Our schools teaching LGBTQ issues….

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra Joy Kauffmann

Our schools have introduced a program to teach children about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender issues. Good. I applaud the program. If it’s truly successful I’m sure less people will suffer.

One school trustee has criticized the new policy, calling it ‘child abuse’. What? I hope he’ll be promptly replaced by a more forward-thinking, knowledgeable trustee. The man is ignorant and very much behind the times.

For the most part, when I was in high school during the early 1950s, we didn’t even know homosexuality existed. I certainly didn’t. There was an unhappy girl in our class who, by the way, excelled in sports — something most of us didn’t participate in unless we were required to.

“I wish I were a boy,” she’d tell me, her eyes sad as she said so. It WAS sad. I felt sorry for her. She was what we would now call ‘Butch’. (I remember her name but will not use it. If I still exist, she may too.) I do, however, think of her often and hope she found her place in life and became comfortable with who and what she was meant to be.

In those days many gay people married, not wanting to admit to their families, or at times even to themselves, who and what they really were. It was not acceptable. This led to unhappiness for everyone. Wouldn’t it be better if we were all free to be who we are?

Of course there are parents who still object to their children being taught about these natural differences in people, due to religious beliefs and/or backward traditions. That saddens me. We don’t choose to be born ‘different’. Who would? Life is difficult enough as it is. Why ask for the kind of problems those who are LGBTQ have been subjected to, and let’s face it, it is far from over yet.

I just attended a ‘Music in the Morning’ concert where we were treated to my favorite Tchaikovsky String Quartet. I recall reading Tchaikovsky was ‘outed’ and to avoid the horrible scandal which loomed over him, took his own life. Surely he had more music in him to compose. Our loss…..

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Tchaikovsky

Oscar Wilde, that witty writer of plays and stories, was jailed because he had an affair with a man.

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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The inhumane conditions of jail at the time destroyed his health. His children were never allowed to see him and had no idea what horrible crime their father had committed. His son, writing about it years later in his book says when he finally found out, his reaction was: “That’s all?” He grew up thinking his father had committed murder or something truly awful. Broken physically, Wilde died shortly after his release.

Alan-Turing

Alan Turing, brilliant mathematician who broke the Nazi code

Then there was Alan Turing, the mathematician to whom we owe so much. He was the brilliant man who cracked the Nazi code, which not only served his country, but may have saved us all. How was he thanked? Arrested and disgraced for having a homosexual relationship, forced to undergo surgery to ‘correct’ what was ‘wrong’ with him, and finally, miserably, took his own life.

How many other great thinkers and creative people have we lost because of our stupidity? How many more need to suffer needlessly?

Good luck to our school board with this new program. More power to them.

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Sign I saw at Chandra and Rafi’s home while I visited them in San Francisco this month.  I love it. I love them.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Our schools teaching LGBTQ issues….

  1. What a great and beautifully stated post, Mom. I must say that I am extremely proud and grateful that you are my mother! I was actually talking about you last night to a gay man I just met, explaining how you had set an example in our home and tried to help us to be open-minded about all people and the natural differences among us. I then remembered (and told him about) the African-American doll you got for Rafi when he was little — my new friend thought that was just about the coolest thing ever! The fact that Rafi is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and most beautifully liberal-minded human beings you could ever meet did not happen by accident! I love you so much…

  2. Dear Muriel … As you know, I was Vancouver’s (and maybe Canada’s) first “out” gay journalist, writing the gay community news column in the Georgia Straight in the early 70s. I have seen my share of prejudice, bigotry, and hateful behaviour.

    Thank you very much for this heartfelt reminder that we have wonderful allies everywhere who continue to speak out in support of our right to be ourselves, and to call out bigots and bozos wherever they appear — especially in positions of influence in education and other important sectors of society.

    Love you lots, my dear!
    Kevin

  3. Another lovely post from Muriel. In this age of knee-jerk reaction, this thoughtful and heartfelt rumination is welcome. Also, it’s a reminder that the likes of Turing, Wilde and so many other innovators were not just inventors but pioneers of open and free thought. Bravo Muriel!

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