Friday, June 23, 2006

Our Task

Growing up gay is a difficult experience. In the past, gay youth never heard anything positive about who they were. Imagine the difference it would make to a young gay person to hear their teacher read a story with characters they can identify with. Imagine coming out being no big deal. This is what we must be working towards.
The Massachusetts LGBT Early Childhood Education Initiative held a public event in Cambridge city hall last week. The goal of this organization is to create early childhood settings that are welcoming and supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. This group is concerned with families that consist of same-sex parents. They are worried that children who have same-sex parents may feel like something is wrong with their family. To combat this, some schools have already started including images and discussions of gay families in the curriculum and explaining to children what the words gay and lesbian mean.

The elementary school in
Lexington has been under attack from the radical right for giving students a diversity bag that includes the book "Who's in a Family?". This book shows various kinds of families, including one with two moms. The same school recently came under fire because a teacher read to her students the fairy-tale "King and King". This book is about a prince who falls in love with another prince.
This inclusion of LGBT families in the curriculum is for the benefit of students that have same-sex parents. However the new LGBT curriculum is much more significant than that. The impact that this will have on LGBT youth is immeasurable. Questioning youth will be more likely to accept who they are earlier, being saved
from years of anguish about their sexuality. LGBT youth will be treated with more respect from their peers. Gay teen suicide rates will undoubtedly decline.
The radical right knows this and will do everything they can to stop schools from teaching the truth. They have already begun suing schools to stop them from teaching diversity to children. We need to take action! We need to elect candidates that favor LGBT curriculum to school committees across the state.
The inclusion of LGBT curriculum in schools is a goal our community must work towards. We need teachers to be talking about our families, using the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, and teaching LGBT history. This is how we will make it easier for the next generation of gay youth to be honest with their friends and families. This is how we will make coming out a painless experience for the LGBT youth of the future. This is our task.


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