In a survey conducted by GLSEN in 2013, it was reported that only 19% of schools in the United States give students a positive representation of LGBT events. This means that thousands of LGBT young adults today are not only fighting acne and dress codes like their heterosexual peers, but also suppressive authorities who portray their choice of identifying with a non-heterosexual sexuality as a cause of misguiding.
Nevertheless, even if these officials claim that this is a mere repercussion of “misguiding,” is it fair to deprive children of education regarding this movement, when a school’s main concern should be teaching children about the world, not how they think it should be?
The education children receive today will dictate how society will work in the future. Thus, it is imperative to decide what education system will be more beneficial for children’s appropriate academic and emotional growth. If children are not properly taught about respecting all human beings equally, events such as the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia may repeat.
In this 116-year-old tradition, comedians chose to exemplify minority communities by acting out Caitlyn Jenner’s transition to womanhood and parading around the streets Philadelphia. In addition to showcasing the most admirable members of the LGBT community, some members went around and playfully displayed their hatred towards homosexual men by yelling “F— the gays” throughout the parade.
These events further escalated when a homosexual man was verbally and physically assaulted by people who had taken part of the parade:
“They were calling me faggot, calling me gay… and I’m right next to Broad Street, I see children playing right at the edge of the street,”
The homophobic acts displayed in this parade have not only put Philadelphia to shame, but also the rest of the country; this is the example we are sending to the rest of the world.
It is ironic and distressing to see people publicly mocking the subjects they were supposed to integrate to their community. These acts are born from a lack of respect and understanding of all human beings. Ignorance may explain their hateful acts, but it does not justify them. As a result, in order to prevent these acts from occurring, it is imperative to teach children to be mindful and understanding of others. By educating children about different types of sexualities, they will have a better understanding of how differently humans work, yet how we are all inherently human.
Therefore, in order to teach children about the diverse spectrum that humans compose, they must be exposed to all of the different kinds of people that populate the world. A way to provide children with this insight is through an inclusive curriculum. An inclusive curriculum is a set of programs and classes that provides children with a positive representation of LGBT history and the individuals who are part of the community. Amongst the classes the inclusive curriculum proposes, there are LGBT comprehensive sex education classes that will provide children with essential information regarding different types of families and how to stay safe when having sexual intercourse.
Just how every school must teach children how their plate should look like during lunch in order to stay healthy, it is essential to also educate them on how to protect themselves in all aspects of their personal lives. As a result, an inclusive curriculum would provide LGBT children with the information they deserve in order to stay safe, while also allowing for other children to understand that everyone is human and should be respected as such.
Although an inclusive curriculum seems to propose the best way to keep all children safe and educated, there are major figures that oppose this method. Amongst these figures is Walt Heyer, an author and public speaker who advocates for those who regret going through gender reassignment procedures. In one of his publications, he claims that he made the regrettable choice of going through gender-reassignment surgeries because he was manipulated by his grandmother into thinking that they would be the answer to his gender confusion.
As a consequence, he now urges school authorities to keep children away from the harmful influences such as the ones an inclusive curriculum can create:
“Young trans-kids need to know they were not born that way, and that most will no longer have a desire to change genders once they grow into adulthood… if parents and schools stop encouraging them to internalize and publicize their LGBT identities.”
In other words, he claims that inclusive curricula will force children to identify with a specific sexuality when they are still not old enough to make such important decision. Therefore, in order to prevent the anguish gender-reassignment procedures can bring to children in the future, he contends that it is best to not expose children to these detrimental influences.
Even though Heyer’s main concern is children and their safety, his publication does not fully articulate how depriving children of this vital information will be to their benefit. An inclusive curriculum will not force children into gender dysphoria like he believes his grandmother did, since the purpose of this program is to give children a positive, unbiased representation of the LGBT community and to provide them with the necessary information to protect themselves. Moreover, even if some children have shown to change their minds regarding gender-reassignment, most still identify as homosexual or bisexual, meaning the information in the curriculum is still vital to them.
By educating children about these topics, LGBT youth will be given a secure place where to grow and learn, while heterosexual youth will be an insight into the human spectrum that will prevent senseless homophobia from arising. Therefore, if schools begin to adopt this inclusive curriculum, not only will we spare thousands of lives that could be lost as a result of ignorance or senseless hate, but also save those that may live their whole lives carrying the weight of it.