What Does LGBT+ Education Really Consist Of And Are Concerns About It Valid
19 Apr 2022
LGBT+ education in schools has been under attack by conservatives over the past few years with it ramping up this month. LGBT+ education has been accused of grooming, indoctrinating, and sexualizing kids. Here are 2 LGBT+ curricula we will look at to see if these claims hold up. Then we will look at the benefits of LGBT+ education.
GLSEN inclusive curriculum resource
GLSEN, an LGBT+ rights group focused on schools released a curriculum guide to help teachers craft more LGBT+ inclusive curricula. This guide emphasizes making classrooms a safe place for LGBT+ students and including age-appropriate LGBT+ topics in lessons.
The resource gives teachers a guide on LGBT+ issues by grade. In elementary school kids, the guide says kids should be taught about different family structures such as families with 2 moms or dads. It also says kids should be able to explore their identity, not just gender identity, but other stuff like race, ability, and spirituality.
It's worth bringing up here that telling kids the basics of gender identity and letting them contemplate it is not indoctrination, it just allows students to learn more about themselves which can be helpful. Gender identity is a concept core to human nature and telling kids about it won't "trans" them. The most it will do is help them find out they are transgender which can help mitigate stuff like dysphoria.
In middle school, the guide says kids should be taught more about LGBT+ history and the issues faced by LGBT+ people. It also says throughout all of the schoolings, that adding a bit of LGBT+ inclusion to subjects should also be done. This does not mean kids will be bombarded with LGBT+ material, it just means kids will see LGBT+ stuff making appearances ever so often. This should not be a problem because education should reflect the real world and LGBT+ people exist in the real world. In middle and high school, the guide states students should not be given a binary view of sex and gender. For example, students should be taught that some people are born with different chromosomes than XX/XY. It also talks about how sex education should be LGBT+ inclusive. This is not pushing gay sex onto kids more than it's pushing straight sex, you can oppose sex education, but only opposing LGBT+ inclusive sex education is illogical as it puts LGBT+ people at higher risk without important knowledge.
Diana Award and Government Equalities Office LGBT+ inclusive curriculum guide
This resource was created by the Diana Award, a group trying to end bullying in partnership with the UK Government Equalities Office.
It helps give teachers ways to integrate LGBT+ topics into the classroom. This comes in the form of activities, "more ideas," and role models. The activities give ways for teachers to educate students on LGBT+ issues in schools. Some examples include: looking at examples of homosexuality in nature, giving students resources for LGBT+ activism, or exploring LGBT+ history with a timeline.
The "more ideas" section of the document gives ideas on how to make classrooms more inclusive such as: adding different family structures in word problems, using LGBT+ demographics to discuss probability, or being lax on gender roles in school plays.
The LGBT+ role models provided could be incorporated into education to reflect the diverse world we live in. Some of these people are Alan Turing and Elton John.
Concerns and benefits
Now that we have looked at the curriculums we will look back at the 3 claims made against inclusive education. The first is that it grooms kids. Grooming is when someone tricks kids into having sexual relations with them. Using the term grooming to describe LGBT+ education is a big disrespect to real victims of grooming and does not accurately describe the situation as all the material provided is age-appropriate, more on this in a second.
The next claim is that LGBT+ education is indoctrinating kids. This claim can be broken into 3 parts. First, students are being bombarded with LGBT+ content. Second, schools are trying to normalize LGBT+ people. Third, students are being turned gay or transgender by exposure to LGBT+ content.
The first claim is false. A good education should reflect the real world and equip students for real life, this makes LGBT+ inclusion necessary because many people in the world identify as LGBT+. Also, bringing more LGBT+ content into classrooms is not shoving it in student's faces or constantly bombarding them with it, LGBT+ education simply mixes in LGBT+ topics with the rest of the curriculum.
The second claim makes no sense, there is no problem with normalizing LGBT+ people, see the rest of the site to learn why. People who make this argument are simply mad that schools are making kids grow up to be good people who accept this world's diversity.
The third claim is also false but a bit more interesting. For the gay side, people mostly are born gay or the sexuality develops from A very young age.The most telling kids about gay people will do is help them find out they are gay. While sexuality can be fluid it's unclear how a bit of exposure in school could convert someone. For the transgender side, there seems to be a biological cause of being transgender, this has been seen on brain scans and in genetic studies. A theory that being transgender is a social contagion called rapid onset gender dysphoria has also been debunked. By teaching kids about gender identity you would only be helping them figure out if they are transgender which is what was included in the curriculum guides.
The last big claim made against inclusive education is that it sexualizes kids. This false teaching about LGBT+ topics does not have to include sexual content. Educating students on LGBT+ history, different family structures, gender identity, or including LGBT+ demographics in math problems, stuff mentioned in the curriculums above does not have to be sexual. also, critique of LGBT+ inclusive sex education should go both ways and include straight sex education too.
Now that we have debunked arguments against LGBT+ education let's look at all its befits. LGBT+ Students in schools with inclusive curriculum were more likely to feel safe in school, less likely to miss school for safety reasons, and had a better grade point average. Unfortunately, only around 20% of LGBT+ students reported that their school had positive coverage of LGBT+ topics and 17% reported negative coverage. The mental health of students needs to support inclusive education and attacking it simply moves us backward.