Laurelle Mellet, the mother of Australian musician and YouTube star Troye Sivan, has started an online petition to garner support for an anti-bullying program aimed at LGBTI youth.
In the petition, Mellet calls on the Australian government to extend funding for the Safe Schools Coalition, an LGBTI anti-bullying program that came under sustained criticism from conservative media and politicians earlier this year.
“My son Troye Sivan told us he was gay at 14. It made me nervous,” Mellet wrote in the introduction.
“His coming out video went viral and we couldn’t be prouder of him. But Troye was lucky. Thousands of gay teens battle aggressive intimidation, exclusion and even attempts of suicide.”
Mellet told BuzzFeed News she thinks the program is an “absolute necessity”, and said she was disappointed that the Turnbull government had decided not to renew funding when it runs out mid-2017.
“Troye, from the minute he told us he was gay, nothing changed. He was the same kid that we’ve known. What he does in his bedroom, I don’t care,” she said.
“I get daily emails from kids saying how hard it is, they can’t come out to their parents, they’re getting bullied. It really gets to me … I don’t understand why schools are hesitating and why it’s not being funded.”
The petition has been posted on Change.org, where Mellet became the four millionth user of the social change platform.
Mellet said she had sent the petition to Troye to ask what he thought – and got a big thumbs up.
“I sent him the petition, said ‘Have a look, tell me what you think, if there’s anything I should change’. He said ‘Mum, I think it’s great’.”
“And then he sent me another email. He said ‘I want to tell you how proud I am of you, and how awesome it is that you’re doing this and taking this on on behalf of everybody.’”
“How do parents not want to see their children happy?” Mellet asked. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
By Lane Sainty