British Columbia education minister Paul Ramsey recently put on hold the ministry’s plans to introduce a new curriculum to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism from B.C.’s schools. This was followed by the BCTF (BC Teacher’s Federation) passing a number of resolutions designed to push ahead with just such a program. All of which signals, once again, that homosexuality has become one of the most controversial, yet important social and culture defining issues of our time.

While there is general agreement that the fair treatment of all persons, including gays and lesbians, needs to be aggressively pursued, and while our historical failure as a society to foster compassion and, wherever possible, tolerance for minorities needs to be talked about openly, there remains considerable controversy over whether such a program should also become an endorsement for what homosexual people do in private.

Political gain paramount

As gay activists have seen their star rise and their influence in areas of public policy grow, they have all too often been willing to put cultural and political gain ahead of common civility and respect for free speech.

Today, even reasoned and conscientious disagreement with the claims and tactics used by gay activists is reflexively attacked as “homophobia”, a social tumor to be expurgated, rather than a body of thinking to be argued with. Indeed as the gay agenda has advanced, the freedom to disagree with homosexual activism has receded. Such tactics of intimidation have been surprisingly successful in stifling open public debate on these issues. That said, it is important to note that many homosexual people do not support the tactics or even many of the goals of the so called gay movement.

At its 1997 general meeting last March, the BCTF approved a motion to develop a program to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism in B.C. schools. Almost simultaneously, members of B.C.’s NDP government passed legislation to make “the necessary curricular changes to promote the education of issues surrounding gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth.” Of course such a motion can mean different things to different people.

The Gay and Lesbian Educators of B.C. (GALE), which has been entrusted by the BCTF to develop a plan of action and a curriculum to fulfil this mandate, has its own idea about how this should be accomplished.

Among other things, GALE proposes to have gays and lesbians from all walks of life come into B.C. classrooms to talk about being gay, the difficulties and support systems that exist and to show students how normal, intelligent, and attractive gays are. They also want to make sure school counselling services can direct students, who are experiencing some “confusion” about their sexuality, to gay counsellors or gay support groups who will help them accept their homosexuality and “come out.” This without parental knowledge or consent. Gale has recommended six novels for teens, which they would like to see included in the B.C. curriculum; all featuring torrid same-sex affairs.

Beyond this, we still don’t know exactly what the proposed program will look like. What we do know is that the BCTF has applauded Toronto for its curriculum, which will undoubtedly be one of the BCTF’s main resources. So looking at the Toronto curriculum might give us some idea of what to expect in B.C.

If the Toronto curriculum is to be our model, we have reason for concern. Dr. Joseph Berger of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and one of the original writers of the Toronto curriculum, argues that the curriculum has become a “biased, slanted document that has been produced with the intention of pushing a particular political position down the throats of students and teachers.” Professor Mark Homes of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, notes that the curriculum displays a “strong spirit of intolerance for those who do not share the gay activist view.” George Jonas of the Toronto Sun refers to the curriculum as “propaganda…disguised as education.”

The Toronto curriculum has carefully followed the recommendations of the National Gay Task Force in the U.S. as expressed in their “Gay Battle Plan to Persuade Straight America” issued in 1984. That task force argued that in any campaign to win over public sympathy, gays must be always cast as victims in need of protection, so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector. If gays are portrayed as a strong prideful tribe promoting a rigidly nonconformist and deviant lifestyle, they are more likely to be seen as a public menace. In representing themselves in the schools, therefore, gays need to keep their gay pride side completely out of sight, simply because it conflicts with the gay victim image.

Also to be kept out of sight are the more extreme and distorted aspects that often accompany the homosexual lifestyle. The task force also argues that those who stand in opposition to the gay agenda should be demonized.

While the Toronto program starts out focusing on students’ prejudice and discrimination, what it ends up doing is attempting to alter the student’s belief system. The curriculum maintains that homosexuality is a normal and healthy alternative sexual lifestyle and is set up in such a way that anyone not agreeing with this proposition, determined through various questionnaires, is quickly labelled homophobic, singled out, and referred for counselling. Again all without parental knowledge or consent.

Booklets produced and distributed throughout the Toronto system, show happy, healthy, clean-cut young men and women discussing how much fun and how natural sex is with their same-sex partners. Pamphlets often include graphic, sometimes pornographic, depictions of gay people enjoying sex.

Scratch a little deeper than the Toronto curriculum, however, and one soon discovers the tragic truth about the gay lifestyle. It is not nearly as gay or as healthy as students in Toronto, and presumably soon in B.C., are being led to believe.

After spending millions upon millions of dollars promoting “safe sex,” it is now clear that this program has failed to reduce significantly the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other STDs within the homosexual population. The average life expectancy of a male homosexual in the U.S. today is 42 years, 39 years if they have AIDS. This compared to 75 years for a heterosexual male. A number of the sexual practices engaged in by male homosexuals are so high risk for disease that doctors working with these patients are now trained to look regularly for at least 15 common, but serious afflictions apart from HIV/AIDS. One seldom reported risk factor evidenced in a recent study, is the high incidence of chronic incontinence among homosexual men due to the breakdown of the sphincter muscle.

While films like Philadelphia and children’s books like Daddy’s Roommate, are constantly romanticizing homosexual relationships, portraying gays as well adjusted highly attractive people enjoying stable monogamous relationships, the fact is that less than eight per cent of either male or female homosexual relationships could be considered long-term (lasting over four years).

Risks of promiscuity

Promiscuity among the homosexual population, as one researcher noted, “would boggle the heterosexual mind.” In one study 28 per cent of male homosexuals reported having more than 1,000 sex partners during their lifetime, 41 per cent reported more than 500, and 74 per cent more than 100.

As a direct consequence, male homosexuals are 5,000 times more likely to contract AIDS than their heterosexual counterparts. The level of HIV infection today among homosexual men is approximately 30 per cent of the population.

In addition to all of this, substance abuse, depression, and suicide are all widely acknowledged to be epidemic problems among the homosexual population.

While revisionists will argue that at least some of these problems are the direct result of heterosexism and homophobia, the fact remains that the life of the average gay person is far from the healthy happy alternative now being romanticized so vigorously in the media and in our schools.

Public anxiety about homosexuality is predominantly a concern about the vulnerabilities of the young. Because educational efforts to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism have sought to leave a positive impression of homosexuality with students, they have tended to ignore the darker, more distorted aspects of the gay lifestyle. Parents would be well advised to take an active part in overseeing and approving the development of any curriculum which might end up enticing their children into a lifestyle that can kill them.

(Fraser Field is a teacher in Mission, B.C. This article is reprinted with permission of the Vancouver Sun).