Queering education

What will happen in the classroom if same-sex marriage is legalised? Massachusetts offers a vision of the future.
Robert R. Reilly | 10 June 2013
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The logic works like this: If homosexual acts are moral, as so many now insist, then they should be normative. If they are normative, they should be taught in our schools as a standard. If they are a standard, they should be enforced. And so it has come, and is coming, to be. Education is an essential part of the drive to universalize the rationalization for homosexual behavior; so it must become a mandatory part of the curriculum. What began as a plea for diversity ends with a demand for conformity.

The infiltration of higher education by LGBT studies is well known. However, less attention seems to have been paid to the effort to spread LGBT propaganda in elementary schools and high schools. Because of the young ages of students K through 12, the introduction of pro-homosexual materials has required a special sensitivity from those who are trying to get away with it. They must avoid the explicit nature of the LGBT courses offered at the college level and disguise the effort in terms of something other than what it really is. Therefore, they use a stealth approach under the cover of issues such as school safety, diversity, and bullying.

One of the primary organizations involved in spreading the rationalization for homosexual behavior in elementary and high schools is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), begun in 1990 in Massachusetts. According to its mission statement, GLSEN “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, we work to educate teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike”.

The statement sounds fairly anodyne, though its clear purpose is to make homosexuality acceptable, and for good reason. GLSEN’s founder, homosexual activist Kevin Jennings, spoke at a homosexual conference on March 5, 1995, titled "Winning the Culture War", in which he laid out the rhetorical strategy for success. It is worth quoting at length for what it reveals about the agenda. Jennings said:

"If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language – 'promoting homosexuality' is one example – is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are 'after their kids.' We must learn from the abortion struggle, where the clever claiming of the term 'pro-life' allowed those who opposed abortion on demand to frame the issue to their advantage, to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be painted into a corner before the debate even begins. In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.

"We immediately seized upon the opponent's calling card – safety – and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students' safety by creating a climate where violence, name-calling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report 'Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,' we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling from day one. ".  

So successful was Mr Jennings in his framing operation that he was appointed in the first Obama administration to the position of Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, in the Department of Education. The irony was not lost on 52 members of Congress, who wrote to President Obama requesting that he rescind the appointment because Mr. Jennings had, as the letter stated, “for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda”. Mr. Obama did not do so, and Mr. Jennings served in the position for two years.

GLSEN’s mission of promoting a safe and supportive environment for students of all sexual orientations means providing the approval of those orientations. In the Safe Space Kit: Guide to Being an Ally to LGBT Students, GSLEN provides an examination of conscience for those wanting to be allies to LGBT students. Here are some of the searching questions: “If someone were to come out to you as LGBT, what would your first thought be? Have you ever been to in LGBT social event, march or worship service? Why or why not? Have you ever laughed at or made a joke at the expense of LGBT people?” 

With an Orwellian touch, the Safe Space Kit advises that, during casual conversations and classroom time, one should “make sure the language you are using is inclusive of all people. When referring to people in general, try using words like ‘partner’ instead of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or ‘husband/wife’, and avoid gendered pronouns, using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’. What’s wrong with referring to a man as “he” and to a woman as “she”? Well, the glossary helps us to understand the definition of gender as “a social construct based on a group of emotional, behavioral and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex”.

The whole point of GSLEN is that, if you don’t like the “gender construct” society has assigned you, you can construct another for yourself, and have every right to expect that everyone should go along with you.

As far as students “coming out” are concerned, one should realize that “it can be a difficult and emotional process for an LGBT student to go through, which is why it is so important for a student to have support”. In other words, encourage them by providing approval and support. Whatever you do, however, don’t advise the student not to tell anyone. Why not? Because, the booklet answers, “This implies that there is something wrong and that being LGBT must be kept hidden”.

Gay-Straight Alliances

To help carry out this work there are “Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), student clubs that work to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. 4,000 GSAs are registered with GLSEN.” The number of GSAs should give some idea of the scope of this organization’s influence. Among the activities sponsored by GLSEN and its affiliates are: the Day of Silence, National Coming Out Day, and GSA Day. On January 24, 2012, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, gave official government approval of the first GSA Day through a GSA PSA on YouTube commemorating the event and endorsing GSA clubs in schools.  So this is an officially endorsed event.

GLSEN is also hard at work providing role models for LGBT students. NBA player Jason Collins, who plays center for the Washington Wizards basketball team, announced he was a homosexual in an article for the Sports Illustrated website on April 29, 2013. Hardly a week passed before, on May 8, 2013, GLSEN, announced it would honor Collins with the Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards in New York on Monday, May 20. "We are incredibly proud to honor Jason Collins with our Courage Award," said Dr Byard. "His decision to come out is a game-changer for sports”.

In the classroom

What does this kind of thing actually translate into in the classroom? The film, It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues In School, is the first item recommended on the Book Link page on GLSEN’s website. It’s Elementary is, according to its makers, “the groundbreaking film that addresses anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with children about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people”. The filmmakers visited six elementary and middle schools to film teachers and students discussing “gay and lesbian issues” in their classrooms. The purpose was to explore "what happens when experienced teachers talk about lesbians and gay men with their students". It aired on more than 100 public television stations in 1999 and continues to be widely used.

This film is worth some detailed attention not only because of its wide circulation, but because it seems to incorporate what GLSEN advocates. In fact, GLSEN’s founder Kevin Jennings said, “It’s Elementary is the most important film dealing with LGBT issues and safe schools ever made. It took a topic that was mystifying to many people and made it real, inspiring an entire generation of educators to see how they could make a difference…. No other film has had a bigger impact on LGBT issues in the schools.” 

Through means of a transcript, let us examine what the film presents. It should be noted that the film is a documentary. Though it obviously has its own strong pro-homosexual point of view, it is simply recording what is already taking place in the schools from first to eighth grade classrooms in the way of inculcating the acceptance of homosexuality as a norm.

At a filmed meeting of the faculty at Cambridge Friends School, a Quaker school in Cambridge, MA, a teacher declares, "What we're trying to have people do is to understand that people are. And we have to respect the right of all of us to just be, and be who we are, and we do that in the classroom when we teach so that everyone can learn. ‘There isn't a right way, there isn't a wrong way, there isn't a good way, there isn't a bad way’”. So much for Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This teaching, however, comports perfectly with the Space Safe Kit’s advice to “Show students that you understand there is no one way a person ‘should’ be”.

This sophistical message obviously works. A 3rd grader summed it up by saying, “I don't get it. Who cares if you're gay? Do you care? It's like, duh, you're gay”.  Who cares? The entire homosexual lobby, which has been pushing its rationalization to reach this exact point, cares.

In another filmed venue, a first grader at Public School 87 in New York City, Emily, reads to the class from her Mother’s Day essay:

"My mothers mean so, so, so, so, so much to me. I have two mothers. Two moms is pretty nice. Well, it's more than pretty nice, it's really nice. You can't imagine. Although having two mothers is a problem to others, I respect that that's the way they think, and I can't do anything about it. I still think that those people think stupidly. This once happened with a boy in my class who couldn't come to my house because my parents were lesbians. One night I called their house and their mother told me their version of the Bible. I stood up for my mothers and knew that many kids in my class were supporting me and calling me to see how I was. I am proud of my moms and enjoy marching in the gay pride march every single year with my moms."

Teacher: "Wasn't that a nice essay? Shouldn't we give Emily a round of applause?" (Applause ) 

Evidently, no one has told poor Emily that one of her parents is a dad.

As the responses of the children throughout this film demonstrate, propaganda works. All you have to do is repeat it often enough before their minds are formed. Children can be easily exploited, as the film demonstrates.

Whose children are they?

The background song with the closing credits has these lyrics (taken from Khalil Gibran): “Your children are not your children; They come through you, but they are not from you; And though they are with you, they belong not to you; You can house their bodies but not their souls…”

Well, then, if not their parents’, whose children are they? One may be sure that wherever same-sex “marriage” has been legally enshrined, it will be taught in schools with or without the permission of parents. In this respect, the children will belong to the state and its schools. Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2003, is exhibit A.

In 2005, kindergartners in Lexington, Massachusetts, were given a "Diversity Book Bag" to take home, which is what the 5-year-old son of David and Tonia Parker did. To the parents’ shock, it contained a picture book, titled Who’s in a Family? In it, are approvingly displayed same-sex “parents” such as: "Robin's family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad's partner, Henry, and Robin's cat, Sassy”. The author Who’s in a Family?, Robert Skutch, explained in a National Public Radio interview, "Here and Now", May 3, 2005, “The whole purpose of the book was to get the subject [of same-sex parent households] out into the minds and the awareness of children before they are old enough to have been convinced that there's another way of looking at life”.

The Parkers wrote a letter to the principal stating, “There is a book included entitled, Who's in a Family (with pictures) that include lesbian and homosexual couples with children – implicitly equating this family structure as a morally equal alternative to other family constructs. We stand firmly against this book or any other subject matter pertaining to homosexuality ever being indoctrinated to our child, discussed in school, or sent home. We don't believe gay parents constitute a spiritually healthy family and should not be celebrated”. The Parkers requested advance notification of any such material in the future and indicated that they wished to opt out their son from any future exposure “to any sexual orientation/homosexual material/same sex unions between parents”.

The principal responded: “I have confirmed with our Assistant Superintendent and our Director of Health Education that discussion of differing families, including gay-headed families, is not included in the parental notification policy”. On April 27, David Parker, went to the school for a scheduled meeting and insisted that he would not leave until the issue was resolved. As a consequence he was arrested by the Lexington police and charged with "trespassing". He spent the night in jail.

The next year, at the same school, a second grade teacher read the book, King & King, to the students as part of an educational unit on weddings. In the book, the Queen is frustrated that she cannot interest her son in any of the princesses she presents to him as prospective brides. Then, one day he sees the brother of one of the princesses. “At last, the prince felt a stir in his heart... It was love at first sight”, the book exclaims. The pictorial depiction of the subsequent wedding shows the two “Kings” holding hands. The last picture is of the two of them kissing.

Parents Robb and Robin Wirthlin complained that they had not been notified about the reading or its contents, to which they objected. Robin Wirthlin appeared on CNN, saying, “We felt like seven years old is not appropriate to introduce homosexual themes… My problem is that this issue of romantic attraction between two men is being presented to my seven-year-old as wonderful, and good and the way things should be… Let us know and let us excuse our child from the discussion”.  They were told that the school was under no obligation to notify them or to allow their child to opt out.

In 2006, the Wirthlins and the Parkers filed a federal lawsuit against the school district of Estabrook Elementary School, claiming that the school was engaging in sex education without parental notification, in violation of their civil rights and state law. Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, of the U.S. District Court dismissed the lawsuit, saying “Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation… [The Department of Education] also encourages instruction concerning different types of families… Some families are headed by same-sex couples”.

The ramifications of his judgment became abundantly clear in 2008, when Dr. Paul B. Ash, the superintendent of Lexington Public Schools, announced the “new, formalized diversity curriculum in preparation for the next year, when we plan to pilot 4 to 5 short units in each elementary grade. Some units will focus on families, including families with single parents, foster parents, and gay and lesbian parents”.  A parent, Shawn Landon, protested, demanding “prior notification to any discussion, education, training, reading or anything at all related (even remotely) to homosexuality”.

Here is part of Dr Ash’s response to the father:

“… perhaps you are not aware of the lawsuit decided by the United States Court of Appeals (Parker vs. Hurley). This case established Lexington's right to teach diversity units, including stories that show same gender parents. The court decided we are not required to inform parents in advance of teaching units that include same gender parents or required to release students when such topics are discussed. The Appeals Court dismissed the claim that parents have a right to require the school provide advance notice or the right to remove their children. In addition, the School Committee has decided that teachers must be able to teach topics they feel are appropriate without the requirement parents be notified in advance”.

Recall Jean Jacques Rousseau’s prescription for the replacement of the family by the state: “The public authority, in assuming the place of father and charging itself with this important function (should) acquire his (the father’s) rights in the discharge of his duties”. This prescription was filled in Massachusetts. One can expect its spread wherever same-sex “marriage” is mandated by the state.

Gender-bending

Back to the classroom, we have another GLSEN publication, Elementary School Toolkit, subtitled Ready, Set, Respect!, to assist the state in its usurpation of parental duties. This booklet advises on how to deal with certain children being perceived as “not behaving ‘enough’ like a boy or ‘enough’ like a girl”. It states: “As educators we have the opportunity to create environments that not only support students as they develop an awareness of gender but that also challenge the stereotypes that may impair healthy development”.

As if on cue, in May 2013, the Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities, a Milwaukee elementary school, sponsored a “Gender Bender Day” for which the students were asked to dress as a member of the opposite sex. “I think it’s just teaching them the wrong lesson about gender”, one parent told local Fox affiliate WITI. “If you’re a boy, stay a boy. You shouldn’t have something like that at school”. Another parent said she was ‘speechless’ about the school’s decision day. She, like some other parents, ended up keeping her son home from school that day. A school-board member dismissed parents’ concerns, saying they were ‘using the kids for political purposes.’ In an effort to appease upset parents, the school changed the name to ‘Switch It Up Day.’ In fact, WITI couldn’t find many students participating in the themed day when it finally came last Friday; it appears to be mostly teachers and other staffers”.  On Fox-6 News TV, one mother protested: “I don’t want to send my son to school dressed as girl. He’s only 7 years old.”

However, this is clearly the age at which some homosexual ideologues and their allies would like to reach children with their propaganda. The extent to which this can go becomes, on occasion, unintentionally hilarious. In the Ready, Set, Respect! booklet, for instance, teachers are advised to “write math problems with contexts that include a variety of family structures and gender-expressions”. For example, “Rosa and her dads were at the store and wanted to buy three boxes of pasta. If each costs $.75, how much will all three boxes cost?” This reads as if some now unemployed Soviet or Sandinista propagandist wrote it. If it were written during the Cold War, they would be buying Kalashnikovs, not pasta but, of course, then there would have been only one dad, not two.

What happened to innocence?

It is a measure of the depravity of the homosexual movement that it will not spare the innocence of children in the spread of its rationalization, which must embrace everyone at every age, regardless of price. Innocence cannot be left to stand in its way. As shocking as some of the classroom and reading material may be, it is all part of the inexorable logic of the situation playing itself out.

Classroom presentations by homosexuals or on the subject of homosexuality are invitations to obscenity and inevitably lead to the question asked by one boy during It’s Elementary: “How do you guys do it?” The response was, “We are not allowed to talk about our personal sex lives – we can't do that”. Nevertheless, with the question implanted, curious young minds will ineluctably be drawn to the subject of sodomy. “So that’s what those nice guys who talked with us do? There must not be anything wrong with it”. Mission accomplished – to make the abnormative normative before the children have developed their critical faculties of thought.

Everyone who has an affliction deserves respect and consideration. But respect does not require calling the affliction something other than what it is – much less its opposite. One cannot teach about sickness and at the same time call it health. It is much worse to promote moral sickness as moral well-being – especially to children.

To teach children that one’s orientation, sexual or otherwise, gives one license to perform acts that are inherently immoral is an evil teaching. It scandalizes the children. It also degrades the dignity of human free will and responsibility to teach that these acts are inevitable outcomes of “who we are”, rather than as freely chosen deeds with consequences in terms of both moral and physical health.

Robert R. Reilly is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind. He is currently completing a book on the natural law argument against homosexual marriage for Ignatius Press.

This article is published by Robert R. Reilly and MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

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