Gayby Baby school screening stirs debate


A New South Wales high school has been instructed to delay a screening of a same-sex parenting documentary amidst reports of community backlash.

Burwood Girls High School were scheduled to watch Australian documentary Gayby Baby this Friday until the Department of Education handed down orders from the NSW Government to screen the film outside of regular school hours.

“Schools are not places for political issues to be aired,” NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli told 2GB, “During school hours we expect them to be doing maths and English and curriculum matters.”

“This movie is not part of the curriculum and that’s why I’ve made that direction.”

Presbyterian Minister Mark Powell told media he had received a lot of calls from concerned parents. Minister Powell has condemned Burwood’s support of the screening, saying it “shuts down freedom of speech.”

“They feel like if they raise concerns, their children will be ostracised at school.”

The screening was to be held in support of Wear It Purple Day, a yearly day of understanding and awareness of young LGBTIQ issues in Australia.

Burwood graduate Maya Newell, who directed the film, had been excited to screen her work at her alma mater.

“It affects kids who want their families validated and equal under the law,” Newell said.

“Children raised in same-sex families exist and have done for generations already. Please stop making assumptions about what is best for us.”

The Daily Telegraph featured the debate surrounding the Burwood screening on today’s cover with the headline “Gay Class Uproar”.

An accompanying cartoon inside depicts Education Minister Piccoli spraying a young student with a rainbow liquid being expelled from a bottle labelled “Brainwash”.

EDIT: The Guardian have an exclusive report that Burwood Girls High School had received no complaints regarding the screening.

Cinema Paradiso are holding a special Q&A screening of ‘Gayby Baby’ hosted by OUTinPerth editor Graeme Watson with director Maya Newell and producer Charlotte Mars on Sunday August 30. 

Tickets available from

Leigh Hill

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