Hello Education – Goodbye Fear: A Lesson in Diverity

 

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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Homeschool Blogging Carnival hosted by Lisa at The Squishable Baby and Keisha at Unschooling Momma. This month our participants are talking about Multiculturalism.

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The importance of a #multicultural #education in your #homeschool #diversity

 

When fear drives us to discriminate against another group of people – that perhaps we do not know or understand, it bothers me.  It bothers me a lot.  When we teach our children to fear things that are unknown or foreign, we are giving away opportunities to responsibly educate, to inform, and to fully develop the entire person.  To me, this IS the power of homeschooling.  We can take these opportunities to teach our children to be able to evaluate critically, be empathetic and think sensitively.  Even though people are different, we can teach them to love diversity.

I received an email about a month ago, that has consumed my thoughts.  This email left a very bad taste in my mouth – and I pondered hard on whether it was me being too sensitive.  After a month of worry and research, this was my conclusion.

The state of Maryland has a law in the senate which would allow gender variant people use the bathroom that matches their gender of choice rather than their anatomical sex.  Cleverly, this bill has been deemed the “Bathroom Bill”

Here was the first email that was sent out.
 
The state of MD is considering the Bathroom Bill which would allow Gender Variant people to use the bathroom opposite of their anotomical sex.

 

The initial email generated an email storm of about 6 other emails (roughly the same as this one).  After reading all the emails, these are the thoughts that entered my mind.

  1. Why am I thinking so hard about such a random bill?  Really?  Who would think of such a thing?  I wouldn’t.  Certainly, there are more important things to legislate – like keeping psychopaths with guns out of schools.
  2. This email is blatant discrimination against a group of people nobody (or at least the author) neither knows about or understands (clearly).  These issues are very complicated, and no – I cannot imagine a cross dresser would be the issue here – as they do not “feel” like they are the opposite sex.  What’s the issue is a discrimination of Gender variant people.  And to me, it’s blaring.
  3. If the law is indeed blocked, how is it enforced?  Do you put a police officer at each bathroom in the state?  Does he/she check IDs of anyone who “looks” gender variant?  I don’t know, it seems like a slippery slope to me.
  4. If you look at the two highlighted parts of this email.  In my opinion, these are methods for invoking anger and fear  in the heart – about people we don’t even know about.   Who wants to think about their daughter being raped or killed in a public bathroom?  To associate gender variance with molester or murderer is a misinformed jump and completely baseless.  If you think about it, you can replace those lines with anything, really.
    1. Who wants your daughter to be in the same room as a black man?
    2. Don’t allow your kids to be influenced by those fat people.  Keep them separate.
    3. Those low-class kids will bring your children down.  Do you want your children to learn less?
    4. The list can go on and on.

 
 

The Importance of Education

This could get blown way out of proportion.  I got so mad, I drafted and email, just so the baseless and unnecessary email stream would stop.  The importance of education is not only key, it’s essential.

I must admit, I know very little about the issues of gender variance. I don’t know anyone who is gender variant and my kids don’t play with any kids who would fit this profile (that I know of).  Typically .when I don’t know something – I read a book or look on the internet.

I immediately looked to the book:  The Transgender Child – A Resource for Families and Professionals.
 

The Transgender Child #gendervariance #trasnsgender #diversity

 

This audiobook is part of the Mindful Nurturing Collection here.

Or you can buy it on the smaller Resources for Parents Mini-Bundle here.
 
Essential parenting collection full bundle #glentleparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #authenticparenting #parenting #advice #parentingtips Essential Resources for parents #parenting #gentleparenting #mindfulparenting #resourcesforparents #resources
 
This audio book gave me some excellent  factual information – from experts and parents about the difference between cross dressers, gay/lesbian and transgender people.  It talked a bit about the development of the child, the hardships, and the feelings.  It was a really great resource for me as it answered my questions about whether I needed to be afraid.

There are a lot of Transgender resources on-line.

  • Blog for parents of Transgender Children

 
 

Books for Children

I am/My family is different.  Here are some picture book recommendations teaching children, or helping children understand about their personal feelings/situation.

 

I am different - but that's okay #LGBT #picturebooks for children #education #empathy

 

 

  1. 10,000 Dresses written by Marcus Ewert – A tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside.
  2. Backwards Day Written by S. Bear Bergman – Set on Planet Tenlap where there are 17 seasons and bubblegum falls from the sky.  Backwards day is one day where it’s okay for Andrea to turn into a boy.
  3. The Family Book by Todd Parr – A fun and colorful books about all the different families that exist.
  4. Best Best Colors/Los Mejores Colores by Eric Hoffman – Written in Spanish and Beautifully illustrated – with the help of his two moms, Nate learns that he can have more than one best color and one best friend.
  5. William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow –  William wants a doll.  It from the mouth of a stranger, that makes the people close to William understand.
  6. When Kathy is Keith by Wallace Wong – Tries to explain children’s feelings – and the negative reactions from others.
  7. The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein – A beautifully written, feel good book about embracing the special qualities that we all possess.
  8. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis – a heartfelt story about unconditional love and one remarkable family.

 
What I recently learned from the last (and hopefully final) email, is that there was 1 case in Texas –  a transgender or trans-dresser (not sure) who was a felon (had assaulted a girl 20 years prior) used the women’s  bathroom and scared a woman in the bathroom.  Apparently, she was frightened because he looked like a man.  She reported the incident and he was charged with some minor crime.

Going though an exercise like this take a lot of effort and time, but out of it I came a more knowledgeable person who can make decisions based on “real fact” rather than some fabricated situation.   If people would do this, we wouldn’t have some of the problems we have today.  The Transgender issue was part of my life, but  It could be about anything that concerns or worries you or your children.  Mindlessly believing and passing along misinformation is dangerous and doesn’t help anybody.
 
 

So What Now?

I maintain my statement – that this is a dumb law – and it’s a bad use of time to try to block it.   Regardless of my feelings, we must remember that we cannot make judgements about an entire group of people based on the actions of one person.  We can’t do it.  We shouldn’t do it.

I will abstain from signing this petition.  My research has shown that this issue should be treated with tolerance.  Both the author of the email and I prayed about the situation.  I think we just pray for opposite results.

 

Have you had a situation where you have researched further and learned not to be afraid?

 

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Visit The Squishable Baby to see how you can participate in the next Homeschool Blogging Carnival where we will be talking about Homeschool Mythsconceptions . hmschool blogging button

 

Please take the time to read the submissions by other Carnival participants:

 


 

Lisa
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About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. Lisa, what a powerful post. So many people read, disagree, rant briefly on fb and then move on. (I know I’ve been guilty of this). I applaud you for the time you took, not only to research and educate yourself but write this post and include such a wonderful set of links for the rest of us. This post is bookmarked to delve in deeper at a later date. I hope this bill won’t pass and thank you for organizing and hosting this wonderful carnival.
    Cordelia recently posted…Multiculturalism: The Foundation of Our Homeschooling Education.My Profile

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Cordelia. And thank you for participating with us this month.

      You know, I don’t really rant on Facebook too much. I guess I do when it’s a personal matter – like when the government shut down. Maybe I should allow facebook to be my outlet.

      I was so happy to hear that you are doing well with homeschooling. You know, challenges they will always come. Life brings more and more each day. Homeschooling – for me – is about the time I spend with my children – you know? More than anything else. If you guys are together and loving each other – than that’s what’s important!
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 40My Profile

  2. Really interesting post Lisa. You hit the nail on the head about fear of someone different. One of the ongoing debates in UK and Europe on gender variance is about whether a child should be allowed to have treatment, such as before the onset of puberty, or should they wait until they’re an adult.
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…We’re going on a salamander huntMy Profile

    • Interesting. I wouldn’t have thought about that – but yeah. I am not sure why the government should interfere in the private lives of individuals though. I am sure the children, parents and doctors can weigh the pros and cons and make a smart and informed decision, no? I don’t know the research here, but I am sure there are some serious advantages to waiting – but I don’t know.

      The situation is very complicated though. Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 40My Profile

  3. As an educator, we discuss often with different novels we read how often people judge due to their fear of the unknown. As you point out this is where self education is so important. Great post.
    Angela @ Time with A & N
    Angela recently posted…Trying to Teach Myself some PatienceMy Profile

    • Hey Angela,

      You are right. People do things blindly – it can be scary. Depending upon how many people there are – or the political influence of the group – it could be to the detriment to others. I’m all about keeping our kids safe, but when there is no danger – what’s the point? It’s dumb.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have a great week!
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 40My Profile

  4. So many times people capitalize on the fear of others to make their purpose gain momentum. What an interesting point of view. Thanks for linking up to #SmallVictoriesSunday!
    Farah recently posted…How to Turn Neuropathy into a Party TrickMy Profile

    • Hey Farah,

      Yes you are right – and it works. People do things without thinking. I have done it, but I am really trying to not do it, you know?

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I really look forward to the Small Victory blog hop each and every week!
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 40My Profile

  5. You’re so right about the importance of digging deeper into something before developing an opinion about it. I’ve been guilty many times of jumping the gun about something, only to realize that I had it all wrong. Thanks for the reminder!
    Shelly recently posted…Translating Board Games into EducationeseMy Profile

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