Human rights bureaucrats join with Minus18 to teach Victorian parents about parenting

When Dan Andrew’s government introduced Victoria’s “Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition” law, the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) was tasked with investigating complaints and “educating” the public about the new state-approved beliefs concerning sexuality and gender identity.

In May, the VEOHRC had a special message for parents:

“Parents and carers are encouraged to have open conversations with their children who may be exploring their sexuality and gender identity”.

In case you are tempted to ignore this “encouragement”, VEOHRC goes on to remind parents that this advice is not optional:

“Victorian law protects the rights of a young person to explore their sexuality and gender identity”.

There is a link to “learn more” which makes it even clearer:

Many young people explore and question their sexuality and what gender they identify with. It is normal for them to do so.  

If a young person has confided in you, ask them how you can support them.  

It is against the law to try to change or suppress someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Got that? Whatever your “young person” (no lower age limit on that) tells you they are into exploring sexually, you have to “support them”.

Links are provided to Minus18 and Switchboard Victoria Facebook pages. Apparently VEOHRC thinks these organisations are reputable sources of information for Victorian parents.

Minus18, of course, has been working for decades to teach kids about sex and their extensive history raises quite a few red flags for child safety. Here are some highlights:

  • In 2016, George Christensen told Parliament that Minus18’s website (promoted to school children via the “Safe Schools” program) provided links to other websites such as the “Tool Shed” (a sex shop), Scarleteen (offering “inclusive, comprehensive, supportive … sex ed for the real world”) and pornography sites catering for a range of exotic sexual fetishes, including sadomasochism.
  • Minus18 provided a range of articles for kids, for example:
    • Cover your tracks” (“handy tips” on how to wipe your search history so your parents can’t see) and;
    • When Are You Ready to Do it?” (which tells kids that “it” doesn’t stop with “penis-in-vagina sex”, oh no! that’s “certainly not the ‘ultimate’ sex”).
  • Cyndi Darnell, who now styles herself as “a sex therapist” boasts of being “a mentor” to the Minus18 Sex Gurus: “a queer sex and health project”. Some of the kids attending her workshops were “country kids” who might not be “out” at home and the worshops allowed them to ask the kinds of questions that aren’t covered in high school Sex Ed; questions like:

“’Can I get HIV if I swallow cum?’ … blow jobs and not only how to do it but the risks involved in potentially contracting HIV or chlamydia or whatever else might be around.”

See how this is really all just about “sexual health”?

  • The “Sex Gurus” trained in Darnell’s workshops then:

go to the parties [i.e. Minus 18’s queer formals] and hand out information about safer sex practices and they hand out things like condoms and lube and encourage the youngsters to really talk about sex and sexuality and why it’s important and not keeping them in the closet. 

So that’s peer-to-peer marketing, organised by Minus18 with outside help from a “sex therapist” who also actively lobbies for the sex industry. That’s who VEOHRC thinks you should listen to when “supporting your young person in exploring their sexuality”.

  • In his 2017 “Quarterly Essay”, Benjamin Law explained that many of the children who attend Minus18 queer formals do so without their parents’ knowledge or consent. He explained that Minus 18 works with queer youth groups from regional centres (like Geelong and Shepparton) to make sure that kids can get into Melbourne and back “home by a certain time so their parents don’t suspect where they’ve been. For many of the young people … neither home nor school is safe.”

Minus18 seems to have quite a strange idea about what is “safe” for children, doesn’t it?

  • As well as meeting the “Sex Gurus” and various adults from the local queer community (who volunteer as “angels” to protect the kids) and being provided with condoms, lube, and heaps of sexual encouragement, kids at Minus18 formals might be invited to join a closed Facebook. (Remember how responsible parents are supposed to monitor their teenager’s online activity? Oh well…). Before the membership list was made private, this group certainly included several adults, including Minus18’s own Events Co-ordinator who, before covid, also ran her own adult sex party business on the side, using the same venues, themes, entertainers and props for both sets of “parties” (helping to familiarise youth with the landscape, personalities and highly-sexualised interests of the adult queer community).
  • Minus18 has been known to leave the gate open for online predators to approach the youth they are supposed to be safeguarding. A 2015 news report demonstrated that online networks established by Minus18 were being used by older sexual predators (looking for “fun, fun, fun”) to make contact with kids. Rather than screen new registration requests from older users, Minus18 said it would deal with problems if and when they arose. But even that is doubtful. When asked, they refused to say how many users (if any) had been refused entry to the online forum in the previous 12-month period.

In short, it doesn’t seem that Minus18 is failing in the child safety department by accident. Introducing children to an unlimited expanse of sexual possibilities appears to be a proud part of their core mission.

And now VEOHRC is endorsing Minus18’s work while at the same time reminding parents that if they fail to “support” their child’s sexual journey, that they may be guilty of “change or suppression practices”, prohibited by law. For the avoidance of doubt, let’s remember that the inquiry that preceded this law was clear that encouraging “celibacy or abstinence”  does count as a “suppression practice”.

The message from VEOHRC and Minus18 is pretty clear: if your child wants to wander into niche sexual subcultures, better think twice before you attempt to stop them.