February 21, 2005
Growing up in America, children are taught that there are a variety of topics one was not to discuss in public, such as: politics, religion, and sex. One’s sexuality is supposed to be a private matter. But as time progresses, this is not the case- sex is everywhere! Not only do we see it on television and in the movies, we see it on display in bars, clubs, and restaurants. Whether this ranges from the very sight of families and couples to outright public displays of affection, one’s sexuality is not a very private matter at all. Society has become more open and accepting of sexuality in public to a certain degree, but it still holds rigid views in regards to homosexuality. Homosexuals are a highly stigmatized group. They are viewed negatively because of their unconventional sexual orientation. Heterosexuality, the relationship between a man and woman, serves as the norm, and as is the case with any behavior that deviates from the norms, homosexuality threatens common notions of what is right and wrong.
But who has the right to say what is right and wrong? For we live in a country that symbolized freedom and a society that is evolving through change, yet our lives are subjected to a plethora of stereotypes, hatred, fears, and ignorance. Our country has been exposed to a number of social movements such as human slavery, divorce, universal suffrage, equal rights for women, racial segregation, inter-racial marriage, religious freedom, inter-faith marriages, and access to contraceptives, which have been largely settled. Other social conflicts, like right of parents to spank children and equal rights for transsexuals and bisexuals have yet to be fully engaged.
For the purpose of this project our group focused on the queer community and how it may or may not affect what we are teaching our children. In the following sections we have proposed a possible curriculum guide for teaching sexual diversity in our elementary, middle, and high schools. The three-tiered system allows educators to provide material that is age appropriate while still leaving discussion about important issues, definitions and about aspects of the queer community. The proposal is not asking professionals in the education system to teach or demand acceptance, but rather educate their students about sexual diversity. Tolerance of sexual diversity is the long-term battle for social, political, and legal equality between society and the queer community.
Jade, Melanie, Margot, Noelle, and Sarah
Elementary School Education Topics
One of the keys to talking to children in this age group is finding a balance between too much information and too little information.
-GLB Couples and Their Children
-Celebrities: Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres, Tracy Chapman, Tchaikovsky, Melissa Etheridge, etc.
-Question and Answer Activities
Middle School Education Topics
It is common for children in this age group to begin to call each other names like "gay," "faggot," "lezzy" and "dyke." Children recognize and are sensitive to attacks on people who are like members in their families and communities. Children often feel personally insulted when this name-calling occurs even if it was not directed at them or their family. Parents can work with school systems to sensitize them to the impact of insulting language on their children.
-GLB Question and Answer Panel
High School Education Topics
As children grow in their knowledge and understanding of the world and issues of race, sexual orientation, relationships, gender identity and expression, their questions can become far more explicit.
-GLBT Social Movement and History: Stonewall Riots, Institutionalized Homophobia, Holocaust
-GLBT Hate Crimes: Matthew Shepard
-GLBT Rights: adoption, marriage laws, international perspectives, etc.
-GLBT People in government/affluent society
-Introduction to Transgender/Transexuality