to really feel good about that.”

The resource consists of seven videos and a workbook with lessons structured so that a teacher who has never taught these topics in a classroom can pick up All Of Us and read from it like a recipe.

All the videos are closed-captioned to allow any students with hearing impairments to be able to learn from the videos just like everyone else.

“We’ve got a tonne of facts sheets, guides and books but until now, we haven’t been able to actively encourage teachers to be inclusive in the classroom,” adds Richardson. “Teachers have been telling us that they wanted more, and the review of the Australian curriculum also told us that teachers needed more support to teach the topics of gender and sexual diversity and intersex issues, and they needed experts to introduce tools and resources to help them do that. The All Of Us resource does just that.”

“We’ve been working on this for three years and I couldn’t wait for this resource to launch,” says Executive Producer and Teacher at Melbourne High Chris Bush.

“I’ve run it with my students and the feedback was fantastic. I can’t wait to hear similar stories form all around Australia. We’ve had curriculum consultants on board to make sure that All Of Us will stand up to criticism but most importantly be affective in educating students.”

“What’s really exciting is that the resource has received approval by the Australian Government with a mandate to introduce the resource in schools around the country,” adds Bush. “It’s so exciting that it will have such reach, so that every teacher can teach, every student can learn and every family can belong.”

“Congratulations to all involved that this resource is supported, approved and funded by the Australian Government,” reacts Victorian Commissioner for Gender & Sexuality Rowena Allen. “All Of Us is such a great piece of work and I want to honour the young people who told their stories.

“We know that there is a cost in telling your story, but sharing that in All Of Us and will benefit so many schools. To have 350 teachers signed up before you’ve even finished the thing it has to be good and it’s the premiers intent to have this resources in ever school in Victoria and we will to our best to role this out.”

One of the seven gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex young people who has shared their story in All Of Us is Margot Fink, who created and edited the videos that will be seen through out schools.

“For me growing up as a transgender young person there were many moments of self doubt and shame and unfortunately great isolation,” says Fink.

“My whole understanding of what it meant to be trans came from the Jerry Springer show, and daytime TV isn’t really super inspiring. It was one of the hardest times in my life, I felt like I couldn’t be myself and I thought I was risking my family, my friends, a career and maybe even never having a partner to settle down with and those are really scary things. Obviously these weren’t correct assumptions, that’s not how it is, but I didn’t have anyone to look to or talk to about this.”

“No young person should have to feel that isolation and exclusion in the first place and that is why I’m so happy and excited for what this resource can accomplish, for what it could mean for young people across Australia,” she adds.

“I feel very honoured to have created these videos and shared the stories of LGBTI young people, to work towards a world where regardless of gender, sexuality or intersex status all young people can just go to school, to learn, to grow, to be the best they can be and feel confident that when they go to school they can be themselves.”

“Can you come to our school and do the ‘gay talk’? is something we are asked to do all the time,” says Minus 18 CEO Micha Scott. “Of course we can, but there’s only so many schools you can visit, or so many times that a young person can be expected to educate everybody else.

“The pressure young people have in trying to educate others is part of the what we are trying to alleviate with All of Us, having these magnificent stories shared once and being able to be reproduced anywhere across Australia for free has a lot of power.

“It’s all the young people who have started in the videos, produced them, edited them, worked on the camera crew, who have been the roadies, have travelled around, they’ve all been young people and that shines through, its made such an amazing impact and that’s something that should be celebrated.”

“Five years ago we started approaching organisations about the fact that there were no real resources that mentioned young people and talked about sexuality and gender diversity. We wanted to have our voices out there, to show people that they are not alone and to show that we are just normal young people.

“A lot of organisations said no, ‘You can’t do that’, ‘There was a risk if young people sharing their stories’, ‘No one really wants to hear that’ we were told. But the Safe Schools coalition believed in us, they saw the power in young people being the ones to direct the content and create that content themselves, to guide it and support it, and ultimately hearing it.”

“This is just the beginning,” promises Richardson. “Over time we would love to be able to add more stories of young people around Australia and more lessons and activities for teachers. We want to see All of Us being used in classrooms across the country ain every state and territory.”

Click here to learn more about All of Us or download it for your school.

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