“And Tango Makes Three”

That’s the title of a children’s book that’s not really suited for children. I’m about to really raise the ire of gay rights advocates, because I am about to say very publicly that I disagree wholeheartedly with indoctrinating children with gay-rights lessons. The California state education board is batting around the idea of presenting a curriculum that includes this book. Gay-rights advocates are jumping for joy that it’s being considered.

My cousins in Texas, between them, have four young kids. I have one niece through my brother (just turned nine months old). I’ve worked with kids in shelters, and I see kids regularly at one of my jobs. I’ve learned through my experiences that kids act differently when adults treat something differently: whether we’re tiptoeing around an issue or we’re arguing about it, they’ll pick up on that difference and treat it differently, too. Kids are very, very sensitive to that sort of thing.

One of my dad’s older cousins, Mary, is also a lesbian and she and her partner of 20+ years, Sharon, live on a small horse ranch in Houston. The kids know Mary and Sharon; they don’t ask questions about why they’re together, they just know that they’re Mary and Sharon. We don’t make a big deal and the kids see it as perfectly normal. If we were to try to sit the kids down and have “the talk” with them about why Mary and Sharon are always together, it would be different–and the kids likely wouldn’t understand it.

“And Tango Makes Three” is a book geared towards kids about two gay penguins struggling to make a family. Another theme of the book is bullying, and the book is billed as a bullying tool. It is anything BUT a bullying tool, however. A bigger deal is made about the fact that two male penguins want to raise a chick together and many other penguins disapprove.

This sort of thing is nothing new to elementary-age kids; “Am I Blue” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” preceeded “Tango.” If the State of California were making this education optional, it would be one thing. The problem I have is that the state’s board of education is voting to make it absolutely mandatory for kindergarten-aged kids.

MANDATORY. Seriously. What’s more, fifth-graders will be required to study “sexual stereotypes.”

Nobody in the government has any business telling a parent what to teach their kids. You know what? That guy on the East Coast who named his son Adolf? He had a right to do that. We may think he’s not the quickest bunny in the forest, but it doesn’t give us the right to tell him he can’t do that. If parents want to teach their kids that homosexuality is wrong, that is their right, as much as we may dislike it. Now, if that child turns around and calls a classmate a fag, then the teacher can take disciplinary action to make clear that name-calling and bullying are unacceptable. You can create the tools to stop bullying in schools without resorting to forcing kids to sit through a lesson that they won’t understand (and their parents to counter those lessons at home).

When even agnostic parents are complaining that some teachers are crossing the line with their anti-Christian bent, there’s a problem. One parent in SoCal complained about a History teacher who had indoctrinated her daughter to believe that all Christians were backwards, horrible people and that all conservatives were hatemongers. She said her daughter was nearly insufferable in her hatred of these two groups because of this teacher. When did this become acceptable? When did it become okay to force an entire population to meekly agree with the out-and-out brainwashing of their youth? And if the gay community is so against allowing Christian students to display their beliefs about homosexuality in public schools, then how can we dare try to force them to accept what we believe?

It’s not right. It’s not just to tell one group they aren’t allowed to teach their kids according to their beliefs while we teach them according to ours. In the case of “Tango,” we’re forcing something on kids that they are far too young to grasp.


6 thoughts on ““And Tango Makes Three”

  1. You’re right on the money with your analysis of how kids treat things, Mel. My kids never asked any questions about my cousin’s family. They are both Auntie, they obviously live together, they have kids.

    To my kids this is normal, and we never HAD to explain it, any more than we had to explain why there are families with Aunties and Uncles.

    The problem with anti-hate curriculums (and I’m not advocating “hate” curriculums or bullying in any way) is that kids will find something to make fun of, something to tease people about. Kids can be tremendously cruel, because humans can be horrifically cruel. In most teasing, the actual reason for the teasing is secondary to the fact that the bullies picked up the person they are picking on is sensitive to that particular line of prodding.

    Does that mean we should let kids bully and tease because it is “normal” and “natural”? Not at ALL, and if I see it happening I step in immediately. And none of that “zero tolerance” crap that penalizes both the person being a bully and the person reacting, either.

    What it means, however, is that if there are extreme penalties for bullying on one or two issues that curtail the bullying there – it doesn’t stop bullying. It just means the bullies move on to another subject they can get a reaction for.

  2. “The problem with anti-hate curriculums (and I’m not advocating “hate” curriculums or bullying in any way) is that kids will find something to make fun of, something to tease people about.”

    Yes they will. When I was in school there were at least 20 different names that were hurled back and forth. Often one was as good as the other.

    When you are a kid it’s called bullying.

    When you are an adult and your boss does it, then it’s just another day at the office.

    One prepares you for the other.

  3. Saturday night I mentioned this post at dinner with my liberal friends. Much to my shock they did acknowledge that Kindergarten is too young for such things regardless of which penguins are trying to hatch a chick. They are far too young.

    The 5th grade might be a good place to introduce such things. But not Kindergarten. Kindergarten students know they have parents. How they got the parents they have is something they are able to learn when they are older.

    This is exactly what I’ve been saying, but you put it so incredibly well. I’m subscribing to your RSS feed, because you bring a great point of view to the table that I can quote/use in arguments.

    Also, and this is very off-topic:

    A friend of mine said that he was OK with polygamy because he was “for love, except in the case of creepy cultists”.
    I don’t have a problem with love–no sane person would. BUT, my problem with polygamy is that legally, if you differentiate between the cultists and the other polygamists, the cultists are going to freak out.
    Now, here is where my paranoia kicks in:
    Part of the cultist polygamy thing is marrying young girls to older men, so to make it all legal, they’d have to lobby to revoke statutory rape laws. After doing that, then if the Hate Crimes bill passes the Senate, children would be unprotected from pedophiles.
    I feel that is a viable concern.

    Not being gay myself, I don’t understand all of the marriage argument, but seeing as how gay marriage opens a can of worms that could conceivably result in a great deal of victims due to legal precedent, I feel that it would not only be reasonable to accept civil unions and leave it at that, but actually very noble.
    If you post on that topic, I would be very interested in reading what you think. I’m very impressed with your posts so far. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  5. A friend of mine said that he was OK with polygamy because he was “for love, except in the case of creepy cultists”.


    This country has been there and done that on plural marriage. When the Mormons desired to have Utah become a state, the Federal government would not allow that until the Mormons renounced polygamy. They did.

    Yes there are polygamists who call themselves Mormons. But officially under the doctrines and covenants of the Mormon Church they are not. In fact, such defiance is grounds for ex-communication. Many so called Mormon polygamists are ex-communicated from the faith and have been for decades.

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