Anti-Gay Bias Shouldn’t Derail Sex Education

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See if this educational goal for first-graders offends you:

“Understand human beings can love people of the same gender & people of another gender.”

That’s from the new health curriculum put forward by the Helena, Montana, school board. This and other sex education goals in the school district’s 62-page plan have stirred up the fury of certain parents and churches.

Opponents vehemently object to any parts of the plan that show gays and lesbians as human beings—and not just the goal noted above. Second-graders would learn that it is wrong to taunt someone with terms like “gay,” “fag,” and “homo.” Fifth-graders would learn that a person’s physical attraction to others—regardless of gender—is “one part of ones’ personality.”

Not all the opponents’ objections are LGBT-related. Many parents are queasy about the biological issues in the plan. For instance, the new curriculum calls for teachers to explain anatomical terms such as penis and vagina to kindergartners. And fifth-graders would be taught that sexual intercourse includes “vaginal, oral, or anal penetration.” 

Intelligent people can disagree about the timing of such sensitive information. That debate is understandable. What’s not understandable is that right-wing media have zeroed in on many of the common sense LGBT-related goals in the curriculum and used them for gay-bashing.

The most effective response to this is for people in Montana to show their support for the plan by contacting school board members and the district’s curriculum director at curriculum@helena.k12.mt.us. All educators who have a background in LGBT-related curriculum should also chime in. People can submit op-ed pieces and letters to the local newspaper, the Helena Independent Record, at irstaff@helenair.com.

The outcry from critics has been so great that the school board recently voted to revise the health curriculum. What will that revision look like? Good question. It will be presented to the board on September 14. There will be another public meeting on the subject followed by a final school board vote in October. So there’s still plenty of time to shape the revised plan and influence the school board's vote.

and
influence the school board's vote."the school board's vote."

 

Comments

Love does not choose, but

Submitted by Albert Jungers on 27 July 2010 - 1:16pm.

Love does not choose, but love is a choice, the alternative to me is unthinkable. Children live in same sex households even as infants in healthy relationships. Should they be told as soon as they go to school that their family is wrong?

Yes, Why are you so

Submitted by Gary on 1 October 2012 - 9:03pm.

Yes, Why are you so intolerant of my point of view? Is it because from your point of view, my point of view is wrong?
Are you not now guilty of being judgmental and intolerant?

GOOD! Oh, this makes me so

Submitted by Christine on 23 July 2010 - 2:26pm.

GOOD! Oh, this makes me so happy.. it's about time. Granted, I don't live in Montana, but, in theory, it's a step forward. I worked 1:1 with a SpEd male student for a couple of months, and he and his best friend would hug and once I saw them hold hands during recess. Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to get to them in time. Cue the explosions from the other 4th and 5th graders on the playground. The number of times I heard my kid taunted as "gay" because he was being nice to his friend... (this was a mean kid with few friends - a violent bully) then I had to have a very awkward conversation with the two boys that basically said, it's ok if you like each other, but not at school. I felt really uncomfortable doing it because I didn't want it to come across like I felt like it was bad if they liked each other, but I wanted to protect them.