My views on sex ed aren't anti-gay
By Martha Schaerr
In Michael Birnbaum's Oct. 27 news article, "School board hopeful has new focus," David Fishback of the D.C. chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays was quoted as saying that my views on the sex-ed curriculum are "antithetical to the health and welfare of . . . gay students," implying that I or my views are somehow "anti-gay." I disagree. I share his opposition to bullying of any student -- especially the most vulnerable ones -- and desire to work with him and anyone else to eliminate unkindness and marginalization.
I do not agree, however, that schools should be teaching students that sexual orientation is inevitably innate and that this is the only legitimate view of the issue. As the American Psychological Association has recently stated, "Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation . . . is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles."
The curriculum should leave students free to determine for themselves whether sexual orientation is a matter of heredity, environment, choice or some combination. Allowing students to make that decision for themselves is not "anti-gay." Nor is it "anti-gay" to seek to ensure that all students are given clear information about the health risks of any sexual practices discussed in the curriculum. American teens -- both gay and straight -- are acquiring sexually transmitted diseases in epidemic proportions. If we're going to talk about anal sex in a health class or a condom video, it's irresponsible not to warn students -- especially gay students -- about the medical evidence showing the heightened health risks of anal sex compared with vaginal sex, even with a condom.
The writer is a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Montgomery County School Board.
| October 29, 2010; 9:41 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Montgomery County
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