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Sep 28 2011

Please confuse the children of Family Values parents

It’s so easy to get them all mixed up when their parents tell them that gays are evil and sinful and that only little boys want to play baseball and only girls should wear pink. All you have to do is show them that these things their parents are telling them aren’t true.

The Toronto District School Board has actually done something to redeem itself in my eyes. A difficult proposition considering I just found out they’re offering degrees in baloney. They recently proposed a set of improvements for public school curricula that would teach children that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people exist, and that it’s not nice to call them names or try to hurt them. Who’d have thought this would be such a confusing proposition?

The full curriculum is available here, weighing in at a whopping 223 pages, and it includes not only the curriculum’s stated goals, but also the following text on pages 3 and 4:

What Anti-Homophobia Education Is NOT!
Anti-homophobia education is not sex education. It does not involve the explicit description or discussion of sexual activities.

Anti-homophobia education does not “corrupt” children by introducing topics beyond their understanding. It is age-appropriate, usually conducted as part of material about other equity-seeking groups, and conforms to provincial education guidelines for different age levels.

Anti-homophobia education does not encourage children to become lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, or queer. Sexual orientation (whether one is or will be attracted to people of the same or opposite sex) is deep-seated and personal, and cannot be changed or influenced by reading a book or hearing a presentation.

Anti-homophobia education does not teach children that their parents’/guardians’/caregivers’ religious values are wrong. We live in a very diverse society. From a very young age, children learn that different religions and different families believe in different things. For example, learning that different groups have different dietary rules does not teach children that the diet required by their parents/guardians/caregivers or their religion is wrong.

So what does the Family Values crowd do when confronted with such disclaimers that it isn’t about teaching about sex, confusing children, or attempting to ‘turn’ them? Why, claim that that’s exactly the aim of the program, of course! “Heavens forefend”, says the wilting theist, “that MY little girl learn that gender roles like ‘girls wear dresses and boys play cowboy’ are largely societal constructs rather than intrinsic properties — I might have to put teacups over her ears!” CanadianValues.ca posted the following petition to stop the Inclusive Curriculum initiative and included an image that I will upload for posterity, in case it’s shuffled off their page at any time in the future.

Not only is the program is intended to integrate learning that LGBTQ folks exist into regular classroom activities to normalize their existence, it’s also intended to lead a discussion in class about why it’s not acceptable to call one another “faggot” or to bully each other on the basis of uncontrollable differences like gender — in much the same way that they presently discuss race and why it’s not acceptable to call one another various racial slurs. This, of course, is anathema to the Right to Bigotry so vaunted by religionists everywhere there’s a progressive agenda toward plurality. So, they’re framing it, of course, as a rights issue — not only are these pluralistic ideas being “forced” on the children, they’re being “forced” on the parents too — since the curriculum specifically recommends on page 10 that children not be allowed religious exemptions or be forced to send notes home for parents to sign off on specific modules. Since such an integrative approach would involve many casual references to homosexuals, I suspect kids of particularly zealously religious parents would be forced to leave the room for ten second spans every five minutes or so any time someone’s brought up that might be considered offensive by the parents who’d rather disrupt a whole classroom than have their children’s carefully acculturated ignorance of gender politics be breached.

And just look at that twee font. Which kinda sorta looks like something a kid might write, if they worked nights at a Tiki bar I guess.

Word.ca also uploaded the PDF, helpfully renaming the file to “See page 10!” for those who might also get confused by all that stuff about it not being their intention at all on page 3. Yes, skip past the evidence to the contrary, you easily manipulable Family Values voters! You gullible fools, whose roles as sheep have been inculcated in you as long as your sense of gender roles in society! Go straight to page ten, and rage, RAGE, against those damnable perverts trying to convert our sweet little children!

Hat tip to Stephanie Zvan of Almost Diamonds for sending this along, knowing full well I’d have to have a nice little rant over this one.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    The TDSB is not granting degrees in baloney. They are merely allowing private citizens to teach hobby courses in baloney on their property in exchange for money. This situation is akin to those legitimate museums or planetariums renting out rooms to Christian groups who show creationist films. Except for the fact that the Christian group hopes that people will be fooled into thinking that the museum has endorsed the creationist propaganda thus giving it legitimacy. I don’t think that the instructors of these courses are secretly hoping that people will honestly think that the school board is lending their accreditation to classes about gardening, basket weaving, or reiki. You might have a case that the school board should not allow classes that promote pseudoscience to take place on their property, being as they are against the mandate of the school system which is to promote education in reality, but if that’s your argument you should make it instead of constructing a strawman.

    On the main topic of this post, I agree of course. They might get some blow back, but I think the religiots won’t even be able to take it to court–the case has already been won in BC, I believe.

  2. 2
    Kiwi Sauce

    Hi Jason. I think not being a bigot was a Canadian value. Is this some sort of trick question where Canadian Values = fundamentalist xtian values?

    I thought Canadians were nicer, and smarter, than that. :(

  3. 3
    Aliasalpha

    “Go straight to page ten, and rage, RAGE, against those damnable perverts trying to convert our sweet little children!”

    Hmm, misquoting Dylan Thomas time

    Rage, rage against the teaching of the nice?

    Rage, rage against the dying of the right?

    Rage, rage against the intolerant bigoted arseholes who want to developmentally stunt their own children by browbeating them into hating people who are almost identical to themselves save for superficial differences causing significant suffering for no good reason?

    Granted the last one doesn’t quite fit the poem but I still kind of like it

  4. 4
    AlanMac

    To quote Homer Simpson:

    “Having kids is great. You can teach them to hate the same things you hate. And they practically raise themselves!”

    Who are we to interfere with a parent’s rights
    (We need a font called “Sarcastica”)

  5. 5
    julian

    “The children! Won’t somebody please think of the children!”

    “We are. That’s what this is about. Protecting children from abuse at the hands of their peers and helping them understand why bullying others because of their gender or sexuality is wrong.”

    “Oh… well carry on, I suppose.”

  6. 6
    Jason Thibeault

    Ibis: I wasn’t even going as far as saying that the courses were school-accredited or taking place on their property, but the school is handling registration (see the linked PDF on that post), and is taking money from those shysters to advertise their courses in the curriculum. That’s as good as complicity as far as I’m concerned.

  7. 7
    Ben Zvan

    I just went to their webpage and read the following in an article on the front page:

    “I ripped the pages out so I wouldn’t have to explain [the concepts] to him,”

    These people are all about the ignorance.

  8. 8
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @ Jason

    When you say things like: “[the TDSB] is granting degrees in [x]” or call the list of general interest classes “a curriculum” you give the impression that they are school-accredited and that someone who takes a bunch of cake decorating and natural healing classes can earn a degree or diploma from the school board.

    …but the school is handling registration…and is taking money from those shysters to advertise their courses…That’s as good as complicity as far as I’m concerned.

    As I said, you might have a valid argument here: the school board, by taking money from the woo-ish class attendees, are complicit in miseducating people and making money from it. The other stuff is distracting because it makes it sound like you’re angry about something that isn’t even happening.

    On a side note, this type of thing isn’t limited to the TDSB. I think most school boards (at least the ones with which I’m familiar) have similar money-raising schemes.

  9. 9
    Composer99

    Another possibly-applicable Homer Simpson quote:

    Children are the future… unless we get them first!

  10. 10
    F

    They never fail, do they? Right out of the starting blocks”

    Don’t confuse me, I’m a girl.

    Headdesk!

  11. 11
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    So you’ve got this common-sense “some people are different, they’re just as human as you or I, please adhere to basic rules of civil interaction.”

    And then you’ve got Christers, upset that the district is even acknowledging the existence of LGBT people, much less telling kids to behave decently!

    <cynical>
    Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me.
    </cynical>

  12. 12
    Veronica Abbass

    The National Post apologized for running the ad

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/30/an-apology-from-the-national-post/

  13. 13
    Jason Thibeault

    I didn’t even know it was in the National Post to begin with. Wow. At least they were self-aware enough to repudiate the “corruption” part of the ad, even if they didn’t explicitly call it out for the baseless “confusion” nonsense. As though it would confuse a white child, learning that blacks exist and it’s not okay to call them names.

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