>Gay group wants homosexuality to be taught kids, too

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Gay group wants homosexuality to be taught kids, too 

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:36:00 06/14/2010

Filed Under: Gender Issues, Education

BAGUIO CITY—If government is ready to teach children about sex, shouldn’t it be ready also to teach children about homosexuality so the gay community would no longer be a punch line to a joke?
The Lesbians for National Democracy (Lesbond) here has launched an education campaign on homosexuality and homophobia for universities and the media but which is also being re-crafted so it may be used to reach out to elementary school pupils.
Saudi ban
The group developed a module culled from several masters’ theses in the University of the Philippines Baguio, which describe the history, sociology and societal behavior that has sustained homophobia in the Philippines, said Lesbond member Julie Palaganas.
Lesbond, Palaganas said, picked up the campaign to reeducate Filipinos about homosexuality after learning of a prohibition against gay workers issued last month by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The campaign was launched on June 8 as part of the celebration of the 4th Baguio Gay Pride, which culminates with a gay pride parade on June 27.
Lesbond also set up a “gay pride library,” which is open from 3 to 6 p.m. at the local pub City Tavern. It is filled with novels, biographies, psychology books and theses on homosexuality.
Gender sensitive
Palaganas said the Department of Education’s decision to reinstitute sex education meant that government educators may also be open to a gender sensitive module on homosexuals.
“Gay literacy in grade school? Why not? [We should begin teaching children] gender sensitivity as one of the universally accepted human rights because each individual has the right to choose his or her own sexual orientation,” said Lynn Madalang, executive director of Ebgan Inc., a gender rights advocacy group.
But Madalang said children may better appreciate homosexuality if it is not introduced in isolation from the new sex education modules.
“[Introducing homosexuality as a separate lecture] would be like teaching Catholicism instead of Christianity as a whole, in my view,” she said.
Palaganas said it would take Lesbond a long process before it could convince government to include topics on homosexuality in the classrooms.
During Lesbond’s introductory media lecture last week, Rei Baquirin, a Lesbond member and theater performer, said influential gays were the first to be disavowed by the Church in countries that were invaded.
Islam and gays
But Palaganas said the group has not studied thoroughly how the module would address the aversion of Islamic societies to homosexuality.
“For the moment, we teach that Islam has the same anti-gay stance as the Judeo-Christian religions [with which it shares history]. We may have to study how Filipino Muslims interact with local homosexual issues,” she said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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