David Link examines the latest Willie-Horton style ad launched by the anti-marriage equality forces in Maine. He exposes the use of the ominous and vague pronoun "they" to instill fear; and shows how the argument about schools is essentially an argument for keeping gays in the closet - invisible and unmentionable as in days of yore:
What those parents really want is to prohibit any discussion of gay couples, period; and that has nothing to do with marriage or school curriculum and everything to do with gays abandoning the closet and being honest about themselves in the world at large.
The existing curriculum reflects the earlier world they are comfortable with, which is not neutral to sexual orientation. Children are regularly taught that princes can marry princesses, which is no more than a simple reaffirmation of heterosexual love and affection. Homosexuals are simply left out they do not exist.
If that is all children learn, then they are, in fact, learning a kind of bias in their most formative years.
This has never been intentional, since the vast majority of all children are heterosexual, and are learning about themselves. But they are also learning about the broader world, and what it includes. If they are prevented from learning that a prince (so inclined) can marry another prince (who is also so inclined) then they are learning that princes cannot marry other princes.
More to the point, those children who are, or may be gay, are learning something far more perverse about themselves they are learning that the world does not include them. Again, this is not intentional, but as any adult homosexual can testify, it is as real as anything can be.
Invisibility always works against homosexuals who are, after all, seeking their place in the public world. When the debate is about children, that invisibility gets submerged in a non-sexual environment that, nevertheless, has very strong elements of future, developing sexuality running through it. Whether it’s in the curriculum or not, children see heterosexuality everywhere. That is as it should be, since heterosexuals are everywhere. It would be preposterous to pretent that could ever change.
But it is wrong to prohibit or think that anyone could prohibit children from knowing that some people, and potentially some of them, will not be heterosexual. In public schools, or in any other forum, such discussions must be age appropriate. What teachers discuss in a second grade class is very different from classroom debates in high school.
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