On Thursday, CA Governor Jerry Brown signed bill SB48 into law. This bill essentially requires schools to teach about the historically significant contributions of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Trans-Gender people in social studies classes. It has been unofficially nicknamed the "Harvey Milk" law, as one of the historical lessons that this bill would require the teaching of is the political career of Harvey Milk, who was elected to San Francisco's board of supervisors in 1977, the first openly-gay man to be elected to public office in California, and later assassinated, along with SF mayor George Moscone, by former supervisor Dan White, which led to the infamous "Twinkie Defense" where White's defense team cited a deep depression, brought upon by a recent binging on sugary foods, as being responsible for his actions, thus effectively getting his conviction reduced from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. White served only 5 years of a 7-year sentence for the killings.
See? That's the kind of stuff that this bill would require schools to begin teaching in social studies classes. Contributions of ground-breaking LGBT activists that changed our society for the better. Historical facts that include individuals in the LGBT community. Teaching about the passing and later repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell." Teaching about the passing of marital equality legislation in some states and the efforts to kill it in other states - namely California - where religious groups from out of the state poured millions of dollars in to the effort to have gay marriage revoked in the state. These historical facts, relevant or credited to the LGBT community are important to know about. Every study done on the subject has shown that students who were educated about the contributions of LGBT people in history and society were more tolerant of them and considered their schools to be more inclusive and fair as a result.
Unfortunately, things like "facts" and "data" are irrelevant to the rabid, homophobic, self-righteous and relentlessly hypocritical religious "morality police". They are also, apparently, unconcerned with the actual wording of the bill, what, exactly, it mandates and how that will translate to actual changes to school curriculum. You can't see it, but my face is totally shocked right now...
The very same day that Gov. Brown signed the bill into law, anti-gay groups began bombarding the internet and every social media outlet they could access through their anti-porn filter software to spread misinformation, scare tactics and outright lies about this bill and what it does. Using their legion of ignorant, reactionary and latently bigoted and homophobic flock, the all-too-familiar "Phone Game" began to play out.
You remember the "Phone Game", right? Maybe you had a different name for it, but the premise is the same. It's that game we used to play in school where the teacher would whisper a phrase into a students ear at one end of the classroom and they had to whisper it to the student in front of them, and so on and so on through each row and every student, and by the time the last student at the other end of the classroom heard it whispered in their ear, they had to say to the class what the phrase was and everyone laughed because it was so different from the actual phrase the teacher first said? The point of the game was to show how easily even the simplest of stories can change when they've been repeated through the grapevine, and ultimately to teach a moral lesson about how rumors get started and facts can become distorted when people just say what they think they heard without checking their facts first.
Well, thanks to the internet and sites like facebook and twitter, the "Phone Game" plays out on a national, even global scale, and it does so in the blink of an eye. By last night, there were already websites up listing the dumbest and most outrageous facebook statuses and tweets about the Gay History bill. We're talking within hours of the bill passing, there was already enough of a catalog of dumb shit being said about the bill that bloggers were able to create top 10, top 15, top 20, etc. lists of the most ridiculous comments that people were ignorantly throwing out on the net about this bill.
Here is a list I just found after a quick google search, courtesy of Buzzfeed.
But wait, there's more!
More, you say? You got it!
So, they're teaching gay studies in Kindergarten now? Do you remember having a social studies class in Kindergarten? I dunno, maybe I just went to a really bad school, but we read books, colored... all the things this guy says he used to do... yet somehow he still thinks they're now going to crowbar complex social education into a day in which "nap time" is an instructional period. So, ok, clearly this dude is no Rhodes Scholar. "Any tips on how to explain "culture war" to a 5 year old?" Any tips on how to explain "You're fucking 50 and balding, put the Hawaiian shirt and Mexican Fender strat away, you're not Jimmy fucking Buffet!" to a middle-aged man who actually thinks he still looks cool doing this shit?
I haven't had this much fun since my Juggalo post!
Ok, two more, I already linked the list, I don't want to completely plagiarize it!
weekend hunting trips...
Saving the best for last...
Seriously though, the bill is online, and it's not even that long. I made it through it and I graduated from public high school and only have a junior college education, so even the mouthiest of breathers should be able to grasp the basics of it. Go take a look at it, do something radical and crazy and educate yourself about something before you jump to conclusions.
Remember, there was a time when teaching about black and minority history was controversial and outrageous. There was a time when teaching about women's history was controversial and outrageous. There was even a time when allowing blacks and minorities into the same schools as white people was controversial and outrageous. Which side of history do you want to be on? The people who fought for equality, or the ones turning on the fire hoses and letting loose the German Shepherds? Quit being so fucking gay and start supporting the teaching of equality and tolerance in our society. That's all.