After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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Say yes to sex ed

By |2011-05-19T09:00:00-04:00May 19th, 2011|Uncategorized|

Saugatuck schools were scheduled to hold a vote Monday night to include “alternative lifestyles” – a.k.a. homosexuality – in its eighth-grade sex-education lesson. If approved, kids would basically learn that gays exist, by watching a video about coming out.
This possibility offered up no shortage of controversy, even in gay-friendly Saugatuck. So the district decided to postpone the vote until late June, in order to provide more time for public commentary. Or perhaps time for everyone to calm down.
First off, we must say: thank god some districts in this state still actually teach sex ed. Many schools across the country went with abstinence-only education during the Bush years (because we all know telling horny teenagers to hold it till they’re married is the way to go).
But the controversy here isn’t really about what to say vs. what not to say to a bunch of 13-year-olds. The true controversy is about adults and parents – particularly the parents who suffer under the notion that if they educate their kids about homosexuality, then their kids will become homosexuals.
To those parents, we say: Why don’t you just turn off the TV and the Internet too? Because if kids don’t learn about it at school or from you, they’ll learn about it elsewhere. Information is everywhere. And even if you cut off all media connection to your kid, you might as well seal your kid off from his or her friends – because chances are, a friend knows something about the gays and will spoil your kid and turn him or her into a homo.
Sarcasm aside, come on, people. It’s amazing that our country is so pro-education, until it comes to the things that adults have trouble dealing with. The gays, civil rights – these are things adults skirt in conversations with each other, so of course they’re going to avoid discussing them in the classroom.
But you know what? Kids are pretty resilient. They mostly just want to figure out how the world works. Their lives won’t be altered by simply learning that, say, chances are they’ll know of a gay student in their class by the time they graduate.
But you know whose life experience will be altered? That gay student’s. Instead of being exiled and harassed, that gay student just might blend in with the crowd, which is all most students want to do anyway.
For all the talk about bullying that we do, about having to train teachers and students, about creating “safe spaces” in schools and gay/straight alliances, why not nip the bullying in the bud with a bit of education? Just as students learn that it’s not OK to harass a student who’s another color or race, they should learn that it’s not OK to harass an LGBT student, because sexuality is just another characteristic that we all need to respect.
This is a simple concept, one that kids will likely absorb and shrug off. So why is this so complicated for the adults who teach them?

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.