As I close my eyes and drift away to a land where there is love, health, peace and blessings. I wanted to take the time to think and reflect. The truth is that I have been contemplating writing these thoughts for some time. However, I was unsure because I did not want to feel judged, or was worried about a bias towards me. Anyway, the blockage was there. I wasn't able to think about anything else. So I have decided to give my thoughts some meaning, rather than allowing them to wilt away.
Inclusion and equity are concepts that are very important to me. Not just because we have read about them during studies, or having experiences that have hurt,because these were encountered outside of the space of inclusion, but also because of seeing others. Being a witness to the suffering of others. Inclusion and equity are topics of importance. So let us begin with some working definitions:
"Inclusive." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.
"Human Rights." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.
Inclusion can be fostered at the level of the collective when we take these concepts, and apply them through our interactions. However, to foster an inclusive attitude at the level of the collective, we must first be able to create a mindset at the level of the individual, that honor's inclusion. If we have this at the level of the individual, then automatically we can live or work together with our family, and a working environment.
From an educators perspective:
I have often thought of the work of an educator to that of a philanthropist. As we are reaching out to a diverse audience each and every day, we must have the inclusive mindset that we want to foster, for our safe environment. We want students to feel safe, we want them to feel that they belong in the classroom, regardless of the "baggage" that they bring with them. For some students the classroom is where they meet their friends, form relationships, find mentors, and also teachers who love and care for them - unconditionally. As teachers, educators or, lead learners we must be fair and equal to all of our students. This includes racially and sexually diverse students.
As I begin to turn towards sexuality, my thoughts are turned back to an assembly that I attended. This assembly was to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community. At first the assembly was just describing the differences, which I was fine with. As the topic was explored deeply gender, biological sex, dress codes and also genitalia were discussed. As I listened to the speaker, I observed that a teacher actually left the assembly.
From the perspective of a teacher I think what I can say is that the administrators should have examined the content of this presentation before booking the speaker, that was taking place before Grade 7 - 9 students. From the perspective of a researcher, I was not happy with the depth of the content that was explored. I did not think that it was appropriate. Yes we can learn about human organs and their function, but do we need content that is almost a form of conditioning or social constructionist? I could go in to evolutionary or social psychology perspectives, but without deterring from the core of the topic: It is almost as though this new take on sex education is beginning to create a sub - culture, or manipulation. We have to be careful with young minds, especially when it comes to sexuality. Instead of showing them different ways of sexual expression, is it not better to teach inclusion for all?
As a parent, I feel that parents of students should have the power to opt their child out of assemblies of sex - education classes that go beyond what they would like their children to learn about. Yes, make it mandatory to teach inclusion, but mandatory to a curriculum that could potentially mold a sexuality, this is where my disagreement stems from. Can we as parent or educators accept this? When we know the effects upon the brain / mind?
At this point I would like to remind readers to continue to read whilst focusing on inclusion and belonging.
We have established that there is an LGBTQ community who's rights must be protected as equal citizen, we must also remember that heterosexuality is important. These are also relationships where human beings express their sexuality. They are also necessary for the purposes of natural reproduction. If schools are placing an emphasis upon mandatory curriculum with a focus on LGBTQ community, we must also remember heterosexuality. It is also important to note that students are learning new material everyday. Just because LGBTQ curriculum is new to them, it may also mean that heterosexuality is new to them as well. Also, just because technology is available, or drugs that can benefit reproduction or gender identity are availible - these also arrive with a cost. The financial costs, and also the psycho - social emotional costs. Not to mention the invisible stereotypes that arrive with class. It is easier to say "I am gay" when we have a certain financial status or certain skin colour. Being open will be easier. On the opposite end of the spectrum - being open about sexuality can be detrimental, which is why once again I place the emphasis on belonging and inclusion.
To conclude my thoughts I think back to the teacher who walked out of the assembly and ask: How do we as educators negotiate the work of teaching and learning to that of a philanthropist?
Instead of making sex education mandatory inoculation, why don't we place a higher emphasis upon belonging and inclusion?
How do we negotiate our personal values when we are in the realm of philanthropy without blurring the lines?
If you think about it; sex education itself can be a form of intrusion that dislocates from the space of inclusion, and belonging.
As we continue to celebrate LGBTQ community through pride parades and celebration. I think as movements become accepted why not move to parades that celebrate everyone regardless of sexuality? Do we need to parade sexuality to become accepted? Should a sexuality be paraded to be accepted? Our sexuality is honorable, it is part of who we are as human beings. It should never be thought of anything less, above all should be honored.
Dedication: The words of this being are dedicated to all beings. All life is precious and must be protected. They are also dedicated to Phyllis Schlafly, may you rest in peace, 1924 - 2016.
My thoughts to share with love & kindness. :)
Image 1 - Web Link
Image 2 - Web Link
Our thoughts, to invite and inspire. With Love & kindness. :)