The debate over Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) education in schools has been contentious. Advocates assert that it teaches awareness, promotes acceptance, and provides safety for LGBTQ+ students. However, critics feel they are silenced by being labeled as “hateful” for raising concerns. When opposing beliefs or opinions are referred to as “hate,” it often serves as a tactic to silence dissent, forcing agreement with a vocal minority.
The ‘Hate’ Label
Many who question the curriculum claim they are immediately labeled as bigoted or hateful. The moment you question SOGI education, you’re categorized as part of a hate group. How dare you question what we are doing with SOGI teachings, using facts and concerns?
Unpacking The Criticisms
Children may not be developmentally ready to tackle complex issues of gender and sexuality. Is it really hate to wonder if a seven-year-old needs to understand non-binary gender? A child cannot consent to getting a tattoo, yet understanding puberty blockers, gender transitioning, or gender identity is considered within their grasp. If you were to ask a child under 10 years old how all the household income should be spent, the answer would likely differ significantly from what needs to happen in reality. Children are just that—children. They often don’t know what they want for supper, and if it were up to them, most would choose to eat only candy. Labeling concern over these decisions as “hate” seems to suggest that those using this argument have not fully grown up themselves.
The Role of Family
Some argue that the teaching of acceptance and understanding around SOGI issues should begin at home, not in the classroom. They worry that the school’s influence supersedes that of the parents on topics many consider to be deeply personal or religious. However, with the passage of various bills in Canada, the role of parents is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and you are legally at the mercy of the state on many of these issues. This is what happens when ordinary people choose not to get involved in the affairs of government.
Safety and Division
Critics also raise questions about whether the curriculum could inadvertently make schools less inclusive by dividing children into identity-based groups, thereby exacerbating social tensions. Is the curriculum genuinely addressing a pre-existing issue, or is it manufacturing a new problem?
Critics point out that there is not enough conclusive evidence to support the claim that SOGI education directly reduces depression or suicide rates among youth. This is except for the evidence we already have of youth speaking out against the harms it has caused them, the higher suicide rate among those who undergo gender transitions, or the negative effects of puberty blockers. However, it’s important that we simply ignore all that and succumb to being labeled as hateful because we question it. Sit down and shut up; the “hate police” have arrived.
Another common critique is that SOGI education could be seen as academic indoctrination. The absence of alternative viewpoints or the exclusive teaching of SOGI-affirming perspectives constitutes its own form of intolerance. However, what do we call teaching something that is not true? Because boys cannot be girls and girls cannot be boys; it is a biological impossibility.
Time for a Balanced Debate?
Many critics of SOGI education argue that labeling them as hateful suppresses meaningful debate. If we can’t discuss the potential downsides along with the benefits, are we really doing what’s best for our children?
Time for Nuanced Dialogue?
The “hate” label, critics argue, suppresses any form of meaningful debate surrounding SOGI education, effectively silencing those who may have valid concerns or alternative viewpoints. Without the possibility for open discussion about both its benefits and drawbacks, can we genuinely claim to be acting in the best interest of our children? Critics say it’s time to move beyond divisive labels and engage in a more nuanced, inclusive dialogue that acknowledges both the positive aims and the potential shortcomings of SOGI education in schools.