The newest reading list released by the California Department of Education are making history in the state: it is the first list that has ever included selected works that have lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender themes.
California is no stranger to introducing controversial themes into its reading lists, but this new leap forward has predictably caused some dissent among more conservative critics, who say that a “leftist agenda” is being forced on kids.
“It’s a frightening trend,” said Sandy Rios of American Family Radio (AFR Talk). “The reading lists are very overtly propagating a point of view that is at odds with most American parents. Leftist educators are advocates of everything from socialism to sexual anarchy. It’s very base; it’s raping the innocence of our children.”
It’s unfortunate that the attitude that simply ignoring things we don’t understand or agree with will make them go away is still around today. Exposing kids to great literature is a must, and if we want them to have a well-rounded education then that must include literature from all fronts—LGBT included.
Most people these days would disagree heartily with the attitudes white people in this country had about Native Americans and the heartless way in which we nearly wiped them out as a people. Should we leave that out of history books simply because thinking about it might make us uncomfortable?
Lots of parents and families still believe in waiting until marriage to have sex. And believe it or not, many people still make the decision to hold off despite the fact that many others don’t. Did learning that sex exists, understanding how it works, and knowing that some people did it before marriage “rape the innocence” of those people? Certainly not. They made that decision on their own.
It’s completely ignorant to argue that kids shouldn’t be exposed to great literature just because it has a controversial theme in it. A public school’s job is to give students a complete education, and one that doesn’t cater to one religion or group over another.
“We have titles in the list for the LGBT community for multiple recommended grade levels,” said the CDE’s education programs consultant, Roxane Fidler. “There are books from the Stonewall Book Awards, which has not previously been on the list.” These are long celebrated works that give our children the power to decide for themselves what they believe in. Why would you deny your child that?