Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Soapbox

I have never discussed politics on the blog until now. And I do realize that by writing this post, I am going to stir up some controversy. So before I start, let me begin by saying that it's my blog and you don't have to read it, and it's a free country and you don't have to agree with me. (Also, I'll delete your comments if they are rude, so play nice.)

However, I know lots of you readers are living in California, and I don't know if you have heard of AB 2567. This is a bill in California that would make May 22 a holiday - Harvy Milk Day. He was "one of the nation’s first openly gay leaders" and he "inspired his community to stand strong and proud in the face of adversity.” (Read more here and here and here.)

My issue is not with this man - I don't know of his work so I can't speak to it's value - or even with the fact that the California Legislature wants to honor him. My issue is this: "The bill would encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct activities teaching students about this important LGBT leader." Please tell me how this day would go in my son's kindergarten class - my five year old son, who has not even asked the sex questions yet. Or what activities my fourth grader would participate in, who knows some of the facts of sex, but who does not know what the words lesbian or bisexual mean (and probably she doesn't understand gay either.) Can you imagine the scene when the kids ask what LGBT means? (Do you know what it means?)

My issue is not with choice - regardless of what I think is right and wrong or what my choice is, people in this country are free to choose who they want to be intimate with. My issue is this: why does it need to be the defining characteristic about a person? What you do in your bedroom is not my business - and it is not my children's business either. I know that sex education in public schools is important because not all parents are involved with teaching their kids about sex (and morality) (and they should be, but that's another soapbox), but can we keep it age appropriate? Bottom line: I'm not anti-LGBT; I'm pro-privacy.

Now that the state budget was passed yesterday, our govenor will be looking at this piece of legislation. Make your voice heard. You can call Govenor Schwarzenegger's office at (916)445-2841 and let him know what you think of AB 2567. I just called and voted NO.

For ease of the phone menus, when you call:
(916)445-2841
press 1 (to continue in English )
then press 2 (to voice your opinion on legislation)
then press 1 (to select AB 2567)
then press 1 (for YES) or 2 (for NO)

8 comments:

AmberJ said...

Wow! Although I don't live in CA and don't have kids old enough to attend public school, this may force me to be more aware of what they are teaching our kiddos in our public schools. Yikes!

Tito J said...

According to Assemblyman Mark Leno's site, AB2567 "encourages schools to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on [Milk's] life and contributions to the state." [emphasis added] It doesn't say anything about teaching kindergarteners how to have gay sex.

Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials, from a time when police conducted raids on public places (like bars) and arrested people suspected of being gay. For the gay community to go from having to hide from and fear the police to being represented in government was a huge, huge step.

On Tuesday, Feb 12 of this year, 15 year old Lawrence King was shot to death IN A CLASSROOM (in Oxnard,CA) because he was gay. Having a state holiday and legal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples will go a long way toward showing inclusiveness and acceptance. People too often forget that being gay is not about what you do as much as about whom you love.

Tito J said...

You may be interested in what Ellen DeGeneres had to say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcMEL3_YsVI&NR=1

Sheila said...

Actually I'm quite selfish - I only care what happens in my kid's school. I think age appropriate would be high school and up, but the bill is very non-specific about that.

Reggie said...

You are selfish. Apparently the govt should only function to protect you and your interests. What kind of a life would you be leading if our bureaucrats only decided to pass laws that were of interest to themselves or their own families? Why don't we wander back to that time before women's suffrage or we addressed civil rights?

Sheila said...

Reggie,
Yes, I already said that. I don't think the gov't should ONLY function to protect me, but that it SHOULD protect me as ONE of it's functions. I have strong opinions about what should go into an elementary school curriculum. Like I said before, you don't need to agree with me. But I'm not going to lock the kids in the house and order some homeschool material just to avoid a little controversy.

Tito J said...

I actually think this legislation is in everyone's interest. I don't think that you (Sheila) are arguing against an inclusive society; it sounds like you're more concerned about how this legislation might be implemented.

What concerns me is that it seems you'd rather throw out the whole thing than question how AB2567 can achieve its goal of encouraging "suitable commemorative exercises." I'd like to point out that celebrations of the first woman [pioneer in her field] do not include gynecological charts. I don't think small children have to be told anything more than "gay people are men who love men or women who love women as their life partners, just like most marriages are a man and a woman." The honeymoon activities really aren't relevant to the civil rights accomplishments that are celebrated.

Your community may decide that "suitable" means no mention of Milk's sexuality, only that he was a City Supervisor who fought to make everyone equal under the law and was assassinated. By defeating this legislation, you are making the choice for other schools in California that is it better to ignore Harvey Milk completely.

Here's a link to the text of the bill:http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_2551-2600/ab_2567_bill_20080808_enrolled.html

Sheila said...

Thanks for the food for thought, everyone. I think teaching our kids about inclusiveness and an appreciation of individuality is important - you are right about that - but I think you'll need more than one day. I think that the vagueness of this bill is going to make alot of people very nervous about supporting it.