Gay sex questions 'in the public school curriculum' for 9th grade

By Daniel Hoare
The Australian
October 29, 2003

The principal of a Victorian school at which 14-year-old students were asked
whether their heterosexuality was "just a phase they may grow out of" is
standing by a teacher's decision to hand out the survey, saying it was part
of the recommended curriculum.

Victorian education authorities said yesterday the questionnaire - which was
handed out to a Year 9 class at Wodonga High School on the NSW-Victorian
border- was designed solely for teacher education, a claim denied by the
school's principal.

The "heterosexual questionnaire" - designed to "examine assumptions about
sexuality" - asks respondents what caused their heterosexuality and whether
it was possible they needed a same-sex lover to be fulfilled.

The questions included: "If you have never slept with a person of the same
sex, is it possible that all you need is a good lesbian-gay lover?" and

"What do women and men do in bed together? How can they truly know how to
please each other being so anatomically different?"

It also asked why heterosexuals "feel compelled to seduce others into their
lifestyle", and said that since most child molesters were heterosexual "do
you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?"

Wodonga High principal Peter Maclean said the survey, which some parents
labelled "appalling and inappropriate" and "way over the top", had been
handed out at a professional development course run by the federally funded
Family Planning Victoria. The course was attended by several of the school's
teachers. They were given clear instruction, he said, that the survey was
appropriate for students from Year 9 upwards.

"It was a worksheet which clearly states that as an activity, students
should read the following and answer and discuss the questions at the end of
the attached questionnaire," he said.

Mr Maclean said he believed the questionnaire had been used as part of the
curriculum at Ballarat University, where students were also told that it was
appropriate for Year 9 and 10 students.

Jan Watson, from Victoria's Department of Education and Training, said the
survey had been "taken out of context" by the school and claimed it was
designed to be used "in the context of a two-day training program for

Ann Radowski, education and training manager for Family Planning Victoria,
said the questionnaire was designed by the Australian Research Centre in
Sexual Health and Society at La Trobe University to develop teachers' sex
education skills and was "not a classroom tool". "It asks confronting
questions to get heterosexuals to deal with the sorts of questions that are
asked of homosexuals," she said.

Mr Maclean said he had withdrawn the questionnaire from the school
curriculum. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has ordered an inquiry.