Australian Catholic School Refuses to Screen Student’s Film Due to LGBTQ+ Themes

Tayler Allwood

A student at Mount Lilydale Mercy College in Melbourne was told her short film would be the only one not broadcast at the end-of-the-year function due to its inclusion of a same-gender couple.

School officials said they would not show Tayler Allwood’s film because it does not align with their Catholic values. Allwood’s project, a film with a same-gender kiss at the end, had initially been approved by school officials. But after she completed it, she was later told that her production “would be the only media studies film not showcased at a visual arts exhibition in October or uploaded to the school’s website,” according to WA Today.

Paul Allwood, Tayler’s father, said his daughter “was distraught that the film she had poured her heart and soul into would not be shown in its entirety at an end-of-year school function.”

Tayler Allwood is protesting the school’s decision to restrict the broadcasting of her short film. She told WA Today:

“‘I believe it’s an act of discrimination. All I want them to do is change their minds, so I can be included with my classmates.'”

News of this Catholic school’s decision made its way to the parliament of Victoria, the Australian state in which the school is located. Andy Meddick, an MP with Animal Justice Party, was the first to advocate for Allwood at the state parliament because he believes the school’s actions are discriminatory and do not adequately reflect the values of their community. WA Today reported Meddick’s statement:

“‘I personally believe that if you’re a school, regardless of your religious beliefs, if you’re receiving public funding, then you have a responsibility to reflect the values of the community, not of your particular faith.'”

Philip Morrison, principal at Mount Lilydale Mercy College, a secondary school, claims that the school strives “to be a community where the dignity and uniqueness of every student is respected and nurtured with sensitivity and compassion, including in relation to sexual orientation.”

Currently, under Australia’s Federal Sex Discrimination Act, Section 38.3 “allows religious schools to discriminate against another person because of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or relationship status or pregnancy.” However, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Attorney General Michaelia Cash “signaled changes to the separate Sex Discrimination Act aimed at safeguarding LGBTQI students.”

Tiffany Jones, a professor at the Macquarie University School of Education, observed that Catholic schools often have a disconnect from their local communities. However, in an effort to mend this divide, Professor Jones believes:

“‘The teaching of the church is arguable … because you will get Catholics who support LGBTIQ+ people, you will get Catholics who are LGBTIQ+ people.’ .  . .

“‘[I]t would be a good idea for her video to be viewed and for people to have open discussions about real-world issues. And if we’re not doing that in schools, what are we doing?'”

Anushah Sajwani (she/her), August 30, 2022

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *