Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gay High School

David Brody, senior correspondent for CBN, the news channel for the Religious Right, notes that Arne Duncan, the nominee for Secretary of Education, supported the idea of a high school in Chicago for gay students.

Obama’s new pick for Education secretary is Arne Duncan, head of Chicago Public Schools. He’s been pushing for Chicago to start their first gay high school. Not kidding.

Obama is going to get a lot of flack over this pick from social conservative groups and it wouldn’t surprise me if Republican Senators raise a fuss about this during his confirmation hearing. Mark my words.

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Look, I know how this will be spun. Some will say this isn’t really a “gay high school.” It’s really more a safe place and an educational environment that will cater towards gays and lesbians. But folks, let’s be real here. It’s a high school for gay students. Plain and simple.

He makes it sound like that’s a bad thing. What is he expecting, a curriculum of flower arranging, the history of decor, and cooking for the boys and auto mechanics and home repair for the girls? Wild orgies during study hall?

One of the hardest aspects of growing up gay is that we don’t get the chance to learn how to socialize with people we feel comfortable with. Kids learn about dating and the strictures of peer pressure in high school, which is tough enough for straight kids. Imagine what it’s like to go through all of that if you’re a teenage boy harboring a secret — that you’d rather go to the prom with Jack instead of Jill — or that you’d rather try out for the musical than the football team. I don’t have to imagine it; I lived it.

I don’t understand the Christianists’ objections to the idea of a high school for gay students.

While the idea of a gay high school may be troubling for some, the problem for Obama is that a pick like this doesn’t portray him in such a centrist way. It gives the impression that he’s nominating wild liberals to his Cabinet.

A high school for gay students isn’t a “wild liberal” idea; giving kids the most supportive environment while learning is a good thing and something you’d think conservatives would support. Making it easier for students to be comfortable with who they are is as much a part of education as learning the mysteries of math. And it’s not as if it will be a “recruiting” tool for the Radical Homosexual Agenda; by the time a kid is in high school, he or she pretty much knows what their orientation is.

The Religious Right has always been in favor of schools that cater to “special interests,” such as Christian schools were their kids can learn without fear of being bullied or teased because of their faith. Why is it any different for kids who want to go to a school where they can be true to themselves and not have to worry about being beat up by jocks with issues?

I think what really bothers the evangelicals is that giving gay students a comfortable learning environment goes against all the stereotypes they’ve put up about gays being unhappy, unhealthy, prone to addiction, and just plain miserable. (With all the persecution they dish out, you’d think they’d understand the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy.) Giving gay kids the chance for a normal high school experience kills off yet another pack of lies, and the intolerants will have to come up with some other outrage to marginalize us.