The students at Craigburn Primary School in South Australia wanted to help three girls in Africa gain access to an education, so they set up a page on the website “Do It In A Dress” with a goal of $900.
The premise is that everyone wears a dress (or casual clothing) on a particular day to raise awareness of the issue, earning money from donors who “sponsor” them, and that’s precisely what the school encouraged.
But because that campaign suggests it’s okay for boys to wear dresses, too — even if it’s for a worthy cause — a local politician, Senator Cory Bernardi, decided to speak out:
— Cory Bernardi (@corybernardi) September 20, 2017
He later said the kids were being politicized and “indoctrinated.” Even though (and I’m repeating myself here) it was all for charity. Not that it should make one damn bit of difference what someone wears, but there was no “gender morphing” taking place.
But here’s the beautiful thing: The bigot’s comment took on a life of its own. People began giving money for the cause just to stick it to the conservative politician. As of this writing, the $900 fundraiser has taken in an astonishing $250,000.
That’s 835 girls (and counting) in Sierra Leone and Uganda who will get help in obtaining an education.
Even Education Minister Susan Close got in on the fun:
It's a fundraiser for girls' education in Africa the kids thought up. Get a sense of humour & perspective & leave our kids out of politics.
— Susan Close MP (@susan_close) September 20, 2017
What did Bernardi have to say about all this? Well, he had nothing to say about the girls getting an education or the children who began the fundraiser. Instead, he rationalized how his bigotry served a greater purpose.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday night, Bernardi said he was “happy” that people were donating to the cause because “it stops the money going to the ‘Yes’ [same sex marriage] campaign”.
What. A. Dick.
But what a way to use his Roman Catholic-inspired hate to achieve an honorable goal. Let’s hope people are equally inspired and active when it comes to getting their elected officials to make marriage equality the law. That alone would be a wonderful accomplishment, but just imagine the look of disgust and defeat on Benardi’s face if that happened.
Australians: Keep the pressure on your politicians. Let Benardi’s bigotry propel the march for equality.
(Thanks to Ross for the link)