In the year of 2019 there has been a huge shift in the society’s embracement of sexuality and sexual orientation. Over the years many have grown to accept the LGBT community and adapted the world to include all identities in our everyday activities. With the help of legalization of gay marriage, advocacy organizations, freedom of protest and speech, Pride marches and many other LGBT events, the world continues to strive to normalize and embrace all identities. Based on these factors, it is clear that the laws and social norms are progressing in incorporating LGBT identities in our everyday world, however there has been a large uproar about how the LGBT community lacks incorporation in are educational systems. Even though many may support the teaching and incorporation of different sexual orientations, there are others who disagree that school is the appropriate place where children should learn this information.
In a heated debate on London’s BBC News, mother Izzy Montague and children’s author Olly Pike disagree if children should be taught about the LGBT community in school. After learning that her own child was taught such information, Izzy immediately removed her son out of the school he attended.
Defensively Izzy argues that the LGBT topics should not be taught in any school grade level. In fact, she urges that these conversations should be taught in the child’s household rather than a place that provides academic education. When asked if she believes if some people are born gay or with nontraditional sexual orientations and identities, she states, “I don’t believe they are. If you show me a gay gene, just like if you show me any gene like race or something that indicates biological… I do believe that there is a biological drive, but because it’s not something you can determine by science to say that somebody is gay you can not say somebody is born gay.”
On the other hand, Olley supporter of the Gay Rights campaign believes that its important for students along with other individuals in the society to learn more about the LGBT community to help save lives. He goes on by mentioning that many children along with adults have committed suicide or caused self-harm due to the lack of acceptance from their society. Using his books to help introduce and teach children of the various identities, he aims to normalize the acceptance of LGBT community for younger age groups. Furthermore, he explains that he wants all identities to be represented rather than focusing on a specific sexual identity. He goes on to explain, “After seeing statistics about the number of children and young people, that are attempting to take their own life because their being bullied for being LGBT, this isn’t just about teaching, it’s about saving lives! Clearly the topic at hand holds an enormous amount of controversy. It appears that the questions “how much information is enough information?” and “Who should teach what and what should be taught in school? “are in desperate need for answers with some sort of happy medium.
Even though this debate took place in London, this discussion has caused many concerns in the United States school systems as well. In 2019 California, followed by New Jersey and Colorado was the first state that passed a law that required the school systems to teach about the LGBT community. In addition to California, Colorado and New Jersey, Illinois now requires schools to incorporate LGBT practices in their curriculum. Governor J.B Pritzker signed the House Bill 246 which mandates that history classes in public school “include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State”. Furthermore, he enforces that textbooks purchased with state funding must discuss the various roles and contribution of the LGBT community without any forms of discrimination of their sexual identities.
Agreeing that students should learn more about different identities, executive director of the advocacy group Garden States, voices” Our youth deserves to see how diverse American history truly is.” One the other hand many people like mayor Alphonso Ciruli believe” the government has no right to teach our kids morality. Despite these opposing opinions, research share a great concern of the likelihood of suicides amongst LGBT youth. According to Reuters Health research, LGBT people and sex minorities are at a greater of committing suicide or causing self-harm. Furthermore, they go on to state that these groups are three times more likely to attempt suicide, while transgenders are six times more likely. Dr. Ester di Giacomo, a researcher at the university of Milano-Bicocca states,” Children facing non-conventional sexual identities are at risk of higher self-threating behaviors, independent of bullying and other risk factors. Difficulty in self-acceptance and social stigmatization might be keys for understanding such evaluation.”
Going back over the debate against Izzy and Olley, it not necessarily about who’s right or wrong. There is no true winner, however one thing to consider is what’s best for the youth and the generations to come. Because of different backgrounds and cultures, everyone will not agree that students should be learning these lifestyles and identities in school systems. Some may argue that these discussions should be taught at home by the parents when the child is able to understand and receive the information better. One thing that must be recognized is that the LGBT community and identities do exist throughout the world. As a result of that, everyone should be treated and incorporated like the person next to them.
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