Primary Gay-soc


If the Daily Mail had its way – and let’s hope to god it doesn’t, says someone who doesn’t believe in any kind of deity – I wouldn’t be allowed to explain to my children that…
“You don’t have to be a man and a woman to get married. Two women or two men can have a ceremony which isn’t exactly a marriage but which is legally pretty much the same thing.”

“What’s legally?” they chorus. But you get my drift.

In yesterday’s Mail – Mike brought a copy into the house, God forgive him – there was the following headline –

The schools where pupils aged four learn about gay lifestyle

No, dear reader, they are not teaching pre-schoolers about cottaging or where to find the strongest condoms. They are explaining to primary school children that not everyone lives in heterosexual bliss with a dog, two cats and 1.8 children.
(I was surprised to find that the average number of children spawned by couples in the UK has gone down from 2.4 to 1.8, but there you go. At least I’m now above average in something.)

What teachers are doing is talking to pupils about life options, trying to combat playground bullying, and probably, as I’m doing, fighting a losing battle against “gay” being a common but rather vague term of abuse.

My son told me recently that some bigger boys had called him and his friend gay because they were seen in an embrace that could have been hugging or could have been play-fighting.
And he says he replied –
“I’m gay but he isn’t.”

How sweet – defending the honour of his friend. And when I asked if he knew what gay meant, he did. Sort of.
As much as can be expected in a boy who’s still young enough to think his parents have had sex twice because they have two children.

The Daily Mail would have our teachers condemn any kind of lifestyle that doesn’t fit the newpaper’s carefully constructed impression of its average reader – a misogynist, xenophobic, militantly home-owning, celebrity-watching, Richard Littlejohn fan who’s married to a childhood sweetheart and keeps all philandering behaviour successfully secret.

And my partner keeps bringing the rag into the house and nodding his head sagely while reading it – mainly over the health and safety scare stories the Mail loves to trot out about conkers being banned from schools and children not being allowed to run in the playground.

Children have perfectly valid questions about marriage, love and being gay, long before they’re eleven, so primary school is surely the right place to start explaining that different people live different lives and should be allowed to do so in peace.

The use of the word “gay” as a general all-purpose insult seems to crop up once they reach Juniors, aged 7, as do many of the less acceptable in front of Granny swear words. So it’s a good time to start disussing this kind of language and what it means.

Some of the books the Mail says are being used in primary schools “to familiarise them with gay and lesbian relationships” sound hilarious – like the one about Cinderella being a bloke, or the fairy tale prince who rejects three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers, and my favourite, one about two male penguins falling in love at a New York zoo.

This last one’s presumably based on true life…

Central Park zoo in Manhattan had a famous pair of gay chinstrap penguins named Roy and Silo, who were inseparable for more than six years. They entwined their necks, vocalised to each other, had sex and, at one time, for want of an egg, tried to incubate a rock in their nest. Later, the pair hatched a donated chick, named Tango, but sadly the couple separated in 2005. Silo has since found love with a female penguin named Scrappy, while Roy remains single.

Sounds like a great idea for a sequel to Happy Feet.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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6 Responses to Primary Gay-soc

  1. Omega Mummy says:

    Apparently there’s a lot of gay animal behaviour. I’m thrilled at anything that puts one over the reactionaries who say gays are flying in the face of nature – when clearly they’re all headed in the same direction.

  2. lady macleod says:

    I agree with your stance. Oddly enough I remember Q telling me about those same insults being hurled at children in her school. Bigotry comes from the home I think. If Mom and Dad are not saying those things, if they condemn those insults I don’t think the children would either.

    I love the penguin story.

  3. I was shocked to hear ‘gay’ as an insult coming from a twenty five year old colleague of mine a while back. I thought it had been wiped out.

    What on earth is a gay chinstrap? No, don’t tell me.

  4. Drunk Mummy says:

    I bet Roy the penguin still lives at home and remains devoted to his mother.

  5. Omega Mummy says:

    DM I do hope so. The alternative, that he’s been persuaded by fundamental Christian flamingoes, say, to renounce his homosexuality and join them on an avian Alpha course is almost too awful to contemplate. Blimey, I feel a glass of wine coming on again.

  6. jeanie says:

    lol – my mother is still outraged that a lovely word like gay has been taken over with a lifestyle of “dubious” connotations.

    Of course, since the shocking advent she has met several gay friends of mine and found them quite pleasant.

    I explained to her that to take back the word she has to keep on using it in the context that she loves it and ignore the peer pressure!

    I think it outrageous that there are those, especially in media, who feel they are doing us all a moral favour – but please they need to learn that despite there high horse behaviour, there are still free-thinkers out here who wish our children to be so.

    Love the penguin thread. Growing up in the country I saw plenty of same-gender encounters with cattle – of course, they were not very monogamous!

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