Editorial: The gays, the gays, what are we going to do about the gays?

We need to celebrate that which makes us different, in this week’s editorial

We really need to figure out a way to live with people who are different than ourselves.

The question of differences came to the forefront during a recent parent information night at Ponoka Elementary School (PES) where a diversity club has been announced.

Among the topics within this club are racism, bullying (a big problem in some of our schools), interpersonal supports and to be able to speak on gender identification issues.

Staff at PES should be commended for their leadership role in starting this club. We need something like this in Ponoka more than people realize.

So it’s no surprise that there’s going to be some pushback.

What’s also not surprising is that the reluctance is not on the bullying or racism issues but on the question of LGBTQ discussions being part of the club. There’s a lot of fear out there, much of it ignorance.

That ignorance can lead to hate but there’s a chance to learn and grow, and possibly understand.

Because of that this editorial is being tempered to hopefully raise positive discussion with the long-term vision of becoming a more tolerant, accepting and open community.

For those who feel that LGBTQ people are the devil’s child, unnatural, the scourge of the earth or anything other than human, this may be a good time to check out. I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine. If however, there’s a chance you could see it from another perspective, read on.

Let’s take a rational look at the issue.

At the parent teacher night, some parents had palpable fear that they would have no control over their child and that’s a valid concern. There appeared to be a sense that by having open, honest discussions about these questions, teachers would sway their children into a certain way of thinking.

Others worried that discussions about LGBTQ issues creates an unhealthy environment about something inappropriate for kids to discuss. Those concerns seem to stem from not knowing or understanding what it means for a person to be gay.

And for some, they worry that kids are easily confused and could be swayed or tricked into becoming gay.

Firstly, I don’t think anyone who is homosexual wakes up one morning and decides that they want to be that way.

Being a kid or teenager is hard enough as it is; adding gay or lesbian to the mix will only make their lives harder. They risk public ridicule, verbal and physical abuse, and potentially the loss of their families by coming out as homosexual.

Choice is the wrong word.

It’s an important distinction to realize that a person doesn’t necessarily choose to be gay. If you’re not sure, maybe ask someone you know who is gay how they came to the realization. Their answer may surprise you.

It’s also possible we as parents are putting our own prejudices on our kids. They have an easier time with this sort of stuff as they see it every day in their school. Kids are a lot smarter and more accepting of others’ differences than adults are. For the most part they’re not constrained by our preconceived notions of what is right and proper.

You think there are no gay kids in elementary school?

Are you thinking that kids go from elementary school to high school and all of a sudden are like, “Hey! I’m gay eh!”

Let’s contemplate that for a second.

This may come as a surprise to some, but there’s LGBTQ kids in all the schools. Some are out, and some are not but some schools would rather not discuss the issue for fear of retribution from parents.

Pretending that there are no LGBTQ people out there is unrealistic and it’s setting kids up to fail in the real world.

PES is taking a leadership role with this club, and it’s helping create a sense of worldliness, which happens to include those in the LGBTQ spectrum. But it’s not exclusive to that; it’s a club to celebrate what makes us all different.

Are we worried that someone we know will become gay because we talk about it or meet with someone who is? Are we worried because we feel it’s unnatural?

Or we could ask: Are they harming my family or myself or others? If not, then why does it bother us?

Something tells me most gay people just want to live their lives and celebrate who they are without fear of abuse or judgment. It’s our own insecurities and fear that’s causing the problem and we’re forcing our perspectives, religious or otherwise on other people. Isn’t that a form of bullying?

For those worried that their kids will become gay, let’s ask ourselves what the worst-case scenario is: So your child tells you they’re gay; big deal.

You could move on with your life and accept your child and challenge them to be a good person. It’s probable that for your child, the worst-case scenario if they come out, is that you, their parents won’t accept them. You’ll throw them out of the house and disown them.

What’s scarier?

The worst-case scenario is far worse for your child than it is for you. Think about that before you make any hasty decisions.

And remember folks, people are gay, and that’s OK!

Just Posted

Ponoka County fire crews handle second baler fire in 12 hours

Fire crews handled a baler fire just west of Gull Lake

Bashaw Rebels slay Vikings in volleyball home send off

Senior boys, girls squads cruise to straight sets victories in last regular season home match

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Bashaw Community Theatre readying to present Little Women

New musical production about a month away from taking to the stage

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Most Read