Australian society delegitimises and destroys the relationships and lives of LGBTI people. 

It is a society that breeds systematic bullying, harassment and discrimination, which is promoted by our politicians – some of whom compare LGBTI people to animals.

Is it any wonder that 44 percent of gay and lesbian youth, and 81 percent of trans youth, contemplate suicide?

So when programs are put in place to prevent bullying and promote acceptance, it is a good thing.

I’m proud to be impolite and disruptive in the face of injustice.

One such initiative is the Safe Schools Coalition – a national coalition of schools that works to make a real difference in the lives of young LGBTI people, empowering students to stand up and tackle homophobia and transphobia in their lives. 

But we have a government that is waging a war on this initiative. The Liberal government has announced that the Safe Schools Coalition will be cut in 2017; this will have real consequences for the lives of young LGBTI people.

On Friday, high school and university students occupied South Australian Liberal Party senator Cory Bernardi’s Adelaide office. Bernardi is one of the most outspoken preachers of hate and intolerance in the Liberal government, and has led the charge against LGBTI people. 

As a high school student who has been involved in the Safe Schools Coalition, successfully campaigning to get my previous school and now current school to become a Safe School, I’m proud to have occupied Bernardi’s office and taken a stand to reject his bigotry. 

I’m proud to have stood together with other students, telling bigots everywhere that we will not put up with the constant attacks. We won’t go away until we win – until we push back this government’s disgraceful agenda.

Contrary to the reports, we didn’t “trash” the office and threaten the staff. We held an occupation, we chanted, we chalked slogans and plastered a banner containing dozens of reasons students gave for why Bernardi should resign. 

It is exactly the kind of direct action that I strongly believe we need to see more of. Importantly, by occupying his office, we kicked up a fuss and disrupted business as usual. There should be no business as usual when LGBTI people are under assault. 

We need to be loud and clear in defending Safe Schools from bigots like Bernardi. Bernardi hypocritically whines that the Safe Schools Coalition constitutes child abuse and is “age inappropriate”, but at the same time his party presides over the torture of refugees in concentration camps. 

Apparently that is a lesser crime in the eyes of the Liberals and the conservative media. That speaks volumes about the “morals” that they always claim to be defending.

And to all the people who seem to care so much about ripped-up leaflets, a bit of picket fence that happened to fall over and the heinous crime of chalking slogans in the office of a notorious bigot: I think your attitude illustrates how little value you have for the lives of LGBTI students. You care more for torn paper than you do for torn lives.

If we’re going to build a movement strong enough to defeat the homophobia and transphobia of Bernardi and his ilk, we need more direct action like our occupation.

I’m proud to be impolite and disruptive in the face of injustice.