"2012 HB 2051 -- Public School Curriculum
"Section A. Chapter 170, RSMo, is (to be) amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 170.370, to read as follows:
"170.370. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school."
I live by a very silly rule. I admit it is silly, but it works for me. If I cannot pronounce or spell the name of a disease, I cannot get it. I believe that this is a great rule. However, if I were a legislator and made this a proposed law, what would happen?
I can argue that I have not been sick, other than with a basic cold, a bit of high blood pressure and clinical depression — and a couple of hernias — since I made this rule. I have a rough time spelling schizophrenia (a big thanks to the inventor of spell check here), and I have not been diagnosed as having this illness. Nor pneumonia.
If I did propose such a law, I would be 1) laughed out of the legislature, and 2) looking for a new job at the end of my term.
Yet, our Republican legislators in both chambers think if we just do not speak or teach about sexual orientation, other than in pure scientific terms, it will not exist. And this should be made the law of the land. Really?
Some factoids: School boards have ordered that abstinence be the only sex education program in their schools, but has teen pregnancy been significantly reduced? The Nancy Reagan mantra was "Just Say No (to Drugs)," but has it reduced teen drug use? The emperor tells us that his new clothes are made of the finest materials, but does it mean he is not naked?
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not chosen or taught. It is not an elective lifestyle or illness that can be cured by medicine or faith. It is real and more accepted within the United States culture and morals today than ever before.
This does not mean that you have to accept the idea of homosexuality or be forced to have homosexual or transgender friends. However, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens make up a significant portion of our population, though undercounted in the U.S. census.
The 2010 census shows about a one-half increase in same-sex couple households since 2000. This does not include households that have someone who identifies as bisexual or transsexual as a member of the "couple." Nor does it indicate all of the gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the population.
The Urban Institute estimates that because the census is only a snapshot of our population, "the most significant omission is of single gay men and lesbians since, survey data show, only about a quarter of gay men and two-fifths of lesbians are in couples at any given time."
I can say with certainty that most of my GOP and Christian friends have a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender member of their family, have one or more as friends, work with more than a few (directly or as clients) and recognize the LGBT community as a viable market.
So I ask: Are our legislators doing the future residents of Missouri any favors when they tell K-12 public schools that teaching the existence of the LGBT community is prohibited?
Will preventing our children from discussing the gay and lesbian communities in the relative safety of our public schools reduce the bullying and violence against their fellow students who might be lesbian, gay or bisexual?
Will the absence of knowledge stop outright discrimination based on sexual orientation?
The only answer to these questions is an emphatic "No." I believe it will have the opposite effect and a worldwide recognition that Missouri is a state that is intolerant of its residents.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation must stop and stop today, and it is up to you to stop this insanity. Let your state legislators know that HB 2051 must never pass. Or they might be out of a job.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics.