A Batemans Bay trans woman has expressed her anger and disappointment at a campaign in the Sydney Anglican Diocese to retain the power to discriminate against gay teachers.
Kate Toyer, who underwent her transition several years ago, said she was tired of having her sexuality at the centre of religious debate. She has a child at St Peter’s Anglican College Broulee.
She said a letter signed by 34 Anglican principals – including the principal of Nowra Anglican College – calling on the protection of religious freedoms in schools was “absolute hypocrisy”.
The letter, sent to all federal MPs last month, said that while schools would not expel gay students or staff, they wanted to preserve the right to employ people who "support the ethos of the school".
“That letter is a little bit like someone saying, ‘I promise I won’t shoot you, but if I could just keep my gun and bullets anyway’,” Kate said.
“If you’re not going to shoot us, why do you need a gun?”
She called on the principals backing the campaign to accept members of the LGBTI community and “rainbow families”.
“When you see this letter and you’ve got these principals saying ‘we’ve never had a teacher sacked or student expelled’, it’s plausible they wouldn’t ostensibly do that, but they make it incredibly uncomfortable,” Kate said.
A practicing Catholic, she said the debate had caused distress for her family; however, she was grateful for the support she had received from St Peter’s.
Last week, college principal Darren McPartland labelled the letter as ‘misguided’ and said LGBTI people would always be welcome at the school
“There’s a sense of gratitude and shared understanding that this is someone who is going to support me and my family – it’s relieving,” Kate said.
“You feel a sense of validation. There’s a sense that I’m not alone. That they’ve got my back.”
Given the chance to sit with the 34 principals behind the campaign, Kate had one question: “Why can’t you just love us as we are?”