Recently at Cypress High School, the issue of our sex-ed curriculum including the LGBTQ community has arose. Some students were not in favor of it, demanding the curriculum to change, stating it was violating their rights as Christians.
The debate carried over to social media.
One student posted on his Instagram, “You may think this is fine, but I believe including the concepts of LGTBQ+ and the practicalities of sexual activities is NOT what we need in our health curriculum.” Another student, agreeing to that statement posted, “What people don’t realize that is at School, us Christians are restricted from expressing our views to others and get trouble when we do so. I don’t see how this is fair for us Christians to be persecuted four [sic] our views and then we have something we don’t support forced upon us.”
A walkout was organized for Feb. 18. To get more information, I decided to ask a student who organized the walkout. I first asked him questions regarding his statement coming off as homophobic. To that he agreed.
“My statements and actions weren’t directed towards hatred but more as a call to action for Christians,”
He expressed awareness of the LGBTQ members being aggrieved and apologized if he unintentionally offended anyone.
Then the question regarding education and safety arose. I brought up the fact that the issue isn’t just a matter of acceptance. It’s also about safety. A school should be promoting safe sexual practices. Partially agreeing, he nonetheless expressed his opinion through his traditional religious doctrine.
“Yes safety is important but I believe the medium of where that safety education comes from is important as well… I believe homosexuality is a sin and it’s unacceptable for us to bear with the fact that some souls might be stumbled to enter into homosexuality or any sexually immoral practices through curiosity by the education that goes against the will of God,”
I then asked him about the issue of religion in a public school setting.
“I believe that it’s our calling to turn our campus from being secular to Godly. Yes, there are other religions and cultures practiced in a public setting. But each group has different opinions as well as the right to speak for these ideas, and I purely wanted to speak up for my Christian views,” he said.
I questioned him about respect towards the LGBTQ community, and how protesting was showing acceptance or respect. He then stated that love was shown in different ways and differentiated love and acceptance.
“Acceptance isn’t love. When your mom yells at you to study, that’s not out of hatred and annoyance, but because she wants the best for you. That’s essentially what we’re doing right now,” he said.
With these answers, it seemed to me that the intent wasn’t necessarily bad. They were in fear that exposure was equivalent to going against the word of God, trying to share their religious beliefs. It wasn’t their intention to ignore the LGBTQ community or show hatred. It was a different way of showing “love” to them, and trying to lead them to Christ.
But I had to disagree.
As a student of this school, I was first personally aggravated by this announcement. The remarks made on Instagram and the call for a walkout seemed to be attempting to marginalize LGBTQ members of our student body.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect and still love those whose opinions on the LGBTQ community differ from mine. I have no animosity towards Christians and respect their beliefs. In fact, I agree with a cornerstone of Christian ethics, the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
So it appears hypocritical. How would these Christian critics of our school react if their voices were silenced?
And some would say yes, this is exactly what some will argue: their Christian values aren’t being respected.
But this is where the misunderstanding is.
The status quo doesn’t silence their voice, the traditional sexual education, which focused topics related to consent and safety has focused primarily on interaction between males and females. In others words, it has historically endorsed heterosexuality, what most Christians view as lawful sexual behavior.
But when the concerns of other sexual orientations are invited, it isn’t silencing, it’s simply sharing the public space for a plurality of voices and ideas.
Another misconception is conflating education with endorsement. For example, teaching students about safe decision making is not endorsing dangerous behavior. Similarly, teaching students about drugs and alcohol abuse is not tantamount to inviting students to vape or get blackout drunk. The same idea applies to sexual education. Just because students learn about different sexual activities does not mean they’ll attempt it.
It seems so discriminatory how a religious group of students want to ignore a population of students at our school and derive them of their sexual education. I don’t understand how they were complaining about “being persecuted” and “ideas forced upon them” when they were persecuting the LGBTQ community within the education system and forcing their own heterosexual opinions over homosexual education. I didn’t understand why they wanted to bring religious belief into public education where students have different ideals. I was disgusted by how the LGBTQ community had to sit through lectures of heterosexual sex, yet when new educational reforms were made, it had to be taken away.
How could you want your voices to be heard by silencing another’s? How could you complain about your ideas being restricted, by supporting an action of restricting another’s education and beliefs? How could you try to derive a demographic of students from their education?