One of the silliest arguments that the Religious Right uses to keep us down is the "Children just can't deal with homosexuality/transsexuality/gay culture/drag queens/queer PDA at their age - their minds just aren't ready for it."
It's silly because it's simply untrue - kids just see it, and, like most things adults do, ignore it and integrate it into their idea of "normal." That's what the righters are really worried about - that kids will stop thinking of this whole thing as such a big deal.
So when this story broke about how a school near Philadelphia was going to have a convocation for all its third-graders to talk about transgender tolerance (there's a 9-year-old at that school who's trans), the same-old rhetoric began pouring out. But all it does is show that those adults are less ready for these discussions than their kids are.
Here are some responses from parents:
We have talked to many other parents in our class and all seem to have come to the same conclusion? Why is the school introducing this subject to 8 and 9 year olds ? Why were we not notified sooner. We received the letter today, the discussion at school is tomorrow. No consent form, no option to have our children not attend, nothing.
my kid would be home with me in protest !! this world is going to crap in a hand bag! Angry wtf wtf
Blanketing an entire class of 8 year olds with an incredibly adult and confusing subject with no parental buffer because 1 child may or may not be mistreated is every bit as irresponsible as you claim Annunciation would be by sweeping it under the rug.
And someone who sums up about half the comments on the thread:
In our society today, there seems to be an overwhelming need to educate our children on sex and/or sexual issues becfore they are MENTALLY able to handle it. I don't feel we are doing our children as a society any good by forcing them to wrap their minds around things that are way too complicated and confusing for young children to comprehend. The reason kids are "growing up too fast" is because we are letting them by involving them in adult topics. The reason why they are sexually active younger and younger is because they are exposed to these ideas younger and younger. It has been proven scientifically that girls are getting their periods younger because of all the sexual stimuli in their environment. You can't control everything your child sees and hears but you can put your foot down and JUST SAY NO to these topics being discussed before our children are really ready to hear it. Sex and sexual topics is not just about the physical but about the MENTAL READINESS of our children. I don't care how bright or "mature" you think your children are, they are still children and should be given the chance to be children.
I'm 90% sure that the educators at that school planned out the convocation so that it would be age appropriate. I doubt they're going to get into the in's and out's of gender and sexuality, but mainly tell the kids that it's OK for the transgirl to dress as she wants.
Lost on the Haverford community members who are up in arms about this is the fact that there's a transgirl who isn't being treated so well at their school and whether she's ready to be disparaged by her classmates (especially the kids of the parents who have the most problems with the transgirl). One parent points out:
I too am a Chatham parent-while I do not have a 3rd grader, I do know the child and family in question--I believe that as with all things at the district it was probably becoming an issue for the child and the child's classmates and therefore getting in the way of the daily classroom functioning so they decided to address it to neutralize any negativity. I doubt very much that any discussion will be beyond a basic acknowlegement of the situation and ways to become more tolerant and understanding of the differences between people.
Often when I'm in Paris I show off the gay PDA (when in Rome...) and the only stares I've gotten are from adults. The kids just ignore it and integrate it into another part of "what grown-ups do."
Because they're ready to learn here. I mean, they're already in school....