TV & Radio
May 14, 2006
Students applaud gay, lesbian textbook bill
By Matt King
Santa Cruz Sentinel staff writer
Since Joya Cazel began identifying as a lesbian last year, she's been harassed, heckled and hazed, called a faggot and worse.
"I have had a lot of harassment happen to me at school," the eighth-grader at Shoreline Middle School said. "Some of the things that are said to me are horrible."
Jacob Breslow didn't have such a hard time because "somebody walking down the street wouldn't look at me and think, 'Oh, that person is gay.' Because of that I wasn't stereotyped."
But Breslow, now a freshman at UC Santa Cruz who works with gay and lesbian youth, said he's seen and heard plenty of abuse since he came out in eighth-grade.
"It wasn't all directed personally at me, but the climate of the school was pretty bad," Breslow said of growing up in Lafayette. "There were a lot of slurs."
Gay and lesbian students may soon have a new ally in their fight for acceptance — a proposed state law that, if passed, would require California textbooks to note the accomplishments of gays and lesbians in history and ban any materials that criticize people based on their sexual orientation.
"I think including gay history in textbooks will throw a more positive bent on the homosexual population instead of the negative things I hear every day," Cazel said. "It's because people are not educated. I don't know who my gay heros in history are, and if I don't know, then nobody else at my school does and that's sad."
But the controversial bill — written by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the state's first openly gay legislator — is reviving a long-running debate about the intersection of morality and sexual orientation with traditional classroom subjects. Parents of gay youth and other supporters argue that teaching children about notable gay figures will inspire youth struggling with their sexual orientation and make schools safer and more tolerant.
But some see the bill as an effort to instruct young, captive audiences in a way that may contradict the values and teachings of their parents.
"My problem is that it does not allow those who are morally opposed to it to speak out," said Elizabeth Walch, who has four children in Scotts Valley schools. "I agree that we need to teach tolerance for everybody ... but it's not fair to those who value the traditional family. It's an infringement on my right of free speech."
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday in a partisan vote. Republicans in the Assembly have vowed to fight it, but the bill has broad support locally. The Rev. David Grishaw-Jones is senior minister at First Congregational Church in Santa Cruz, and has two kids in the city's public schools. He said he wants his children to learn the full story of the nation's history.
"The accomplishments of gays and lesbians are undeniable," Grishaw-Jones said. "I think our schools need to be very intentional in teaching that history and making sure our kids are exposed to it and shaped by it."
Kuehl, a Los Angeles Democrat, said the new guidelines are necessary because a 2000 law that banned discrimination in schools based on gender, race sexual orientation and other characteristics hasn't successfully protected gay and lesbian youth. She compared teaching about gays and lesbians to rules that already require references to blacks, Mexicans and other specific groups.
"It's about role models. I don't think you're pushing anything on anybody," she said. "If you're teaching about Martin Luther King, you may want to mention that he's black. If you're teaching about Langston Hughes, you may want to mention that he was black and gay. It may or may not be relevant to what he did, but simply to note that a gay person did this good thing helps you see that a diverse group of people have talent."
Ron Indra, a social studies teacher at Harbor High School, said he thinks the law would be warmly received in largely liberal Santa Cruz. Indra, who is gay, is responsible for enforcing that 2000 law at Harbor High, where each classroom also has a pink triangle poster to promote tolerance.
"It certainly has to be relevant," he said, "If there's a reason and it helps round out your perspective of who this person is, we may bring it up to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students the same way we would bring up examples of strong women in history. So everyone can find role models."
But to conservative groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition in Anaheim, Kuehl's bill usurps parental authority and would cloud the religious values students learn at home. The group's legislative analyst, Benjamin Lopez, said that the 2000 law goes far enough to protect gay and lesbian youth.
"We feel schools should not be in the business of teaching beliefs and value systems that parents instill in the home," Lopez said. "We've given them an inch and now they want to take a mile. I doubt it will stop here."
Jessica Jones, an eighth-grader at Shoreline, thinks Lopez and other opponents of the bill are exaggerating its impact.
"It wouldn't be about the awkwardness of being out," said Jones, who identifies as bisexual. "It would be about what happened in history and show that someone who is gay can do positive things. It wouldn't create sexual confusion."
Contact Matt King at email@example.com.
Do you support the proposed state law changing California textbooks' treatment
May 13, 2006
I was extremely disappointed to read your May 9 editorial on my Senate Bill 1437, which would extend curricular protections and inclusion to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
You fail to mention that the bill would amend two sections of current law that protect many other categories of students. To this we add gay and lesbian people. The law prohibits the adoption of official teaching materials that reflect adversely on people because of their race, sex, disability, nationality and religion. To this we add sexual orientation and gender.
The invisibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the history curriculum only exacerbates school climates in which homophobic bullying, harassment and violence are rampant. Studies show that a bias-free and inclusive curriculum fosters tolerance, resulting in greater feelings of student safety and less bullying. The idea behind SB 1437 is not a new or a radical one. SB 1437 simply would add our community into existing sections of the law.
STATE SEN. SHEILA KUEHL
For Teachers, Much Gray if Curriculum Adds Gays
By Scott Gold and Hemmy So, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
May 13, 2006
Would the state of California "out" Abe Lincoln, now that a controversial biography has suggested that he not only changed the course of a nation but also shared a bed with men?
Would Eleanor Roosevelt be singled out not just for her seminal work pursuing the New Deal and fighting for human rights, but for her relationship with a woman?
Would Renee Richards, the tennis player who underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1975 and fought successfully to compete as a woman, merit mention in a history book?
On Friday, a day after the state Senate voted to require that the historical contributions of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people be taught in California schools, the weight of practicality — how would it be accomplished? — settled in.
Many educators and activists found themselves in a briar patch of confusion — even those who believe that folding the concept of sexual orientation into the school curriculum would lead to greater levels of tolerance and acceptance.
The bill, which still needs the approval of the Assembly and the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would require schools to incorporate, in about six years, studies of the "role and contributions" made by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to the "economic political and social development" of California and the United States.
The legislation would require the state Board of Education to integrate the subject matter into the curriculum.
It does not say, however, how that should happen — what form the instruction might take, what material it might include or at what grade level the new material should be taught.
"How far do we have to go?" asked James Berger, who retired last year after a 35-year teaching career and is now a "coach" of local history teachers. "I read one time that [Nazi leader] Hermann Goering liked to wear dresses. Is that important to note? Because he was also a murderer, and that seems to be the essence of what he was about."
State Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), the author of the bill, and her legislative director, Jennifer Richard, acknowledge that questions remain about how the proposal would be implemented but said that critics should trust in the typical restraint of historical study.
Textbook manufacturers, they say, would require far more documentation and confirmation than, say, "The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln," the biography that raised the issue of Lincoln's sexual orientation, which was seen by some historians as slipshod and irresponsible.
Supporters say that bulking up the curriculum dealing with gays is more likely to mean the inclusion of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 gay rights struggle in New York, in the context of America's other civil rights movements.
Or, they say, it could mean expanding the discussion of AIDS to note that gays were not only some of the most prominent victims of the disease, but the most prominent people fighting it.
"The only way that gay and lesbian kids can see themselves in schoolbooks now is in the context of the AIDS epidemic or wearing pink triangles during the Holocaust," said David Holladay, executive director of the nonprofit Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network Los Angeles. "It doesn't mean there has to be a huge categorical insert of some kind" into the text, he said. "That's the picture that [critics are] painting — that there's going to 10 pink pages at the end of each chapter."
California schools are already required to teach about the historical and social contributions of blacks, women, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and other ethnic groups. The addition of homosexuals to the list raises complex issues, say some of the educators who have concerns about the measure.
The historic and social role of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, was defined by his race. Susan B. Anthony's fight for women's suffrage was informed by the fact that she was a woman, and there are parallel examples in the arena of gay rights.
Proponents of the bill cite gay rights leader Harvey Milk as an example of someone who would be included in the proposed curriculum. Milk, a San Francisco supervisor, was shot and killed along with Mayor George Moscone by a former supervisor in 1978. The fact that Milk was gay is clearly relevant in any discussion of his historic role.
But what about Billie Jean King, the great tennis champion who became a feminist icon when she defeated avowed chauvinist Bobby Riggs in the 1973 "Battle of the Sexes"? King had a romantic relationship with her secretary, a woman, in the 1970s while she was married. Should King be remembered as a tennis champion? A feminist icon? A lesbian?
The answer is yes to all three questions, said Richard, Kuehl's legislative director.
When it comes to measuring historic significance, Richard said, King's sexual orientation should not be viewed any differently than the fact that Jackie Robinson was a very good baseball player and an African American.
"That is an important part of Jackie Robinson's story," Richard said. "It is also an important part of Billie Jean King's story, that she was the first openly lesbian athletic star. There are gray areas we have to make decisions about all the time in history, and not just about aspects of sexual orientation. I imagine that filtering process will take place with this as well."
Kuehl said her bill would play a vital role by expounding on what she called history's "crossover" roles — people who were members of more than one minority group.
She cited, for instance, Bayard Rustin, an African American civil rights leader, a principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and a top lieutenant of the Rev. King.
"He was also gay," Kuehl said. "If that fact were simply mentioned [in a classroom], it could go a long way toward helping children understand that people are not one 'thing' or another and that sometimes gay people also contributed to the black civil rights movement or to La Raza."
That is a perilous path, said Carol Hogan, spokeswoman for the California Catholic Conference, the public policy office of California's Catholic bishops.
Unless a person's gender, race or ethnicity played a central role in that person's historical significance, it should not be discussed, Hogan said — and neither should his or her sexual orientation.
David Tokofsky, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, said that while he supports the idea behind the bill, he fears it could backfire by reducing gays and lesbians to another item on a "checklist" that textbook manufacturers and teachers use in an age of standardized testing.
"They are not asking for a sophisticated history or something that causes thinking," he said. "These things kind of get debased."
The New York Times
May 14, 2006
From TV Role in 'Dobie Gillis' to Rights Fight in Legislature
By JESSE McKINLEY
SAN FRANCISCO, May 13 — Sheila Kuehl has done a few things that someday may merit mention in the history books: more than a decade in the California Legislature, a public crusade against domestic violence and a stint as the tenacious busybody Zelda on the classic sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."
But if such immortality were to happen, Ms. Kuehl says, she would want one fact listed with the rest of her accomplishments: she is gay.
So this year, Ms. Kuehl, a state senator representing western Los Angeles, introduced a bill to assure that lesbians and gay men get what she feels is their due in California textbooks. The bill, which passed the Senate on Thursday and is now headed to the Assembly, would forbid the teaching of any material that "reflects adversely on persons due to sexual orientation," and add the "age appropriate study of the role and contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
For Ms. Kuehl, 65, the bill seems to have as much to do with school security as it does with the A B C's.
"One of the things that contribute to a safe or unsafe environment for kids are the teaching materials," Ms. Kuehl said. "If you have teaching material that didn't say anything at all about gay and lesbian people, it is assumed that they never did anything at all. But if it said anything about gay and lesbian people, the whole atmosphere of the school was safer for gay and lesbian kids, or those thought to be gay and lesbian."
At a time when same-sex marriage is a polarizing presence in the courts and in voting booths across the country, any issue dealing with gay rights is bound to cause a fluster, and this bill is no exception. The Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative organization, labeled the proposal "the most outrageous bill in the California Legislature this year."
Concerned Women for America, a Christian public policy group, filed a letter with the Senate suggesting that such studies were the domain of the home, not the schools.
Cindy Moles, the state director of Concerned Women for America, said the bill was trying to indoctrinate children to "dangerous sexual lifestyles" and was unnecessary from an educational standpoint.
"We don't need to list all the behavior of historical figures," Ms. Moles said. "Certainly not their sexual behavior."
Representatives for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to comment on the bill, as did Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction.
Ms. Kuehl says she traces her quest to include material on gay figures in textbooks to her days as a student in Los Angeles public schools in the late 1940's and early 50's.
"When I was a kid, there were no women in the textbooks, no black people, no Latinos," she said. "As far as I knew, the only people who ever did anything worthwhile were white men."
Ms. Kuehl said the practical applications of the law would be limited to including the accomplishments of gay figures in textbooks and class studies alongside those of other social and ethnic groups. For example, a teacher talking about Langston Hughes would not only mention the fact that he was a black poet, but also mention his sexuality, Ms. Kuehl said.
If the law were to pass, new textbooks probably would not hit desks until 2012, by which time Ms. Kuehl, who is recognized as the state's first openly gay legislator, might merit a mention or two. What might she like it to say?
"I'd like to be remembered as a person that fought for civil rights and social justice," she said.
But what of "Dobie Gillis"? "I'm proud of that work, too," she said.
天地人 (東奥日報2006年5月1日(月) )
The New York Times
Published: May 13, 2006
President Bush deserves much credit for sharply increasing United States financing for AIDS prevention programs overseas. But along with Congress, he must also shoulder the blame for letting ideology rather than sound public health policy drive how the money is spent.
The elevation of ideology over both science and local needs is deadly in this case. A new report by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, finds that efforts to stem the AIDS pandemic are being undermined by the insistence of Republican Congressional leaders and the administration that an unduly large portion of the funds be used to emphasize sexual abstinence and fidelity.
Based on candid and confidential in-depth interviews with American officials carrying out AIDS prevention programs financed by the United States in 15 countries, the G.A.O.'s assessment should weigh heavily on the president's conscience, and inspire a change of policy.
Because of a very bad amendment tagged onto the law financing global AIDS efforts, fully 33 percent of prevention funds must be used for abstinence-until-marriage and fidelity programs. That drastically limits the money and flexibility for broader, proven strategies to combat AIDS, including the condom part of the so-called ABC approach: abstain, be faithful or use condoms.
Apart from ignoring human nature, the stress on abstinence largely ignores the situation in countries like India or Russia, which have exploding H.I.V. and AIDS problems stemming largely from the intravenous use of illegal drugs and prostitution. The administration has added rules that effectively raise the spending for abstinence-only programs in some countries to well in excess of 33 percent.
The result, according to the G.A.O. review, is abstinence overkill, with some countries having to cut spending on effective prevention strategies, including programs to prevent the transmission of H.I.V. from infected mothers to their newborn infants. That is indefensible.
With no intervention, a pregnant woman with H.I.V. stands a large chance of infecting her infant at birth or during breast-feeding — a possible death sentence because, without treatment, some 60 percent of infected children die by their third birthdays. The experience in developing countries is that inexpensive treatment with antiretroviral drugs can reduce the risk of transmission by up to half.
While promoting abstinence and faithfulness is important, de-emphasizing effective programs that involve condoms, as the administration has been doing, is a dangerous strategy.
女優ナオミ・ワッツさん、国連エイズ計画の特別代表に (時事 2006/05/13)
ワッツさんエイズ特使に 国連合同エイズ計画 (共同 2006/05/13)
UNAIDS: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS