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Jerry Yang

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Should education systems begin providing LGBT education for their students?

Teen LGBT role model Jacob Rudolph came out at an acting awards ceremony on January 23, 2013. On his CNN interview with Don Lemon, Rudolph says he's thinking about proposing a new bill for LGBT education in the education system in Texas. What do you think about this bill?

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  • Feb 4 2013: As a gay woman, I would love to see a greater understanding of LGBT persons on a large scale, but I don't think that introducing it as a specific education topic is necessarily the way to do it. Unfortunately, most people come pre-loaded with their personal experiences and biases (whether they be positive or negative), but in my experience, the best way to learn about something is to seek it out and interact with it. Personally, I would much rather have someone blatantly ask me something about my sexuality instead of make an assumption about it. It might be considered rude, but as long as it's coming from a place of curiosity or wanting to increase one's knowledge, I don't find it harmful at all. I think by making it a topic in a classroom, it's too generalized. It can't even begin to encompass all of the experiences that someone has, whether it be because they are gay, black, female, transgender, what have you. We all learn about the holocaust in school, and it comes across as horrific. However, take a moment to find someone whose family has lived through it, and you can see the pain in their eyes and their face. It's a completely different kind of learning experience.
    If we can take away anything from school, let it be that we're never done learning. Schools should encourage this idea, that knowledge is one of the greatest forms of sustenance. Don't stop learning, because the world is never going to stop changing.
  • Feb 4 2013: Honestly no. I would like to see our schools focus less attention on how we are different, and more attention on how we are all alike as human beings, citizens of the United States and the world. I honestly don't care if you are black, white, red or green, male or female, catholic or atheist, asexual, multisexual or whatever. I don't think any class or agenda should get special attention or focus. I do think during all our studies there should be a concerted effort to point out what each and every one of us has in common, and the importance of remembering that when conflicts arise.
  • Feb 4 2013: My answer is no diversity and tolerance should be taught as a whole(all children should learn this) not as individual topics. The only way to erase bigotry is to create a world in which upon seeing difference you have no judgment. How you treat someone should be based on them not some label.
  • Feb 10 2013: I'm not entirely sure LGBTQ education will necessary help in ways it is intended too. I feel the question this solution is proposed to solve is inhierently flawed - it takes a box that segregates a group of individuals in the first place, perhaps the best course of action would be to focus attention on the humanity of others instead of facecets or components of an individuals' personality. I identify myself as gay to others so it's easier for others to comprehend, but that is very small part of what makes up my humanity. I think that if we were to teach the next generation anything, it should be how to objectively view a problem and break it down as small as possible - there are many types of homosexuals who identify themselves on a scale. If we understand that one can disect anything into limitless parts, we can better understand that human beings are made up of limitless environmental interactions with the constraints of genetics.
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    Feb 5 2013: This can have an opposite effect. I have a Russian accent. Many people tell me: "Your English is very good!" thinking that they are making a compliment. I say "Thanks" and I think to myself: "If it were truly good, you would not say this. It wouldn't even cross your mind that I'm not a native English speaker".

    It should be addressed in schools, but not as a separate subject - in a more subtle way. This is a lot more delicate than addressing other diversity issues. But I don't see harm in having a topic about homosexuality in a larger context of sexual education. A special bill for that may cause unnecessary political tensions, in my opinion. There is enough needless worry and undue anxiety around this issue.
  • Val K.

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    Feb 7 2013: I think that schools should have more initiatives to embrace differences and teach our children that a more diverse community makes for a richer community. I disagree with the idea that we should ignore our differences and take refuge in the idea that we are all the same. At our core, yes we are all connected and a part of the same human spirit. But we are all uniquely different, each and everyone of us. Instead of pretending that these differences do not exist, we have to embrace them, celebrate them and move forward.

    Once we move past our differences, imagine what a massively productive, charismatic place the world will be. Just llike in iO Tillett Wright's Fifty shades of gay, we are not all meant to be activists standing up for basic rights that should not require our advocacy. All people are meant to be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect, regardless of sexual preference, religious affiliation, racial background, age, sex etc. I
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    Feb 4 2013: What would be the curricular goals, and who would set them? If acceptance of people regardless of anything is the goal, then certainly all groups should be included. If the goal is to single out something about LGBT folks, then it's a bad idea. I agree with previous posters who argue for unifying rather than separating.

    Also, I'm not sure how it would fit into our sex ed. curriculum which focuses on growth, pregnancy, and disease.
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    Feb 4 2013: When I looked up Jacob Rudolph I found he was a high school student who came out his senior year at his New Jersey schools award ceremonies shocking students and teachers. His connection with Texas confuses me. Has he traveled there for the purpose of promoting the LGBT agenda? Why is he a role model. Thousands have came out .. he is not nationally known for anything or holds a position, etc ... Other than coming out in a New Jersey high school what reason is he a role model.

    I lived in Texas for many years as a engineer and think that this would further entrench and divide students into very distinct camps. Currently they are divided into "ropers", "dopers", "jocks", and "nurds". LGBT legislation would simply provide for another division which in my opinion would not be good and could possibly cause more harm. I have not viewed any statistics that show any major gains from this focus in schools. Should equal time be given to ropers, dopers, jocks, or nurds or any other "group" that is emerging or requests it. Who do we deny and who do we approve. Is this really education of is it acceptance training? Is it the "job" of the public education system as defined in its mission statement?

    And last .... schools agandas are being swamped with the state and federal mandates. We have seen significant drops in our testing results in world head to head competition. As more focus is being put on core subjects and fisical resources are declining causing a system of pritorizing and elimination of courses being offered ... what would you suggest dropping to finance this addition to the curriculum.

    You may think that I am anti LGBT ... but I am pro school ... I think that this is a very bad time to push agendas that would cause more division and expense to schools.

    This would be better accepted in Dallas where the East ends .. than in Ft Worth where the West begins. Good luck.
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    Feb 4 2013: The idea seems good, as aren't LGBT young people the objects of bullying, taunting, teasing, etc. Nobody should have to experience that.

    Just out of curiosity, Jerry, and I hope this isn't a depressing question, but have you ever been bullied or taunted for anything? For example, you're probably Asian, have you ever been mistreated over that?
  • Feb 4 2013: And what would that be? God made these people or They should be burned at the stake. We want God in the schools Does that mean reading excerpts of the Rig Veda at football games? Be careful what you ask for - Who knows what you will receive. I don't have an opinion, but why do people always have to get in arguments.
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      Feb 4 2013: The point of LGBT education in schools is to try to alleviate some of the social stigma that surrounds the LGBT community.
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    Feb 4 2013: Do you know, Jerry, what proportion of states that have sex education include material on this subject in their curricula?