Three short days ago, a man called Bernard Gaynor stepped into the social media sphere, making his Twitter debut as an unassuming @BernardGaynor. Scrolling through his handful of tweets, though, one could be forgiven for thinking he’d just stepped out of the 18th century. With each 140 character update, Bernard paints a picture of himself as a hateful conservative with disappointing homophobic and xenophobic views. Let me highlight a few particular examples:
“I wouldn’t let a gay person teach my children and I am not afraid to say it”
“…close borders to those who do not accept Aussie values – burkas are not a sign of tolerance”
If I had a dollar for every far-right-wing bigot spouting their backwards views on Twitter, I would have enough to buy a small island in an ocean somewhere and never have to see another copy of the Herald Sun ever again. Reading through Mr Gaynor’s opinions, it unfortunately comes as no surprise that he is heavily Catholic. I wish I didn’t automatically associate religious people with stupid views. Indeed many of Bernard’s fellow Catholics would be disappointed with the hate he is spreading in the name of their faith. However their voices are so often drowned out by outspoken individuals and groups such as the ACL.
So if there’s so many of these people on social media, why am I writing all this about Mr Gaynor then? Here comes the scary part: he is running for the senate in Queensland.
That’s right, Gaynor wants to stand in the Australian federal parliament. Let that sink in. The guy who thinks gay people are inferior and should be discriminated against in classrooms, is running for parliament. The guy who thinks man-made climate change is a sham, flying in the face of an overwhelming majority of scientists, is running for parliament. Gaynor states he is “ready to serve…in the only party that won’t sell Australia out – Katter’s Australian Party.” More likely KAP was the only party willing to take someone with such extreme and offensive views. Don’t forget Katter and Co’s disgusting television ad campaign against same sex marriage in 2012.
As you can imagine, Gaynor came under fire over his tweets (surprise Bernard, people don’t like being told they are lesser humans and should be denied certain rights because of their sexuality). He responded with a press release in which he neither apologised for nor withdrew his comments, instead stood by them and dug his own hole a little deeper. “This is not controversial. Any society with a basis in common sense would support parental responsibility [to refuse a gay teacher the opportunity to teach their children].” As both my parents are teachers, Mr Gaynor, let me share some facts that you may not know:
1. It takes years of study at university to become a teacher. Few things are more important than building our children’s futures, yet they are among the lowest paid professionals in the country. Every single education student is aware of this, yet they persist with their degrees and diplomas regardless. Why? Because they are passionate about the education of future generations.
2. School curriculums are set by higher authorities. Maths, science, English, sport etc. are all subjects. “Sexuality” is not a subject in the Australian curriculum, so teachers’ views are irrelevant.
3. You can’t “teach” sexuality. If your kid is going to be gay, they’re going to be gay. The best option is to support children for who they are, rather than try and change them.
So Mr Gaynor, with these facts in mind, can you see how ridiculous your words are now? I somehow doubt it; bigots like you are often so lost in their own vile beliefs that there’s no hope for them. I only hope that, if one or more of your five children ‘come out’ in the future, you can muster the compassion to treat them like the human beings they are, rather than whatever lesser beings you see the gay community as currently.