Donna Pandori

Exclusion of GLBT dialogue in schools hurts all children

Filed By Donna Pandori | November 10, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Family Research Council, GLBT, religious fundamentalist, same-sex marriage, sexual orientation

We've seen in California and now Maine how far religious fundamentalists will go to prevent same-sex couples from obtaining the civil right of marriage. The successful theme continually used which resonates with their supporters is "homosexuals will indoctrinate your children in schools." Buying this argument requires two things
a) A complete lack of knowledge and understanding of who GLBTs are.
b) Belief the GLBT is a community to fear.

"Homosexuality in Your Child's School," a pamphlet distributed by the Family Research Council (FRC), is an example of the type of marketing material being used in the campaign against GLBTs in schools. It's eloquently written with ostensible facts but within the first paragraph its main message is revealed:

Despite decades of activism and media propaganda promoting acceptance and celebration of homosexuality, and numerous political and judicial victories for the pro-homosexual movement, a clear majority of Americans still believe that homosexual behavior is "morally wrong."

Indoctrinating impressionable school children is an easier way of changing public attitudes toward homosexuality than persuading adults.

However, since directly promoting acceptance of homosexuality or of sexual activity by students would be controversial, pro-homosexual activists routinely deny or downplay those aspects of their agenda. Instead, they begin with the school policy proposals that are likely, politically, to win the most agreement. The first issue raised by the advocates of homosexuality is invariably the same--"safety."

This type of demeaning and demonizing dialogue does more harm to children than good. As children approach their teens they begin to understand themselves as individuals and come to terms with their own sexual identities. Note, "sexual activity" and "sexual behavior" hasn't even occured yet. Life is hard enough and making children feel bad about who they are, who they are attracted to, and attend school in an environment too intolerable to even discuss these emotions is damaging psychologically. But, this is exactly the time in a child's development when organzations like the FRC want to "force out" same-sex feelings and acceptance of these children by their peers. These feelings have to be eradicated and "cured" as if it is a "disease". But does removing GLBT dialogue in schools "normalize" children into heterosexuality? Did it "normalize" you?

This next video illustrates the innocence and struggle adolescence endures as they experience their inner struggle with same-sex attraction.

This is an excerpt from "You are Not Alone" a 1978 coming-of-age story about two boys at a Danish boarding school where one of the boys develops a special relationship with the headmaster's young son.

It's kind of like that - youthful innocence, nothing sinister or evil.

And what about children in schools who are being raised by same-sex parents, single parents, grandparents? What about children who come from an array of diverse backgrounds? Shouldn't the message in schools be of inclusion rather than exclusion? It is a life skill we should be encouraging to be taught in schools today. How will our children be able to grow up and coexist in peace if we don't teach them this great concept now?

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Excellent points and video. I was that age at that time and I even owned some of those clothes and the hair too. LOL

I was drawn to this article since about two years ago the Jefferson County School Board had held a public meeting and subsequently voted on allowing LGBT persons to teach in our schools here. I wrote about my feelings coming out of the public meeting here on Bilerico.

What really touched my soul in this article was the video clip. Two young boys innocently exploring their sexuality. During a segment in which one boy suggestingly was contemplating oral sex, I found myself shouting, "No, No!!!" My first time with another person came at age twelve. I was raped by a stranger. Ever since that evening I have struggled with my sexuality. To be "good" meant avoiding anything sexual. So most of my life has been lived as a celibate. I go to an LGBT Presbyterain church each Sunday, but for myself, I struggle with two voices inside me - one saying that to remain "good" I must deny sex, the other crying out from love and companionship with another. So as I near my 60th year, I continue a life as a celibate, uncertain as to which path to take. Too fearful to decide.

I know this has been a strange revelation on an LGBT blog site. But I felt moved by the video to speak.


Donna Pandori Donna Pandori | November 10, 2009 8:43 PM

Gillian follow your heart.

Great video, but that's exactly what they're afraid of - kids (they seem 13?) having any sexual feelings at all. It's shameful! Lock them up till they're 18, then get them hitched so that it doesn't count.

Donna Pandori Donna Pandori | November 10, 2009 8:55 PM

Precisely. This is why it hurts kids the most. They are not able to discuss their feelings without being shamed and ridiculed.

The opponents always make it out to be so immoral and always about the "sex". In most cases these poor kids have their feelings so locked up inside they haven't even experienced their first kiss. I know of someone in college who was so elated when he told me "I had my first kiss" last night.

THIS. THIS SO MUCH. This is going to be a long post, coincidentally, for which I apologize and feel I should apprise you of.

It always annoys me when "certain" people portray ALL homosexuals (and bisexuals as well, presumably?) as being only into "sex", and therefore almost, if not exactly, as dangerous as a pedophile in terms of influence on children... something obviously ludicrous, as there's quite a difference between an adult attracted to adults of the same sex, and an adult attracted to children.

But try telling that to someone who thinks any "deviation" is a "perversion" and any "perversion" is a sin and practically any sin is equivalent to any other... and that children are not actual living, rapidly developing human beings, but rather some sort of blank slate that has to be shielded from any unapproved colors of chalk (and, extending the analogy a little further, any unapproved colors of chalk can, and of course must, be erased, post-haste!).

Now, is it true that there are some real horndogs out there that happen to be gay (or bi)? Well, yes. I even know a "horndog" bisexual male, whose friends joke that he'll "[boink] anything that stands still long enough"; I also know a bi female who is quite randy... but the same is true of heterosexuals nowadays. In fact, just based on the people of all orientations that I happen to know, I would bet dollars to donuts that the proportional ratio of "sex-crazed" gays and straights is pretty much equal.

Meanwhile, part of the reason I'M not in a state of considering myself "heterosexual" is precisely because my First Love (in addition to most of the attractions since) was female... and NOT for sexual reasons, as amazing as that may sound to those too stupid to realize that "gay" isn't synonymous with "horny pervert".

No, I fell in love precisely because I felt a deep, inscrutably, transcendentally powerful connection. I didn't want to "f*** her"; I wanted to kiss, and hold, and laugh and cry with, and yes, possibly even die for her. I'd have taken a bullet for that girl, and this is coming from someone who has never had a firm belief in any kind of afterlife, so mind you that's nothing to sneeze at particularly since it was unrequited.

It was only well after my time in contact with her, which quite notably happened well before I was a legal adult, that I started noticing the physical beauty of women as well and realizing I generally preferred it to the male form. And just because I can see myself kissing, caressing, even having sexual relations with a woman... does not mean I would do it with just ANY woman. The heart has to come first, and always will. In fact, as my current kind-of-partner can tell you, I move almost infuriatingly slowly when it comes to sex!

So count me in the camp of "sick and tired of being assumed to be some kind of sexual pervert who wants to corrupt the chillins just because I'm attracted to people of the same sex/gender". A lot of the reactionary idiots whose first instinct is to scream "SAVE THE CHILDREN!" have both no concept of what a child actually is, and no concept of just how emotionally similar gays and bisexuals actually are to heteros. People are people no matter what their "orientation" is.

Which ironically is a message I think Jesus would have approved of, since homosexuals and bisexuals are one of the few groups He didn't publicly preach against, despite the fact mind you that the people he was preaching to lived under the oppressive rule of pagan Rome, one of the horniest cultures that ever lived and certainly not one that failed to see homosexuality and bisexuality as perfectly acceptable. So, you know, it's not like He could have really just "forgotten" to cover it and if He had really felt it was so sinful, He would have said so; particularly since His native Jewish culture wasn't particularly accepting of homosexual behavior and it's not like He would have been opposed to riling a few conservatives even if it had been, since He was never afraid to 'speak truth to power' as it were (turning the money-changing tables over in the temple, anyone?).

Seriously, read your New Testament. There is nothing in the four major Gospels that cover Jesus' life and teachings that actually even mentions homosexuality! The only stuff in the NT that does is from folks like Paul, who came after Jesus and actually in some places sort of contradicts Him a little. Jesus did not hate the gays, something that seems to have curiously flown right over the heads of many modern "fundamentalist" so-called Christians.

He did however, preach a considerable amount against hypocrites who are oh-so-public about how "righteous" they are in supposed contrast to everyone else, but don't back it up with actual faith in God, humility, or love and kindness for others, and are in fact selfish jerks. (See in particular: Matthew 7)., yeah. Suffice it to say I am not enamored of the people who make these "Save the children!" arguments. At all.

Regan DuCasse | November 10, 2009 7:41 PM

Sweet. This is just a fact of life. Young folks this age are at their most vulnerable, insecure and lonesomeness in trying to sort out their feelings.

What gets to me is misinformed parents or other adults thinking repression is the best course instead of being educated and preparing their children for these very real, intense and tempestuous emotions.
Adolescence is the time when adults commit to more conflicted messaging and dismissal, when there needs to be MUCH more rational expectations and engagement. Gender bias being the least rational aspect that seriously puts teens at risk.

Jean Shepard was right when he said that it isn't that teenagers keep secrets, they ARE a secret.
One of my favorite movies, adapted from his own play, by John Harvey is "Beautiful Thing". Not only does this depict high school boys falling in love, but both boys live with their single parents in 'council flats', low income housing.
Making for a realistic, unglamorous portrayal of how life is for working class, regular boys.

I'd say that this Danish film would get the anti gay tongues wagging. After all, boys are behaving in such a way I'm sure they'd compare it to kiddie porn. We know how they exaggerate though, don't we?

At which point we'll start playing "My Girl".

The bigots think there's no such thing as actual innocence when it comes to us, though.

In a thread about something gay-related on a conservative message board a few years ago, I wrote that my first crush on another boy was when I was eight years old. I didn't know what gay was. I had no clue how sex worked. I just liked being with him and looking at his pretty eyes and olive skin. (I wrote about it on my blog last year, if anyone's interested).

First, I got a private message from a moderator telling me what I wrote was disgusting and he had to edit it. He removed the bit about me liking the other boy's pretty eyes.

Then, I got an explosion of nasty responses. I asserted again that it was completely innocent puppy love and one person wrote, "It may have been a lot of things, but innocent was not one of them."

Excuse Me???

As a former educator, Amen. I couldn't say anything because I was in such a rural, conservative district, but I knew that class discussions and biases were really hurting those kids that I quickly and easily recognized were struggling with their sexual orientation. There's no exposure to anyone like them. I made sure to assign some web-research projects around authors like Langston Hughes and others for them so that they could at least find out that there are well-loved gay people in American history. However, its sad how much this information is repressed.