When her school held a Rainbow mufti day to celebrate sexual diversity, Clare (name changed) decided to wear her uniform. She cried the night before.
That was two years ago. Now, at age 14, Clare is terrified of another day like it. Clare’s mother spoke about some of the experiences her daughter had had as a Christian at school, and as someone who was learning to stand up for what she believes.
Clare’s mother wants to remain anonymous. She has been vocal at the Sydney government school her daughter attends, writing letters and meeting with the principal to raise concerns about days like the Rainbow mufti day. Clare’s school has also joined the Safe Schools Coalition, which developed the All Of Us teaching material that has been widely debated in the media recently.
Like many parents, Clare’s mother is worried about any implications her own activism might have on her daughter at school.
“She’s solid in her faith, but Christians at school are made to feel silly because they belong to a faith group that isn’t ‘politically correct’,” Clare’s mother said.
The Rainbow Day at the school wasn’t specifically compulsory, but Clare’s mother said it was “compulsory by default”. The school put the rainbow flag on the flagpole that day.
“You stand out in the crowd if you don’t take part.” Clare and a few other Christian students turned up to school that day in their uniform. Other Christian students wore mufti, but didn’t wear bright colours. One student wore jeans and a black T-shirt.
Now, with the school signing up to the Safe Schools Coalition, Clare’s mum is worried that a similar mufti day, or “Wear it purple” day and a lot of other things where students are expected to “celebrate sexual diversity” will be on the agenda.
“Clare found it difficult to wear her uniform last time. But we spoke about it and it’s what she felt she had to do. But she’s a kind girl. She doesn’t want to discriminate against anyone.
“She doesn’t want to be singled out. She doesn’t want to be called homophobic. It’s becoming increasingly uncomfortable for Christian students in state schools to have a voice and to raise that voice.”
This article first appeared in the March 2016 edition of Eternity, a news publication of the Bible Society Australia.