Social attitudes slow to change

Patrick Turner wants to see an end to bullying of homosexual students. Picture: Marcus Whisson d425947
Patrick Turner wants to see an end to bullying of homosexual students. Picture: Marcus Whisson d425947

Mr Turner said his life was made a ‘living hell’ at high school; he was bashed and called names by fellow students and kicked out of home by his father, which led him to attempt suicide.

The 49-year-old was the first student at his high school to come out as homosexual 34 years ago.

He was angry to find out high school students today were discriminated against in the same way he was after reading ‘Student fights for minorities’ rights’ published in the Eastern Reporter on Tuesday, September 2.

‘In my first year of high school, it was that bad I attempted suicide because I couldn’t handle going to school every day and being picked on because I was different,’ he said.

‘I was just like the other kids, I still bleed red, I still breath but who I choose to have intimate relationships with behind closed doors is my concern, not anyone else’s.

‘People need to realise that it doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is, what your sexual preference is, whether you’re straight gay, bisexual, transgender, you’re still foremost a human being and you have the right to feel safe at school and in the wider community.’

Mr Turner said the issue needed to be addressed and attitudes changed, with the first step introducing acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) community into high schools through the curriculum.

‘In some ways we’ve come so far in the last 34 years, we have a lot more say in the way things are done now, but as far as being gay and coming out in school and being bullied, nothing’s changed,’ he said.

‘People’s attitudes are not going to change until we get a politician or government that has the balls to get off their arse and allow places like the Freedom Centre to go into our high schools.

‘I don’t want to see anyone having to put up with being bullied at school because of their sexual preferences.

‘It’s about time we stopped pushing our heads in the sand and start looking at ways to stop this issue.’