Gay Teens: A Debate

A thought that’s been on my mind on and off for years came vividly to life when I happened to look at matt_mcl’s website¹, and read this:

Well, I am not afraid of being called names. I think matt is making a very important point. However, it’s the custom in America, Canada, and most of Western civilization to entrust parents with the upbringing of children and youth, and to respect their rights to believe what they want – and inevitably that will mean that some believe that “homosexuality is sinful, and curable.”

So what is to be done? What answer would you give matt – and me – on how to deal with this issue?
¹ Excuse the link to the main page; it’s put together with frames. Click on the inverted triangle and scroll down for the material (but browse the site; there’s some very interesting stuff on it!

I think this is a custom that needs to be changed, pronto. We no longer allow people to raise their kids with the belief that it’s okay to beat them senseless (socially, if not legally). This is another such situation where the good of the child may come in conflict with the interests of the parents.

Raising your kids to believe that ‘homosexuality is sinful, and curable’ often results in them being (a) violent/hateful towards gays (b) absolutely miserable, or © dead (or some combination thereof). No child should be raised facing such risks. Your right to raise your kid the way you want ends where your kid’s right to a secure and healthy life begin. Part of being a good parent is teaching your child to be self-sufficient and self-confident: teaching them that gay=sin will result in quite the opposite, if the child suspects they might be.

It’s like teaching kids about birth control independent of their parent’s wishes. I understand people still object to this but it has become much more acceptible. I think teaching kids that ‘some people are gay, and they don’t deserve to be teased about it, and if you think you are, here’s a place you can go to talk about it’ isn’t too far from ‘Some people want to have sex before they’re married, and if you do, here’s a place you can go to talk about it.’ Both are ambiguous re: the parent’s concerns but don’t leave kids in the dark.

Of course I don’t believe that the problems of gay youth should be ignored, but are the solutions inherent to eliminating the situations that Matt_mcl describes as follows:

Is XY magazine akin to Sorts Illustrated, Teen, Playboy,Penthouse or Hustler with respect gratuitous sex? If the latter, I would say big deal. If the former, I would suggest overt bigotry.

I’ve never heard of any gay youth group shut down. Could any one provide a cite for this allegation?

Teachers and Social workers muzzled ? Just How?

Journalists entrapped by charges of Pedophilia? Who?

All these assertions suggest a great societal impediment that would have to be addressed Poly before any solution to the problems of gay youth can be effected.

I would however like to hear some corroboration for these assertions. Otherwise, we must begin to look much deeper for the solution.

For the social workers and lawyers in the hizouse: Are there provisions for emotional abuse in the child abuse laws, and would telling one’s gay child that they were a sinner and would burn in hell * et al * qualify?

Or, are we thinking of an “It’s okay to be a gay teen” message being broadcast via a section in Sex Ed, a required class, or even TV commercials?

This happens a lot—in fact, it happened in the high school where my Mom worked. Some students and teachers formed a “straight/gay alliance” group, and the school shut it down—sometimes, school boards will shut down all clubs just to get rid of the gay-tainted ones (there’s been two articles in the NYT about that happening recently).

XY Magazine. Judge for yourself.

And here in Tucson, a story hit the evening news not six months ago about a teacher at a local school who was censured for having a speaker from the local gay and lesbian community center speak to three classes about discrimination about gays and lesbians. It sparked a massive thread over in the BBQ pit, which can be found here.

Now, back to the OP…

I think that schools have a responsibility to make up for decades of institutional homophobia by giving gay kids access to information about their sexuality. It makes no sense to have sex education, and then talk only about straight sex; gay kids matter too, and need good information about their sexuality as much as straight kids do.

The homophobia that’s rampant in our society thrives in ignorance, and it’s inexcusable that our schools are the breeding grounds in which this ignorance thrives.

i know this is a big generalisation, but it seems to be much worse for young gay men than lesbians.

at least that’s how it was in my school.
(i’m only 20, remember)

in my all-girl middle class school there were 3 lesbian couples in the graduating class of 100, with several other out gay/bi girls in the year.

however our brother school, also middle class, also class of 100 had NO out gay men…until after graduation…at which point 3 guys outed themselves.
several other guys just went to uni and came back the next christmas vacation with a boyfriend.
do bear in mind this is Belfast rather than San Fransisco here.
not exactly the home of open-minded liberals.

in the case of my school, the teachers were quite aware of all the relationships, and as long as any PDAs were kept to the sixth form common rooms, were happy to let everything pass without comment.

in the UK i firmly believe Section 28 has to go.
it’s anachronistic, bigoted, and does nothing to help those students who are gay accept and take pride in their orientation.

Yeah, and while we’re at it, we should also make sure parents can’t teach their children that blood transfusions are wrong.

For a recent example, we can look to Boyd, Co. Kentucky where the school superintendent wanted to ban all nonacademic clubs in order to avoid allowing a Gay/Straight Alliance. When they failed to stop the club by that means, the town let the Gay and Gay-friendly folks know just how despised they are.

Not enough for you? How about Klein (Texas) Independent School District.

Well, at least schools aren’t under any pressure to not talk about blood transfusions, so those kids have some alternative source of information on which to base their own decision on the matter.

Well, it certainly discusses sex, and has plenty of photos of hot guys with their shirts off in it. The rest of it is news analysis, advice, support, and writing and essays by gay youth.

Apparently, it no longer restricts schools, but many people in charge don’t know this and self-censor as if it applied. Students will not be permitted to see the highly acclaimed play The Laramie Project about the murder of Matt Shepard because of it.

And who’s to decide what a secure and healthy life is? I don’t agree with you. Many people don’t consider the gay life to be healthy. It’s called freedom of religion and we still have it in this country. Parents do have the right to raise their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” and that includes teaching them that homosexuality is wrong if that’s what they believe from their reading of the Bible.

You can’t dictate to Christian parents what they can and can’t tell their kids regarding what they consider to be a sinful act. Where will it all end then? Shall we take kids away from parents and have them raised by the state so they can be taught all the politically correct garbage without hearing the other side of the story? I don’t think so. We’re still a free country.

Your freedom to continue to propagate ignorance to your own children isn’t in jeopardy, H4E.

Your ability to influence the curriculum of schools to reflect your values, however, is.

Sounds a lot like YM. :wink:

Yes I can, easily. That is why journalists in such situations should make arrangements beforehand to establish the legitimacy of their actions in the event that they may appear to have less than repiutable motives. In this case Mirken was acquited right ?

Surely you don’t advocate the termination of law enforcement activities with respect to catching pedophiles through the internet do you ?

The main thing for me is

That’s a very odd statement to attribute to me. No, I’m advocating not conspiring to entrap people on the basis of a belief that the only reason for an older gay man to speak to a younger one is in an attempt to lay him. That would make gay elders more secure in dealing with, counselling, and otherwise interacting in a community with young gay people.

I’ve never heard of any gay youth group shut down. Could any one provide a cite for this allegation?

As Homebrew correctly reported the Boyd County(where I live)School Board upheld the school’s action for the dissolution of the Gay and Lesbian Club in one of the only two high schools in the County…They prompted their descision on the guise of student safety and security…And the on the quick look this decision seems valid. But as any one living in this vastly conservative christian region knows, it had little if any reason in their descision. And in fact gay bashing in the area is on the rise and some folk, me included, believe it is because of this action…The teens invloved in these attacks have garnered validation for their abhorent behavior by the example presented by the adults on the School board. Further, they refuse to close any other extracirrucular clubs, including the Christian club which also deals with issues of teen sexuality(but this being heterosexuality, and through commitments of sexual abstinance).