Queering the schools
The City Journal hits another one out of the park today with Marjorie King's "Queering the Schools." Few commentators are willing to be critical of programs run by advocacy groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network (GLSEN), because they're afraid of being labeled intolerant, bigoted, or abusive. It's difficult to criticize these groups without seeming to be critical of homosexuals in general - but GLSEN is way past due for some honest criticism, if this report is to be believed:
For comprehensiveness, nothing beats a GLSEN-recommended resource manual distributed to all K–12 public schools in Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The manual presents an educational universe that filters everything through an LGBT lens. Lesson ideas include “role playing” exercises to “counter harassment,” where students pretend, say, to be bisexual and hear hurtful words cast at them; testing students to see where their attitudes lie toward sexual “difference” (mere tolerance is unacceptable; much better is “admiration” and, best of all, “nurturance”); getting students to take a “Sexual Orientation Quiz”; and having heterosexual students learn 37 ways that heterosexuals are privileged in society...
Where do I begin? For starters, given that teachers complain so much about how much time is needed to prepare for high-stakes exams, it seems like we could cut some of the fat right here with these invasive and insulting lesson plans and surveys. More time on reading, less time on role playing. More time on multiplication table drills, less time on quizzing them about sexual differences. What could be simpler?
We also need to bring back the idea that "mere tolerance" is indeed acceptable on a personal level. Any person should be free to think what they want about any other person; it's how they act that is important, not what their "attitudes" are. The suggestion that the only positive way to be is "admiring" or "nurturing" towards homosexuals falls in the realm of thought control, and that's without even getting into the fact that many parents may not wish for their kids to admire homosexuals. GLSEN may want everyone to, but they don't have the right to insist that of everyone.
GLSEN would like educators and parents to believe that the only way to reduce bullying against gay students is to force kids to think positively about homosexuality. They miss the point entirely with this theory, and Ms. King doesn't let that slide:
Gay groups contend—dubiously—that such programs are necessary because homosexual students must endure bullying and hatred every day in schools across the country...the real problem is not anti-gay prejudice but the overall breakdown of school discipline. No child should have to put up with verbal or physical intimidation at school. Making schools safer, however, does not require importing a broader LGBT agenda that offends the values of many students and parents.
No, it requires teaching a child that he or she should respect everyone equally, regardless of what the child believes about other people's race, sex, sexuality, etc. Forcing a child to admire homosexuality is counter-productive, insulting, and may possibly lead to the very bullying that GLSEN wants to prevent, because the take-home message is, "You have to admire someone in order to treat them properly."
The correct lesson to teach children is, "Be respectful of others even if you don't like they way they look/act/talk/whatever." But of course, that would require real discipline in schools as opposed to trendy political propaganda like the ideas pushed by GLSEN. Groups like GLSEN promote the anti-rational attitude of many advocacy groups who would convince our children that how they feel is the only thing that matters, or that one cannot change one's behavior unless one has an "attitude adjustment" first.
Teaching real respect for all would also require GLSEN to promote tolerance of students who are proud of their heterosexuality, and as the case of Elliot Chambers shows, they have no intention of tolerating anyone who has the gall to be proud of themselves if they're not gay:
Belonging to a conservative family, Chambers decided one day to express his values and wore to school a sweatshirt with the words STRAIGHT PRIDE emblazoned across the front and an image of a man and woman holding hands on the back. The school principal found this expression of support for heterosexuality unacceptable. He forbade Chambers from wearing the sweatshirt in school, explaining that another student had found it offensive. Chambers’s parents, increasingly concerned about what they considered Woodbury’s aggressive endorsement of the LGBT agenda, met with the principal, who charged them with being “homophobic"...The parents then filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that the school had squelched their son’s First Amendment rights.
When a preliminary judgment came down in Chambers’s favor, the principal announced over the school public address system that the court had actually agreed with school officials that the sentiment of “straight pride” seemed intolerant toward homosexuality, and if circumstances changed so as to create “a reasonable belief that a substantial disruption of, or material interference with, school activities might ensue” from the wearing of the shirt, the school could prohibit it again. Foreseeing further disturbance, Mrs. Chambers decided to home-school her son.
Another point at which GLSEN stepped over the line is in their uncritical presentation of certain sexual activities:
A GLSEN-sponsored, taxpayer-funded “teach out” for activists, educators, and students to brainstorm ways of creating schools and communities that “are truly inclusive and safe,” held at Tufts University a while back, is a case in point. The daylong conference, with Massachusetts Department of Education and other state employees as workshop leaders and drawing many high school students and teachers (who received professional development credits for attending), featured a “youth only, ages 14–21” session that offered a lesson in “fisting”—the potentially dangerous act, called by some the first new sexual invention in 1,000 years, of inserting one’s fist into a partner’s anus or vagina.
Do you suppose they mentioned the greatly-increased risk of bleeding, scarring, and transmission of STDs that results from this practice? After all, any meaningful heterosexual sexual education course would include sections on pregnancy and male-to-female STD transmission rates - but I don't think GLSEN was going for "education" here.
Speaking of education, who do you think is supporting GLSEN?
No organization has been more steadfast in its support of GLSEN than the NEA. During the NEA’s annual convention in July 2001, many observers expected the teachers’ union to pass an official resolution incorporating GLSEN’s sweeping educational goals into K–12 curricula nationwide. As it turns out, the NEA, clearly trying to minimize public awareness of an unprecedented infringement on parental prerogatives, tabled the resolution and announced a task force to study how best to approach LGBT issues in the schools. But in February 2002, the NEA board of directors approved the task force’s report—a pure emanation of the GLSEN worldview, as is clear both from its numerous citations of GLSEN documents in the footnotes and from its recommendations.
Following the task force’s lead, the NEA will now struggle to expunge “heterosexism” from the consciousness of children in the classroom.
Well, if they're as successful at that task as they have been with teaching children to read and write as of late, I'd say we don't have that much to worry about. And in which state do you think this agenda has the strongest support?
The queering of the public schools has perhaps advanced furthest in California, where a new state law requires public schools to teach all K–12 students (and K means five-year-olds) “to appreciate various sexual orientations.” What the new law might mean in practice, warned a state assemblyman, was on display at Santa Rosa High School, where invited homosexual activists “talked about using cellophane during group sex and said that ‘clear is best because you can see what you want to lick,’ ” or at Hale Middle School in Los Angeles, where during an AIDS education course, “12-year-olds were subjected to graphic descriptions of anal sex and tips on how to dispose of used condoms so parents don’t find out.”
Oh, yeah, teaching 12-year-olds to ignore their parents' advice on sex and rely on condoms is a surefire way of slowing down the AIDS epidemic. Uh huh.
The queer theorists themselves claim to "oppose society," and public school indoctrination is where the subversiveness begins.