Connect to share and comment

School's out of the closet

This year’s Gay Pride parade poster shows a triangle similar to the traffic sign warning to watch out for children crossing the road. The slogan is “Escuela sin armarios” or “School without closets.”

Antonio Poveda, president of FELGTB, Spain’s Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals, said the message is that homosexuality should be more visible in schools.

He explained that a study conducted by his organization shows only 7 percent of high school students knows that poet Federico Garcia Lorca was gay. Books and teachers do not tell about historical characters’ homosexuality, he complained.

Jesus Santos, father of a 7-year-old son and president of Galehi, an association of lesbian and gay families with children, argued, “We don’t live in a heterosexist society only, there’s also us. This should be brought up in schools so children see homosexuality as something natural.” Adolescence is a difficult time, and emotional-sexual development is key in a person’s personality, he said. “Many gay and lesbian teenagers experience critical situations in school,” he added.

“Teachers do not talk about sexual orientation. We need schools without closets to continue our progress,” Poveda said.

But Ignacio Arsuaga, president of HazteOir, a citizens’ movement, thinks otherwise. “At first, homosexual marriage is presented as sort of a right, but now what gays want is to impose their own ideology in schools,” he protested.

Benigno Blanco, president of the Spanish Family Forum, contends that the introduction of that “particular vision of the person and sexuality” in schools is “a clear disdain to a free society’s ideological pluralism in a democratic nation.”

Free society. Ideological pluralism. Democratic nation. Phrases that supporters and critics of the initiative could all employ to defend their positions.