Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Personal Petition

We have a petition on our web site that you can fill out, and copies go to us and to the Montgomery County school board. (Click on "Take Action" in the upper righthand corner of this page.) You can edit the text if you want, though most people don't.

A couple of days ago somebody submitted a petition, and they added a really nice message to it. I am taking off their name, because I didn't ask them if I could use this, but once it's speeding through the tubes of the Internets, once it's been emailed to the school board, it's public domain. And actually, I don't think they'll mind.
Dear MCPS Board of Education:

I attended Montgomery County Public Schools from the age of 5 to 16. From Southlake Elementary, to Stedwick Elementary, to Montgomery Village Jr. High, to Gaithersburg High School. In fact, my father worked the majority of his career in MCPS. I was in the gifted-and-talented and honors courses for a large part of my MCPS education. But for years, I continued to believe I belonged in an asylum. For years, I held a deep dark secret that I could not come to terms with. From the age of 4 or 5, I knew I was different than other girls.

While I tried to temper the fact I had kissed my best friend in second grade, or I was in love with my third grade teacher, or I had a huge crush on a girl in 4th grade...while I tried to temper that by trying to have crushes on boys, it only led me into a deep dark depression that started as early as 5th grade and continued through 10th grade, when I finally chose to interrupt my fall towards suicide by quitting high school.

Whether it's nurture or nature, it doesn't really matter. I know if there were accurate information in the schools, if I had had LGBTQ role models, if information were presented in 5th grade and 8th grade sex education to isolate gender role/sex assignment, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, cultural indications of masculine and feminine - I may not have hated myself so much. It wasn’t until I was twenty-three and I finally came out that I finally understood where my pain came from.

I urge you to consider the LGBTQ students and children, and for their sake, vote to have a broad sex education curriculum. We, LGBTQ children whose adolescence is broken from society's rejection, do not ask for such animosity to be showered upon us. Religious beliefs have no place in the educational system. It was difficult enough, as a Hindu, to deal with having to say 'one nation under God' when we were required to do the pledge of allegiance, but to present the intolerant views of religious fundamentalists is unconstitutional and detrimental to the psyches of children.

While students whose religious beliefs prohibit them from accepting homosexuality have that right, they are not directly harmed by the presentation of the facts, that people like me exist. But if you fail to have a curriculum that acknowledges our existence, you will harm students like me directly. What you communicate by not including accurate information in the curriculum and mixing religion (neither proven or refutable), science (testable hypothesis), and/or putting them side-by-side as if they have equal merit is to only support bigotry and intolerance, and promote bullying and hateful acts against children who are or are perceived to be different ...

The usual petition text follows.

See, in one way, this is what it's all about. This poor girl did not know what was going on. Your parents don't prepare you to be a lesbian, they're as surprised, and probably just as ignorant, as anybody. It can't be wrong to give middle and high school kids a heads up -- some people feel different, it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. She talks about feeling suicidal, living a fake life, trying to have crushes on boys, feeling like she must be mentally ill. It is not that hard to send a lifeline to a kid like that.

This is one strong case, out of several, for giving good, honest information about sexual orientation. The Nutty Ones will claim that the classes "promote" homosexuality, as if it was something you caught by being exposed to it. But you know that's not correct; some people are just that way, innately. Here's a concrete example, as clear as can be. I don't see any reason for the school district to promote denial as the alternative.

These classes are objective, they're low-key, they stick to the facts. Here's how some people are, no need to judge or hate or fear.

Oh, the CRC hates those vignettes! They sent them to all the families at the pilot-test schools, as if it were some scary thing. Imagine, first-person accounts of what it's like growing up gay, or transgender, imagine the horror of seeing what that's like! Imagine empathizing with those people!

Naw, it's time to get over it. The person who wrote this petition statement is very eloquent; we should be remembering these students who are in the classrooms right now, suffering, confused, needing knowledge.


Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Here's a vignette from one of CRC's associates (Michael Savage)today:

SAVAGE: "San Francisco police are trying to determine whether the slaying of a transgender victim found naked near the Interstate 280 freeway is somehow linked to reports of a nude woman seen walking on the same freeway two hours later, authorities said. ... [San Francisco police inspector Karen] Lynch said it appeared the victim had been in the process of becoming a woman." Yeah, process of becoming a woman -- psychopath, should have been in a back ward in a straitjacket for years, howling on major medication.

...And what's this sympathy, constant sympathy for sexually confused people? Why should we have constant sympathy for people who are freaks in every society? I didn't say hurt the freaks. I didn't say do anything to the freaks.

But you know what? You're never gonna make me respect the freak. I don't want to respect the freak. The freak ought to be glad that they're allowed to walk around without begging for something. You know, I'm sick and tired of the whole country begging, bending over backwards for the junkie, the freak, the pervert, the illegal immigrant. All of them are better than everybody else. Sick. Everything is upside down.

March 22, 2007 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The heroes of the upsidedown right:

their junkie = Rush Limbaugh

their freak = Ted Haggard

their pervert = Mark Foley

their illegal immigrant = Ahmed Chalabi

March 23, 2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

It's sad to say but people like Michael Savage have always existed. There were Jewish guys like him as officers in the Third Reich, hard as that may be to believe. And for me it's even more difficult since his biography mirrors mine, both of us having been born in the Bronx and then raised in Queens. He attended the local high school many of my friends attended.

It seems he was poisoned by the Right in the early Reagan years, the years where the Right began to systematically dismantle the government,leaving us with the incompetents and worse that we have today.

CRC and its ilk will always be with us, but with their power source dissolving, they won't be a threat much longer. It took America thirty years to wake up, but it has awakened.

March 23, 2007 7:48 AM  

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