Family ‘diversity’ unpacked

Reading in a news story that unrepentant 1960s terrorist William Ayers was now a respected educator who had, among other things, written a blurb for the back cover of a book entitled Queering Elementary Education I was curious and ordered the book. I had no sooner finished it then I received an email from a mother concerned because her child’s first grade teacher had read the class a story on same-sex marriage among guinea pigs and then announced her upcoming marriage to another woman.

This sort of thing is justified by the supporters of pro-queer elementary education as a way to help children understand “diversity”. In principle there is nothing wrong with making sure that children, no matter what their racial, ethnic or religious background, feel their heritage is represented and respected.

Diversity is, however, a Trojan horse. Once the idea of accepting diversity is inside the walls, we discovered that, just as the wooden horse the Greeks left as a gift for the Trojans was filled with warriors who in the dead of night climbed out, opened the gates, let in the Greek army and destroyed the city, so hidden inside the diversity curriculum is something that undermines true respect. The promoters of diversity insist that, just as we acknowledge racial, ethnic, and religious differences, we must also respect diversity of sexual orientation and family arrangements.

The diversity troops want to force educators, students, and parents to pretend that there is no difference between a family consisting of a husband and wife and their children, and other arrangements such as a family shattered by death or divorce, the situation of a single parent, or same-sex couples who have acquired children by artificial reproduction or adoption.

There are, in reality, huge differences. Separation from one’s biological father and/or mother in childhood is always a tragedy. Everyone understands that the death of a parent is a blow to a child. Adults who lost a parent in childhood remember that event as changing them in profound ways. Likewise, the fracturing of a family by divorce negatively affects the children no matter how hard the parents may try to soften the blow -- one only has to read the books of Judith Wallerstein to see the long-term effects. Again, conception of a child outside of marriage leaves the child with tenuous or no ties to the father and children rightly feel the loss. Adoption by a married couple can provide marvelous benefits and much love, but the wound remains. Adopted children often feel a need to find their birth mother and father. And yet, as difficult as death, divorce, single parenthood or adoption are, in most cases children can consol themselves with the belief that at least one parent tried to avoid the tragedy – that someone was willing to put their needs first. 

The situation is quite otherwise with children acquired by same-sex couples; they have by definition been made permanently and purposefully fatherless or motherless. The adults who did this expect to be applauded for their courage. They want the world to pretend that this is just “diversity” when in fact they have deprived their own children -- children they love and who love them --with something essential: a parent of the opposite sex. These parents are deeply offended when the school treats images of father/mother families as the norm. They think that if the school promotes “diversity” of family forms their children won’t notice they don’t have a parent of each sex. They are fooling themselves. The children know, but they also know they can’t mention it. Unlike the child whose parent dies, divorces, or never marries, these children are deprived not only of a parent, but also of the right to grieve their deprivation. They must pretend. The promoters of “diversity” are demanding that we join in the pretence – that we also betray these children.

Despite all assertions and pretenses to the contrary, a family consisting of a husband and wife with their children is the norm, and study after study has shown that it is the best place to raise a child.

What then should we do about those children who have suffered the tragic separation from one or both biological parents? Pretending that they have not suffered is not the solution. I remember teaching a religion class and part of the lesson dealt with Jesus’ words on divorce. Sitting in the front row was a boy whose father had just left his mother for a voluptuous young woman. I was hesitant, but I said what has to be said. The boy raised his hand, “So God doesn’t like divorce.”

“That is right.”


I saw by the look on his face that he was relieved that, even thought all the adults around him had made excuses for his father’s action, at least God understood his anger. There are many other kinds of “diversity” which are tragedies: parental alcoholism or drug use, spousal or child abuse, morbid obesity, chronic physical or mental illness, compulsive gambling, spending, or hoarding. Any teacher knows that children come to school carrying burdens. We don’t ask them to pretend that an alcoholic father is just as good as a sober one. We don’t have stories about happy, abusive homes. We respect their privacy and try to make the school a haven where the child can escape from a family situation over which he has no control.

To pretend that all families are equal denies the truth of the child’s experience. The desire for one’s own father and mother burns deep in every human heart and all the “diversity” education in the world isn’t going to put out that flame. Diversity propaganda is only going to make already wounded children feel guilty for wanting what the manipulative educators are trying to convince them they should not want.

Dale O’Leary is the author of The Gender Agenda and One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage. She lives in the USA.


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