Tolerance teaching is laudable

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Teaching the concepts of "good touch, bad touch" is comparable to teaching students tolerance for all people and families? ("Same-sex discussion bothers parents," Empire Jan. 16). The two subjects are not related. The former is necessary for a student's well-being and survival. The latter is necessary for a student's outlook on life and the people she or he will meet. The former teaches a student safety and self-empowerment. The latter teaches a student that homophobic bigotry hurts others.

If the Juneau School District's counseling curriculum teaches tolerance and acceptance of all family types, then let us applaud the effort; there are many types of families. Not all families are "traditional." Families comprise people who love and care for each other and many, many of them are not "a man and a woman." There are many single-parent families and families that consist of people who are not biologically related. Marriage and family are not the same thing. The curriculum does not teach marriage; referring to the state's discriminatory law as one reason to change the curriculum is illogical.

I encourage anyone who is frightened by the rhetoric being proselytized by a small number of people to take some time to learn what is in the curriculum. Take the time to learn more about same-gender families and about what it means to students that feel isolated by their identity and feelings. To those who don't agree with the curriculum and have no desire to learn the consequences of bigotry, perhaps you can opt that your own child not attend the lesson; please do not impose ethical and moral decisions on other families.

I also encourage the Juneau Empire to use the term "same-gender" whenever possible, especially in headlines. The term "same-sex" only incites fear and hatred. The subject of relationships and family has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with tolerance.

Leslie Antolick


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