Thursday, 27 January 2011

Gay Lessons: A Daily Mail Fantasy

There's nothing like the conflation of children and homosexuality to send a bigot bonkers, as any student of Section 28 will tell you.
The Daily Mail have been writing some award-winning nonsense this week - 'Gay messages built into school maths lessons for children as young as FOUR'
Really? Do go on...
"Young children are to be taught about homosexuality in their maths, geography, science and English lessons, it has emerged.
"As part of a Government-backed drive to ‘celebrate the gay community’, maths problems could be introduced that involve gay characters.
"In geography classes, students will be asked why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities – and words such as ‘outing’ and ‘pride’, will be used in language classes.
"The lesson plans are designed to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues and, in theory, could be used for children as young as four."
Don't you just love that "in theory"?
Later on we learn; "Although the lesson plans are not compulsory, they are backed by the Department for Education and will be available for schools to download from the Schools Out website... A Department for Education spokesman added: ‘These are optional teaching materials.'"
(The Mail story is in fact a twisted version cribbed from this item in The Daily Telegraph).
Richard Drax, a Tory MP wrote on his blog; "I would have thought raising educational standards and teaching our children to read, write and add up is far more important than imposing questionable sexual standards on those too young to understand their equality czars." (He has since withdrawn the comment and apologised).
Predictably all this has sent the ever madder Mail columnist Melanie Phillips into apoplexy; "Here’s a question ­shortly coming to an examination ­paper near you. What have mathematics, geography or science to do with homosexuality?
"Nothing at all, you say? Zero marks for you, then.
"For, mad as this may seem, schoolchildren are to be bombarded with homosexual references in maths, geography and ­science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to promote the gay agenda."
Yes, it does sound mad. Will Sturgeon at The Media Blog notes; "Almost every line of Phillips' article includes a ludicrous non-sequitor, a selective choice of supporting arguments, an unsourced or ubstantiated claim or a piece of wild speculation and scaremongering dressed up as fact."
All that has actually happened is that the Group, School's OUT, has announced that they are working on a series of online lesson plans on LGBT-related issues, and some "suggestions" have been made.
The "examples" cited above are really just fantasies of the Daily Mail's imagining.
Zero marks for you, Daily Mail - must try harder.

• Melanie Phillip's - apropos of nothing - added to her feature;
"The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has paid £100,000 for a report into how efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks would affect minority communities including the Chinese, ­homosexuals and Welsh speakers."
Her source? A story in the Mail On Sunday; 'Equality madness: Government spends £30m to discover whether preserving fish stocks harms ethnic Chinese, or hovercraft discriminate against gays'
This is all - put simply - lies.

• There's another Mail gay scare story running at the moment; "30,000 pupils branded as bigots. Teachers log 'racist' and 'homophobic' jibes in playground squabbles, even at nursery."
Hugh Muir did a good demolition of that one in The Guardian on Tuesday.

UPDATE: A great passionate comment piece on all this by Johann Hari in The Independent on Friday; 'Why Is it Wrong to Protect Gay Children?'

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