Send in the clownfish

May 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This just in to our “Why Am I Not Surprised By This?” department:

A one-hour elementary school lesson on gender diversity featuring all-girl geckos and transgender clownfish caused a stir in Oakland on Monday, with conservative legal defense organizations questioning the legitimacy of the topic and providing legal counsel to parents who opposed the instruction.

On Monday and today, Redwood Heights Elementary School students at every grade level were being introduced to the topic of gender diversity, with lesson plans tailored to each age group.

The lesson on gender differences was one small part of a much larger effort to offer what parents last year said they wanted at the school: a warm, welcoming, safe and caring environment for all children, said Principal Sara Stone.

The school also teaches students about the variety of families at the school and takes on the issue of bullying.

“If we don’t have a safe, nurturing class environment, it’s going to be hard to learn,” she said. “Really, the message behind this curriculum is there are different ways to be boys. There are different ways to be girls.”

So, fourth- and fifth-grade students learned about the crazy world of gender within the animal kingdom with lessons about single-sex Hawaiian geckos, fish that switch genders and boy snakes that act “girly.”

“That’s a lot of variation in nature,” Gender Spectrum trainer, Joel Baum, told the students. “Evolution comes up with some pretty funny ways for animals to reproduce.”

And that same kind of diversity applies to people too, said Baum, the education director for the San Leandro nonprofit. For example, some boys can act like girls; some girls can have boy body parts; and some biological boys feel like a girl inside their hearts, he said.

“It turns out that there are not just two options,” he said. (continue reading)

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2 Responses to “Send in the clownfish”
  1. Martha says:

    We think the world’s messed up now; let’s check it out in another 20-30. Yikes!

  2. Marianne says:

    ‘At the end of the lesson, fourth-grader Desmond Pare thought that was no big deal.

    “I think it’s about how it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “If you’re a girl who likes girl stuff, or a boy who like boy stuff, it just matters if you’re human.”‘

    I was going to comment that this quote was the point of their project. But perhaps ‘stuff’ doesn’t mean the Barbie doll my grandson steals from his little aunties, or the baseball mitt my daughter likes to play with, God willing that is what that child meant when referring to ‘stuff’.

    Are we not called to love all as God has made them and to accept all when they have been changed by their environment, changed not through their own doing?

    I don’t know God’s mind.

    To be homosexual, to me, would seem such a cross to carry if it is genetic, and if it is environmentally afflicted, then so much more charity should we give the homosexual?

    My children are homeschooled so they are not subjected to this curriculum, but this is a subject best left to a parent to discuss with a little 10 year old, not the school system.

    Desmond thought it was ‘no big deal’ because children don’t think too much into things.

    They just want to play and have fun.

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