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Troye Sivan receives backlash for anti-bullying initiative

2017-05-02
A campaign for an anti-bullying program in Australian schools, supported by celebrities like Troye Sivan and Guy Pearce, has come under fire for asking for 'tolerance' of LGBT+ people. In an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham, those supporting the campaign ask the government to "implement as soon as possible a national anti-bullying, anti-violence program in schools across Australia that targets bullying in all its forms." The program seeks the introduction of a "nationally rolled out, federal government-funded anti-bullying, anti-violence program in public and private schools by the start of 2018 that includes tolerance and mutual respect of LGBTI people at its core." In addition to a focus on LGBT+ students, the campaign seeks to teach students not to bully based on factors including "religion, race, gender, sexuality, faith, disability, skin conditions, social standing or political persuasions. "If we don't act now, future suicides, self-harm, murders, and domestic violence will continue unabated." However, one particular aspect of the campaign has generated controversy within the LGBT+ community. The letter reads: "We do not seek a program that seeks approval of the way certain members of our society live. We seek only mutual respect and tolerance." The use of the word 'tolerance' has angered some, who believe that this suggests LGBT+ are merely to be put up with, rather than fully accepted. Twitter users responded critically to the campaign. While Troye has not responded personally to the backlash, his mother Laurelle Mellet said that those involved in the campaign are "taking it all onboard". "It’s wonderful that we are all so passionate and concerned about such a vital matter that is so critically important to us all," she said. "We will continue to push for safe environments in schools and other areas. We look forward to your input and support as we move forward in the hope that things will change for the better." More stories: Troye Sivan salutes LGBT activists in emotional acceptance speech Troye Sivan and Ellen urge world to speak up over Chechnya’s brutal persecution of gay men