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Back to November Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 190 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS NOVEMBER 2001

Pro-Gay Curricula:  
Coming Soon to a School Near You
Under the guise of "making schools safe" for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students," pro-gay curricula and lesson plans are proliferating in the nation's schools. "Safe Schools" and "Anti-Violence" initiatives have been implemented in states such as Massachusetts, California and Washington, and pilot projects have been introduced in various other states, including Georgia, Indiana and Kentucky.

Pro-gay initiatives may include lesson plans, books, videos, and student assemblies. A video called That's a Family enjoyed a high-profile debut with an official showing at the Clinton White House in December 2000. This video for use in public schools is designed to promote the concept that there are many different types of families, all normal and equally deserving of respect. According to Family Research Council Senior Director of Cultural Studies, Robert Knight, this film "ignores overwhelming evidence that children do best with both a mother and a father."

Misleading Statistics  
Observers say the use of cooked numbers to show the supposed decline of the traditional family is one means of gaining support for pro-gay indoctrination. A "Discussion/Teaching Guide" for That's a Family claims that "only 28% of homes today consist of a married husband and wife who are raising their biological children."

Census Bureau figures tell a different story. Independent researchers who studied the census data, including David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values, found that "the proportion of children living with their married biological parents remained steady at about 62% between 1991 and 1996." (The Census Bureau's own report shows an increase in traditional families from 51% in 1991 to 56% in 1996, but a bureau official later confirmed Blankenthorn's findings.)

In May 2001, columnist John Leo explained that the 2000 census report on families showed a decline in traditional families because it framed statistics "in terms of the total number of households." "Even if the number of nuclear families were rising," Leo stated, "they would likely account for a shrinking percentage of households" because Americans "live longer and marry later," and "they live alone more in youth and old age, creating more households."

Leo pointed out that the use of household statistics to make nuclear families appear in decline "is an old story in the 30-year war over the family." An earlier trick to get the percentages down, he noted, "was to count a family as nontraditional if mom had a job at all in the workforce, even just a couple of hours a week. Empty-nesters and newlyweds were not counted as traditional."

The Curricula 
Pro-gay curricula use common themes and similar wording to advance an activist agenda. Many have been produced or are influenced by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Themes include: 1) "Diversity" training is needed to prevent violence and to assure the safety of LGBT youth in public schools; 2) A child's sexual orientation is determined by age six and is unchangeable; 3) Homosexuality must be accepted as normal; 4) References to homosexuality as a "lifestyle" or suggestions that it is a "choice" are evidence of homophobia.

According to the Washington State Safe Schools Anti-Violence Documentation Project's Curriculum for Preventing Harassment and Fostering a Climate of Respect, K-5 children should be taught:

  • There are no "girl colors and boy colors" or "girl games and boy games." Those are stereotypes. . . ." 
  • "Families come in all different shapes and sizes, including, among many others, two-mommie and two-daddy families. . . ."  
  • "A 'Gay' man is someone who loves another man best of all. A 'Lesbian' woman is someone who loves another woman best of all. . . ." "People who have always felt as if they were in the body of the wrong sex are called 'transsexual.' Some transsexual kids grow up and get sex change operations and some don't."

The curriculum, Preventing Prejudice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgen-der Lesson Plans for Elementary Schools, produced by pro-gay parents' groups and funded by the Horizons and Vanguard Foundations, consists of 16 K-5 lesson plans offering "key messages," including:

  • "Gender stereotyping and gender roles limit us and prevent us from being who we feel like being." 
  • "There are many ways to live and love." This message, states the lesson plan, is "a good introduction to the subject of families headed by lesbians and gay men." 
  • "Respect means keeping our minds open. Having open minds means giving people freedom to be who they want to be." This K-1 lesson plan includes a story about a boy who dreams of wearing a beautiful skirt of many colors. His mother helps him make his "dream skirt" by cutting up pieces of her own clothing and sewing them together. The boy insists on wearing the skirt to his daycare center where the other children either show bewilderment or make fun of him. He runs crying to an open-minded adult who gathers the children together and asks them why they are "making fun of Jesse." The narrative demonstrates how the children build consensus through discussion. Ultimately, they decide it is okay for a boy to wear a skirt if it makes him feel good.

The Inclusive Curriculum: The Silent Minority comes to the Classroom, by GLSEN-Los Angeles, gives K-5 teachers these suggestions:

  • "Introduce the vocabulary. At minimum, find some time in your classroom to say the words lesbian, gay and bisexual and make sure the children understand what those words mean. . . . No one is too young to hear or say those words." 
  • "When discussing families, talk about all different kinds of families, whether or not there are those kinds in your classroom." 
  • "When you have a unit that touches on any social justice issue (the civil rights movement, for example) . . . include the lesbian and gay rights movement. If you don't feel comfortable talking about it, invite a speaker who does." 
  • For middle school and high school students, teachers are told to "incorporate gay and lesbian issues throughout the curriculum, not just in health education, but in traditional disciplines such as English, History and Science."

The Inclusive Curriculum presents sample lessons that have already been used in the classroom. One exercise for grades 9-12 takes students on a "chronological journey through your mind's eye of what your life might have been if you were gay." Students are guided on a "fantasy" tour through a series of life experiences at different ages, each filled with painful rejection and disappointment. In the end, the fantasy character is beaten to death by violent, anti-gay bigots.


 
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