I Don't Know Who Needs To Hear This, But No One Is Teaching Kindergarteners About F*cking
This past week, as we all know by now, the Florida Senate approved the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill. It's bad. It's very, very bad, and it will hurt people. It will hurt children.
Unfortunately, the Right has managed to attempt to turn this into a discussion about "sexualizing" children. This morning, noted D-list celebrity jackass Adam Baldwin was trending on Twitter after tweeting "Things 'Pedophile Groomers' say for $200, Mayim?" on a tweet criticizing Bill Maher (and Frank Bruni) for being an absolute idiot about the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Things \u2018Pedophile Groomers\u2019 say for $200, Mayim?\nhttps://twitter.com/dennisbhooper/status/1502532983500115968\u00a0\u2026— Adam Baldwin (@Adam Baldwin) 1647088243
Maher, as you may have guessed, once again thinks that Democrats should just side with Republicans on this one. At this point it is getting very hard to discern what, exactly, he thinks the Left is right about. It might be nothing. It's probably nothing, given that Breitbart has a glowing review of his show every week these days.
"I guess it's a reaction to Republicans who feel that there's too much talk in lower grades," Maher said in the Overtime segment. "I think it's only, they're talking about kindergarten to third grade – so we're talking about very young kids who, you know, as always with this stuff, you know, it's not like there's no kernel of truth in that maybe kids that young shouldn't be thinking about sex at all."
"It's not like you're not allowed to literally not say gay, but they just don't want teachers talking about it. They think it's the province of parents," he added, wrongly, because it very literally does ban any mention of people being gay in the classroom. Legally, according to this bill, teachers must pretend that gay people do not exist and that trans people do not exist.
There is also not a "kernel of truth" in it, because knowing about the existence of LGBTQ+ people isn't "thinking about sex" any more than knowing about cis-het people is "thinking about sex." It's not pornography and if it is, children should be barred from watching any romantic Disney movies featuring heterosexual couples and knowing that various historical figures were married to people of the opposite sex. Because that would be pornography as well.
These people may not want their children learning about sex, or getting fellatio tips during snack time, but luckily for them that is not happening. Amazingly enough, it is quite possible to talk about all kinds of people without getting into the kind of sex they have.
The idea that children cannot possibly handle these discussions is absurd. Children are told that a winged creature comes into their room at night in order to steal their lost teeth and replace them with cash, and they are fine with that. If kids can wrap their heads around that, they can certainly handle the less-than-shocking information that Laverne Cox exists and is a person. I certainly had way more questions about what that woman was doing with all of those bloody teeth than I did about my uncle and his boyfriend.
Much like the tooth fairy situation, those who support this nonsense, particularly those who are trying to make it about "pedophile groomers," are entirely unable to offer a reasonable explanation. They don't have one for what it is they think is happening now and what it is they imagine they are actually preventing. If they think that you can't read the kids a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies without them immediately picturing scenes out of Therese and Isabelle, the problem is yours and no one can help you. It's also hard to then explain how you can read stories and books that mention heterosexual parents without the children immediately picturing scenes out of 9 1/2 Weeks. It makes no sense.
If they imagine that teachers are going to use the mere existence of LGBTQ+ people as a "grooming" technique, for the purpose of molesting their children, then perhaps their children shouldn't be in school at all. Maybe they should be home-schooled. Because there are certainly more effective "grooming" techniques than that, and if one believes all teachers are secret child molesters, then they will certainly find another way. If that were my opinion and true belief, and not some weird bullshit I made up in order to justify my own bigotry, that is the way I would go.
Quite frankly, if these people truly are concerned about their children becoming victims of child molestation, they should actually want them to learn about their bodies and want them to learn about consent, instead of freaking out about that as Laura Ingraham did earlier this week.
Another question I have, about the "They think it's the province of parents" nonsense. Does anyone think for a single solitary second that parents who want to control the way they find out about these things are not going to be telling them that these people are going right to hell? Do we think they're just waiting to have a nice, neutral conversation with their kids about how people are different and that's fine, or about how everyone deserves to be treated with respect? Of course not.
Children, by the way, do find out about the existence of LGBTQ+ people on their own. By second grade I regularly heard kids tossing around the "F" slur and calling everything "wicked queah" (it was Massachusetts, okay?) and I was literally the only one who was mad about that. It's not that these people are afraid of their kids finding out that LGBTQ+ people exist, they are afraid that they will be one or will not be disgusted by them. They are afraid that they will think it's just normal and how things are, which it is. They are afraid that the world is leaving them behind and that their own kids will think they are assholes. Which is probably what is going to happen anyway, given the way things are now.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse