Which Schools, Which Values?

I previously argued that talk of values – usually found associated with education debates – can be code for imposing conservative social values on everyone, and that one value that rarely gets mentioned is the fundamental liberal value of toleration. As the right wing culture warriors continue their long march through the institutions, adjudicating on what displays are permissible in the National Museum, stipulating how English should be taught in High Schools, obsessing over ‘bias’ and ‘balance’ in the ABC, and so on and so on, I get the sense that the inventors of PC moral panics have conjured up their desired world – where discussion of certain topics is inadmissable because people in public employment live in fear of the attack dogs of right wing PC and conspicuous indignation jumping on them and trashing their professional reputations. A very worrying instance of this right wing PC phenomenon is presently to be seen in Victorian schools. The Age today has a long feature article on homophobia in schools, prompted by the very negative experiences of a lesbian student teacher from Melbourne Uni when on prac last year:

An investigation by The Age has revealed a disturbing level of discrimination affecting teachers and students, with schools failing to meet their obligations under the state’s equal opportunity legislation. Under political attack over a perceived lack of values, many schools seem to fear a parental backlash of the kind that led to the ending of Jane’s internship. More significantly, critics say the Education Department is failing to provide clear direction and support.

It has profound implications for teachers such as Jane, and for students. The landmark Writing Themselves In report, published in 1998, gave a detailed profile of the seriousness of the problems faced by same-sex-attracted youth in a hostile school environment. The report, by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, based at La Trobe University, found about one in 10 young people were not unequivocally heterosexual. It delved into the experiences of 750 same-sex-attracted young people around Australia. The report found 46 per cent had been verbally abused and 13 per cent physically abused. Critically, 69 per cent of the abuse happened at school.

Other research also uncovered much higher levels of suicide attempts and substance abuse among same-sex-attracted young people. Anne Mitchell, the manager of the research centre’s community liaison and education unit, says the figures on abuse at schools show they are “really unsafe places”. “Schools are running scared,” says Ms Mitchell, who for the past few years has been training teachers in how to deal with homophobia. “The problem with it is that the Education Department won’t take a stand on the issue, so the schools think, ‘OK, are we meant to support people? Is it all right to have a gay and lesbian person in the school?’ even though it’s against the law to behave in the way these schools have.”

Ms Mitchell says the Education Department “has repeatedly failed to just stand up and make a statement which says that you must treat same-sex-attracted people in the same way as everybody else”. “I think they’re kind of a bit politically nervous. There’s that taint of pedophilia that kind of hangs around people’s misconceptions about homosexuality. “Meanwhile, we’ve got kids having a desperately miserable time at school and fairly clear evidence that a large number of youth suicides, particularly of young men, are the result of sexuality issues.” For young women, there are links to self-harming behaviour and drug use.

Private schools – particularly Catholic schools – appear to be better in dealing with gay and lesbian issues. Ms Mitchell says that on an ad hoc basis, Catholic schools are more receptive because of their focus on pastoral care. Although Ms Mitchell says the Catholic Church hierarchy isn’t any better than government schools – “or maybe even worse” – individual Catholic schools “have really made some big steps forward on this one”.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
2021 years ago

But Mark ‘poofter bashing’ (or its lesbian equivalent) long pre-dates any PC phenomenon. What’s new is widespread tolerance, the kind of thing that leads schools to have their staff and students appear in newspaper photographs of gay support groups, as seen in today’s Education Age. Or that private (even Catholic!) schools are less of a problem than some government schools. There is no evidence that the ‘attack dogs of right-wing PC’ had anything to do with the incident you describe.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

I don’t disagree that it’s not a new thing, Andrew, and I wasn’t saying it was.

I think you missed the point of my argument:

1. Many lesbian, bi & gay kids in school have big problems;
2. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that these problems are avoided or ameliorated;
3. Some government schools aren’t doing this because they’re afraid of shitfights with parents or media beatups about values;
4. They are afraid because right wing PC asserts that schools don’t teach social norms, schools promote “alternative lifestyles”, Playschool shouldn’t show a kid with two mums, etc etc and that “left wing PC” – ie equal opportunity and respect for and tolerance of difference is evil etc etc;

Therefore: There is a link between the climate created through the culture wars and the failure to deal with homophobia in schools.

Just imagine Albrechtsen, Bolt or Devine’s rantings if they discovered government schools running programmes to educate students about sexuality. Nelson would call another enquiry, Kevin Donnelly’d be writing op/eds, you can guess the rest.

In the meantime, real kids and teachers in real schools suffer in part because of the fear of Right Wing PC.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Hi Mark,

Didn’t you know? I’ve already written an op ed piece for the OZ about the dangers of the PC cultural warriors teaching about the positive aspects of gay/lesbian lifestyles and undermining heterosexuality. It can be found at
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=2287
I’d include it with this post, but the last time I included an article you criticised me. As my grandmother use to say, have a bex and a cup of tea before you read it as it might cause some distress!

Rafe
2021 years ago

What if people keep their private lives more private, so we have less people, hetero and homo alike, shoving their sex lives in our faces? I think that would ease quite a number of problems.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

Don’t you remember that ‘the personal IS the political’, Rafe? Frankly I think there’s a lot of sense in the old ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach, but it probably would not please the legions of professionals who spend their lives finding reasons to worry about the rest of us. I mean, it would be one less thing for them to worry about.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

I also wonder about this statement:

“…..about one in 10 young people were not unequivocally heterosexual.”

What does this mean? That 10% of the population (at least as represented by students) is gay or lesbian? It seems to be trying to give that impression, thought carefully hedging it by using the word ‘unequivocal’. I thought many international surveys have put the figure at around 1.3%.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Hi Rafe,

I totally agree about keeping private lives more private. Why did the teacher in question have to talk about her relationship and tell the kids she was a lesbian? It’s all a product of this narcissistic, self-esteem view of education as therapy. Read Chris Lasch on the topic. In my day, firstly, we would have respected the teacher (ex Royal Navy with a strap under his lapel) and never even have imagined that he would have a sex life

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

“I totally agree about keeping private lives more private. Why did the teacher in question have to talk about her relationship and tell the kids she was a lesbian? It’s all a product of this narcissistic, self-esteem view of education as therapy.”

How ludicrous. I’m not surprised either to read your article and find deconstruction is to blame, Kevin. The teacher discussed the fact that she had a female partner because the kids asked her. Do any of you apostles of reading actually read? It’s very clear from the articles linked to that’s how it happened.

The point here of course is that if Jane had a male partner who had picked her up after school, this would have passed without notice. It’s got bugger all to do with “keeping private life private”, Messrs Champion and Donnelly, and everything to do with your private life only becoming an issue if you have a same-sex partner.

The other point here is that it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. And so it should be. Do you support repealing this?

Why in any case there could be any objection to education programmes in schools teaching kids that same-sex relationships exist in society and are valid and valuable is beyond me. No doubt it will be asserted that it would undermine “family values”. How? Precisely?

I’m glad to see you guys coming out of the closet as social conservatives with an authoritarian agenda. Which necessarily involves attempting to force same-sex-attracted people back into the closet so you can continue living in your dream world of happy patriarchal family land. Well, I’ve got news for you, gentlemen, the world has moved on from this sort of nonsense and I think you’ll find a lot more people support protection from discrimination and value all sorts of sexual object choices and families.

Rob, as to the methodology of the study, I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to look. No doubt it’s publicly available. A lot of the figures cited depend on the questions asked – ie the often quoted Kinsey figures refer to attraction or an instance of same-sex sexual behaviour. Other figures relate to identification. I would suspect, without being sure, that firstly, the survey in question because this was its primary purpose, asked several different questions, and secondly, this is why the construct was defined as it is.

It may also be the case that there are more younger people whose heterosexuality isn’t “unequivocal” because of the greater acceptance of queer sexualities (except apparently among RWDB blog commenters)in society generally. There is anecdotal evidence that this applies to girls in particular. No doubt there is research and data on this, but if you were interested, you’d have to go looking.

I did discuss some related issues to do with survey research into sexuality on an earlier Troppo post:

http://troppoarmadillo.ubersportingpundit.com/archives/008001.html

My colleague Dr Shaun Wilson of ANU – has estimated that the percentage of same-sex-attracted people in the general population is around 5%. If you follow the links in the earlier post, you’ll see the reasoning explained.

Amanda
2021 years ago

“The incident occurred after her partner picked her up from a school camp. The 49-year-old faced repeated questions from students asking her who the woman was.”

Should she have lied?

Saw the Goodies on stage last night and they showed the clip when they made the “How to Make Babies by Doing Naughty Things” film, commissioned by morals crusader Desiree Carthorse. Perhaps we should just cover lesbians with a white sheet too.

Amanda
2021 years ago

Beat me to it Mark.

I assume the “Education Age” is a supplement to the Age. Melbourne armadillos, is there is any more detail?

yellowvinyl
yellowvinyl
2021 years ago

Amanda, no doubt Rafe, Rob and the resident educationalist would have liked her to say “that’s my sister” and look suitably guilty!

the arrogance, condescension and usual self-satisfied certainty that he’s right about everything that are Dr Donnelly’s usual style are never better displayed than in these comments.

we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!

and I notice the complete avoidance of any concern with either the teacher or kids who may be queer. if those are your values – authoritarian imposition of yr own stuffed-shirt hatefilled morality, I want no part of it, and nor would I want my kids raised like this. but no doubt Dr Donnelly would deny my right to have or raise children with a same-sex partner.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

yellow, Kevin might allow you to have kids if you didn’t tell anyone that you had a female partner. Goddess knows what he’d say if your kids said something at school. Goddess also knows who gave him the right to lay down the law about what sort of families people should form.

Most of the evidence on same-sex parenting shows that younger kids don’t regard kids with same-sex parents as being particularly notable or different. Kevin, I suspect, in the guise of “protecting social norms” would like schools to socialise them into noting and devaluing this difference, which is what causes the violence, alienation and hate in the first place.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Hello again,

Lighten up, as my daughter’s friends say. Mark, just because the kids asked the teacher about her friend, does not mean the teacher had to answer. She should have said it is none of your business. I would have thought that teachers are there to teach and, maybe, you should actually read Lasch’s ‘The Culture of Narcisism’ to understand the difference between education and therapy. Forget about teachers revealing their personal relationships in front of primary school kids, maybe grammar and times tables are better to help the kids get ahead in life.

I agree that no teacher should be victimised because of his or her personal sexual preferences, and I even agree that teacher unions have the right to fight against such discrimination. What I don’t like is when teacher unions and subject associations like the AATE try and inject their PC agenda on gender into schools.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

I’ve read Lasch, Kevin, and his book on elites, and recognise that he makes some valid points, but I don’t necessarily draw the same conclusions from his work that you do nor make the link with teaching.

Your argument here is identical in form to your argument about teaching English. You bemoan “theory” informing English teaching, which actually means that you don’t want your criteria about what constitutes literature (implicitly a “theory”) questioned. You now argue against a “gender agenda” which as you admit in your article means that you don’t want “a traditional sense of what it means to be male or female” questioned in any way.

You also conflate the questions of gender and sexuality.

You write:

“The belief is that heterosexuality should not be privileged and that existing gender roles reflect inequitable and unjust “dominant power relation[s]” and education must be directed at the “deconstruction and reconstruction” of such roles.”

Personally, I don’t believe that heterosexuality should be privileged, and I do believe that people should question socially constituted gender roles. If people are happy to live a traditional masculinity or femininity, well then, fine (whatever those things may be and there’ve always been different ways of doing “being female” or “being male” according to ethnicity, age, class, personal inclination etc). But they should be aware that others also have the right to live their gender as they choose. And they shouldn’t be taught that heterosexuality is natural, and other sexualities a deviant form. Not mentioning it at all reinforces this culturally dominant view, as I’m sure you’re aware. Otherwise the logic of your argument wouldn’t call for you to object to naturalising other sexualities.

Just as I’m sceptical that the Wayne Sawyers of the world have all that much influence on kids, so too do I express some scepticism about the power of school education to reorient people’s thinking on gender and sexuality. In practice, I’d happily settle for non-discriminatory teaching practice and sensitivity in behaviour management, and teaching tolerance and respect.

You write in your comment above:

“Mark, just because the kids asked the teacher about her friend, does not mean the teacher had to answer” and “Forget about teachers revealing their personal relationships in front of primary school kids”.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed that primary school students are very curious. If the teacher had said “that’s my husband”, would you write an op/ed article condemning teachers’ discussions of their personal relationships? Of course you wouldn’t. When I was in grade 5, our female teacher got engaged to a male teacher in the same school. She told us about it. Are you outraged? I still learnt my grammar and spelling and times tables.

Your only concern is that the teacher happened to be a lesbian. And you’d rather nobody knew there were any lesbians.

Well, and Rafe ought to be pleased about this according to his stated political position, it’s actually (among other things) capitalism – through advertising, magazines targetted at young women, books and tv shows – that is helping undermine prejudice. So there you go – some praise from me for the free market.

But I forgot, you’re not a liberal, you’re a conservative.

It’s ironic that you don’t comment on the article’s contention that Catholic schools deal with these issues rather better on the whole. As usual, you ignore any evidence that would contradict your a priori contention that public schools are a sinkhole of pc corruption.

And you write “lighten up”. I’ve already commented on your argumentative and rhetorical strategies – it may not surprise you to hear that some people take the issue of homophobia very seriously indeed. And more educational experts such as yourself ought to, if the severe problems some queer kids encounter at school are to be meliorated. As an expert, I’m sure you’re familiar with the relevant research.

yellowvinyl
yellowvinyl
2021 years ago

on the meta-blogging thing, it’s instructive (as I’ve just done) to go back and look at the comments thread on the previous post from last year Mark linked to and compare it with this one. and then to look at some adjacent threads. the tone and the level of civility are quite different. I can see why Mark got a bit strung out by this on the weekend. if yr reading, Ken, I think you should have a look too.

Irant
2021 years ago

Rafe, what a ridiculous statement of yours.

When you meet a hetero couple at a party you cower in disgust at their overt display of sexual orientation? The next time myself and my fiance go out I assure that we’ll be careful and avoid shoving our sexuality into someone’s face. Any suggestions on how best we avoid over displays of sexuality?

derrida derider
derrida derider
2021 years ago

“Homosexual sex is OK in private but I don’t want it shoved down my throat” – Rex Mossop

It really does sound to me as though Kevin has some personal issues here he should work through – or is that an impossibly PC thing to say?.

Evil Pundit
2021 years ago

I think “toleration” is a code for imposing left-wing values on everyone. It only ever seems to benefit the groups favoured by left-wingers, and is rarely if ever applied to anyone else.

Michael Carden
Michael Carden
2021 years ago

Amanda and yellow, you took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn’t be bothered trying to read all of what Donnelly had to say, he’s clearly an oldfashioned poofter basher. And it’s not just teachers being harassed but students as well. MOst of the homophobia in schools targets students who are percieved to be not straight. It’s not a new phenomenon – it was a reality of my school days 40 years ago. By their silence teachers collaborated in it then and probably still do. Indeed schools, private and public, have a duty of care to ensure they provide a safe environment for all. I’m pleased to see that many, including Catholic schools, take that responsibility seriously. It should be something to celebrate not disparage. So Donnelly and co get used to it.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

EP:

“If people are happy to live a traditional masculinity or femininity, well then, fine (whatever those things may be and there’ve always been different ways of doing “being female” or “being male” according to ethnicity, age, class, personal inclination etc). But they should be aware that others also have the right to live their gender as they choose.”

The only area where I don’t advocate tolerance is for compulsory education in schools about sperm theft or the evils of Sweden.

Nic White
2021 years ago

Kevin, why the hell is homosexuality somehow inferior to hetrosexuality? Because it’s different to what you are used to? Why should it not be accepted and kids be taught about it in order to stop the cycle of homophobia repeating itself? For heaven’s sake lets get some plurality happening in our schools, not just about this, but many other things too.

In addition, why is it such a bad thing for teachers to be candid about their own lives with students? I found it beneficial in my high school education. And how to you brand this as teachers pushing a “PC agenda”?

Your double standards are so thick they are laughable.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

The overriding problem here when listening to the comments is that it is very difficult to agree on values, which always raises the passions of those with a vested interest in choosing them for their kids. The solution is to have as broad a degree of choice in values in education as possible. The problem for a monolithic education sector is trying to provide a broad enough church to satisfy all and in the process actually satisfying the few. We see exactly the same problem with say UN vs COW values toward Iraq. Which of these two competing views should we teach as the ‘correct’ values in our schools? The truth will probably evolve from allowing various ethos to compete with each other in the market-place.

Mark, you may not like it but the plain facts are that homosexuality is tolerated by the broader community, whilst not being broadly accepted. Yes Mr and Mrs Mainstream attend the Mardi Gras(without the kids), but it’s largely to have a guffaw at homosexuals behaving stupidly. Of course you can often go to any strip club or topless bar to watch heterosexuals behaving badly but that is not the point for most parents and their kids. Personally I don’t want my kid’s teachers prattling on about how they had a good time at the strip joint or the Mardi Gras on the weekend, any more than I want them leaving girlie mags lying about their desks. They’re my values and I want to send them to the school of my choice that reflects them. I don’t have a problem with you sending your kids to the school for land rights for gay whales if perhaps that’s your particular bag. We’ll see who’s made the best choice for their kids in the long run.(Note: my kids have actually completed school now)Oh and it might be trite to state the obvious, but schools are not the be all and end all of values. If they were Gough Whitlam would still be PM.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

observa, I don’t think you get it. A public school ought not to practice any form of discrimination. There are people who are gay. There are people who are straight. There are people with other sexual preferences. A school should promote respect for all sexualities.

I just don’t see the issue – how does respect for others invalidate your own values? Unless your values are exclusivist and intolerant.

I agree with you that schools aren’t the be all and end all of values, as I said in a comment above. But that doesn’t mean that we should enshrine discriminatory values in them.

Gough Whitlam’s too busy to be PM, btw, like Cardinal Pell and Archbishop Jensen, he’s got lunches in honour of Princess Mary to attend.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

In addition to that, observa, your analogies assume that talking about one’s sexual orientation is akin to displaying pornography and that celebrating one’s sexuality is the same as objectifying someone at a strip club.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2021 years ago

Coming late to this thread, an with a comment that perhaps should have been posted on Kev’s guest post thingy. But that’s slipped back a bit now, and I think the point I wanna make is also germane to tis thread.

I notice that Kev is very proscriptive about other proscriptions but not at all prescriptive himself. Perhaps, as an experienced, and often taxpayer funded educationalist, (whatever the hell that is – those that can’t do. teach, and those that can’t teach, criticise?). he’d care to outline his preferred curriculum.

Name some textbooks, course structures and reading lists you’d recommend Kev, and explain why you think they’re relevant to kids in the 21st century.

No links. just several hundred of yer own words that you think make it clear why and, how and what you can offer something that has the kids interests, and not some ideology, at heart.

Take yer time. My breath is not bated…tho’ my comment is baited.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Some have criticised me for arguing that the trainee teacher should not have discussed her sexual preferences with the primary school kids – in today’s Herald Sun the head of the teacher union, Mary Bluett, argues the same thing and says that the teacher should have said nothing and got on with the lesson. Obviously, Mary too is a homophobic, red neck RWDB!

Amanda
2021 years ago

But Ms Bluett said a more experienced teacher would not have taken that approach.

“The best course of conduct would be to say, `That’s a friend, or that’s none of your business

blank
blank
2021 years ago

“observa, A public school ought not to practice any form of discrimination. …. There are people with other sexual preferences. A school should promote respect for all sexualities”

Yes, Mark, there is a diversity of sexual preferences. Would you promote respect for other ‘valid expressions’ of sexuality such as paedophilia and hebephilia/ephebophilia?

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

I think that part of the answer to the kind of problems outlined in the report that Mark started off by citing and also in many of the comments that have followed is the cultivation or inculcation of individual strength and resistance in the individuals concerned, not some massive state intervention aimed at eradicating one of the world’s evils. As I’ve argued elsewhere I think these are almost inevitably doomed to fail because people don’t like governments telling them what to think or how to behave.

Rather than implement global programs designed to persuade schooldchildren it’s wrong to victimise gays, or people still uncertain of their sexual preference, perhaps the better way is to provide those indivuals themselves with a sympathetic ear and guidance as to how to deal with the difficult situations that they will encounter from time to time. That seems to me to be the best way to eat away at the roots of the prejudice, becaues it will give them the strength to turn back their mockers, who will sooner or later (hopefully sooner) give up and move on to something else. That’s not a solution that will appeal to idealists who want to change the world but I think it’s more practical.

The world is full of professional worriers who are convinced that when people are unhappy the world has somehow got to change so that the cause of their unhappiness removed. That’s bollocks. The world won’t change until it’s ready to. The world won’t stop spinning on its axis because the speed of it makes some unhappy tennager seasick. What can be done to help them stand upright and keep their feet, and win morally strengthening victories for themselves – that’s the question. And not the hollow victory that will come from invoking a higher authority – the education department, for example.

I think it’s pointless to think that you can somehow eliminate the childish instinct for cruelty. Like it or not, kids pick on each other for all kinds of reasons – they’re fat, they’re four-eyed, they’re swots, they’re teachers pets, etc. – and telling them it’s the wrong thing to do is likely to produce a scornful snicker and a determination do do it bigger and better next ime.

Some people here may respond by saying, ‘Why shouldn’t the homophobes be the ones to be counselled?’ I’d say that a juvenile homophobe is much more likely to change his/her mind if confronted by a personally strong and personally empowered gay peer who can talk the same kind of language at the same kind of level, and not give in to intimidation. Running to the system for protection won’t help anyone. A teacher reading said juvenile a lecture would just be treated with sullen contempt, and will simply confirm the incipient prejudice with an injection of righteous resentment.

If we inculcate in minority groups, including gays, the strength and confidence to laugh at their detractors – by focussing on the individual, not the social entity – I think we’ll get there a lot quicker in the end than by subjecting those detractors to a doleful chorus of condescending moralisers.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

“observa, A public school ought not to practice any form of discrimination. …. There are people with other sexual preferences. A school should promote respect for all sexualities”

Theoretically all very nice and comfy Mark, but are you saying you would be comfortable with teachers dressing up in Mardi Gras costumes for work? What about teachers and students who are cross dressers? What’s your view on enforcing school uniforms here? What would you say to the principal who suggests to the new chum teacher, that the night club gear she wears, might not exactly be appropriate for her YR10 boys woodwork class, or perhaps is an OHS risk when eating soup? Paedophilia is of course an easy no-brainer, but good sense, taste and decorum get a hell of a lot harder.

I think Rob generally nails it with his last comments. As a general observation, I would say the battle to beat true homophobia has largely been won, or at least is about as good as you’re going to get(tolerance rather than some utopian dream of acceptance) Now on this point here’s the rub. In the battle for reasonable tolerance and an end to poofter bashing and real homophobia, it was inevitable the reformist pendulum would swing too far. Exit homophobia and enter normophobia. IMO the looney left should stop using homosexuals as their own personal front line shock troops in their ongoing revolution against some perceived system they think needs bringing down. If they do, they shouldn’t feign shock and horror when their troops return from the front line bloodied and battered. Homosexuals should wake up to what’s going on here too and stop being the pawns of the agendist normophobes. In this, they and we should follow Rob’s good advice.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

OK Derrida – I do have personal issues. I am a latent homosexual who fantasises about cross dressing and going out with Bangkok boy/girls.

Only joking!

Why is it that anytime somebody questions the PC gender agenda (normalising homosexuality/lesbianism and transgender sex as the teacher union and English teachers association do) or defends heterosexuality as the norm they are vilified as homophobic?

By the way, is it true that, according to an Australian survey, 1.6% of men and 0.8% of women identified themselves as homosexual and lesbian? Also that out of 2.32 million mum and dad families, only 2187 described themselves as same sex couples with children.

Nobody should be victimised or abused because of their sexuality, but is it not the case that hetersexuality is the norm and, wait for it, more NATURAL.

observa
observa
2021 years ago

I’d add the obvious here that IMO the push to give homosexual relatioships, the same social, iconic imprimatur of monogamous, heterosexual marriage, falls under this umbrella of normophobic agendism.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

“Yes, Mark, there is a diversity of sexual preferences. Would you promote respect for other ‘valid expressions’ of sexuality such as paedophilia and hebephilia/ephebophilia?”

blank, that’s a facetious question. I have no idea what hebephilia etc, are. Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation but a pathological disorder. I find it highly suspicious that as soon as we start talking about non-hetero sexualities, someone has to chime in with a mention of pedophilia. All the evidence shows that the proportion of pedophiles in the straight population is same or larger than in the non-straight population – you may not be implying this but the usual inference is that gays are nasty types who are dangerous to our kids because they’re all pedophiles. I hope that you’re not saying that, because it’s manifestly untrue, and it’s just prejudice.

observa, you’re carrying on like a pork chop. I have a (straight) friend who occasionally likes going out to bars dressed in leathers. When he goes to work he wears a suit. What are you on about? You’re insinuating that non-straight people are hypersexual, incapable of understanding distinctions of propriety and context? How absurd.

Rob, your argument appears to be that it’s all character building. That was the view towards abuse and often physical abuse when I was at school. Now, most schools, appropriately have strategies in place to combat bullying and to get kids to understand the consequences of their actions. Are you saying that’s a bad thing?

Kevin, you should read more and pontificate less. If you followed the link I posted above in a comment in response to Rob’s about statistics. For a number of reasons, census figures and most surveys probably understate the size of the non-hetero population.

No, heterosexuality is not “natural” – whatever that means. The concept of defining people’s identities by their sexual object choice has been around for about a hundred years. The slightest acquaintance with history, sociology or anthropology would tell you that.

Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards
2021 years ago

Speaking of anthropology, if an anthropologist were to survey a wide range of people from “diverse” cultures (including the Left’s favourite “progressive” cultures like Islam) on whether they think heterosexuality is “natural”, I wonder what the predominant answer would be?

About the only people that actually think there is equivalence between hetero/non-hetero relationships are found among left-liberal academics in the western world. As these people typically don’t breed, they, and their ideas, will probably be extinct in about 40 years.

Rob
Rob
2021 years ago

A very good point, Steve.

It could be added that no society has ever de-ritualised sexuality, marriage and childbirth – traditionally the subjects surrounded by the strongest and most inexorable of taboos in every recorded culture – to anyting approaching the extent to which it has happened in the late 20th century West.

It’s one of the reasons the Islamists hate us, of course.

Somehat OT, but still germane I hope.

Irant
2021 years ago

I’m proposing an extension of Godwin’s Law based on Troppo today:

In a discussion on homosexuality, the probability of comparison involving peadophilia approaches one.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Well, the Greeks and the Romans thought it was odd when men were just attracted to women. I’m sure that all well-educated culture warriors have read their Plato, Propertius etc. :)

And there are lots of contemporary cultures that don’t have the heterosexual/homosexual distinction, including I understand, some Indigenous cultures in the Northern Territory.

And sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Steve, but I know quite a few left/liberal academics who’ve been breeding lately :)

observa
observa
2021 years ago

“observa, you’re carrying on like a pork chop…… What are you on about? You’re insinuating that non-straight people are hypersexual, incapable of understanding distinctions of propriety and context? How absurd.”

I don’t mean to insinuate anything of the kind, but simply use an example to demonstrate that schools do have inherent community values and social mores overlaid on professional and student behavioural expression all the time. Sophie points this out fairly well elsewhere, as well as pointing to some of the more stultifying strictures of late.

Overall, I’d caution homosexuals about pursuing the agenda of some normophobes, particularly in schools. Less inyaface coming out and more moving right along educating by example, coupled with an attitude of sensitivity to the mainstream audience. This is probably standard procedure for most now anyway. Steep learn curve facing naive new chums or the inyaface agendists I guess.

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Mark states:

“No, heterosexuality is not “natural” – whatever that means. The concept of defining people’s identities by their sexual object choice has been around for about a hundred years. The slightest acquaintance with history, sociology or anthropology would tell you that.”

If you had read what I said more closely, my exact words were: “Nobody should be victimised or abused because of their sexuality, but is it not the case that hetersexuality is the norm and, wait for it, more NATURAL.”

I would argue that men and women doing ‘it’ together is more natural that the alternative under discussion. My doctor and nursing friends support this view when they explain to me the physiology of the human body. Secondly, a passing knowledge of the OED finds that natural is defined as: “Taking place or operating in the ordinary course of nature”.

Within nature (with few exceptions), heterosexuality is the norm , if for nothing else, than to ensure the reproduction of the species.

yellowvinyl
yellowvinyl
2021 years ago

yr making a category mistake, Kevin.

yr premise is that sex is always oriented towards reproduction. from this you infer that sex between men and women, because it has the potential to lead to reproduction (though obviously there are many other reasons for hetero people to make love) then it is ‘natural’.

some men have always had sex with men, and some women with women, depending on individual predilection, and prevailing societal norms. if you were to read Plato, you’d see that not being attracted to beautiful young men was thought to be “unnatural” – because – the Greeks did not make the linkage between sexuality and reproduction as its only legitimate purpose that came in with the Christian church.

now, the further thing yr missing is that defining people by who they primarily prefer as a sexual partner is something that only happened in the Nineteenth century, and that the category of “heterosexuality” was invented subsequently to that of “homosexuality” to oppose a norm to what had been branded different.

prior to that, the Church held that “sodomy” was a sin but no-one went around thinking that someone’s whole identity was defined by sexual object choice. many kings for instance, had male lovers and favourites, James I for instance.

in other words, the point I’m making is that the linkage between sexual behaviours and object choice with “nature” and a distinction between hetero and homo is an artefact of culture. “nature” itself is a cultural construct, able to be employed differently in different contexts.

I suggest you read Foucault’s History of Sexuality so that you can educate yourself on these matters.

it’s a great pity that the fact that you didn’t study deconstruction at high school has impeded yr ability to reason clearly :)

Kevin Donnelly
Kevin Donnelly
2021 years ago

Hi Yellow,

Deconstruction at high school? Wasn’t covered at Broady High, too much woodwork and footy.

Nic White
2021 years ago

“is it not the case that hetersexuality is the norm and, wait for it, more NATURAL.”

Who determines “natural” and “normal”? They are societal constructs, nothing more. If society were to change, as it has been doing, these definitions would change. It’s all relative, you cant absolutely say that hetrosexuality is more “natural” or “normal” than homosexuality. The fact is that homosexuality has been oppressed for at least 2000 years means that obviously less people are going to choose to practice it. As it becomes more accepted, the number will grow. It is only considered not “normal” because it is practiced by such a small number of people and has has only really emerged as being acceptable recently.

Asians, blacks, etc are small minorities compared to whites in Australian society, does this mean they are less “normal” or “natural” than whites?

Kevin your logic is completely non-existent here.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

I think this “debate” has run its course, and I’m troubled by the comments that Ron made on the other thread that the insensitivity of some comments could themselves do damage, so I’m closing this thread.