NSW Education Minister's decision to ban 'Gayby Baby' screening 'absurd and deeply disappointing'

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Trailer: Gayby Baby

This documentary follows the lives of four kids whose parents all happen to be gay. As they each wrestle with the onset of puberty, the outside world wrestles with the issue of marriage equality and whether or not kids of same-sex families are at risk.

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The NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, has banned a Sydney school from screening a film about children with gay parents during school hours. 

Burwood Girls High in Sydney's inner-west planned on screening the film Gayby Baby to 1200 students on Friday morning as part of a statewide "Wear it Purple" day campaign of sexual inclusion in schools. 

On Wednesday Mr Piccoli said he directed the Department of Education to ensure the film was not shown during school hours. 

A still from <i>Gayby Baby</i> that fuelled controversy as it was distributed to parents on a flyer at Burwood Girls ...

A still from Gayby Baby that fuelled controversy as it was distributed to parents on a flyer at Burwood Girls High School. Photo: Supplied

It is understood that the minister did not object to the content of the film. Instead, the decision was taken to avoid students missing out on class. 

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According to its synopsis Gayby Baby "is a portrait of four kids with gay parents who wrestle with the challenges of oncoming adolescence as the world deals with marriage equality, and whether or not kids like them are at risk". 

Seats for the film, directed by former Burwood Girls High student Maya Newell, sold out at the Sydney Film Festival in June.

Students at Burwood Girls High School are among those who participate in the Proud Schools program.

Students at Burwood Girls High School are among those who participate in the Proud Schools program. Photo: Janie Barrett

It also screened at NSW Parliament on Tuesday night as part of the opening for the LGBTI ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) friendship group at the state legislature. 

The ban follows complaints from some parents and religious groups. The Presbyterian church has criticised the school for screening a film which "promotes a gay lifestyle".

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the minister's decision to prevent the film from being shown during school hours was "absurd and deeply disappointing." 

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Louie Douvis

"From a personal perspective, if I had seen a film that showed that gay and lesbian people can have loving and stable families and are just as normal as everyone else, that would have a positive and profound impact on my confidence and self identity. 

"It is not a controversial film. It just shows that rainbow families are just as normal as any other," he said. 

The NSW Department of Education guidelines on film screenings do not prohibit showing films with homosexual themes and advise that films with an M+ rating can be shown at the discretion of the principal. 

The department's policy on controversial issues maintains schools should avoid creating "arenas for opposing political views or ideology". 

The film screening was part of a wider Wear it Purple day campaign due to take place at numerous schools across NSW on Friday.

There are 92 schools in NSW that have signed up for the Safe Schools Coalition which runs the campaign and provides resources for sexual inclusiveness in schools. 

Riverside Girls in Gladesville and MLC in Burwood have previously taken part in the campaign. 

It is not known if other planned screenings of the film at schools have been affected.