This is an extremely heated topic as sexuality becomes more visible in the United States. It’s always been there, but we just haven’t talked about it at length and in depth until now. The question is, should we teach gender and sexual fluidity to children between the ages of 5-10 years old, and I answer unequivocally, yes, yes we should. Of course, there are people who disagree, especially since we don’t know the “root” of this “problem.” Is it biologically determined or is it due to differential socialization? If it’s the latter, then will teaching this “turn” people one way or another? For the people who compare teaching sexuality to religion, we’re not trying to ‘recruit’ your children into believing a certain ideology; we’re just teaching them that it’s out there. And who knows maybe we should teach religion to younger children to be more tolerant of other religions. I know parents are taking their children to places of worship as young as a few months old, so why not teach sexuality the same way?
People who aren’t outwardly homophobic say that they weren’t taught to be ‘inclusive,’ but they’re not evil and or ‘hate’ queer people. Well, good for you, but you’re also the same people who say, ‘I’m not homophobic but, I would never read my child an LGBTQ+ children’s book unless my child was actively ‘that.’’ Why wait? Why not teach kids the meaning of love and all types of love at an early age. LGBTQ+ books should be read just as equally as heterosexual books. They should be treated the same way if we’re going to ever live in an equal society.
It’s impossible to tell what your child’s sexuality might be as an adult, but we shouldn’t discourage queer or encourage hetero or any type of behavior too soon. At the same time, it’s hard to raise your child as gender neutral in the society we’ve built today. Children who are raised gender neutral tend to have psychological issues later because their parents chose for them. So let’s not choose for them. Let’s show them everything out there and let them gravitate towards whatever fits them at any certain time. Some ‘boys’ will play with ‘girly’ things as children and turn out to be ‘straight,’ others may be trans or any possible place on the spectrum. Some adult women like women for a time and then get married to a man. Gender and sexuality is fluid and kids need to be taught that because there will undoubtedly be LGBTQ+ children in there either who identify in that way or have parents that affiliate that way. They need to feel and be included no matter what in order to end homophobia and embrace everyone.
I put this blog post under the category ‘Campus Climate’ because I heard all of the homophobic quotes hear at school. I always saw my college as a liberal place where everyone was free to do as they pleased, but that’s clearly not the case. It’s just the way I filtered my own world to not see any prejudice that I didn’t agree with. Clearly in reality it’s a different story. There’s still hate and bigotry out there that must be debated, and as an ally I will do my best to help.
21 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.