“Coming Out” After Lesson 13
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, July 19, 2013 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. This is the concluding report on the 13-lesson K – 5 curriculum introduced in San Francisco public schools in 2001. The first lesson introduced kindergartners to slang words for males and females that practice homosexuality. Subsequent lessons taught them about other sexual orientations.
Lesson ten about “Freedom to Marry” addresses fair/unfair laws, marriage, the history of legal marriage and a homework survey about marriages of lesbians and gay men. About LGBT marriage, pupils are asked: Where to go from here? Should there be a vote? Should there be a law? Should the court decide?
Lesson 11’s key message is: “It’s fine to be transgendered.” To start that discussion, the teacher tells about Wilson who winds up with two moms, because his father begins living as a woman. Another story, illustrated with a picture, tells of a transgendered man, who was born a woman. After the stories, pupils write journal entries describing what they learn about transgendered people and how that knowledge makes them feel. Using journal entries, the teacher leads discussions about intolerance, peer pressure, diversity and teasing then assigns homework on the subject.As lesson 12 begins, the teacher asks, “Who deserves civil rights?” and answers, “Everybody!” Pupils are asked whether LGBT people deserve civil rights and the class, divided into groups, reads about Harvey Milk. Homework is to write a paragraph about ways to solve discrimination, but the teacher never tells the class that everyone already has the same right to marry.
The question in lesson 13 is: “What happens if I choose to ‘come out’?” Children are asked the meaning of “coming out of the closet” and are invited to share their own “coming out” stories, especially about LGBT situations and breaking gender stereotypes. Each group gets different “Dear Abby” letters, asking whether a lesbian, bisexual, homosexual or transgendered person, student, parent or teacher should “come out.” To continue, the teacher may show the video, “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School.” After that, pupils discuss whether it was good or bad, easy or hard when teachers and parents “came out of the closet.” For homework, they answer Dear Abby letters, give advice and discuss it with family members.
With that, the curriculum has done its job. Curricula such as this show how easy it is to change the attitude of an entire generation in a few years of intensive manipulation. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.