1. Stephen Quinney says

    This is great, but I live in the South and it will be along time, if ever, that this would be tought in schools here.

  2. Ken says

    Could someone please translate? With the sound bouncing around the room, it was hard to understand what the kids were saying. but I take your word for it that it was something good.

  3. countervail says

    I actually do have a concern with this. I think it’s important to raise the awareness of just what it is to be GLBT in an age appropriate way with kids. It seems this program is doing just that in having speakers come to the classroom to be examples and speak about that. I like the kids are being exposed to books that talk about the reality of gay parenting and kids of gay parents. But at the same time this sort of intervention in the classroom seems to have an agenda of having the students agree with the presentation. There is a pressure from the top down that everyone participating should come out of the presentation being perfectly OK with gay people. I don’t think any of this belongs in a classroom.

    Schools should make diversity information available, integrate a wide variety of information, but truly remove the stigma of acceptance and require parental consent to participate in these kinds of workshops. What’s to stop the argument that religious doctrine or other social concerned dogma shouldn’t be treated in the same way otherwise? What about the local Chamber of Commerce giving presentations that business interests trumps workers rights (or the reverse). I don’t believe that social issues should be presented as black and white issues to simply agree with. It’s more important for the kids to engage in critical thinking on these issues to know their own feelings and thoughts and be able to articulate that clearly. We want to take reason out of the classroom in place of social rote, pragmatism and practicality, that everyone can live with, in place of unfounded idealism that only a handful of people support and defend and corrupts the entire conversation about issues.

    We wonder why our current culture is so divided and divisive and this is why. What happened to a middle ground for society where even if you disagreed, you could still continue to get along? That’s what I’d like children to learn. That everyone has different ideas and concerns but there’s a way within that for everyone to co-exist peacefully.

  4. says

    SO amazing. But what’s equally incredible to me is my own reaction to it. While I cognitively “get” that there’s nothing in this video that’s in the least bit objectionable, even I – an out, proud gay man for the past 15 years – am made slightly uncomfortable by how wonderfully open this school and these kids are. I guess no matter how much I tell myself that I am a human being worthy of dignity and equality and respect, the Christofascist-Republican noise machine is still playing in the background. And yet, even so, I am filled with joy and hope.

  5. hmhm says

    tolerance is nonacceptance and therefore unacceptable. Until we understand this as adults we are going to be divided. if we are to condition children in education with a bunch of nonsense, then why not teach acceptance.

  6. Tom says

    I agree with Countervail. A part of me enjoyed watching this, but in the back of my mind, it made me a little uncomfortable – for the very reason that Countervail makes.

  7. Trent says

    @ countervail

    Either you are engaging in a staggering over-simplification of what the video showed, or you didn’t stick around to watch it in its entirety, including the part where the children say that the point – for them – was that they finally learnt it meant to be LGBT. God forbid they should then form opinions that refuse the judging of it!

    I wonder, if they had come out saying ‘well, it disgusts me but I won’t say anything to them’ would you see the program as more a success – because in your assessment they disagree but don’t ‘get along’?

    If you can explain to me the validity of children or anyone ‘disagreeing’ with the fundamental idea that LGBT people are created equal, and should be treated accordingly, I would love to hear it.

    As to this idea of discomfort, does anyone blush when kids talk about mommy and daddy at home /going to bed / loving each other? Because for as long as gay men and women are made uncomfortable by hearing children talk about their Daddies or Mommies doing the very same things, it becomes clearer that the kids aren’t the only ones who have to address their homophobia.

  8. dazzer says

    @Countervail, you make an interesting argument and I had to stop and really think about it. Having done that, I disagree.

    In the UK, here is no separation between Chruch and State and religion is regularly taught in schools. In fact, it’s part of the national curriculum. Moreover, there are thousands of specific-religion schools that receive Government funding. As a result – nationally – the UK has far fewer problems with evangelical Christians, and other right-wing nnutters, than appears to be the case in the US.
    There’s nothing like ramming religion down a kid’s throat and forcing him/her to do exams on it to start making a kid really consider the issues involved and possibly reject religion as he/she gets older.
    Given the ages of the children in this clip, I thought it was far more a case of equipping young children of some of the issues that some of them may face personally with their own sexuality as they grow older.
    Equally, as they grow older, some of those kids may change their minds about their own stance on homosexuality. However, it is exremely important that those kids understand from an early age that although some of them will hear in their own homes that ‘homosexuality is evil’, it’s not an argument to be taken without thought.

    It’s strange that two people can see the same clip, but see exactly different points being made.

  9. Joey says

    I find your analogue comparing social lessons with business groups is comparing apples and oranges. In order to reach a harmonious society, certain truths have to be generally accepted. The first being, that who a person is is not up for discussion. It not acceptable to say white people are a certain way or Asians or, as she was pointing out, that Lesbians are a certain way. No one has a right to discuss my sexual orientation as if they were discussing business practices where there can be better or worse choices. This foundational respect amongst citizens is the only way we can have a society where disagreements about appropriate topics can be shared without animosity.

    I think your perception of the class teaching is a bit off as well. Each child was reading books and then discussing what they liked about the books. Kids at this age are just on the edge of having the ability to critically think, so this is a start. It is an age appropriate lesson. In later years more critical thinking in the lesson would be appropriate.

  10. Raisinhead2 says

    The teacher or lesson leader is Australian. Its definitely a UK school, in London. I would say this kind if lesson is the exception but good to see it more and more schools and that Dept of Education take it seriously.

    Countervail. Would you ask for parental consent on race studies? Do you think kids should be presented with tthe view from another perspective that LBGT people are going to hell?

    I think not.

  11. says

    Also remember, kids aren’t fully analytical thinkers yet, that’s part of what must be taught and developed as their brains develop (and why they shouldn’t be charged for crimes as adults….).

    To all those here who like this, I encourage you to work with PFLAG’s Speakers Bureau, which performs a similar function in schools that don’t necessarily have a formal program like Hungerford’s.

    And yes, CHRISME, the Lesbian® did sound ozzie or kiwi, but I’m pretty certain the school is in England.

  12. Aaron says

    I love the part around the 4:00 mark where the teacher asks anyone to raise their hand if they would stop being friends with someone if the friend told them that they thought they were gay. The one little boy adamently slaps his hands flat on the table, in my mind trying to get his hands as opposite as raised as he could.

  13. Yuki says

    Countervail, I agree that opposing viewpoints need to be taught… for things in which opposing viewpoints are valid.

    LGBT people are just that: people. We can’t change our orientation any more than we can change our skin colour. Trying to place any value on the fact that someone is attracted to the same sex is the same than trying to assign a value to the fact that the wind blows. It’s not a case of morality, or of opposing viewpoints, not in this area.

    If it were talking about allowing LGBT people to be married in churches, that’s one thing. But acceptance of them? There’s no question about it. There’s no sin involved, no “opposing viewpoints”, because it’s a simple fact of life that some people are attracted to the same sex.

  14. CM says

    It’s the Hungerford School in Islington – it says at the end – I think the woman speaking is from New Zealand. Would love to see this sort of things rolled out much more.

    Really impressive charity – seems extremely worthwhile – I’ve done some digging around on their website. Their donation page is here if anyone is interested. I suspect they’re pretty new so I’m sure they could use the cash:

  15. peter says

    I don’t want to speak for Countervail, but I think one of the things he/she may be alluding to is that there is a difference between teaching about a subject–say, GLBT issues, or business interests vs. workers rights–accurately and based on fact, and teaching about the same subject but, even if unconsciously, advocating for a specific point-of-view or moral opinion on that subject. To teach that many children will have families with two mommies or two daddies is simply teaching fact. But to then teach that “there is nothing wrong” with those families simply because they exist could be argued as indoctrination as it doesn’t allow children to come to that conclusion through their own reasoning. Just as it would arguable to teach that all religions are equal and good by default, rather than educating students objectively on the various religions and letting them decide their own values for themselves. Again, I can’t speak for Countervail, but perhaps the concern is that, as with any other subject, it is the job of education to only present facts, and facilitate reasoning and understanding in children to form their own opinions and values, while still teaching what is acceptable behavior in the community.

  16. Chuck Mielke says

    Countervail, et al: Keep in mind that this video is intend to show a single anti-bigotry kind of lesson. It simply doesn’t address what else those students learn. Questions or implications of “indoctrination” are simply unanswerable from this film.

    The text frames near the end alerted me to something that the public attention in the US has missed: many students who aren’t gay endure homophobic bullying and abuse. Taking action against bullying is much broader than the homophobic part and, therefore, that much more important.

  17. probationboy says

    I’m pretty sure the school board would have engaged the permissions of the parents before arranging (and filming) this workshop.

  18. Paul R says

    A few nonsexual classes for kids who look to be in perhaps fourth grade aren’t going to hurt them. It’s not like they’re passing around porn.

    And for that matter, I imagine that I’m not the only one who had seen straight porn by that age, and it didn’t traumatize me in the slightest. With the Web, it’s even easier for kids today.

  19. says

    countervail, if this kind of talk had been in classrooms when you were a kid then maybe you wouldn’t have grown up to be the pathetic self-loathing coward that you are today.

    just sayin’.

  20. says

    everyone with an issue with this stuff needs to go rent the film version of “South Pacific”

    “you have to be carefully taught…how to hate”

    it’s not indoctrination to teach kids that people off all colours are equal, nor orientations or gender identites.

    believe it or not, you little cowardly apologists, not all opinions are equal or valid.

  21. Hollywood, CA says


    “What happened to a middle ground for society where even if you disagreed, you could still continue to get along? That’s what I’d like children to learn. That everyone has different ideas and concerns but there’s a way within that for everyone to co-exist peacefully.”

    The issue isn’t something that has a middle ground. Things that have a middle ground: Hair Styles, Tattoos, Singing, Politics.

    Things that don’t have a “middle ground”: Race, Gender, Sexuality, etc.

    Is that clearer for you? You’re welcome.

  22. arch says

    I live in Islington and this is one of my local schools. One of the things that has changed in my adult life (I am 43) in the UK is the attitude of both the state and citizens towards gay people.

    I never imagined that I would see a school class of young children being taught about gay issues in the way in the video.

    Not only does it make me somewhat proud of my country but also shows how things really can change in a generation.

    It really does get better – for all of us.

  23. Bubba says

    Can we please not feed the trolls? Someone who would visit a website like this to make such a verbose defense of bigotry is clearly trolling.

  24. Joe says

    Why is there always at least one idiot on every thread with some half-baked concern? And talk about “analysis paralysis.” And so many words. Let me help you:

    “If we shove it down their throats they might hate me more.”

  25. says

    Back in the early 1950s, I quit a Chicago high school because it was taboo just to know someone gay, let a lone be gay. These kids seem to be light years a head of most public schools, and it’s progress. However, they seem to be extremely young for discussing sexual theme perception. I wished this kind of school exercise was around years ago… and after seeing this video realize the 21 century really has arrived!

  26. jlynch says

    I suggest that you engage in some of that critical thinking that you mentioned.
    School was a difficult thing for me because I was bullied relentlessly from the time I was the age of these kids, before any of us even understood the issue fully.
    Acceptance is black and white. Either you do, or you don’t. I’m absolutely delighted that these children are being given a slice of sanity regarding the LGBT community and wish that America would follow suit. Fat chance!
    Rest assured, there are many years ahead for these children to learn intolerance. Please understand though, I’m predicting the opposite.