Is love forbidden here?

It was a normal Sunday morning in 1991, when I woke up in my bed. It was a single bed, made even smaller by the fact that my boyfriend was wedged in beside me. I got up, pulled on my school uniform, my tights, my blazer and my dreadful brown school shoes (whoever thought brown school shoes were acceptable I will never know. I smooshed my beloved’s sandy blonde hair and told him to stay put, be quiet, and that I would be back in an hour.

I then caught up with my friends and we went off to our weekly compulsory Church Service to listen to Reverend Mac talk about God and Forgiveness.

“Forgive me father for the fornication that occurred an hour ago. Are we all good now? I am straight by the way”

I was in year 12 and I was a boarder at Abbotsleigh.

I had been a boarder at this school since I was 12.

Abbotsleigh was a terrific school, very progressive in its way of thinking, was promoted as a feminist army and we were told over and over that “A man is not a plan.” They would trot out old girls in assemblies who had achieved great things since leaving those hallowed halls, to tell us of their achievements. It was a pretty great school, looking back at it. I wasn’t academic at all, but was big time into sport and art was my absolute favourite. Mainly because of my teacher.

This particular art teacher taught us like grown ups. She didn’t give me a detention when one day I wagged, but just looked me in they eye and told me that she was sad that I had chosen to skip her class. I never skipped it again. She would push our thinking, and our practices. She would occasionally drop the F-bomb.

She lived with her lover, who was another formidable woman who was the Year 12 Co-ordinator and they were so passionate about education, that you didn’t want to do anything to disappoint them. They were highly respected with both the students and the staff.

But disappointed I am today when I read that my old school is one of those who schools who are fighting for exemptions which allow discrimination against gay teachers. Read the article here.

The letter also detailed how teachers were not just educators but also “powerful mentors” for young people.

“It is not appropriate, for example, for a teacher to undermine or denigrate the beliefs and teachings of an employing school,” the letter read.


“This is a reasonable expectation not only for the employing school but also of many parents and families who have chosen the school for their children’s education.”

I have no idea how Bernard Gaynor is going to test for gayness. Blood test?


My art teacher and my year 12 co-ordinator were not just excellent teachers, but even more importantly, they were very powerful mentors. The fact that they were a gay couple was well-known, and nobody gave a flying rats ass. There were lesbian students at the school, and again, nobody cared one hoot. And this was 27 years ago people!

27 years ago and all of a sudden NOW this is becoming an issue for Abbotsleigh? What gives? The headmistress has signed her support for this. As did a whole heap of these Sydney Private Schools. Here is the bigot list.

What a bloody disgrace. And I cannot help but internally rage when discrimination rears its ugly head. It is not good enough. Where are we heading?

So as it turns out, my old school isn’t as progressive as it claims to be. Shame.