April 23, 2008 8:02 PM
Paglia: teens shouldn't be pushed into gay identity
With the Day of Silence looming - on April 25, gay and lesbian students are supposed to make a political statement by refraining from speech - I'd like to offer an alternative view.
This Question/Answer piece appeared in Salon magazine as part of Camille Paglia's standing column. Paglia is a brilliant philosophy professor who adores football and happens to be a lesbian. What is remarkable about Paglia is her ability to think outside the box: she formulates her opinions based on her own cultural observations and not on the Gay Party Line:
I am a black, conservative female. I am proud to say that you are one of my heroes. I would like your opinion of the following press release, which I am forwarding to you. It's regarding the Gay Youth Pride Day. Now, according to some, I may have no right to have an opinion about this, because of my heterosexuality. However, I think some in the so-called "gay community" take this pride thing a bit too far. As a 19-year-old, openly straight female, I really don't understand the need for the self-anointed leaders of the gay rights movement to draw gay youngsters into their self-indulgent politics. Am I misguided or insensitive in my approach to the "young gay dilemma"?
Your conservative admirer in Va.
The psychological turmoil of adolescents at sexual awakening cannot be underestimated. Everything is in flux -- impulses, fears, dreams, with simultaneous longings for independence and for protection by adults. What I dislike about the push of organized gay activism into high schools is that it imposes a rigid political paradigm on a stage of life that is in rapid, painful transition for everyone, gay or straight.
As an equity feminist, as well as an open lesbian, I oppose special protections for any group, including my own. Teachers and administrators should obviously not permit physical harassment of any kind on school property, but verbal epithets, however offensive or hurtful, have First Amendment protection. The PC thought police, having been defeated on college campuses after the court-ordered banning of the fascist speech codes, are now oozing their way into high schools. "Hate" cannot be stopped by authoritarian manipulation but by slow social change, which may take generations.
The Internet has been a boon to lonely gay teens in geographically remote areas -- but, of course, computers still remain largely a white middle-class luxury. I find very suspicious the statistics about teen suicides with which gay activists badger the media. If gay teens are indeed attempting suicide at a higher rate than straight teens, perhaps more questions need to be asked about the genesis of homosexuality. The intolerable sense of isolation may precede the homosexuality, rather than vice versa.
I have written repeatedly about my theory that homosexuality is an adaptation, rather than an innate trait, and that it is reinforced by habit. With its cant terms of "oppression" and "bigotry," gay activism, encouraged by the scientific illiteracy of academic postmodernism, wants to deny that there is a heterosexual norm. This is madness. We need more art and history and less politics in primary education. Art gives the young the psychological and spiritual tools for authentic self-discovery. And art is where sexual dissenters have contributed the most to the human record.
In short, I agree with your concern about the Trojan Horse of gay activism, which is being dragged into high schools under the false flag of compassion. Young people who oppose homosexuality for any reason have a constitutional right to express their views, in or out of the classroom. Whatever they may privately believe as individuals, educators have a professional obligation to remain ideologically neutral in their treatment of students.
The problem with the gay political agenda - as I've said before - is that it does not allow discussion. Organizations like GLSEN are eager to push confused kids into declaring their gayness and want to be free to provide them with information and support, but they are threatened by people who've chosen to leave the homosexual lifestyle and by organizations offering information or help to those who want to leave.
The key here is choice - informed choice. Freedom of speech and free flow of information. But thanks to organizations like GLSEN, the National Education Association will allow booths at their conventions promoting their agenda among public school teachers, while organizations offering any kind of support for students who want help returning to heterosexuality are banned (read more here).
Isn't that strange? What are they afraid of? It's like Planned Parenthood refusing to allow prospective abortion customers to be given all the facts concerning their baby's development. This whole control of information is so characteristic of the Left. They know what's good for you and your kids. And if you question they're judgment, why you're just a fanatic and a hatemonger!
Students Encouraged to Stand Strong on Day of Truth
'We want to encourage Christian students to be salt and light and to speak the truth.'
On Monday, students from across the country will stand together on the fourth annual Day of Truth to support honest discussions about homosexuality.
The event comes three days after GLSEN's (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Day of Silence, which disrupts class by encouraging students to remain silent throughout the day in honor of homosexual people who feel silenced.
Mike Ensley, youth analyst for Exodus International, said the Day of Truth is about opening dialogue.
â€œI would encourage Christian students to brainstorm what they want to do, how they want to respond,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s not about being adversarial to the gay-identified students or organizations on campus. Itâ€™s about helping people understand what their attitude really is towards their fellow students.â€
Students are asked to pass out cards after class and wear T-shirts that encourage honest conversation about homosexuality.
Douglas Napier, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said Christian students should not be silent.
â€œWeâ€™d like Christian students everywhere to understand that they have the same constitutional amendments and constitutional privileges as every other student," he said. "Their viewpoint should be accepted in the schools, like any other student's.
"The First Amendment protects their right to speak out on this, and we want to encourage Christian students to be salt and light and to speak the truth.â€
More helpful information for parents - which you might want to share and discuss with your teens: Homosexuality 101. I think it's important for us to let our kids know that we will always love them no matter what choices they make later in life - and to realize the importance of that ourselves - but that you are always available and ready to talk about ANY subject which may be troubling them.