Maybe we should do a better job of parenting our own children.
I’ve heard enough about Ron DeSantis and his crusade against “Drag queen story hours” in Florida. But as the parent of an 11-year-old fifth grader named Catherine, I thought I might chime in on this ridiculous debate.
First of all, who actually has elementary school kids learning the word “gay” from a first grade teacher? As a parent, I can tell you that when it comes to anything sex-related, including sexual orientation, they aren’t learning it from teachers. They’re getting their sexuality education from Netflix, TikTok, and their friends, and most of that education is straight trash.
I bet a lot of the parents pushing this bill let their kids have their own phones and laptops and spend 5 hours a day on social media. If you truly believe in “parents’ rights,” you should take the phone away and start addressing difficult topics with your own kids. I’ve started answering Catherine’s questions.
I also reread my fifth-grade diary (pictured) to see what kind of questions I had at this age. I was a happy kid who loved school, my cousins, the Titanic, and Girl Scouts. I was also worried I would “turn into” a lesbian when I grew up. Luckily, I had teen magazines like YM to read, where the level-headed, mature editors explained to readers that “your ‘crush’ could just be admiration” and that it was way too early to declare a sexual orientation, as these feelings are ever-changing and evolving for preteens. Also: don’t have sex, you’re too young. Good for them.
However, I think it would be good if kids had equally mature, level-headed teachers to explain that while most people will grow up to engage in male-female relationships, a minority will not; we call these people “gay.” That’s what I told Catherine. You’d be surprised by how much kids accept this answer and move along without making a big to-do about it. If you are worried someone is going to have enough influence to “turn” your kid gay or “recruit” them to being transgender, you’re not doing your job as a parent. Put the phone down and educate them yourself. Consider quitting the six-figure job for at-home motherhood. Homeschool. Do something. But don’t force the government to pass laws about it.