Most Americans don't think young children are ready for lessons about sexuality and gender, writes Morgan Polikoff, a USC education professor, on the Hechinger Report. "A substantial majority of Americans have unfavorable views toward LGBTQ issues in the curriculum, especially for young children," according to a new survey he co-directed.
Fewer than half think elementary children should have access to books about most LGBT issues, and even fewer think such books should be assigned or taught, he writes. Support for teaching LGBT issues "was tepid among Democrats, just about 50 percent, and dismal among Republicans, fewer than 10 percent."
Furthermore, "when we asked more generally about whether children should learn about specific controversial topics in school, LGBT issues came in last place out of 24 listed topics."
Polikoff remembers growing up in the '90s, thinking he was probably gay but seeing no positive images of gays or gay issues in books or lessons. It would have helped.
He hopes to see schools in "blue" states adopt age-appropriate curricula on LGBTQ themes that will serve as a model. However, he thinks affirmation for "queer and questioning" students will have to come from the media, LGBTQ groups and other non-school sources, not from public schools in "red" states.
I remember the campaign for same-sex marriage. Over the years, with help from the media, advocates changed people's minds. They didn't bully. They persuaded. There were no drag queens.