What becomes of lesbian, gay and transgender kids?
I was listening to a radio phone-in on which UK politician and celebrity George Galloway was discussing the merits and demerits of same-sex eduction. Seems that this great ‘socialist’ is all in favour of it, because apparently boys do better in primary schools, and girls do better in high school.
George Galloway claims to be being altruistic in his goal to give children the best start in life, which is very laudable. One wonders, however, if he has actually thought this through, or if he even actually cares about some kids? He was concentrating mainly on girls and claims that all too often their schooling suffers due to crushes on boys, first love affairs going sour, and more intelligent girls being singled out and bullied as “geeks” by boys.
I doubt that Galloway, and those who follow his logic, have ever thought of what would become of a minority of children in such schools. I am talking of course of girls who are lesbian, boys who are gay, children of both sides of the gender binary who are bisexual, and those who are trans. And that’s before we even broach the complex issues of pansexual, intersex and genderqueer children.
What would become of such children, most of whom are already either too scared to come out of the closet, or who do not yet realise their gender and / or sexuality? Yet it is in the teenage – high school – years that gender recognition and sexuality blossoms. Not being trans myself, I have no idea what it is like for a trans person at school, or likewise the experience of homosexual boys and girls at school, but I can imagine it must be sheer hell. Perhaps those who have experienced it can enlighten myself and others.
I do know however that my penchant for crossdressing manifested itself at an early age. Of course in my teens I had no idea of what being genderqueer – or pansexual – meant, but I certainly know that even at the mixed schools I attended, I would not have dared to come out as either, for fear of ridicule and bullying. Not that it would have been at all tolerated by the education authorities either. I recall a gay chap I once knew who recounted the story that he was pulled up at his local authority school for dressing flamboyantly and told he must wear school uniform. So the following day he did turn up in full school uniform – his sister’s old one; complete with pinafore dress, blouse, patterned socks and Mary-Jane shoes. He was suspended for two weeks and his parents called in to account for his behaviour. I have no doubt exactly the same thing would happen in most schools today, and I hate to think what the repercussions would be of daring to crossdress in a same-sex school.
So, children may well fail if they are distracted by objects of affection. And what happens then if that object of affection happens to be of the same sex? Strange as it may seem to some, there are not only lesbian and gay teens at school, but right across the entire sexuality spectrum; we all know this, because we’ve all been through it. And here’s a thing, even where heterosexual teens are concerned, do George Galloway and other proponents of same-sex education propose we have only women teachers in girl’s schools, and only men teachers in boy’s schools? I ask because I recall full well that as a teenage oik, I went through entire boxes of tissues over sexual fantasies about my very curvy, redheaded English teacher.
Or do those who propose same-sex education merely completely ignore teenage sexuality? If they do, then they are heavily in denial, and none moreso it seems than George Galloway. During his radio show two men dared to broach the subject of teenage girls in skirts that are too short for them, and he cut their calls off, saying that they “have problems”. Because of course, if we dare to even broach that subject, we are automatically perverts, aren’t we? Try not. Nobody knows this better than any parent of a teenage girl. My own female partner has a daughter whom she has strictly ruled that shorts, skirts and dresses must reach at least the tips of fingertips with arms at full downward stretch (and without hunching her shoulders or attempting to bend – as her daughter has been known to attempt). Whether George Galloway and others like it or not, give teenage girls an inch and they will take a yard – literally.
I am all for girls and women being able to wear what they want, where they want, when they want, and recognise that dress has nothing to do with rape. But at the same time, there is such a thing as a sense of proportion and decency – even if it’s only for themselves. Girls will wear skirts, shorts and dresses too short – and boys will wear tight pants that show off their asses and packages, because human beings are sexual creatures, and because of their blossoming sexuality, many teens will attempt to ‘push the envelope’ wherever possible where dress is concerned.
I could have phoned the show and broached the subjects of gender and sexuality in teens, but after Galloway cut those two men off, I saw no point doing so, because I just know I would have been similarly cut off. George Galloway, who some claim is a great orator, is in a habit of doing that; either shouting over his opponent in an ‘argument’ (Galloway only ever has a ‘debate’ when the other person agrees with him), or cutting the other person off when he doesn’t agree with them, or more commonly, when they are winning the argument.
Yet teen sexuality and gender recognition is not something which can or should be ignored. Nonetheless so as recently the UK Office for National Statistics, an official government body, released a survey in which 49% of young people (18-24) identified as being something “other than 100% heterosexual”, and across the board all ages now tend to recognise that sexuality is not a binary but a spectrum where all lie somewhere upon. Given those statistics, we then see that same-sex eduction could be highly detrimental not just to a small minority, but almost half of teenage schoolkids.
And as to the bullying aspects, if George Galloway does not believe that girls bully other girls, I would suggest he has his head in the sand, up his arse, or somewhere else he can choose to not recognise facts. Girls can be extremely vindictive little minxes to each other, and will quite easily pick on the smart girl, every bit as much as boys will pick on the geeky intelligent boy. We all know this; we’ve all experienced and seen it with our own eyes. As John Lennon said in Working Class Hero, “They hurt you at home, and they hit you at school; they hate you if you’re clever, and they despise the fool.” Just recently in the UK there was the shocking case of an out-of-control girl who was convicted after a video showed her beating up a girl much more intelligent than her. The said girl was stupid enough to allow friends to post the video on social media, which led to her subsequent conviction, but I would suggest that is the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who tries to infer that girls (and boys) would not be bullied in same-sex schools is playing the same ignorant game as those school heads who claim their school does not have a bullying problem. All schools have bullying problems, and parents would do well to listen to the heads who admit they take a strong line on bullying, and avoid those schools where the head claims bullying doesn’t exist like the plague.
I am somewhat bemused by George Galloway’s claims that he does not want school pupils ‘distracted’ from their eduction. This is the same man who for years has been claiming that the Scottish National Party (SNP) aim to destroy Scotland’s state-funded Roman Catholic schools, and that those same schools would be scrapped in an independent Scotland. So, being distracted by a member of the opposite sex should never be allowed in George’s book, but it’s okay for them to be distracted by religious mumbo-jumbo, which should have absolutely no place in schools in my opinion.
So, given that he wants same-sex schools, and faith-based schools, and looking at what I have already said above about teachers of the same sex, can we take it that George Galloway would favour girl’s schools ran by nuns, and boy’s schools run by priests? Because historically that’s really been a recipe for success, hasn’t it? Sure, just ask the hundreds of those who survived sexual and physical abuse in such establishments.
That’s before I even come onto George Galloway’s continual pandering to Islam. Does he then favour Islamic girl’s only faith schools? In his broadcast Galloway claimed he wanted to see girls become engineers and scientists. Let me tell you now, in an Islamic girl’s school, that is never going to happen. And no, I’m not being Islamophobic; I am merely stating a fact that Islam, under which men and women are supposed to be equal, in fact strongly oppresses women. But then, the Roman Catholic Church is not far behind them in that degree, so sincerely doubt one would see many engineers and scientists pouring out of RC girl’s schools.
And of course, we all know the views of the Roman Catholic Church – and other Christian denominations – and Islam on anything which detracts even the slightest iota from the cisgender and heterosexual binaries. So in that context same-sex faith schools could only ever be oppressive and harmful to LGBTQI children.
But then exactly the same applies to non-denominational and secular same-sex schools. We already know that if anything causes confused sexual longings, it is locking up teenagers (or even adults) of the same sexuality and gender together. Stories of buggery at boy’s boarding schools and lesbian encounters at their female equivalents are legendary. But in those contexts, they are many times the result of what the homophobes and transphobes are the very people to accuse the LGBTQI community of; sexual experimentation and learned behaviours.
If we want well-rounded, well-educated adults, then we need children, not just teens but from an early age, to mix with each other. That is as true of gender and sexuality as it is of race, ethnicity, culture and faith. To do any other can only ever be divisive, and can only lead to problems in the future. And I for one do not know how anyone can dare to advocate such, and then have the audacity to describe themselves as a socialist.
And yes, girls and boys will have crushes. They will ‘fall in love’. They will have their first romances. And yes, their little hearts will get broken as result of that. And yes, that is sad and bloody tragic. It is also however part and parcel of growing up, and is in itself a life experience, and one of the most important lessons the overwhelming vast majority of us ever learn. And all of us look back on those days, and we smile and bear no ill will; for we all know just how important that lesson was.
I am sure I speak for most when I say that the last thing we want is a scientist who has never experienced compassion for others – or for that matter the poet who has never fallen in love.
But then, as he’s so sure of his facts, I’ll give the floor for one more statement from George Galloway;
“And when they returned they sat mixed together, Christian boys in their scruffy jeans next to Muslim girls in immaculate hijabs. During the break they had discovered what they liked about one another – and forgot what it was they were meant to dislike.”
(George Galloway, Daily Mirror, 6 September 2014)
There’s a word for it, George. It’s called hypocrisy.