On Being Gay - Will It Make My Brown Eyes Blue? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Open Mind

Can someone explain to me the concept of "gay indoctrination?" Unfortunately, with my "conversion" to homosexuality, I seem to have missed out on the recruitment program. As I imagine the process, I'm reminded of my college days and the infamous rush week...that period of time at the beginning of the school year that is typified by efforts to convince naïve newbie's to join fraternities and sororities. Along those lines, had I known that admission to the gay club came with free booze and chips, I might have signed up sooner.

All kidding aside, a new article at ReligionandSpirituality.com is titled California Senate Passes "Gay Indoctrination". The subject of the article is California SB 777, a bill actually titled The Student Civil Rights Act, which instructs attorneys at the California Department of Education to monitor and "protect all California students from harassment and bias in public schools based on their gender identity or sexual orientation".

Here's how the article from ReligionandSpirituality.com characterizes the bill:

The California State Senate on Thursday passed legislation mandating that schoolchildren as young as kindergarten learn about and support transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. SB 777 requires textbooks, instructional materials, and school-sponsored activities to positively portray cross-dressing, sex-change operations, homosexual "marriages," and all aspects of homosexuality and bisexuality, including so-called "gay history."

"Parents are angry at the Democrats for passing this school sexual indoctrination bill and frustrated that Republicans did little to fight it," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), a leading California-based pro-family organization. "We call on Arnold Schwarzenegger to pledge that he will respect parents, protect children, and veto this bad bill, just like he did last year."

"The notion of forcing children to support controversial sexual lifestyles is shocking and appalling to millions of fathers and mothers," Thomasson said. "SB 777 will shatter the academic purpose of education by turning every government school into a sexual indoctrination center."

Unfortunately, the article presents the details in a way that can only be described as a tail wags the dog format. In reality, the bill is intended to protect students from school sponsored bias and prejudice. Yes, the intent of this legislation suggests that the tools employed to educate be mindful of such bias and prejudice as well as refrain from using such teaching tools and methods in the classroom. Is that a tacit endorsement of homosexuality? I guess one could construe it as such...but in reality it is no different than prior civil rights legislation that forbade the inclusion of racial bias.

As we know, the prior passage of civil rights legislation didn't alter the hearts and minds of those filled with bias and prejudice...but it did seek to prevent them from unleashing that bias and prejudice upon individuals guilty of nothing more than possessing skin of a different color. Honestly, whether or not one thinks homosexuality is a sin or an abomination shouldn't translate into state sponsored validation of those beliefs. As I see it, the legislation is simply instructing the Department of Education to uphold that concept. If the beliefs of parents lead them to instruct their children that a gay lifestyle is sinful and forbidden (heaven help the child that thinks he or she is gay), so be it...but the school system, in my opinion, has no business institutionalizing those beliefs.

Here's how the other side describes the legislation:

The Student Civil Rights Act ensures that all students in publicly-funded schools, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), clearly understand the protections they are provided under state law. SB 777 creates uniform nondiscrimination standards within the state's education code and clarifies the responsibility of school officials to ensure a safe learning environment.

"Schools need clear direction - not mixed messages -from the state to adopt adequate policies to protect all youth," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "Inconsistencies in state law create significant gaps that leave students vulnerable to harassment and bias and unaware of their rights. SB 777 helps fill those gaps so that all youth are protected."

"Right wing extremists have recently attacked this bill, grossly distorting the facts about what the legislation does," said Kors. "The Student Civil Rights Act protects all youth, not only those who identify as LGBT, from discrimination so they all have the opportunity to succeed in school and thrive in life."

Don't get me wrong, I'm clearly "biased" towards the latter depiction over the prior...but all too often it seems that what we lose in these polarized debates are the actual people who are affected when this type of legislation is either enacted or rejected. These are children who have mothers and fathers (who hopefully love them enough to not reject them) that don't want to see their children abused by other students or institutional bias.

Does one's faith require one to inflict harm upon those who fail to comply with one's established doctrine? Should parents condone their children or their schools abusing other students simply because of their sexuality? I understand that there are those who don't see such actions as abuse because of their religious beliefs...but if I understand Christian values, Jesus never condoned such judgment and scorn. I have no problem with those who believe that homosexuality is a sin and that think god will punish those who practice it. I simply believe they have no right to play god. In fact, I believe their existing teachings would concur.

Lastly, and most importantly, I can attest to the fact that everything in my background was structured to endorse heterosexuality...but everything within my identity was designed otherwise. I spent hours and hours praying that I would be heterosexual...I made bargains with god to make it so...but it wasn't who I was. In the end, despite all the aspersions that I heard and all the bias that I witnessed and endured, I couldn't deny my sexuality unless I was willing to end my existence. Thank god or whomever one chooses to thank that I chose life.

I only wish everyone would take the time to see inside the hearts of these young and vulnerable people before they succumb to their own fears and victimize those who are guilty or nothing more than accepting the reality of their identity. I realize that many parents might not want to confront the possibility that a child will be gay, but I can tell you from experience that if your child is so designed, you can either facilitate years of agony and doubt, or you can find it in your heart to love the child that you created. If there is a god, I can't imagine that he or she would ever fault a parent for loving one of his or her blessings.

My homosexuality is no more a product of indoctrination than my brown eyes and brown hair. Every homosexual is the product of the heterosexual reproductive process...and by and large we all grew up in heterosexual families. Prohibiting the fair treatment of gay children because we fear a child will be "indoctrinated" is every bit as absurd as banning heterosexuality because it creates homosexual children. Isn't it time we move beyond our fears and begin to face the many realities that are encompassed within the whole of our human identity?

Daniel DiRito | May 25, 2007 | 12:48 PM
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