3 March 2021

Carey Community Forum: Gender Diversity and Inclusivity

Whole School
Carey Community Forum: Gender Diversity and Inclusivity
Carey Community Forum: Gender Diversity and Inclusivity
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The Carey Community Forum (CCF) is a long-standing Carey parent group which seeks to offer all parents education and support on topics that can sometimes be tricky for parents to tackle with their children. Over many years, the CCF has attracted leading experts across various fields including anxiety and depression, the future of work, cyber safety and pornography and young people. The first CCF event for 2021 continues this long and important tradition with a focus on gender diversity and inclusivity.

La Trobe University recently published the fourth in a series of significant national reports, ‘Writing Themselves in 4: The Health and Wellbeing of LGBTQA+ Young People in Australia’. The report involved an online survey of people living in Australia aged between 14 and 21 years who identified as LGBTIQIA+[1] and the comprehensive findings reinforce why an event like this one is so important:

  • More than 60% of participants said that they had felt unsafe or uncomfortable in the past 12 months at secondary school due to their sexuality or gender identity.
  • More than three-quarters of trans men and trans women said that they felt unsafe or uncomfortable at their educational institution, followed by two-thirds of non-binary participants.
  • Almost two-thirds of participants at secondary school reported frequently hearing negative remarks regarding sexuality at their school.

Despite excellent work at Carey in inclusivity and diversity over many years, we cannot afford to pretend that our community is in some way immune from statistics like these. As part of our ongoing commitment to inclusivity and diversity, Carey has recently developed our policies and procedures in this area as they relate to students and staff. We have also developed an Inclusivity Statement to express our commitment and whole-school approach to providing an environment of mutual respect, fairness, equity and justice at Carey. Our Inclusivity Statement is now displayed on the Carey website. We are also committed to a constant cycle of education and reflection to ensure ongoing support and care for all community members.

This of course extends to the work of the CCF and I value their commitment in putting together a program that thoughtfully invites participants to grapple with some of these big and complex issues. This event will see assembled leading experts in gender diversity and inclusivity for schools and families. Joining them will be parents, a number of Carey staff and past and current student leaders. The evening will commence with a presentation from Dr Jacques Rizk, a Melbourne-based senior clinical psychologist who works in private practice as a clinician and supervisor, and in the community as a consultant and trainer. Dr Rizk has a special interest in the mental health of people who identify as LGBTIQA+ and has previously worked with Carey staff and the Board. The second part of the evening will involve a panel discussion.

It’s important to note that the ‘Writing Themselves in Report 4’ ultimately points to strong signs of hope and provides much cause for celebration. Participants were asked to consider ‘What makes you feel good about yourself?’. Key themes that emerged in the young people’s responses included:

  • The value of social connectivity to friends and family
  • Romantic connection and partnerships
  • Satisfaction derived from creating and achieving
  • The importance of affirmation from within (how I feel about myself)
  • Being affirmed by others (how I am seen and treated by my social world)
  • Having an influence on others and effecting positive change within their community

It is so important to know what activities and practices our young people value. It helps to ensure that our community-building planning has these trends as the inspiration behind them.

Event Overview:

Thursday 18 March 18, 7.00–8.30pm

Participants register on TryBooking and can access the evening either online or from the MGH Extension. The link to the online stream is XXX. Participants may also choose to register a question for the panel ahead of time and can do so by emailing: student.development@carey.com.au Questions can also be submitted on the night.

[1] LGBTQIA+ to refer to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or asexual. The ‘+’ reflects our engagement with others who identify as same or multigender attracted or gender diverse but who use a wide range of different identity terms

Allan Griffin
Head of Student Development


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