[image cribbed from Pinknews]
The Most Reverend Phillip Aspinall, Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane and president of the school council of “Churchie”, the all-boys Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, is in the news.
Churchie, where manly men are made under the patronage of Saint Magnus and the spirit of the Viking (for eleven to thirteen thousand dollars a year), is getting the vapours at the thought of their manly young men waltzing with their boyfriends at the formal, when they should be gallantly offering their arms to the young ladies of St Margaret’s.
Queensland Pride reports that the school and Rev Aspinall don’t have a problem with boys taking their friends to the dance if the friends happen to be boys, so long as they’re willing to pretend that they’re not gay. What they don’t want is for gay students to start a “political movement” and “blow things out of proportion”. An anonymous Year 12 student reports that he was told “If you don’t cause us too much trouble, we will just quietly change the rules so they’re allowed and no one gets hurt”.
The headmaster said he was open to discussion, but that the purpose of the event has traditionally been to allow interaction between young men and young women and the current school policy therefore only permits boys to take a female partner.
[The Most Revd Phillip Aspinall] told ABC Radio:
“I have no personal objection to a school deciding to allow boys to take friends who are boys or girls to take friends who are girls to school formals. But I understand in this particular instance the school has decided that its approach is to emphasise the interaction of young men and young women and providing them with an opportunity to do that in this kind of formal setting. And I have no objection to that either. I think that’s a reasonable and legitimate approach.”
It seems that the boys who are trying to speak out aren’t getting very far. Queensland Pride continues:
The student has called on his fellow gay pupils and their supporters to confront the school administration when the term resumes next week.
“[Let’s] demand an end to this oppression of the only remaining minority that is still legal to oppress,” he said, adding there may be a boycott of the formal unless the school changed its policy.
Headmaster Jonathan Hensman said he would consider taking the issue to the school council if any of the students approached him directly.
“We don’t intend to change our practice. As well as being a social occasion, it’s an education forum and to that end the school decides what is appropriate behaviour and what is not.
“Not all students take their girlfriends. Some take a female friend. It’s about protocols and decorums,” he said.
Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth said it was unlawful for schools, whether public or private, to discriminate against gay students. She declined to comment directly on the case as it was a “potential complaint”.
So, this school crest: repressed hypermasculine homoeroticism, or manly Viking nostalgia?