Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Is there anything as disputed and ill-defined as the politics of homosexuality? We start off with something shocking (c. 1950) or banal (c. 2005). A well-intentioned, though seemingly platitudinal, student-written play
The play ("Offsides") ran for approximately 20 minutes telling the story of football player Ryan Foster, portrayed by Henry and how he came to terms with the fact that he is gay. His friends, including a girlfriend, reject him.
“Am I a little too much like you for your own comfort?” Foster asked the audience from the screen. “Do you hate me because you see a little of me hiding in you?”
During the play, two men appear to kiss an instant before the stage lights are dimmed.
Queue the outrage:
- Richard Black (Republican state legislator): "The idea that our public school system is being used to promote a homosexual lifestyle is disturbing. When Christ’s name is banned in schools, and bricks with crosses on them are removed from Potomac Falls High School until a lawsuit forces them to be put back, it makes me feel that a double standard is being placed against people of faith. We are continuously lectured on the idea that we need to keep God out of the classroom. Am I now to believe that the reason we need to keep God out is so that homosexual teachings can have free reign?". And, "Within our public schools, there is a tendency to encourage homosexual activity, to portray it in a cute or favorable light. "This is a considerable health hazard right now. If we encourage just one child to experiment and contract the HIV virus, then we have done an enormous disservice to our children." One more: "The folks who go and receive education degrees in our colleges are indoctrinated in the notion that homosexuality is a positive thing, a good thing and when they come out of those teaching colleges and they go into our schools, they carry that agenda with them."
- Joseph Guzman (school board member): "There is absolutely no place for this in our schools. I am disappointed that this was allowed to occur in our district ... Imposing immorality seems to be encouraged."
- Tom Reed (school board member): "I support diversity, but it does not mean encouraging, or even tolerating, perversity."
- Bob Ohneiser (school board member): "Do you think we can bring a cadaver in school and have a cadaver appreciation course?. We absolutely censor what is brought into school." And, "But when you’re dealing with minors the introduction of sexually-explicit materials [by adults] is in the criminal section. All the sudden we’re in a whole different realm here. It raises the question of motivation. If it’s motivated by a staff person. If we find out that the drama director is part of the National Organization for the Increased Awareness of Gay Rights, I’m going to ask for criminal charges."
We start with a kiss. We end with a mess. Is this homosexual teaching? Is it encouraging homosexual activity? Is it part of an agenda? Is it criminal?
There is a potential issue in politicizing diversity. Somewhere within the notion of tolerance there is a division between criticizing hate and demanding acceptance. It's the line between challenging ideas and demanding conformity of thought. It's the line between dramatizing sexuality and encouraging sex activity. The answer, of course, is portray sex as it actually is: a painfully embarrassing experience which leaves most participants permanently scarred and ashamed.
Beyond that, the right is making several demands. First, don't challenge their ideas. They can't take it. Their deepest convictions (tax cuts for the wealthy aside) crumble when confronted by opposing viewpoints. Second, consider homosexuality from their perspective: a criminal activity equivalent to fondling a corpse, which somehow remains a compelling lure to their children.