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Keaton Wardell
Professor Cole
Eng. 2010
10 April, 2015
The learning of homosexuality in school
Elementary school is a place of learning, growth, and understanding. This is a time in
every kids life where they learn how to interact socially with their peers, learn about the world,
and learn how to think. However there is one crucial area of study being left out that is affecting
many kids and teens, and that is homosexuality.
For young children, their school environment is the primary place where they interact
socially with their peers. As part of these kids developmental process, this interaction with peers
serves many functions, such as learning social interaction skills, increasing confidence, and
promoting group belonging and support. However, according to Paul Poteat and Dorothy L.
Espelage from the University of Illinois, bullying and victimization contributes to the disruption
of this developmental process and for many students is associated with both immediate and
sustained negative psychological and social consequences. Homophobic victimization and
bullying is one form of discrimination that is still going on in schools and out of schools in
todays society.
Research among gay, lesbian, and straight students indicates that the use of homophobic
remarks is just one way in which homophobia is expressed among students, and people in
general. One way to help stop this discrimination, bullying, and victimization among these kids
is to give them a better understanding of homosexuality. After all, school is a place of all
knowledge and a place where you are expected to leave, being a more well-rounded individual.

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The hard truth however, is that elementary, middle, and high schools do not teach anything on
homosexuality. This causes confusion for LGBT kids because they might not fully understand
their sexual orientation and causes other kids to be confused, which can result in bullying.
Teaching these kids at young age about homosexuality
can give them a better understanding of the subject
and help them grow up knowing there really is no big
difference between LGBT people and straight people.
The exclusion of homosexuality not being taught in schools is not only creating bullying,
discrimination, and victimization, it is also taking away these kids opportunity to learn about
queer culture. We all learn in school about a time when women could not vote nor hold property
in their own names, where Native Americans were being slaughtered wholesale, and white
people openly bought and sold black people. We also learn about great people who changed the
face of history like Rosa Parks, Richard Allen, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Elizabeth
Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and much more. Along with that we also learn about huge events in
history like the March on Washington, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Rides, the
Emancipation Proclamation, the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments, the building of the
American Woman Suffrage Association, and the list goes on and on. We dont however learn
anything about queer history and culture; letting it get kicked under the rug as not important or
not worthy of learning. Some schools do offer classes on queer history and culture but these are
not obtainable until college, and even then not many colleges offer this course of study.
There are many great things to learn from queer history, and the teaching of these things
in schools can not only help LGBT kids have an area of study they can relate to, it can also help
all kids have a better and deeper understanding of the world we live in and how we got to where

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we are today. Without homosexuality and queer history/culture being taught in schools, all kids
are losing out on learning about things like the Stonewall riots, the persecution of homosexuals
in Nazi Germany, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, along with people like Alfred Kinsey, Emily
Dickinson, and Harvey Milk.
According to Kris Gowen and Nichole
Winges-Yanez from the Regional
Research Institute for Human Services,

badge was to denote


homosexual men.

School of Social Work, and Portland


State University research on general academic content shows that including positive
representations of LGBT people, history, and events is associated with a safer, more accepting
school climate for LGBT youth. Now why is homosexual culture and history being treated
differently than any other minority group? Is it because its still a hot button issue in todays
society, is it out of fear, or is it because of something totally different?
Many different groups can influence the curriculum in schools. This includes teachers,
students, parents, and administrators. A good portion of these people tend to follow some sort of
religion, letting their religious views effect their choices in school academics and curriculum.
According to the Center for Public Education, Board members and school administrators are
required to allow personal acts of religious faith but to simultaneously avoid any appearance that
religion (or any particular religion) enjoys special status. If this is true, why are these religious
groups having a say in what does and doesnt get taught in schools? The duty to uphold the
Constitution is one of the big difference between public schools and religious schools. For some
reason however, these government sponsored schools are still getting pushed around by these

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religious groups. Because these schools are paid for by the government and we still have
separation of church and state in this country, why are we letting their religious views seep
through the cracks into our public schools; not letting homosexual culture or history be taught?
Private schools however are not bound by this part of our constitution and can fully incorporate
religious views into their curriculum and academics. Because these private schools arent
government funded, they can teach or dont teach whatever their hearts desire, and thats
perfectly fine.
Furthermore, the fear of coming to terms with homosexuality can cause much torment in
many kids lives. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United
States, attempted suicide rates are over four times higher for lesbian, gay, and bisexual
students. Not only that, but they indicate that 92% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
students in middle and high school report that they frequently or often hear homophobic remarks,
such as faggot, dyke, or the expression thats so gay from their peers. Being educated about
homosexuality early in a kids academic life however, can help LGBT kids feel more secure about
themselves and also help break down the discrimination between children. This will help kids be
able to grow up understanding not only themselves more, but also each other. Making no room
for confusion, fear, shame, loneliness, and anger. For a start teachers could offer LGBT
resources, making it available either in the community or online. Having access to resources can
be very beneficial to students who may not feel comfortable asking questions about sexual
orientation or gender identity in front of the classroom. Another reason for wanting additional
resources is to provide young people with how to get support or more information in the
community if they, or a friend, identify as LGBT.

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Without the teaching of homosexual culture and history in public schools we are losing
the opportunity to help stop the discrimination and bullying of LGBT youth, show that queer
culture isnt less than any other minority, and help LGBT youth grow up having a better
understanding of themselves and people like them. So why not teach homosexuality in schools if
it can solve many problems we are having in todays society?

Works Cited

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"Bullying & Sexual Orientation | Violence Prevention Works." Bullying & Sexual Orientation |
Violence Prevention Works. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
<http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/bullying_sexual_orientation.page>.
Darden, Edwin. "Religion and Public Schools." Center for Public Education. 5 Apr. 2006. Web.
10 Apr. 2015.
Fischer, Mindy. "Teaching About Homosexuality In Elementary SchoolsIndoctrination? Or
Education?" Liberals Unite. 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
Gowen, Kris, and Nichole Winges-Yanez. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and
Questioning Youths Perspectives of Inclusive School-Based Sexuality Education."
JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH (2014). Ebsco. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
Haeberle, Erwin. "Swastika, Pink Triangle and Yellow Star - The Destruction of Sexology and
the Persecution of Homosexuals in Nazi Germany." The Journal of Sex Research 17.3
(1981). Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
<http://web.a.ebscohost.com.dbprox.slcc.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3979f644877a-44da-8d50-e5d5d806cade@sessionmgr4004&vid=4&hid=4106>.
Poteat, V. P., and D. L. Espelage. "Predicting Psychosocial Consequences of Homophobic
Victimization In Middle School Students." The Journal of Early Adolescence (2007):
175-91. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
"Support SIECUS!" SIECUS. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <http://www.siecus.org/index.cfm?
fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=1196>.