The organiser behind an open letter calling for the Federal Government to adopt a new broad-scale anti-bullying program focused on protecting LGBTIQ youth has issued an apology, after critics took issue with the letter’s focus on promoting “tolerance” over “acceptance”.

Ben Grubb has also retracted the letter, which had garnered signatures from high-profile LGBTIQ personalities including Troye Sivan, Missy Higgins, and Joel Creasey, saying “I made the decision to omit the word [“acceptance”] highlighted above. This is a decision I deeply regret and I am truly sorry for.”

The letter had proposed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham implement a national anti-bullying framework without the now-defunded Safe Schools program’s focus on teaching kids that being gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex was totally fine. 

Instead, Grubb chose to consult with a “a Canberra decision-maker” regarding language more acceptable to conservative lawmakers, who made it their mission to oppose the Safe Schools program on supposed ideological grounds.

As a result, the letter dropped mention of “acceptance” in favour of the more palatable “tolerance.” Grubb now says “I am sorry to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community, many of whom have told me that by doing this represented the letter pandering to conservative views.”

He has also admitted that he believes he could have “consulted more widely with the LGBTI community on how the LGBTI youth of Australia can be helped before getting people to sign up.” The apology also concedes the letter could have drawn more attention to the disproportionately-high levels of suicide attempts within the transgender community.

Grubb says four people advised him “the approach I was taking was not one with which I should go down.

“These red flags should have been warning signs to me.”

You can read the full apology here.

Source: Ben Grubb / Medium.
Photo: Chris Hopkins / Getty.