School is Gay

January 6, 2012

Here we go, two of the most unique “resolutions” for 2012.

Because they happened while we were all still in our Christmas stupor, you may have missed these two ironically intertwined stories, people who have strangely opposite New Year’s resolutions.

On the one side, you have California, always a place for progressive “improvement.”  Along with a new state law requiring a prescription for NyQuil, public school students can now look forward to learning state mandated “gay history.”

Meanwhile, over in Tennessee, a private Christian school just might be catching more flack than the Kentucky church that banned (and quickly un-banned) interracial couples last month…by banning any mention of homosexuality.

The funny thing is both California and the Christians have it wrong.  So, so wrong.

An ‘F’ in History

Okay, so California wants students to know about the contributions made by gays.  Fair enough.  In fact, it’s so fair, it makes a mandatory “gay history” completely stupid.

Why?  If a gay person was really important, he should already be in the history books.  Being gay should have no bearing on how someone’s accomplishments are judged.  Isn’t it more discriminatory to tell students, “By the way, J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed wearing women’s panties.”?

Second, educators now have to search for gay people to fill their lectures, people who may not have been important enough to make the “real” history books.   We don’t have Martin Luther King day because the man was black, we honor the man because he was a great, important man.

Probably a woman

The result is history is turned into a farce with gays being paraded around, not because of their accomplishments, but because of their sexuality.  “Kids, normally we’d be covering the presidency of Abraham Lincoln this week, but because he married Mary Todd Lincoln, who almost certainly was a woman, we’ll be skipping the greatest President to talk about a bunch of less important people who happened to prefer gay intercourse.”  Kids already think history is gay.  This doesn’t help.

Incidentally, some historians have been trying for years to prove Lincoln was gay.  So maybe everyone in the regular history books can just be re-categorized as “probably a closet homosexual.”

Idiots.  California gets an ‘F’ for achieving the exact opposite of what they wanted.

Hateful, Bigoted Christians

Okay, on to opposite land, Rossville Christian Academy.  It’s pretty hard to find a…”straight” story on this school.  A Google search will turn up thousands of angry, presumably gay, bloggers who all have a different version of how hateful Christians are.

Apparently, the school now requires students and faculty to sign a morality clause, which bans homosexual behavior, and possibly even the mention of homosexuality.

First of all, lots of private institutions require members and employees to sign morality clauses.  It’s a private school, they can do what they want.  Get used to it, gays.  You can start your own school and ban Christians if you want to.

But this is where the school gets it wrong (or maybe unintentionally right).  In high school, the gay students never needed to identify themselves.  Everyone already knew they were gay and the bullies constantly identified them.  It’s not the gay students throwing words around like “queer” and “fag.”  It’s all the straight students who throw slurs at the one or two assumed gays, (and each other.)  What teenage boy hasn’t called his straight friend ‘gay?’

If you ask me, any progressive school that wants to stamp out anti-gay bullying needs to enforce a similar ban on mentioning homosexuality.  Call your buddy “faggot” in the hallways, and you go to the principal’s office, mister.

The Best of Intentions Are Usually Still Stupid

It’s always interesting to me how easily the best intentions can backfire.  I guess the only saving grace for public schools or Christian academies is that no one is really thinking about the irony of what they’re doing.  Everyone just goes along with it.

As for me, sure, I think we should stop discriminating against gays…And that means we stop singling them out, both in the classroom for their supposed accomplishments, and in the hallway for their supposed inferiority.

Time to chime in.  Is California actually discriminating against gays by putting them in their own category outside of mainstream history?  Should schools ban any mention of homosexuality to curb gay bullying?

41 responses to School is Gay

  1. Hi Matt,

    During the Gay ’90s here in Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown, our Board Of Trade (Chamber of Commerce)in order to attract more yankee tourists adopted a city slogan: Jacksonville, The Gayest Of Gay Cities!

    Of course the word meant something different back then.

    And that’s our real history lesson for today.

    John

    PS: in the 1890s also the local saying about tourists was:

    One yankee tourist is worth two bails of cotton, and they’re a whole lot easier to pick.

    jwc

  2. I don’t know how a school would really ban any mention of homosexuality. If they do make some clause in the paperwork, it wouldn’t curb gay bullying, it’d make it worse. It’s in our sinful nature to go towards something we know is wrong.

  3. Hmm… I like the perspective you give on the California issue. You really make some good points.

    As far as the Christian Academy, though… I attend a private, Christian college and we, too have a code of morality we have to sign (the “integrity contract”). However, I can tell you from first-hand experience that they are intentionally mocked and flagrantly abused by students at my school (and it’s pretty small). I don’t think ignoring homosexuality is going to help anyone, but only make matters worse.

    • I spent two years at a Christian college too, complete with an “integrity” statement, and students who flaunted it. Really, if you have to sign a statement, it’s not integrity, it’s just a list of rules.

    • I agree with both of you. Any time you put rules down on paper, you beg people to laugh at them. I have an average of 550 students in my schoolhouse on any given day (in the US Navy) and even though they are supposedly adults, they still enjoy flaunting them any chance they get. People are the same everywhere. Make something a rule and it’s bound to be broken. That’s why God gives us grace.

  4. Yes, and dunno,still mulling it over, in that order. You’re dead on about the use of those words, though. It would quiet haters who insist calling people nasty names is “calling sin sin.” Yes, I know people like this. Deep sigh.

    And as for California, I didn’t know that was happening, but I should have seen it coming. It seems we already know about King James (as in the KJV Bible), Oscar Wilde, etc., but recently I decided if they had lived in our times they wouldn’t have had to accomplish anything to be famous, or their accomplishments would take a backseat to how they get their jollies. And then this story. Why does respect for someone as a person have to equate a tabloid esque obsession with that person’s sexuality? Have we all devolved into gossipy teens?

  5. On California, Gerald Unks said it best a decade ago: “Within the typical secondary school curriculum, homosexuals do not exist. They are ‘nonpersons’ in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations. The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.” -Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5.

    • So, the two individuals I mentioned (and just off the top of my head)didn’t accomplish anything? We know what can be known that is relevant to the larger story. Making sexuality the primary focus only reinforces to an already egocentric individual (most teens) that he or she doesn’t need to actually accomplish anything to be famous. We already have reality TV for that.

  6. The California measure is an unfortunate necessity in our current culture. Much like the many laws and resolutions passed to bring black history into the classroom. When I went to school in rural USA in the 60s and 70s, the fact that George Washington was a slave owner never came up. Not in the books. Not in the classroom.

    For historical figures, we include their heterosexual aspect of their identity if present. Married. Lovers. etc. We do this even when introducing ourselves to each other … as in the standard Christian response to “tell us about yourself”: My name is ___, I’m a disciple of Christ, a husband, a father, and a [profession].

    If an important historical figure had a wife, it is part of the grade school through high school lessons. If were gay, the only part that is included in the lesson is: they never married. If the person lived with someone of the same sex in a committed relationship ’till death did they part’ this is also absent from the books. Especially the grade school books.

    Forcing schools to include the homosexual aspect of a historical figure’s identity is a necessity. When we arrive at the point that we always, casually include each historical figure’s significant other(s) without any censorship, we can drop these resolutions from the books.

    • That’s an interesting point, and I think it’s covered by the part of the law that bans “discriminatory” language in the textbooks. It will be interesting to see if schools actually set aside time for “gay history.”

      I am going to call you out on one point and ask why you call it a “necessity.”

      • Some schools will not change unless it is tied to their funding. My experience in rural white america: there was no mention of MLK’s assassination when it occurred; much discussion over the shooting of George Wallace; Malcolm X? who? ha! This was the 60′s and 70′s. Without mandating change, it would still be the case today. The same argument can be made for laws requiring schools to teach about important women in history.

        The fact that we needed constitutional amendments that effectively promoted African-Americans and women to the status of “People” (as in “We the people…”) is a sad commentary but a necessary catalyst for change during those points in history.

  7. History seems to be defined by the flavor of the times. When I was in school we studied men and woman that were noteworthy for their contributions to our culture and the world in general. We learned about George Washington and George Washington Carver. When I was in 4th grade we mourned the death of MLK and Bobby Kennedy. Not because of their skin color, but because of who they were. In 5th grade we had a discussion about the elections and my teacher outlined the strengths of Nixon, Humphrey and Wallace. We had a class vote.

    My point is this, we studied blacks long before Black History month. I think there were rumblings of historical figures being womanizers and drunkards, and some possibly being gay. But that is not why they were in the news.

    Morality is an interesting dynamic. Most say it doesn’t matter, but it always seems to. It is the same for gender and still, sometimes, skin color. People make judgments everyday – there is nothing new under the sun. History often focuses on the plight of a people group, and their struggle to survive. We always identify villains and victors. I guess this is the age of sexual villains and victors.

    Thanks for the discussion, Matt.

  8. Maybe a more logical approach that California could take toward “gay history” would be learning about how homosexuality has been viewed and handled over the years.

    I mean, a hundred years ago being homosexual could get you thrown in prison (someone mentioned Oscar Wilde?). Before that it could get you excommunicated or worse. Heck, up until the past few decades homosexuality was considered a “mental illness” that had a listing in the DSM. Is it any wonder that educators have to scramble to find gay historical figures to talk about?

    I think it would make more sense to approach it that way, rather than doing post-mortem analysis on folks in an attempt to figure out who was actually gay and who wasn’t.

  9. Next on the docket: People with 11 toes History month. Is it History or Social Studies? As you said those who are History worthy are already in our history. What good can possibly be accomplished by boxing them in to this tiny box. Is it that they discovered they cure for cancer or they are Gay?

    Good post Matt.

  10. So here’s my take…

    I think if anything is going to be in our history books and taught to our children, then it should be relevant to history.

    Does this trivial/non-trivial information make a difference in how history played out?

    How much do we include in the history books?

    Where do we draw the line?

    Sexuality? Religion? Favorite hobbies? Vegan? Right handed? Left handed? #2 pencil? Pen?

    Every little detail is NOT important…INCLUDING someone’s sexual preference. (unless it plays a significant role in history)

    People will be discriminatory all on their own…we don’t need to make a formality of it.

    Just sayin.

    • “Every little detail is NOT important…INCLUDING someone’s sexual preference. (unless it plays a significant role in history).” Yikes. . .I encourage you to read a biography of any famous person and see how the little details in their life affected the decisions they made and actions they took, thereby altering history.

      • lol…well…I think you should read my comment again.

        “UNLESS IT PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN HISTORY.”

        I agree that the little things CAN make a difference…BUT…not every detail does…therefore every little detail DOES NOT need to be included IN OUR HISTORY BOOKS.

        AND to add to your biography comment…a biography (by definition) is a more specific and DETAILED account of a persons life.

        Details are THEN applicable and appropriate.

    • I agree, Matt, not every little detail is important. However, one’s sexual preference is no little detail. It will drive who we choose as our closest confidant. We routinely include marriages, divorces, light spousal backgrounds, etc. We routinely omit gay and lesbian significant others. Who we are with has a profound impact on us.

      The first few rounds of “gay history” will probably be ludicrous. But we need to arrive at a point listing significant others, or explaining the lack there of, is common place. Not to be politically correct but to be historically accurate.

      • Hey Ric…I agree with you in the manner that our “significant others” play a major roll in how we live and is no “little detail”. My point was really that these things shouldn’t be at the forefront and peak of our educational changes…and certainly not a LAW. That just brings focus to issues that naturally cause disorder and friction, and I don’t think that really accomplishes anything other than disorder and friction.

  11. The other day we talked about how Dr. King said he wanted people to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

    I don’t want to be “that straight teacher,” I want to be known for my character (and for being marked by Christ).

    • Yeah, and I just don’t know where the balance is between being honest about every detail in a person’s life and judging them by their accomplishments. My gut feeling is that we assume kids are more equipped to handle information about sexuality than they really are.

  12. I don’t see a need for teaching about gays in history. One reason is, that why should a person or group of people be talked about because of who they sleep with? That makes no sense.

    As of yet, here in California, we still haven’t made it legal for homosexuals to get married.

    I’m still praying on this one, that same sex marriage does not pass.

    As far as the bullying, it’s hard to say. Unless you have some type of anti-bullying program at the school, there are some kids who are going to just bully. Bully gays, and whoever else they feel needs it.

    Not to be rude, be whether your gay or not, bullying isn’t right.

  13. I just wonder how many people pushing “gay history” would do all they could to keep students from learning “Christian history.”

  14. Hey team,

    Coming from a bit of a different perspective:
    I am a (white) New Zealander, and here in New Zealand we have a biculture, in that there is both the ‘european’ and Maori culture that is prominent here. The Maori are still minorities here, but as a recently graduated teacher I know that in Social Studies we must teach about The Treaty of Waitangi (our founding document with the Maori) and be respectful of Maori culture etc. In that way we have to teach and be familiar with the Maori culture, but we don’t have a separate course called “Maori History” like they are doing in California, it’s just a part of what we must teach in schools. Perhaps if California took that idea on, and then added an aspect of Gay History in with their American History course then it would be better.

  15. Wow, it takes a lot of HETEROSEXUAL PRIVILEGE to actually believe that “If a gay person was really important, he (sic) would already be in the history books.”

    Really? That’s what you really think? Because “history” and “historical value” aren’t in any way created by and for the straight, white, Protestant men in power? Gross.

    • Fine, I hereby issue a challenge to you to name all the historically important gay people who are currently being left out of the school history books. If you think history is still written by Protestants, you haven’t read a school history book in a while. The only thing the Christians get credit for is the Crusades and killing Native Americans.

      • Matt–

        Granted, I’m a few years removed from public education, but isn’t that statement more than a bit simplistic? I remember, at least at the AP history level, Christianity getting a more nuanced approach than just “they killed the Indians”.

        I personally think that we, as American Christians, really need to get over this persecution complex that we seem to have. The whole “ganged up on by political correctness” thing may play well on the Glenn Beck show, but it doesn’t always match up with reality.

        I also think your “challenge” is pretty unfair, given the issues I outlined in my post–there may have been plenty of homosexuals trying to make contributions to history, and there may have been more than a few historical figures who were actually gay–it’s just that we don’t have a lot of ways of knowing BECAUSE of the social stigma associated with it. You can’t find “gay people left out of the history books” because no one could safely “come out of the closet”.

        Kind of like how Ahmadinejad says that there’s no gay people in Iran?

      • I think the wording of your statement, Matt, carries with it your frustration: “If a gay person was really important, he should already be in the history books.” The “If” comes off sounding too much like, as Abby Normal points out, Ahmadinejad.

        I’d like to think that all the important people are already in our history books regardless of their sexuality. However, given the centuries of “social stigma” (to say the least) over homosexuality, I feel it would be naive to presume this is, in fact true.

        And since I’m calling fouls, I’ll add that I’ve ceased using the word “Gay” as a synonym for “Dumb/Stupid/Idiotic/Ugly/etc” since realizing I was actually do so.

        • Fair enough. I’m not conceding the idea that gays should be elevated in importance to fill a “gay history” curriculum, and I don’t think that’s what you’re advocating anyway. But maybe we should take time to evaluate our history books and ensure we are including everyone who ought to be.

          • But maybe we should take time to evaluate our history books and ensure we are including everyone who ought to be.

            That is the best statement in this string of comments, Matt! We have 50 states deciding individually what they want in their state’s history books. There are a whole lot of inaccuracies. If a black, white, straight, gay, transgendered, purple, or green person made history, then they’re in.

  16. Another good, thought provoking post.

    I like Abby Normal’s suggestion (and her moniker, I might add).

    The heart of the California issue is really what constitutes a serious gap in public education. My solution would be to let the parents fill in what they see as educational gaps according to their passions and interests. It is really the parents’ job to make sure their kids are properly educated, not the state. Public education is a resource for parents, not a substitute.

    I can understand why homosexuals want to remove the social stigma they have had to, and in some cases, continue to, endure. Instead of asking us to respect them and love them for what they have done, shouldn’t we be loving them and respecting them for who they are as human beings and fellow image-bearers of God? And while the schools cannot teach the kids anything related to God, they should be training kids to show respect and kindness to everyone, no matter how different they act or how different they look.

    • Thanks. I had an attending in med school who always enunciated the word “abnormal” by saying “abby-normal”. I always thought it would make a great handle.