I was looking for something totally unrelated, but stumbled on an article featuring a man’s fear that California was going to breed a culture of lesbians and gays by making a conscious effort to teach students in K-12 about LGBT’S. (I wish there were links available to share the article). I thought, “Wow! People are what they are, whether we want to talk about it or not!” Then I thought, “And these people are tormented for their difference to the societal norm. This is right up the alley of my anti-bullying campaign.”
As in heterosexuality, I do not think young children in the primary grades need to be taught about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. Perhaps, as I have been preaching, building a culture of positivity and acceptance would breed tolerance for difference at a young age. The mechanics of how people relate in their private time is just that – private.
Perhaps in fifth grade, when students take human sexuality and reproduction classes, would be the time to mention that this class of citizens exists, define their distinctions and move on. The students would no doubt have heard about it by fifth grade, but guidance counselors or teachers can clarify any misconceptions in a matter-of-fact presentation. I feel administration of middle and high schools should create STRONG, deliberate, visible measures against bullying for any reason – be it sexual orientation, religion, disability or any other reason. Verbal and written policy would be accompanied with say, cameras at campus intersections and stairways. The buddy system of travel across campus could be reinstated. (It’s not just for elementary students. Safety in numbers is true for all ages). Being firm and consistent with treatment of violations of the policy will give students the message that they are in a no bully zone. Exploring LGBT life through a novel in a high school language arts class and LGBT rights through a lesson in a social studies class would expand the knowledge of issues faced by the LGBT population at an age more equipped to handle the information.
Doing all this is not going to breed a culture of lesbians and gays. It will enhance the understanding of what it is to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. It may even help someone define his or herself before disappointing others when they cannot meet gender expectations in adulthood. Understanding one’s self and others – hmmm! Tell me, what’s so bad about that?