Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Pornographication of Innocence

This week the world is going to learn what MCPS thinks is appropriate for a curriculum about sexual variation -- defined as sexual orientation -- for eighth graders. We have no idea what to expect.

One thing I have discovered in a year or two of this Teach the Facts stuff is that the people who think homosexuality is terrible and immoral seem to think of it almost entirely in terms of things you do with your pants off.

For instance, you'll hear them say that maybe you can't decide your sexual orientation, but you can decide your behavior. And, tell me, what behavior would that be? Would that mean that when you walk down a busy street, you can decide to point your eyes toward members of the opposite sex only, and that you can decide to be completely oblivious when an attractive man (because we're talking about guys here, lesbians are a relatively minor part to this discussion) smiles at you?

No, I think what they mean is that you can decide not to have anal or oral sex with another guy.

For some people, that's what it comes down to. Sexual orientation is a matter of what shelf you pick your porn from.

I doubt that the school district needs to go into the sex of sexual orientation at all, really, at this point. Isn't that odd? It seems to me that that's the least important part of it. A kid grows up, realizes he's different. He's getting teased, and doesn't know what to do about it. He likes a boy but doesn't know what to say to him. Other boys are going out with girls, and that interests him not at all. Should he go along with everybody else? Should he pretend he's like them? How bad will it be, really, if he acts the way he feels? This kid needs to learn something, and I'll bet it would be a good idea if his friends learned a thing or two about what he's going through, as well.

I remember being in eighth grade, and walking Christine Bishop home from school. She was at least a full head taller than me, with braces, but ... man, I'll never forget that. I didn't have sex with her, uh, it never ... crossed ... my ... mind. I just know that my ears were ringing and my palms were sweaty and I didn't know what to say, and the world was just busting open with possibilities.

Possibilities of what?

Well, mainly possibilities that she would like me.

That's eighth grade.

(She didn't.)

(But Janey Anliss, who was actually shorter than me, did.) (For a while.)

The last eighth grade curriculum, that was thrown out in the settlement agreement, defined these terms:
  • Heterosexual or "Straight"
  • Homosexual or Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Bisexual or "Bi"

You might find it interesting to read that curriculum HERE.

It talked about stereotypes based on gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation, factors that affect stereotyping, and how to accept differences. Pretty wild stuff.

The old curriculum gave some myths about sexual orientation and explained them: most experts say it's not a disorder and that it's not a choice; fleeting attraction doesn't mean you're gay; gay people's kids don't tend to be gay any more than anybody else's.

That was pretty much it, actually. The sexual orientation material was part of a framework that discusses relationships, values and beliefs, effects of family stress and divorce. It went on to, y'know, the usual 8th-grade stuff, where babies come from, hormonal changes through the life cycle. You remember all that, don't you, from eighth grade?

There was a big section on peer pressure and how it can affect your decision to have sex. Consequences of sexual activity. The curriculum reviewed the social, economic, and emotional impact of teenage parenting.

There was a section on family planning and one on abstinence, and a section listing methods of preventing pregnancy.

That was it: sex ed for eighth graders. Just about like when I took it, in the McCarthy Era, except it gave a couple more terms and acknowledged that not everybody is the same.

Hey, where was the part that instructed them in anal and oral sex? --Why, it wasn't mentioned, naturally. It's irrelevant to the subject.

I hope the new curriculum will be as objective.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, what if the school teaches that there are people who have same sex attractions and those that don’t. There are those that feel attractions to both sexes and sometimes there are those that change their sexual feelings. The school doesn’t know what causes homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual feelings nor do we know how or why some people change their homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual feelings but it happens. We have to be tolerant of all these people. We may not accept them all but we have to respect all of their feelings

October 08, 2006 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote:people change their homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual feelings but it happens

You make it sound as if they are changing socks not recloseting themselves.


October 08, 2006 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's more like overcoming an addiction than changing socks, Teddy.

Many of them are very open about their experience and so your characterization of them as recloseted is a bigoted and ignorant remark.

October 09, 2006 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops! that last one was H.A.

October 09, 2006 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people like H.A. accepted LGBT people as they are they might not feel the need to recloset themselves.

October 09, 2006 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"accepted LGBT people as they are"

Defining people by their hurtful lusts is kind of fatalistic. What they feel like doing at any particular moment does not define who "they are". The Laugh-in generation is in the rest home now. Move on.

October 09, 2006 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that one was H.A.

October 09, 2006 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that one was H.A.

October 09, 2006 5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sexual orientation is not "hurtful lusts."

October 09, 2006 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, it's not an orientation, it's a preference

October 09, 2006 9:07 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon ... you're an idiot.


October 09, 2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really? Have you come up with any evidence that these feelings, experienced by some, are innate? Most scientists think the evidence is inconclusive about the nature of these impulses.

October 09, 2006 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H.A. again

October 09, 2006 9:41 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Look, H.A., it's easy to get a Blogger ID and then you don't have to have every other comment say "that was H.A." Just log in at and give them a fake name. They may want an email address, but you can 1.get a Yahoo or hotmail account under a fake name and nobody can trace it or 2.I think you can just set up your profile so nobody can see your email address.

Then you have an identity that differs from the other Anonymice, and you don't have to think about it.

And we don't have to read "that was H.A." in every other comment.


October 09, 2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried it once but couldn't figure it out. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

I thought you were going on some international spy mission or something.

October 09, 2006 10:45 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Yeah man, this is tough, isn't it? I just don't seem to go away like I promised.


October 09, 2006 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, get out of here and bring us back some tales from the kingdom of censorship.

October 09, 2006 10:57 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

All in good time.


October 09, 2006 11:05 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

H.A. said "some people change their homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual feelings".

H.A. that is a grotesque distortion of reality. Even the vast majority of "exgays" when pressed admit they have not changed same sex attractions into opposite sex attractions, they've merely changed their sexual behavior. Robert Spitzer took 5 years to comb "exgay" organizations for 200 claiming to have changed out of an estimated 250,000 clients for a "success" rate of .04%. Out of those he interviewed whom he believed to have succeeded the majority of them were employed by "exgay" organizations and thus had tremendous incentive to lie (you may have to cut and paste this into the browser address area):

H.A. you also said "Defining people by their hurtful lusts is kind of fatalistic. What they feel like doing at any particular moment does not define who "they are".

The label gay does not define what people feel like doing at a particular moment, it defines an enduring attraction to the same gender which is an extremely important aspect of who we all are, whether heterosexual, or gay.

I don't hear you opposing people labeling themselves by the irrational beliefs crossing their minds at a particular moment by labelling themselves Christian. I'm sure you'll acknoledge that no one is innately Christian.

October 10, 2006 2:54 PM  

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