I was a student at St Joseph’s College Geelong from 1965-1970. They were days when it was not safe to even hint of your interest and orientation being different to the dominant culture. They were days of silent loneliness and anxious awareness. As young men of that era we didn’t show any affection to each other regardless of our sexuality. The Catholicism we encountered also failed to engage us in a healthy body image or intimacy.
Now an older gay man and a life member of the St Joseph’s College Old Collegians I am welcomed back to share my journey with a new generation of young men who comfortably express their affection for each other and have built a community that welcomes diversity and challenges abuse and bullying.
The Safe Schools Coalition offers an opportunity for students and staff to create communities that are healthy, welcoming and as in the case of my alma mater, affirming of the wonderful spectrum of masculinity.
I applaud the decision of Paul Tobias, the staff and community at SJC Geelong to implement this program. I hope my family and friends in Geelong will also stand by the College in the face of the fear and intolerance of those who oppose the Safe Schools Coalition.