Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Metro Ride

I ran into an old friend the other day at the Metro station, and started telling her a little bit about what I've been doing with Of course she was surprised. People who know me know I'd rather hang out with the kids, or goof around with the computer, or play some music with some guys, than get involved in some "political" thing. We got on at Twinbrook, didn't get seats, had to stand.

"We're just supporting the new curriculum," I told her.

"What's in it, that people are complaining about?" she asked.

"Well, for the first time, the health teachers will be able to talk about gay people," I said.

Here I could see her eyes sort of grow blank. She looked away from me. "I'm not sure that's something the schools need to teach," she said, "We kind of like to take care of that stuff at home."

"Of course," I said, "We talk about these things at our house, too. But what facts do you have?"


"Like, do you know the difference between sexual identity and gender identity?"

The blank look was gone, at least. She looked over at me as we rocked along the Red line.

"I know what sex I am," she said. "I figured that out in the bathtub, many years ago."

"OK, so you know your biological sex. But you didn't answer my question. Do you know what sexual identity is?"

"Sure I do," she sputtered. "It's what sex you, uh, identify with ... right?"

"There's more to it than that. According to the curriculum, your sexual identity is made out of your gender identity, which is how masculine or feminine you are, your gender role, which is the kind of stuff that's expected of you as a woman or a man, and your sexual orientation -- whether you're straight, bi, or gay."

"Oh, OK," she said, softly.

We sat in silence. I read The Express over somebody's shoulder, swaying as I held onto the overhead bar.

"So," she said, "I guess there probably is more to it."

"Yes," I said. "You and I can teach a lot of stuff to our kids about sex. We can help them understand how it works, we can teach them what our religions believe about sex and love and marriage, but we're not experts. You oughta see these health teachers -- they're something else! They know this stuff inside and out, and they are very cool about it. It's not an embarrassing thing, it's a health thing to them"

"Yeah, I can see the point," she said. "So what's this that you're fighting about?"

"Some people don't think we should teach this," I told her. "They think if you tell kids about homosexuality, they'll think it's all right to try it. They think teaching kids about sex will encourage them to experiment."

This friend and I both have boys the same age, now freshmen in high school.

I asked her, "Do you remember when Bobby took sex ed last year?"

She looked at me. "Last year?"

"Yeah, in eighth grade. The boys had sex education in eighth grade. Remember?"

"Uh, no," she said, "I guess he never said anything about it."

"And he didn't run out and start trying stuff, did he?"

She laughed. Her kid is the ultimate jock. Even at fourteen he is completely unaware of girls. "But they didn't teach them this gay stuff last year, did they?"

"No," I replied. "Last year the teachers weren't even allowed to bring it up. And think, Jeff was in their class, too."

We both know Jeff. His poor father is really having a hard time. It has been clear to the rest of us for several years that Jeff is growing up to be gay, but his dad can't quite get a handle on it. He's in a state of denial. Jeff's a pretty good basketball player, but ... gay.

I continued, "So Jeff never got a good explanation for what was going on. Can you imagine? He must feel like a freak of nature. And the other kids tease him, and they never really learned anything about it, either. Maybe they would go a little easier on him if they knew what this was about."

"Yeah," my friend said. "It might have been a good thing if they could've learned a little bit about it."

"Well," I said. "Some people are really putting up a fight to make sure the schools don't start teaching anything at all about this. I really feel that they need to. This isn't the Dark Ages, kids are hearing about these things, and they just need some facts. Gay people aren't sick, they're just people, and they just happen to feel different from us. It's time to start lightening up about it. And anyway, this is Montgomery County, it's not Alabama or someplace"

My friend gazed out the window, lost in thought. Pretty soon we got to Metro Center, and she got off the train. I'll probably run into her again in a couple of months. It will be interesting to see how she feels about it then.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, now our friend Jim is getting all cerebral on us, all warm and fuzzy. Its amazing how nice and innocent he makes everything sound. Like, we just want them to have the facts, right? This leads to no more teasing, if we just fill in all the blanks for them, right?

Who could be against that, right? Did you tell your friend that the currculum states same sex experimentation is natural and good Jim? Did you tell her it teaches that churches that teach that homosexual behavior is wrong are intolerant and bigoted Jim?
Hhmm. Wonder what she would be pondering if you were up front with her Jim? Wonder if you'll delete my post in anger again for asking questions? Huh Jim?

March 12, 2005 5:56 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

These comments are right on the edge. This is moronic sarcasm, but there is a tiny bit of content, so for now I'm leaving them up. Maybe it's just to respond.

You say: Did you tell your friend that the currculum states same sex experimentation is natural and good Jim? Gee, no, Anon, I didn't mention that. Did I forget? No. Was I trying to spin the curriculum so my friend would like it? No. Does the curriculum say that? No.

The curriculum does say: Sex play with friends of the same gender is not uncommon during early adolescence and does not prove long-term sexual orientation.

Can you see the difference there? Do you see the words "natural" or "good?" You do? I don't. I see a simple statement of fact: young kids play doctor, and it doesn't mean they're gay.

You say: Did you tell her it teaches that churches that teach that homosexual behavior is wrong are intolerant and bigoted Jim?

No. I didn't say that, for the same reason. It's not in the curriculum.

Look, I made it easy for you. Look several posts below this one for the URLs for the 8th and 10th grade curricula. Read them before you post this junk.

Y'know, the thing that really gets me is the lying. We see this quite a lot: people make up stuff and then complain about it as if it were real. I'd think if there was really a problem with the curriculum, you wouldn't have to lie about it.

I still might delete these, you just caught me in a cheerful mood.

March 12, 2005 7:59 PM  

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