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October 26th, 2010

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12:41 pm - One answer to GLBT Bullying
With all the discussions of bullying GLBT youth, it seems there's a relatively easy answer: "A north London school which has developed lessons on gay historical figures who suffered persecution claims to have succeeded in 'more or less eliminating homophobic bullying' in its classrooms and playgrounds over the last five years.

The life story of the wartime code-breaker Alan Turing is among those being used to tackle homophobia. Authors Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin and artist Andy Warhol also feature."

This doesn't surprise me at all, having already seen data that positive exposure can significantly reduce prejudice. Of course, the problem is that in many US schools (likely the ones that most need it) parents and various religious groups will complain loudly and at great length about schools pushing the "homosexual agenda" and similar nonsense. I'm not certain that this issue is going to change until either acceptance of GLBT people is high enough that such complaints vanish (which in and of itself will almost certainly greatly reduce bullying) or more parents are persuaded that "protecting" their children from alternative points of view is in some way right or good. The only other option I can see is passing some federal laws mandating schools to teach at least short segments about the oppression of GLBT people, and presumably also about sexism & racism. This is likely the most practical solution, but one that won't be remotely easy to implement (*sigh*) We definitely need more politicians willing to stand up to bigots and tell them that their fear and hatred are not acceptable.
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[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
This awesome bit from the article:

"A week ago, a group of 10 and 11 year olds trooped into Barnes's classroom and she played them a clip from the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which is about three drag queens travelling across the Australian outback. The pupils appeared happy to discuss transvestites and transsexuals.

"There is a man at my auntie's work who wears a skirt and has really hairy legs," said one. "Criss-cross is where you like both men and women," offered another.

Florence, aged 12, told the class about the first wedding she went to. "It was a gay wedding and they were called Andrew and Eric, and I wanted to be a bridesmaid, but I had only known them for two years."

Josiah, aged 11, said: "The pope opposes homosexuality, but I don't know why, as I think everyone should have free will.""

Wow. First of all, we would never show Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to 10- and 11-year-olds. Second of all, people will complain that teaching LGBT history would be a violation of the First Amendment, since it teaches ideas that are contrary to the teachings of Christianity. (Assuming that any Dominionists would know what the First Amendment means - Christine O'Donnell gave proof that she did not. I assume many others would have the same problem.)
[User Picture]
Date:October 27th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
Oh, it's really cool that the program worked so well. I wasn't so sure that proactive efforts in formalised classes would actually, you know, get into the kids' psyches as opposed to making them roll their eyes and scoff at it.

Josiah, aged 11, said: "The pope opposes homosexuality, but I don't know why, as I think everyone should have free will."

Great on civil rights, a little shaky on what "free will" actually means. XD

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