A Project Presented to the Faculty
of the School of Education
University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree Master of Science in Education
Chuck Stewart, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
School of Education
This project, written by Chuck Stewart under the direction of his Advisor and approved by him, has been presented to and accepted by the faculty of the School of Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Science in Education
LIST OF TABLES 1
I. PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT 1
Importance of the Project 2
Definition of Terms Used 5
Sexual Orientation 6
Gay Men, Lesbians, Queers 6
Summary and Organization for Balance of Project
II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 10
A. Basic Information on Homosexuality 10
(1) General Research on Human Sexuality 10
TABLE 1Kinsey Scale of Sexuality 10
(2) Anti-Gay Stereotypes 13
(3) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents 15
(a) Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay
and Bisexual Youth, by Gary Remafedi 17
(b) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents, by Ronald
(c) Teen Suicide, The Government's Cover-up And
America's Lost Children, by Shira Maguen 20
(4) Bulimia in Male Homosexuals 23
(5) "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development
of Homosexuality 24
(a.) Homosexuality and Childhood Behavior 24
(b) The Emergence of Sex Differences in Children
(c) Dr. Richard Green's Report Conclusion 31
B. Review of U.S. Court Cases 34
(1) Homosexuality and Antisodomy Laws 34
A. Sodomy Laws Summary 35
TABLE 2Legal Status of Sodomy 36
(2) General Patterns of Discrimination in Military
and Intelligence Agency Cases and Their Applications to Public Education
(3) Assumed Immorality of Homosexual Conduct and
Its Impact on the Teacher as Role Model 39
(4) Consideration of Homosexuals as a Suspect
Class in Entitlement to Equal Protection 44
(5) Current Confusion of the Courts as to the
Fitness of Homosexual Teachers 45
A Summary of U.S. Court Cases and Their Implications
C. How Likely (Really) is the Discharge of Homosexual
TABLE 3Principal's Opinions (1985) 49
TABLE 4Effect of Disclosure on School Affairs
D. School Policies concerning Homosexuality 53
TABLE 5Board Resolution Reaffirms Commitment To
Respectful, Treatment of All Persons 55
TABLE 6NEA RESOLUTION C-11 Student Sexual Orientation.
TABLE 7American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO)
D. Protections Provided by the State of California
for Homosexual Teachers 57
E. Administrative Guidelines 59
III. THE PROJECT 61
Recommended School Policies 61
Recommended Curriculum Policies 63
IV. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS 65
REFERENCES CITED 68
Appendix A Chuck Stewart-Daily Log-John Muir Middle
School in Burbank USD
Appendix B Summary of Sodomy Statutes by States
Appendix C Summary of Relevant Court Cases related
to Homosexuality and Education
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 1Kinsey Scale of Sexuality p.10
TABLE 2Legal Status of Sodomy p.36
TABLE 3Principal's Opinions (1985) p.49
TABLE 4Effect of Disclosure on School Affairs p.52
TABLE 5American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) Resolutions p.55
TABLE 6NEA RESOLUTION C-11 Student Sexual Orientation. p.55
TABLE 7American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) Resolutions p.56
.c.I. PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT
In a country that invests so much time and money in providing equal opportunity in education and employment, it is surprising that there is still one class of citizens that is exposed to daily discrimination in the areas of housing, immigration, employment, child custody, health care, privacy in both the public and private sectors, marital status and property rights. This is the homosexual. No other class of citizens in the U.S. experiences such moral condemnation and legal sanctions as the homosexual.
This project first focuses on the rights and harassment of homosexuals in the area of public education and then develops anti-discrimination policies and programs for implementation at the district level.
.c2.Importance of the Project
Homosexuals are condemned by most segments of American society. In the public school system, this is even more apparent. Teachers are expected to be positive role models to their students and as such are held to higher moral standards than the general public. Almost half the states of the United States have anti-sodomy laws that by definition would conclude that a homosexual teacher must be morally corrupt and unfit to teach children. In those rare places that have ordinances that include sexual orientation as a protected status, homosexuals still face a rising tide of bigotry and hatred. Gay-bashing is on the upswing and elective challenges to the anti-discrimination laws sponsored by the religious right are being filed everywhere.
This project is of utmost importance since it affects almost 20% of all teachers and with the raising tide of AIDS cases for both teachers and students, is starting to affect all schools. To give the reader a taste of what it is like to experience discrimination at the school site because of being gay, Appendix A is a detailed log of daily occurrences of harassment that an openly gay teacher was subjected to in a Southern California school system. This is a horrifying account (almost 30-pages long) that has resulted in massive litigation. The gay teacher is faced with the decision to be honest with his or her students or to stay closeted and lie. The dividing line between acceptable and non-acceptable professional behavior seems to be when a teacher shares with his or her students their sexual orientation. Our cultural double-standards towards homosexuals results in them being accused of "promoting homosexuality" when answering the personal inquires of the student. And once a teacher comes out gay or lesbian, the students will ask personal questions on a daily basis.
Our schools are "sexist amplifier(s)" because of many conscience and unconscious decisions that are "made by teachers that magnify, or amplify sex differences." This extends to the choice of materials, textbooks and school activities. Together, these actions affect the self-concept of the students. For the gay or lesbian adolescent, schools are a place where they learn to keep hidden and must forsake most social activities since schools are designed to foster heterosexual behavior.
This project takes the position the homosexuality is neither a disease or psychiatric dysfunction nor is it a question of morality. Instead, homosexuality is thought to be a basic core identity for the individual that is most likely genetically determined. This project rejects the claims that homosexuals can have their sexual orientation redirected towards heterosexuality.
A persons sexual identity by itself does not cause emotional conflict for the individual but rather the cultural acceptance of such deviancy. The United Stated Judeo-Christian culture is heterosexist and attempts to restrict the visibility of homosexuals. Religion, government, the media and even the home are antagonistic towards homosexuals. This project recognizes that much effort is made in our culture to make everyone heterosexual and to demonize homosexuals.
School have a basic role of inculturation and as such, this project assumes that with a few exceptions, schools have traditionally promoted heterosexuality to the exclusion of other sexual diversity. The teacher-as-role-model concept is assumed to be important and the right of the schools to enforce positive behavior by its staff is recognized.
This project assumes that all persons within the United States should have the same rights and protections afforded all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.
This project will not delve into the question of what causes human sexual orientation. Nor the moral aspect of being a homosexual, homosexual practices, being open about one's sexuality or the teaching of homosexuality in public school will be addressed. A brief review of Dr. Richard Green's book, the "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality, will give a detailed study concerning early childhood development and gender identity.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death adolescents and recent research is finding that at least half of these suicides are adolescents in conflict over their sexual orientation. A review of this literature will be made.
AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases will not be studied. Although the terrible psychological attacks on homosexuals influence their esteem, homosexuality in relationship to other high-risk behavior will not be included.
Unlike other stigmatized minorities, homosexuals do not obtain validation about their minority status from the home. The Black child who hears for the first time the word "nigger" can receive emotional support from the family. The queer child learns to hide since being a homosexual is the worst disgrace or sin a child can be. The common denominator of being queer is the pervasive loneliness experienced during childhood and early adulthood. This fear makes any survey on homosexuality suspect. The number, 10%, representing the population base of humans that are primarily homosexual is generally accepted, yet even this most basic number is a guess. If anything, the responses to any question in which a person admits to sexual deviancy should be used carefully and recognized to be vastly understated.
The severest limitation to this research is the absence of library resources. In working with other gay and lesbian researchers, a common problem has become evident. A large number of the articles were obtained from other persons within the queer community. Upon cross-referencing these articles, although the article would be in the library (USC or UCLA), they were not indexed in the computer by key words denoting that it contained homosexuality subject matter. Perhaps this is an over sight, but it does cast suspicion that censoring is occurring upon the entry of articles into the library search data base.
.c2.Definition of Terms Used
.c3.Sexual Orientation;A person's sexual affectation is deeply ingrained and most likely biologically determined. As such, a person cannot choose to whom they are sexually attracted. The old term, Sexual Preference , implies choice and should not be used.
.c3.Gay Men, Lesbians, Queers;With the upheavals related to political power for homosexuals during the late 1960's, the term "Gay" was adopted to empower homosexuals similar to how the word "Black" was adopted by negroes. However, because of the phenomenon of "Lesbian Invisibility", most gay organizations and publications started to include "Lesbian" into their titles by the late 1970's. Although this has improved the public awareness of lesbianism, it has reduced the impact of the politically unifying term "gay." With the founding of Queer Nation in 1990, the gay press has slowly started to use the word Queer as the political term for homosexuals. This trend is expected to continue.
.c3.Heterosexism;The more common word to describe the cultural attack on gay men and lesbians is homophobia . This is a vague term and is morally misleading. Its use makes it sound as though bigotry is a mental illness. The bigot is not sick; he is immoral. The usage of homophobia lets the bigot off the hook and blurs the distinction between medical and moral categories. If anti-gay bigotry needs an abstract noun, "heterosexism," though awkward, at least sets the concept in the correct moral sphere, by placing it along side "racism", "ageism" and "sexism."
.c3.Sodomy;Legally, sodomy refers to either anal or oral sex but there is much variation amongst state definitions.
.c2.Summary and Organization for Balance of Project
A. First, a review of the literature concerning homosexuality is made starting with:
(1) the Kinsey Study of 1948 and 1953 through to the recent (1991) brain research of Dr. Simon LeVay.
(2) Anti-Gay stereotypes
(3) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents
(a) General overview
(b) Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth, by Gary Remafedi
(c) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents, by Ronald Kourany
(d) Teen Suicide, The Government's Cover-up And America's Lost Children, by Shira Maguen
(4) Bulimia in Male Homosexuals
(5) "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality, by Dr. Richard Green
B. Second, a review is made of U.S. court cases that have direct application to the question of homosexuality and homosexual conduct as it applies to public education. As such, five main areas will be investigated
(1) Homosexuality and antisodomy laws,
(2) General patterns of discrimination in military and intelligence agency cases and their applications to public education,
(3) The assumed immorality of homosexual conduct and its impact on the teacher as role model, and
(4) Consideration of homosexuals as a suspect class entitled to equal protection.
(5) Current confusion of the courts as to the fitness of homosexual teachers
C. Third, a report is presented on the likelihood of the discharge from employment of the homosexual teacher.
D. Fourth, an investigation into the policies, both formal and informal, that are used within school districts that could be used to discriminate against homosexual teachers.
E. Fifth, teachers' legal protections within California are presented.
F. Recommended guidelines for administrators.
.c.II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE
.c2.A. Basic Information on Homosexuality
.c3.(1) General Research on Human Sexuality
Alfred Kinsey conducted the first large-scale study of human sexuality in America. This 1948 study primarily affirmed that Americans were having sex (this may seem funny in todays open discussion of sex) and shocked the nation with the first statistical account of homosexuality. Kinsey discovered that human beings are rarely exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, but rather a continuum of sexuality is expressed. He developed what is called the "'Kinsey' Heterosexual-homosexual rating scale." The chart is based on a persons actual orgasmic experiences for a duration of 3-years or more, not just dreams and fantasies. Virtually all humans have both homosexual and heterosexual dreams. Adults are classified as persons over the age of 20. Adolescent are from ages 16-20 years of age.
.c4.TABLE 1Kinsey Scale of Sexuality
Scale0123456Adult Female72-90%2-9%2-4%1-3%1-3%1-3%1-3% Male63-87%14-36%8-31%6-23%5-19%4-14%4-11%Adolescent Female34%2%1%1%--2% Male61-80%14-36%11-31%8-20%7-16%4-11%3-7%(Female-
Exclusively HeterosexualMostly Heterosexual with incidental Homosexual experienceHeterosexual with substantial Homosexual experienceEqual Heterosexual and Homosexual experienceHomosexual with substantial Heterosexual experienceHomosexual with incidental Heterosexual experienceExclusively homosexual
Notice that the numbers have a large range. This is to be expected since "The social significance of the homosexual is considerably emphasized by the fact that both Jewish and Christian churches have considered this aspect of human sexuality to be abnormal and immoral. . .It is, therefore, peculiarly difficult to secure factual data concerning the nature and the extent of the homosexual . . " These homosexual experience numbers are assumed to be low. It is generally assumed that at least 10 to 16% of the population is primarily homosexual, with most people having had at least one homosexual experience within their lifetime. This means that, on-the-average, every second family in the country has a member who is essentially a homosexual and that persons who are exclusively heterosexual are a small minority. Nevertheless, most people erroneously believe that the number of people who have experience homosexuality is an insignificant, peculiar minority.
Homosexuality is practiced by all mammals, including human beings. It is not a mental illness or defect. Scientists do not know whether genetic make-up, very early conditions, or some combination of both causes heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. But they have discovered evidence that homosexuality is not caused by parental relationships or traits, lack of heterosexual experiences, being labeled gay or being seduced by an older person. Rather, there is scientific evidence that homosexuality, which is as deeply ingrained as heterosexuality, is such a basic component of a person's identity that it is a deep-seated predisposition that is established by the time of childhood and adolescence.
The most recent study into brain structure and homosexuality has indicated that the hypothalamus of gay men is similar in size as that of heterosexual women and smaller than the hypothalamus of heterosexual men. Other structural differences were found and LeVay believes that there is an inevitable trend toward finding biological explanations for behaviors that were once thought to have psychological origins. "Something as relatively fixed as sexual orientation should have a basis in brain structure."
Homosexuality and bisexuality are so natural and widespread that there is no rational, scientific basis for opposing or condemning either behavior. Repression of homosexuality and bisexuality usually stems from subjective reactions and negative feelings generated by cultural and religious institutions. Discrimination against gay and bisexual people, however, violate democratic values just as do racism and sexism.
Attraction and sexual interaction between people of the same sex is so common that many people wonder why anyone objects to homosexuality. Homosexuality is as old as humanity itself and is very natural. Yet, for centuries, Western institutions have regarded homosexuality as sinful, criminal, and symptom of mental illness. Kinsey singled out Americans as particularly fearful of homosexuality: "There appears to be no other major culture in the world in which public opinion and statute law so severely penalize homosexual relationships as they do in the United State today." Consequently, the majority of American high-school students and teachers have grown up in a culture that conveys and endorses extremely negative stereotypes of gay and bisexual people.
.c3.(2) Anti-Gay Stereotypes
Society holds chiefly two groups of contradictory antigay stereotypes:
(a) mistakes in an individual's gender identitylesbians are women that want to be, or at least look and act like, menbulldykes, diesel dykes; while gay men are those who want to be, or at least look and act like, womenqueens, fairies, limp-wrists, nellies. (Note: gays are "queer," at root meaning not merely odd but chiefly counterfeit"he's as queer as a three dollar bill."), and
(b) revolves around gays as a pervasive, sinister, conspiratorial and corruptive threatspecifically that gay persons are child molesters, sex-crazed maniacs that threaten the very destruction of the family and civilization.
The early investigations into homosexuality were performed on a skewed sample of psychiatric hospital or prison cases. Not surprisingly these studies confirmed the societal beliefs and false generalizations that gays are crazed and criminal. Evelyn Hooker, who in the mid-fifties carried out the first rigorous studies to use nonclinical gays, found that psychiatrists , when presented with results of standard psychological diagnostic testbut with indications of sexual orientation omittedwere able to do no better than if they had guessed randomly in their attempts to distinguish gay files from nongay ones, even though the psychiatrists believed gays to be crazy and supposed themselves to be experts in detecting craziness. These studies proved a profound embarrassment to the psychiatric establishment, the financial well-being of which was substantially enhanced by 'curing' allegedly insane gays. Eventually the studies contributed to the American Psychiatric Association's dropping homosexuality from its registry of mental illness in 1974. However, the stereotype of gays as sick continues apace in the mind of most Americans and the U.N.'s World Health Organization still lists homosexuality as a mental illness.
False generalizations help maintain stereotypes, they do not form them. Even when the gay stereotype was disproved by Hooker, it has not abated. Stereotype origin lies in a culture's ideologythe general system of beliefs by which it livesand they are transmitted across generations by diverse cultural transmissions, including slang and jokes. Stereotypes, then, are not the products of bad science, but are social constructions that perform central functions in maintaining society's conception of itself.
It is easy to see that the antigay stereotypes surrounding gender identification are chiefly means of reinforcing still powerful gender roles in society. The accusations "fag" and "dyke" exist in significant part to keep women in their place and to prevent men from breaking ranks and ceding away theirs.
"The stereotype of gays as child molester, sex-crazed maniacs, and civilization destroyers functions to displace problems from their actual source to a foreign one. Thus, the stereotype of child molester functions to give the family unit a false sheen of absolute innocence. It keeps the unit from being examined too closely for incest, child abuse, wife or husband-battering, and the terrorism of constant threats. The stereotype teaches that the problems of the family are not internal to it, but external. Even when empirical studies showed heterosexuals to be child molesters to a far greater extent than the actual occurrence of heterosexuals in the general population, the stereotype has not been dislodged. However, our media still reinforces our society's beliefs that gays are molesters and crazy. When a mother kills her child or a father rapes his daughter, the media never reports this as evidence that there is something wrong with heterosexuality or with the traditional family. But when a homosexual child molestation is reported it is taken as confirming evidence of the way homosexuals are. One never hears of heterosexual murders, but one regularly reads of "homosexual" ones.
The stereotype of gays as sex-crazed maniacs functions socially to keep individuals' sexuality contained. For this stereotype makes it look as though the problem of how to address one's considerable sexual energies can and should be answered with repression and it gives the impression that the dangerous psychic forces are out there where the fags are, not within one's own self. With the decline of the stereotype of the black man as raping pillaging marauder, the stereotype of gay men as sex-crazed maniacs has become more aggravated. The stereotype of the sex-crazed outside threat seems one that society desperately needs to have somewhere in its sexual cosmology."
The problem is not that society's usual standards of evidence and procedure in coming to judgments of social policy have been misapplied to gays, rather when it comes to gays, the standards themselves have simply been disregarded in favor of mechanisms that encourage unexamined fear and hatred.
.c3.(3) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents
The suicidal rates for adolescents has been increasing in recent years to the point that it is now the 2nd-3rd leading cause of death for adolescents between the ages 15-19. More than 5,000 US adolescents and young adults (aged 15 to 24) take their own lives each year. This is a 300% increase in just the last 20 years. There are numerous studies linking the causes to various affective disorders including increased levels of competition, isolation and failure among this age group. For example, a history of physical and sexual abuse is associated with a higher rate of self-destructive behaviors. However, little attention has been given in the professional literature to the homosexual subgroup.
A limited number of psychologist case studies have indicated that suicide and suicidal thoughts occur at much higher than expected rates amongst their homosexual clients. Jay and Young found that 40% of the 5000 homosexual men and women they surveyed seriously considered or attempted suicide. Black and white men were 12 and 3 times more likely respectively to be suicidal than heterosexual men.
But when did these attempts occur? Homosexual men were more likely to have made attempts during adolescence than in adulthood. At least one-third of homosexual and bisexual boys reported suicidal attempts, and repeat attempts were common,. Suicide attempts most often occurred during adolescence for persons associated with a history of childhood gender atypical behavior or emotional disturbance. The recent Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide concluded that "gay adolescents were two to three times more likely than peers to attempt suicide, accounting for as many as 30% of completed youth suicides each year." And finally, in a random sample of US psychiatrists, adolescent self-injuries were considered to be more serious and lethal than those of their heterosexual peers.
Three important reports on adolescent suicide have been recently released. The first one, Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth, by Gary Remafedi, identifies risk factors for suicide attempts among bisexual and homosexual male youths. The second report, Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents, by Ronald Kourany, surveys psychiatrist about their experiences with adolescent homosexuals. The third report, Teen Suicide, The Government's Cover-up And America's Lost Children, by Shira Maguen, reviews the politics that have been used to bury research into adolescent homosexual suicides.
.c4.(a) Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth, by Gary Remafedi
The subjects for this study were not referred from mental health treatment facilities, but obtained mostly through gay publications and out-reach programs. They were residents of the Pacific Northwest and were 82% white, 13% African-American, 4% Hispanic, and 1% Asian in ethnic composition.
The participants complete the Scale for Suicide Ideation, Bem Sex Role Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Hopelessness Scale and the Modified Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Scale. Thirty percent (30%) of the participants reported at least one suicide attempt.
1. Differences in gender role and sexual orientation development were prominent. Suicide attempters were more likely than nonattempters to be feminine or undifferentiated and less likely to be masculine or androgynous.
2. Suicide attempters engaged in homosexual and heterosexual activity to the point of orgasm at younger ages than their peers (approximately 14.3- vs. 16.1-years of age respectively).
3. Compared with peers, a larger proportion of suicide attempters reported illicit drug use and arrest for criminal activities.
4. One third of all suicide attempts were attributed to personal or interpersonal turmoil about homosexuality.
5. One third of first attempts occurred in the same year that subjects identified their bisexuality or homosexuality and most other attempts happened soon thereafter.
6. Suicide attempts were not explained by experiences with discrimination, violence, loss of friendship, or current personal attitudes toward homosexuality.
7. This report did not find a significant association between suicide attempts and running away from home.
8. Suicide attempters recognized homosexual or bisexual attractions and told other persons at younger ages (approximately 9.3- vs. 10.7-years of age respectively).
9. For each year's delay in bisexual or homosexual self-labeling, the odds of a suicide attempt diminished by 80%.
10. Sexual abuse was not a statistically significant predictor of suicide attempts, because bisexual or homosexual identification usually preceded sexual experiences.
11. There were no statistically significant differences between suicide attempters and nonattempters with regard to age, educational level, race, religion, residence, or source of financial support.
Gay-identified adolescents are a subset of all youth who will eventually disclose a homosexual orientation. Therefore, the experiences of openly gay and bisexual youth may be quite different from those of other boys who are "confused, hiding, or delayed in identifying sexual feeling." "Ultimately, the study of suicide among gay and bisexual youth may shed new light on the unifying characteristics of adolescent victims, unraveling the common threads of risk which transcend the issue of sexual orientation."
.c4.(b) Suicide Among Homosexual Adolescents, by Ronald Kourany
A survey was made by Ronald Kourany from the clients of 166 selected members of the American Society of Adolescent Psychiatry. Of those who responded, 65% speculated that the general reasons for suicide were; problems in the family, intrapsychic distress, social and environmental pressures, depression, character disorders, or schizophrenia. However, when asked to comment about suicidal gestures among homosexual adolescents, nearly 60% of the respondents said they had no experience or opinion on the subject.
Those respondents with homosexual client experience, 66% considered suicidal gestures by homosexual adolescent more serious and more lethal than similar ones by the heterosexual group. The respondents felt that the association of homosexuality with suicidal behavior could happen at any particular point in the course of therapy.
The lack of experience by most of the psychiatrists in dealing with homosexual adolescents is surprising and could be the result of:
a. few homosexual adolescents seeking psychiatric helppossibly because homosexual adolescents feel even more threatened when considering the option of seeing a psychiatrist.
b. few homosexual adolescents see psychiatrist before committing suicidenot borne out by any known research, but suggested by this survey.
c. homosexual adolescents are better adjusted and consequently require less professional helpnone of the respondents mentioned this possibility.
d. many of the psychiatric restricted their practices to exclude the homosexual adolescentspossibly from not recognizing or not wanting to treat these patients.
Conclusion: Many psychiatrists did not think that they were working with homosexual adolescents; thus, the existence of heterosexism in the psychiatric profession has to be considered. The majority of the respondents agreed that these teenagers were at higher risk for suicide and that their gestures were more severe.
.c4.(c) Teen Suicide, The Government's Cover-up And America's Lost Children, by Shira Maguen
As demonstrated in the above section, Gary Remafedi's survey revealed that at least 30% of the persons they interviewed said that they attempted suicide at least once and for many of them, they attempted suicide many more times. But how reliable are these findings? The participants of that survey volunteered and were solicited from the gay community. This does not represent the vast majority of hidden gays plus, the sample was not representative of the ethnic diversity found in the United States. But what about psychiatric reports, how accurate are they? Ronald Kourany's report speculates that most psychiatrists were unaware that they even had homosexual or bisexual patients, thereby implying that even trained professionals can be ignorant of the pressing problems of adolescent homosexuals.
In response to the adolescent suicide problem, a comprehensive government sponsored study was conducted in 1989. Paul Gibson concluded in his section of the 1989 Health and Human Services Study that, "Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay male, lesbian and bisexual youth." Although Paul Gibson's report was just one of 50 papers making up the entire study, an immediate conservative backlash erupted when the gay and lesbian suicide section were leaked in Washington. On August 9, 1989, Representative William Dannemeyer (R-Calif.) sent a letter to assistant secretary James O. Mason asking him to denounce the report and wrote, "The last thing these individuals [gays and lesbians] need is a perception of accommodation from the Bush administration."
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Louis Sullivan, responded two months later by stating that the views in the Gibson paper with respect to gay youth, "undermine the institution of the family." "Following the exchanges between Dannemeyer and Sullivan, no federal action was taken on the Gibson report." The final study does include a report by Dr. Joseph Harry, associate professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, that states "homosexuals of both sexes are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide than are heterosexuals." Harry's report dealt primarily with adults and recommended only further study with no specific actions. Thus, the final version of the federal study purposely ignored the findings and recommendations concerning adolescent suicides related to homosexuality.
Question: Don't suicide prevention programs or state sponsored pamphlets on suicide prevention mention the over-representation of homosexuals committing suicide? Dr. Virginia Uribe, founder of Project 10Los Angeles Unified School District's drop-out prevention program aimed at the adolescent homosexual, says, "Many school systems across the country have suicide-prevention units, but 99.9% of them make no mention of the heightened risk of being gay or lesbian." Similarly, Remafedi says,
"Virtually no professionals in the country receive any kind of special training on homosexuality, let alone the issues surrounding adolescent homosexuality . . . Many of the professionals that we work with are reluctant to refer gay and lesbian kids to social support groups. On one level they believe that by doing so, they might entrench the persons homosexual identity. They are worried about parents' reactions or what their supervisors might think."
The School Experience
Leonard Jenkins, an Ohio teen, came out to his teachers when he as 14. "His teachers told him he had nothing to live for," recalled his mother, Rada. "Another teacher told Leonard that he would rather for his son to come home any day with cancer than to have what Leonard had. The kid was 14, just coming out, and he was sacred to death. It's no wonder there is so much suicide among these young people." Leonard was a straight-A student who tried to hang himself in the band room. He was hospitalized for three months where upon the family moved. At another school, he was able to graduate but by having to stay completely in the closet.
Chris Jones, an 18-year old Midwesterner, made six suicide attempts. In sixth grade he took an overdose of aspirin. In eighth grade he tried jumping out of a tree, but another branch broke his fall. When he as a sophomore in high school, he tried taking prescribed pills, but they were not enough to kill him. Later that year, he borrowed a friend's gun and tried shooting himself but only slightly injured himself. Still that same year, he tied a bag around himself and lit a candle , hoping that it would use up the oxygen. His final attempt landed him in the hospital for three weeks. Who knows what he will do next?
There are many thousands of similar stories each year, many of them fatal.
Current School Status on Suicide Prevention
Only three school districts in the United StatesLos Angeles, Oakland, New York City have at-risk programs aimed at the adolescent homosexual. Virtually none of the suicide prevention programs mention the connection of suicide and homosexuality. Even the federal studies into suicide purposely squelch research that may lead to a recognition that this issue is important and that it needs to be addressed in our public schools.
.c3.(4) Bulimia in Male Homosexuals
It is estimated that 1-6% of all college-age men are bulimic, much less than the 20% estimate for college-age women. The major difference between these two groups is that more women are married and more men report a homosexual or bisexual orientation (53%).
Male bulimics (compared to female bulimics):
a. set more realistic weight goals for themselves and have a less distorted image of themselves.
b. showed greater weight fluctuation over time, suggesting that they were less rigid and less compulsive about their diets and weight-control programs.
c. tended to use fewer laxatives, to exercise less and to use fewer diuretics and diet pills.
d. more drug and alcohol abuse.
e. greater work instability including greater unemployment.
"Male heterosexuals appear to be protected against the development of bulimia. Presumably there is less concern about body image and less cultural pressure for thinness in this group. It does appear that the male homosexual is more at risk for bulimia than the heterosexual; it seems likely that cultural pressures for thinness are greater for homosexual males than for heterosexual males."
.c3.(5) "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality
Richard Green examined the behaviors of two different groups of young boys and their subsequent behaviors as young men, 15-years latter. One group of boys, the "feminine" or as other children referred to them as the "sissy" boys, demonstrated a preference for being girls. They liked to dress as girls, play with girl toys (dolls), their playmates were girls, they identified with "mommy" when playing "mommy-daddy" games and they avoided rough-and-tumble play and sports. The second group of boys were conventionally "masculine"preferred being boys, dressed as boys, played with boy toys (trucks), their playmates were boys, they identified with "daddy" when playing "mommy-daddy" games and they enjoyed rough-and-tumble play and sports.
Both boys and girls demonstrate both "masculine" and "feminine" characteristics to some degree. The quotes used on the words masculine and feminine is a shorthand way to imply this imprecise constellation of behaviors. However, "sissy" in our culture is a pejorative term and is used to describe unacceptable "feminine" behavior in boys. It is because of this additional dimension that Richard Green uses it to describe this research.
.c4.(a.) Homosexuality and Childhood Behavior
Previous studies on homosexuality have linked cross-gender childhood behavior with adult sexual orientation. Marcel Saghir and Eli Robins'(1973) research revealed that approximately two thirds of the adult homosexuals that they interviewed recalled "having been girl-like during childhood" and "having no male buddies, having avoided boy's games and [having] played predominantly with girls. All of them were called sissy. . ." whereas only 3% of the heterosexual men recalled such a childhood. Caution must be used in inferring any results obtained from long-term memory. Studies into a parent's recall of their child's early life have consistently shown that accuracy plummets to less than 5% after just 8-years . Thus, Richard Green's objective was to perform a long-term study through direct interview of the boy and his family instead of relying on recall.
Selection of Groups
Boys were selected for the study instead of girls in order to obtain the largest number of atypical adults by the end of the study. Boys were selected because: it is rarer to find boys who regularly cross-dress than girls; approximately 3 times as many males than females request sex-change surgery; homosexuality is approximately twice as common among males; and, "The fact that "sissiness" causes social problems for boys while "tomboyism" does not cause problems for girls . . .". The boys were obtained through advertisement to the larger community. A group of 66 boys was obtained ranging in age from 4 to 12 years old. All the boys would today be diagnosed as having the "gender identity disorder of childhood" and none of the boys had an extra X chromosome. A comparison group of"masculine" boys and their families were obtained that closely matched common demographic patterns of parenting and socialization experiences of the targeted child.
Evaluation Methods of Boys
A number of criterion were used to evaluate the boys.
Playroom Toy Preferences"The "feminine" boys' selections were like those of girls of the same age." "Feminine" boys played with dolls and less with trucks about three to four times as much as "masculine" boys.
Doll-play Fantasy"Feminine" boys tended to hold the mother doll, grandmother doll and infant doll almost twice as long as "masculine" boys did.
Physical BehaviorThe boys were videotaped performing various activities running, walking, throwing a ball overhand and narrating a story (without sound). They wore clothing that concealed their gender. Raters were told that they were seeing boys and girls and asked to decide if the child wasdefinitely a boy, probably a boy, maybe a boy, maybe a girl, probably a girl, or definitely a girl. The raters were able to clearly distinguish "masculine" boys from girls, but unable to decisively label the "feminine" boys as boys or girls. The results supports the peer group comments about "feminine" boys "acting like girls." "This was true for all four behaviors, and it was true as young as four years of age."
Psychological TestsBoth the It-Scale for Children and Draw-A-Person tests resulted with the "feminine" boys scoring in the range typically occupied by girls and the "masculine" boys averaging in the conventional boys' range.
Evaluation of Parents
"Parents completed questionnaires describing demographic features of the family, sex-typed behaviors of their son, the age of onset and frequency of his cross-gender behaviors, their attitudes toward his behaviors, reactions of other relatives to the behaviors, and the son's peer relations. They also described their relationship to their son, their marital relationship, and their own psychosexual background." Interviews were also conducted of the parents together and singly.
.c4.(b) The Emergence of Sex Differences in Children
Early Behavior Differences Between Males and Females
It is difficult to determine which behavioral characteristics are the result of nature or learned behavior. Some researchers have discovered behavioral differences between males and females that appear early in life and that seem to be independent of parental behavior. Also, there is indication that parental behavior and other factors can influence different developmental tracks.
Infants between 10 to 18 months of age may discriminate between "like me"/"not like me." Lewis and Weinraub (1974), found that infants responded most to pictures of the same sex infants. Similarly, infants placed apart in the same room are most likely to crawl to one of the same sex.
"Even more startling is the finding that in their second year children appear to be able to discriminate the pattern of body movements of other boys and girls without actually seeing the children. Twelve small light bulbs were attached to the limbs and torsos of children, and then the children's' actions were filmed in a darkened room When the moving light patterns where shown to other children, they paid more attention to those made by same-sex infants. If these findings are valid, they suggest a very early, perhaps innate, self-classification as male or female, the first component of sexual identity."
Children Play Patterns
The play styles and toy preferences of boys and girls seem to differ early. Boys within their first year seem more rambunctious, more likely to handle "forbidden" objects such as trays and vases and robots. Girls preferred dolls and soft toys.
By the age of two to three, both boys and girls preferred to play a game with father. By age four, the girls have shifted to mother and the boys stayed with father.
In Primate females, nine month old and still nursing, show considerable interest in holding babies even if they were raised without ever seeing their mother or any other adult female primate. Male monkeys rarely show comparable behavior.
Young boys seem to be more aggressive and engage in more rough-and-tumble play than girls , , regardless of culture.
Young children prefer same-sex playmates. Boys prefer boys, girls prefer girls.
Adult Behavioral Influences
Mothers stimulate and arouse male children more than female children between the ages of three weeks to three months. By the thirteenth month, mothers touched their boys less. Similarly, by touching, the mother may be teaching their children to make physical contact. Mothers who touched their children more than other mothers did at six months, also touched their children more at thirteen months.
After the first twelve months, fathers have been found to withdraw from their daughters and become more than twice as active with sons by the second year.
Parents of eighteen months old have been observed interacting more with the same-sex infants.
When disguising the gender of an infant and telling adults the sex of a child, the adults reacted to the perceived sex of the infant"boys" were encouraged into physical action, given more "whole-body stimulation" and offered "masculine" toys while "girls" were less stimulated and offered dolls. This occurred even though three-fourths to four-fifths of the parents expressed a belief that it was important for boy and girl infants to play with all types of toys.
Overall, adults interact differently depending on whether they think a child is male or female.
.c4.(c) Dr. Richard Green's Report Conclusion
""Feminine" boys, as portrayed in chapter 1, are far more likely to mature into homosexual or bisexual men than are most boys. Two-thirds of the sixty-six males in the original "feminine boy" group have been interviewed in adolescence or young adulthood. Three-fourths of them are homosexual or bisexual. Only one of the males in the group of conventionally "masculine" boys reports being homosexual or bisexual."
Both groups of males experienced a similar drop-out rate (approximately one third). Although biasing factors may have resulted in selective dropping out, neither a reluctance of the parents to return, or concern about the son's atypical sexuality and therefore motivation to return were statistically observed. Likewise, repeated interviewing was not associated with a greater degree of homosexual orientation.
The degree by which a boy exhibited "feminine" behaviorrole playing, doll-play, cross-dressing and female peers could be correlated to later development of homosexuality but not the specific "feminine" behavior.
". . , father-son shared time appears to be the mechanism whereby the father's desire for a girl or boy may relate to later sexual orientation."
"The extent of the mother's desire for a girl during the pregnancy tends to be associated with the son's sexual orientation for the full group of boys."
Magazine Preferences, Mass Media Idols, and Vocational Goals
Previously identified "masculine" boys preferred sports and science magazines as adults as compared to fashion (GQ), female (Vogue) and gossipy weekly (People) magazine selected by the previously identified "feminine" boys. "Feminine" boys preferred female movie and TV idols. All the boys who aspired to be actors and five of the eight who desired to be doctors were from the "feminine" boy group. All boys who wanted to be lawyers, athletes, engineers or pilots were previously "masculine."
The Effect of Psychotherapy on Adult Sexual Orientation
George Rekers and other UCLA psychologists have designed a cross-dressing treatment program to "prevent adult transvestic sexual difficulties."
"Time has not honored the dire predictions of the Rekers group for the consequences of withholding therapy. Transvestism has not been the out-come of any previously "feminine" boy in our untreated sample, and transsexualism has evolved in only one. Nor has therapy achieved the goal of aborting homosexual arousal or "temptations" (Rekers's current term; Rekers, 1982). My interview with two males who went through the Rekers treatment regimen in boyhood find both to be bisexual.
Kenneth Zucker (1985) has pointed out scientific inconsistencies in the various treatment reports by the Rekers group as well as alternative explanations and interpretations of their findings. To me, the basic strategy of Rekers's treatment model, which is based on operant-conditioning, can be faulted in that it ignores the motivation behind the child's behaviors. While specific "feminine" behaviors are punished and "masculine" behaviors rewarded in that treatment model, this approach ignores reasons why the boy prefers traditionally "feminine" activities. Why has he chosen to play with dolls and not trucks? Is it only that he has been previously "conditioned" to make these preferences? Simply conditioning the boy so that he obtains rewards for alternative behaviors and is punished for earlier preferences may make the child look different. But to what extent is self-concept changed?"
Treatment programs are powerless to interrupt the progression of "feminine" boys to homosexual or bisexual men. The statistical rates are unchanged. Treatment may yield a slight advantage in self-satisfaction. Also, treatment did not harm anyone by underscoring the child's self-concept of "deviance."
Richard Green ends his book with a multitude of warnings against oversimplifying the research for a definitive reason why "feminine" boys tend to mature into adult homosexual or bisexual males. He has included a vast record of interviews, thereby circumscribing the desired to reduce all data to statistical manipulations. He believes that neither biology nor environment can adequately explain this phenomenon.
"There is temptation and danger in translating these and other researchers' finding into advice on how to raise traditionally sex-typed children, and, in turn, how to maximize the prospects of a heterosexual adulthood. The data do not tell us that. There is far too much variability. Even if they did, I would not argue to teach the "lessons" learned. There is far too much variability in the lives of men who also happen to be heterosexual or homosexual."
.c2.B. Review of U.S. Court Cases
.c3.(1) Homosexuality and Antisodomy Laws
Most states list immorality, moral misconduct or conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude as reasons for dismissal or suspension of teachers. The antisodomy laws neatly fit this package and have been used almost exclusively to persecute and incarcerate homosexuals. Thus, an analysis of the state sodomy statutes is important in the understanding of discrimination against homosexual teachers.
Historically, all states have had criminal sodomy statutes between adults. Currently, slightly less than half of the states still do. The language of such laws is strong and sodomy is perceived as being "unnatural and lascivious . . . abominable and detestable," with sentencing as severe as a minimum of 7-years imprisonment and fines ranging up to $50,000. Interestingly, most of the Sodomy Laws include sex-with-animals as part of their description. Regardless of the language, many state laws and the American society in general equate homosexuality along with bestiality and consider it immoral and illegal.
These laws have been, for the most part, unsuccessfully challenged in the courts on the issues of states' police powers, the right to privacy (Doe v. Commonwealth, 1976), equal protection of the law, freedom of speech or expression, and cruel and unusual punishment. The most recent Supreme Court case, Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), upheld Georgia's right to criminalize sodomy and specifically held that no connection exists between privacy (as in such cases dealing with child rearing and eduction, family relationships, procreation, marriage, contraception, and abortion) and homosexual conduct. Overall, the Hardwick case indicates that the Due Process Clause cannot be used to overturn state sodomy laws and that as long as a majority of the electorate holds that such conduct is immoral and chooses to criminalize it, then the requisite rational basis for such statutes continues to exist.
.c4.A. Sodomy Laws Summary
In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick refused to strike down a Georgia law criminalizing sodomy. While the majority opinion stated that there was no constitutional right to engage in homosexual sodomy, the law that it upheld forbade all sodomy. At the time, some argued that the decision was of little consequence because sodomy laws are rarely enforced.
Since Hardwick, however, some prosecutors seem to be more willing to prosecute sodomy casesand defendants find themselves without protection. Ironically, some of the first to suffer prosecution are heterosexuals. Particularly during divorce or rape proceedings, a number of men who were acquitted of the original charges were subsequently convicted of sodomy for having engaged in oral sex.
The penalties can be severe. Rhode Island, which has a blanket prohibition, demands a prison sentence of not less than 7 years and no more than 20. In Montana, which outlaws only homosexual sodomy, a conviction can bring a 10-year sentence and/or a $50,000 fine.
.c4.TABLE 2Legal Status of Sodomy
(Legal in only 26 states1989)
Legal: California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Delaware, Alaska, Hawaii
Illegal between persons of the same sex: Nevada, Montana, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee
Illegal for all: Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Rhode Island, District of Columbia.
Illegal with anyone other than spouse: Utah, Alabama
For a state-by-state description of the current sodomy statutes, see Appendix B.
.c3.(2) General Patterns of Discrimination in Military and Intelligence Agency Cases and Their Applications to Public Education
Much of the case law dealing with homosexuality involves the municipal police force, U.S. intelligence agencies or the armed forces. It is in some of these cases that the courts have dealt with the issue as to whether homosexuality per se can be used as just cause to fire an employee or refuse to hire an applicant. In virtually all cases, the question as to whether sexual orientation enjoys constitutional protection is the major issue.
At the municipal police level, the courts have decided that openly gay personnel can be denied employment (Childer v. Dallas Police, 1981) because of three reasons: (1) the activities of the employee must reflect the community values and homosexuality is not a community value; (2) a homosexual must be discreet and being openly gay would impair the functioning of the governmental body; and, (3) the employee would sustain harassment from his/her fellow employees which would result in disharmony in the department. The third reason is of particular interest since it puts the burden of harassment onto the person being harassed, not the harassercontrary to our cultural and legal defense of hate crimes.
For military and intelligence agencies, the courts have had a difficult time with the issue, many times deferring to the simpler administrative question as to whether or not the agency must give cause for a firing instead of facing the issue. Not all the courts have been in agreement and they have shown sensitivity to the argument that the intelligence agencies have unique personnel requirements. Although it has been agreed upon that a person does not abrogate his or her constitutional rights when employed by the government, many cases against the government by homosexuals deal exactly with this issueparticularly within the intelligence and armed forces. Interestingly, only a small number of cases deal with general government employment such as the post officesuggesting that homosexuality becomes an issue only within sensitive employment areas.
In cases dealing with the F.B.I. or C.I.A., the courts regularly uphold the agencies' decision to fire or not hire homosexuals. In general, the courts have held that intelligence agencies are shielded from judicial review by congressional action and that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is not applicable. The intelligence agencies make employment decisions with impunity, whereas the military services have had greater court review. Court decisions concerning homosexuals in the military range from the Tenth Circuit's decision (1984) that the Army's policy of excluding homosexuals was constitutional, to the Ninth Circuit's decision (1988later withdrawn) that held that homosexuals constituted a suspect class. Thus, the court decisions are not consistent but do suggest that the armed forces' specific regulations prohibiting homosexuals from serving are open to interpretation and that homosexuality per se is not sufficient grounds for dismissal. Specific acts of misconduct must be connected with homosexuality for a dismissal to be upheld.
Recent court cases continue to uphold intelligence agencies complete discretion over employment decisions but seem less willing to give such power to the armed forces. The armed forces must show that the homosexual has also engaged in a prohibited or criminal act. Similarly, the status of homosexual teachers in public schools and colleges is centered on behavior and its effect on a teacher's ability to perform. In addition, teachers are judged on purely moral grounds. .c3.(3) Assumed Immorality of Homosexual Conduct and Its Impact on the Teacher as Role Model
"Because of a teacher's close relationships with children and the concept of the teacher as role model for students, the homosexual teacher confronts different problems when faced with an adverse employment decision." "Teachers are traditionally held to a higher moral standard in a community" than the average worker and this places the homosexual educator at risk since homosexuals have been historically viewed as deviants and immoral, and this perceived immorality has been held as a legitimate cause for dismissal. But what is immorality? The courts have traditionally relied upon community standards to establish moral standards, yet these standards vary from community to community and change over time.
All courts agree that if an elementary or secondary school teacher engages in sexual behavior with a student, either heterosexual or homosexual, the teacher is guilty of immoral conduct and may be discharged. In higher education, the age and maturity of college students and the constitutional rights to privacy may protect faculty from dismissal stemming from consensual liaisons with students.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not dealt directly with the question as to whether a school district can lawfully discharge a homosexual teacher, and the lower courts disagree. In Gaylord v. Tacoma, the courts came the closest to deciding that homosexuality was sufficient cause to discharge a teacher. After 12 years of superior ratings as a teacher, Gaylord's homosexuality become known and he was fired. The Court upheld his dismissal and ruled: (1) "Homosexuality is widely condemned as immoral and was so condemned as immoral during biblical times;" (2) "Volitional choice is an essential element of immorality" and Gaylord chose homosexuality and must be held morally responsible; (3) The school board's argument that the student knowledge of Gaylord's homosexuality would impair job his performance was valid; (4) "It would be unreasonable to assume as a matter of law a teacher's ability to perform as a teacher required to teach principles of morality . . . is not impaired and creates no danger of approval and of imitation;" (5) School boards are not required to wait for "overt expression of homosexual conduct before they act to prevent harm." The court assumed that any homosexual teacher would be predisposed toward sexual misconduct within the school setting.
In two California cases, Morrison and Jack M., the courts concluded that neither homosexuality nor homosexual conduct are sufficient cause for dismissal or revocation of teaching certificates. Morrison worked for several years as a teacher for the Lowell Joint School District with an unblemished record. While employed, he had a limited, noncriminal relationship with a fellow male teacher. This teacher reported the incident to the Superintendent, whereupon Morrison resigned. Three years later, the state board of education revoked Morrison's teaching certificate. The California Court reinstated Morrison's certificate and held that: (1) neither homosexuality, nor homosexual conduct alone, was sufficient reasons to revoke a teacher's certificate or to dismiss a teacher; and, (2) conduct must adversely affect the teacher's fitness to perform. Jack M. was a teacher accused of homosexual solicitation in a public restroom. Although no charges were filed, when he informed his principal about the incident the board of education moved to dismiss him. The court ruled in his favor and found that: (1) since the students did not know of the incident, they could not emulate him as was the Boards contention; and, (2) his 16-year unblemished record and testimony that it was an isolated incident weighed heavily in his favor. Thus, neither homosexuality, nor homosexual conduct per se is sufficient reason in California for dismissal.
In Aumiller v. University of Delaware (1977), the courts have upheld a college professor's right to be the faculty advisor to the school's gay student organization and to be quoted within that context. In general, the courts have allowed greater First Amendment expression on homosexuality and teacher-student association within the university setting than at the younger ages of elementary and secondary schooling.
Public knowledge of a teacher's sexual conduct, either heterosexual or homosexual, can lead to such notoriety that the courts have concluded that the teacher can no longer satisfactorily perform his or her duties. Related to this is the concept of teacher-as-role-model. Both in Gaylord and Payne, the courts accepted the school board's argument that the teacher is a role model and that a teacher engaging in illegal conduct would jeopardize the integrity of the school system. Thus, homosexually alone does not seem to justify termination. Only if there is accompanying overt behavior and the conduct becomes common knowledge have the courts then accepted the school board's role model arguments against the teacher.
In two cases dealing with nontenured homosexual teachers, the courts have either avoided the issue of homosexuality by deciding that the teacher had no expectation of continued employment (Rowland) or awarded damages for the remainder of the teacher's contract without reinstatement because of the assumed disruption caused upon her return to the school (Burton).
In an early decision, the courts upheld a school board's right to transfer a teacher to a non-teaching position after finding out that he was a homosexualAcanfora v. Board of Education, 1973. Acanfora was suspended from student teaching because of his public acknowledgement of being homosexual, then was interviewed and hired without disclosing this information. The court found; (1) that by withholding the facts about his affiliation with homosexual organizations, he misled the school employees; and (2) that his First Amendment right to free speech was protected.
An Oklahoma State statute permitted the dismissal of teachers for public homosexual activity including "advocating, soliciting, imposing, encouraging or promoting public or private homosexual activity in a manner that creates a substantial risk that such conduct will come to the attention of school children or school employees." In, National Gay Task Force v. Board of Education of the City of Oklahoma, the Tenth Circuit Court found no fault for dismissing persons for engaging in public homosexual activity and stated that the classification based on the choice of sexual partners is not constitutionally suspect. However, the section that allowed punishment for mere advocacy was in violation of the First Amendment unless it could be shown that the expression resulted in interference or disruption of normal school activities. Thus, the mere advocacy of homosexual rights, without a showing of adverse effect in the school setting, could not be used as a ground for dismissal.
The courts in Acanfora and National Gay Task Force have reaffirmed that the person's First Amendment rights were not violated, yet there is continual conflict as to what is "free speech." In some cases, not revealing that one is a homosexual is construed as lying and grounds for discipline. Yet why would a teacher reveal their sexual deviancy considering the harassment that follows. And why do the courts say that speech is protected and continue to uphold dismissals for sharing that one is a homosexual? Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will need to deal directly with the issue as to whether a school district can lawfully discharge or discipline a homosexual teacher who is open to his or her students.
For a listing of relevant court cases related to homosexuality and education, see Appendix C.
.c3.(4) Consideration of Homosexuals as a Suspect Class in Entitlement to Equal Protection
The Due Process Clause of the Constitution, has not proven to be useful towards protecting homosexuals from antisodomy statutes. However, the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, § 1, has been used for more than forty years to accord special status to certain groups of people through a stringent standard of review. The first level of review currently includes only race, alienage and national origin for special protection of suspect class by the Court. A quasi-suspect status has been designated for groups singled out because of gender, status as minor children of illegal aliens, illegitimacy, and status as aliens. Homosexuality would appear to satisfy the four criteria for determining suspect class: (1) whether classification based on immutable traits or characteristics over which an individual has no control; (2) whether the classification reflects historic and incorrect stereotypes with no basis in fact; (3) whether the classification represents a politically powerless minority; and, (4) whether there is a history of discrimination of unequal treatment towards the class. Considering the conservative nature of the U.S. Supreme Court, it is unlikely that suspect class will be granted homosexuals, although a federal appellate court did take that view.
.c3.(5) Current Confusion of the Courts as to the Fitness of Homosexual Teachers
Teaching is a dangerous employment area for homosexuals. Before 1977, one could say that homosexuality per se was not a reason for dismissal. The 'immorality' attached to homosexuality was too vague a concept and dismissal resulted from a combination of the teachers' job performance and the impact his or her sexual orientation had on the functioning of the classroom. With the Supreme Court denial of certiorari in the Gaylord case, a teachers' status as a homosexual was sufficient to establish immorality per se. Thus, the decision of teacher immorality was thrown back to the individual states for their determination.
Attempts have been made at the legislative level to make homosexuality incompatible with teaching. The Briggs initiative was placed on the California ballot in 1978 (Proposition 6) that would have excluded homosexuals from teaching and barred any discussion about homosexuality within the school setting. The wording was so inclusive that all the teacher's unions campaigned for its defeat because it would have resulted in a 'witch hunt' based on accusations of being homosexual. The Briggs initiative did not pass. However, the Oklahoma legislature enacted law that was modeled after the Briggs initiative utilizing two key definitions. First, "public homosexual activity," was defined as sex performed with someone of the same sex and indiscreet if not practiced in private. Second, "Public homosexual conduct, (as distinguished from activity) was defined as "advocating, soliciting, imposing, encouraging or promoting public or private homosexual activity in a manner that creates a substantial risk that such conduct will come to the attention of school children or school employees." The effect of the Oklahoma statute was so intimidating, that no gay teachers in Oklahoma were willing to be the plaintiff in a court challenge sponsored by the Nation Gay Task Force (NGTF). Ultimately, the court did find that the statute did reach protected speech, but that it was constitutional.
None of the court cases since Gaylord have stated that a person could be dismissed from teaching simply because someone believed them to be gay. However, in an opinion by the West Virginia Attorney General issued in 1983, it was suggested that teachers could lose their jobs on mere speculation. Specifically, the superintendent of the Hampshire County Schools located in Romney, West Virginia, wanted to fire one of his female teachers because the kindergarten teacher "often wore trousers to school, worked part-time at a service station to supplement her teaching income, and had a female roommate. . . the teacher also had some facial hair." The school board of Romney fired the teacher, Linda Conway who steadfastly maintained that she was not a lesbian and she said, "It was like waking up in the twilight zone. People treated me as if I had some kind of disease that they would catch or something. I'm really beginning to sympathize with gays." The prosecution contended that she had acquired a community reputation as a lesbian and that there was precedent under West Virgina and federal laws for admitting such reputation as evidence. The courts agreed and West Virginia teachers who are homosexual or who may dress and act like homosexuals are staying closeted.
.c4.A Summary of U.S. Court Cases and Their Implications
Homosexual teachers face an uncertain future with respect to job security, particularly at the elementary and secondary school levels. "Although courts focus on behavior, generally requiring school boards to demonstrate a relationship between a teacher's conduct and how that conduct may affect the teacher's ability to perform on the job, it appears easier to show that relationship when the teacher is homosexual." To summarize:
1. If a teacher's behavior becomes public, the role model concept has been used to conclude that the teacher's efficiency is impaired.
2. Public display of affection between homosexuals has a greater effect on employment than similar display between heterosexuals.
3. Nontenured teachers are particularly at risk.
4. A teacher's spoken expression advocating changes in laws with respect to homosexuality and homosexuals is protected by the First Amendment. However, advocating becoming a homosexual is not protected.
5. The Due Process Clause of the Constitution has not proven to be useful in protecting homosexuals from antisodomy statutes.
6. The homosexual educator is at great risk since homosexuals have been historically viewed as deviants and immoral, and that this type of perceived immorality has been held as a legitimate cause for dismissal through the antisodomy statutes.
7. The U.S. Supreme Court is unlikely to grant suspect class status to homosexuals in the near future.
.c2.C. How Likely (Really) is the Discharge of Homosexual Teachers?
There are only eight appellate cases that directly involve gay and lesbian teachers. Obviously, many more have been disciplined or discharged with a few prevailing against great animosity. The more relevant question is(1) How likely is it for a homosexual teacher to be censured? and (2) Are school administrators as hostile as the reported cases make them out to be?
Joshua Dressler performed a large scale study in which a total of 200 public junior high and high school principals, two in each of the fifty states, were sent an identical questionnaire. This represented a contact of approximately 0.9% of all public secondary schools in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds of the questionnaires were returned complete with responses coming from high schools (69%) and junior highs (31%). The questionnaires were in complete confidencethus no assessment could be made about location and response.
Ten hypothetical questions were presented regarding the revocation of the license of a previously exemplary six-year veteran male homosexual teacher. The circumstances ran the gamut from the hypothetical teacher simply being a homosexual to being arrested for illegal behavior. The results are presented in Table 3.
.c4.TABLE 3Principal's Opinions (1985)
"In which of the following cases, standing alone, would you favor revocation of the license of a previously exemplary six-year veteran male homosexual teacher (HT)?"
1.HT is a homosexual 8%2.HT committed noncriminal, consensual private homosexual act with an adult.12%3.HT committed a criminal, consensual private homosexual act with an adult, although HT was not convicted of crime.30%4.HT was convicted of a consensual private homosexual act with an adult.64%5.HT had "consensual" homosexual relations with a minor (but not a student).78%6.HT had nonconsensual homosexual relations with a minor (but not a student).87%7.HT had homosexual relations with a schoolchild.93%8.HT told students of his homosexuality.46%9.HT expressed the belief in class that homosexuality was not wrong.42%10.HT is publicly involved in off-campus "gay rights" activities.24%
Note that in response to non-incident circumstance #1 in which the person is simply a homosexual, almost one out of every twelve principals recommended the severest punishment possible within the professionrevocation of the teachers' license. This is "technically" unlawful since no state has explicit restrictions against the employment of homosexual teachers. A number of written comments were received, e.g., "I'm very biased. Our society tolerates homosexuality, but I cannot," "We should cut off their testicles," plus comments reiterating unsupported view about homosexuals and their "influence" on children's' sexual orientation.
Most principals wrote that they would not fire a gay teacher simply because of his or her orientation. However, if that gay teacher has a private sexual life, the statistics suggest that there is a 50% increase in the chance of being firedin deference that such heterosexual conduct would be condoned. Similarly, once that same private sexual activity is labeled criminal (without conviction), the number of principals favoring license revocation jumps to one in three. This bias again doubles for conviction of this private adult act.
Nearly two-thirds of all principals favor the revocation of gay teachers' licenses if they are convicted of consensual, adult sexual activity. In light of the fact that such conduct has been largely decriminalized, these results imply that gay teachers employed in states which continue to treat such conduct as criminal are in significantly greater jeopardy than their counterparts in more liberal states, even when such laws are not enforced. This result is consistent with the view that teachers, as role models, must respect the lawall lawsand that the factual violation of the law (even without the legal label of 'conviction') is a damning factor.
Interestingly, the respondents took a more severe attitude with respect to what was said in class. If the teacher admitted their sexual orientation to the students, expressed nonjudgmental views about homosexuality, or became involved in off-campus "gay rights" activities, almost half of the principals favored license revocation.
But, what are the real actions that the administrators take? The following is a summary of conclusions:
1. Principals' Experiencetwo-thirds of the principals believed that they had no homosexuals on the staff. The other principals estimated that 3-5% of their staff were homosexual. This is interesting since it is estimated that a minimum of 10% of the total population is thought to be homosexual. Thus, it can be concluded that principals are unreliable about detecting homosexuals on their staff.
2. Actions Taken Towards "Known" Homosexuals 54% of the principals did nothing. However, if the teacher became known because of perceived misconduct or arrest, then subsequent disciplinary action was takenyet this was only 36% of the cases with fewer than 3% losing their jobs.
3. Job PerformanceHomosexual teachers received equally high job ratings except for those in which disciplinary actions were taken against.
4. .c4.TABLE 4Effect of Disclosure on School Affairs
"If the homosexual teacher was retained, whether with or without discipline, were there negative effects in the retention, where there was public knowledge of the teacher's orientation?"
None71%Yes, poorer student discipline 8%Yes, parental antagonism12%Yes, both 9%"Where problems existed, did they subside in a relatively short time?"
The implication from this is clear. School administrators and courts should be skeptical of calls for dismissal or school transfer based on the claim that retention of the teacher will cause disruption, thereby rendering the teacher unfit. Generally, a patient administrator can retain both the gay teacher and the school's stability.
.c2.D. School Policies concerning Homosexuality
A number of school districts in California and the nation have enacted anti-discrimination policies that included sexual orientation. These policies have been part of the collective bargaining agreements between the teacher's union and the school boards of education. Both the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) and the National Education Association (NEA) have passed anti-discrimination resolutions that include sexual orientation (see Tables 6, 7). Also, a small number of municipalities have passed anti-discrimination policies for both employment and housing covering sexual orientation and AIDS.
In the review of district policies, no policies were found that specifically excluded homosexuals from the classroom. An Oklahoma State statute that permits the dismissal of teachers for public homosexual activity including "advocating, soliciting, imposing, encouraging or promoting public or private homosexual activity in a manner that creates a substantial risk that such conduct will come to the attention of school children or school employees," comes closest to being a specific state policy against homosexual teachers. The states with sodomy laws, if it is mentioned at all, usually contain language in their Education Codes that prohibits the discussing or teaching of homosexual issues. In California, the Education Codes specifying sex education curriculum states that California neither "condemns nor condones" homosexuality, but that the teacher is to encourage heterosexual behavior.
The school districts of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles have adopted a strong advocacy for the acceptance of sexually diverse students. Each has an out-reach program to help reduce the drop-out rates for the at-risk homosexual student population. In Los Angeles, Dr. Virgina Uribe, has been successful at initiating and coordinating Project 10 since 1984. This program provides drop-in counseling, peer counseling, educational seminars, a gay/lesbian library and staff development workshopsall aimed at reducing the stigmatization homosexual students experience in the school setting. Not only are all school counselors required to take one of Dr. Uribe's workshop, but Los Angeles Unified School District has adopted an anti-slur resolution (see Table 5) that makes such pejoratives as "faggot" unacceptable on school premisses.
.c4.TABLE 5Board Resolution Reaffirms Commitment To Respectful, Treatment of All Persons
"The Los Angeles Unified School District reaffirms its policy that students and adults in both schools and offices should treat all persons equally and respectfully and refrain from the willful or negligent use of slurs against any person on the basis of race, language spoken, color, sex, religion, handicap, national origin, immigration status, age, sexual orientation, or political belief . . ."
.c4.TABLE 6NEA RESOLUTION C-11 Student Sexual Orientation.
The National Education Association believes that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation should be afforded equal opportunity within the public education system. The Association further believes that every school district should provide counseling for students who are struggling with the sexual/gender orientation.
.c4.TABLE 7American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) Resolutions
DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Whereas, contract language prohibits discrimination in general; and
Whereas, contract language also lists specific grounds upon which an employee may not be subject to discrimination; and
Whereas, there is compelling evidence that employees are sometimes discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation;
RESOLVED, that union contract language should include sexual orientation among the list of reasons for which employees may not be subject to discrimination.
Whereas, bereavement is a condition common to all people; and
Whereas, bereavement leave is generally included in union contracts; and
Whereas, domestic partnership is a close and vital relationship;
RESOLVED, that union contract language should include bereavement leave for employees on the death of a domestic partner along with all other relationships generally noted in contracts. (1990)
EDUCATIONAL EQUITY FOR SEXUAL MINORITIES
Whereas, a 1988 study by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania indicates a sharp increase in incidents of harassment and violence in the educational setting against students, based upon identified or perceived sexual orientation; and
Whereas, the American Federation of Teachers is aware of the increasing efforts of educators nationwide to ensure the fair and representative treatment of gay and lesbian people as part of the ongoing processes of curricular revision, instructional media/resources selection, counseling services and staff development programs:
RESOLVED, that the AFT condemn this prejudicial harassment and violence against students; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT support the right of all students to an affirmative, positive, equitable and safe educational environment, (1990)
THE RIGHTS OF PUBLIC AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES WITH HIV (AIDS)
Whereas, the findings of United States Public Health authorities and international medical experts indicate that the transmissions of HIV (AIDS) virus does not occur occupationally in school settings; and
Whereas, recent court decisions have held that public and school employees cannot be discriminated against with respect to employment solely on the basis of their having contracted a contagious disease:
RESOLVED, the AFT will support efforts to defend the employment rights of public and school employees with HIV, as well as efforts to protect students with HIV, as well as efforts to protect students with HIV against discrimination with regard to educational placement and opportunities; and
RESOLVED, AFT will continue to provide its affiliates with timely and accurate information and technical assistance concerning the transmission and prevention of HIV as well as policy issues concerning HIV and the workplace (1990).
.c2.D. Protections Provided by the State of California for Homosexual Teachers
Two areas of California law provides for legal protection for homosexual teachers. Specifically for public school teachers:
(1) California Constitution, Article I
The Morrison v. State Board of Education (1969) affirmed the right that homosexual teachers could not have their teacher's credentials revoked without cause. Simply being homosexual was considered an unconnected factor with the teacher's work responsibilities and therefore protected under the privacy rights of the California State Constitution. Article I of the California Constitution states: "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy." This article is very powerful and has been used successfully on all sorts of "snooping" by employers and licensing agencies. "The California Constitution is widely held to be a more powerful shield than any protection to be found in the United State Constitution."
(2) Equal Protection Clause of the State Labor Code
In Gay Law Students Association, et al. v. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, et al., 1979, the California Supreme Court emphasized that State and Federal Equal Protection clauses prohibit the state or any governmental entity from arbitrarily discriminating against any class of individuals in employment cases. The court stated, "[T]he state may not exclude homosexuals as a class from employment opportunities without a showing that an individual's homosexuality renders him[sic] unfit for the job from which he has been excluded."
In the area of private schools, the decision Gay Law Students v. Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, the courts extended protection to employees in the private sector under Section 1101 and 1102 of the California Labor Code. Although these sections prohibit employers from adopting or enforcing any rules or policy which prevents employees from engaging in politics, political activities or political affiliations of the employee, the Court has held that "political activity" includes the "struggle of the homosexual community for equal rights, especially in the field of employment." This has been interpreted to mean that "coming out" is a political activity and therefore protected against employer interference. Enforcement is through the State Department of Industrial Relations Labor Commissioner. The reader should be aware that enforcement is dependent upon the politics of the current administration.
.c2.E. Administrative Guidelines
Merri Schneider-Vogel, in "Gay Teachers in the Classroom: A Continuing Constitutional Debate," suggests the following guidelines for school administrators when dealing with homosexual staff members.
1. The minimal procedural due process guarantees of notice and a fair hearing should be afforded a teacher before he or she is terminated.
2. It is a risky endeavor for a school board to terminate a teacher merely because of that teacher's affiliation with a gay activist group.
3. A teacher is more likely to be protected if the essence of the charges against him or her stem from speech and not sexual acts themselves.
4. Courts are more willing to accept that public homosexual conduct as cause for discharge over private conduct.
5. School boards should be aware of the source of notoriety surrounding knowledge of the teacher's sexual orientation .
6. If courts recognize that the constitutional right to privacy extends to homosexual teachers, this recognition may have an impact on the school board's case. Private consensual sexual conduct would not be considered as evidence of immorality or unfitness to teach.
7. School boards should realize that community fears toward homosexuality are morally based and in many cases have been found unsubstantiated by courts.
8. The primary concern of administrative boards in assessing the fitness of teachers should be the professional competence of the teacher and the possibility of actual harm to students resulting from the teacher's conduct.
9. Should society increase its acceptance of homosexual individuals, the courts may eventually reject the equation of homosexuality with immorality. Such a shifting of the standards of morality toward acceptance may make a school board's burden of proving that a teacher's homosexuality affects his or her fitness to teach more difficult to meet.
.c.III. THE PROJECT
Although changes have occurred over the last 20-years that have reduced the terrible oppression that homosexuals have experienced in the United States, our schools are still a chancy place for a person to be openly gay or lesbian. Teachers face possible suspension or revocation of their licences and students face threats from their peers. This project will now make a number of recommendations concerning school policy and curriculum that should improve the schools' atmosphere and make it a safe place for all persons.
.c2.Recommended School Policies
1. Anti-Slur Policysuch as Los Angeles Unified School District has done so. This will reduce the use of pejoratives and make the schools safer for all minorities.
2. Freedom of Expression PolicyThe schools need to reinforce the First Amendment Rights of the US Constitution guaranteeing the right to expression. This policy should encourage all gays and lesbians to be open about themselves. This includes the right to public display of affection, associating with gay and lesbian associations and advocating the changes in laws with respect to homosexuality and homosexuals (and hopefully the refutation of the old idea that you can "promote" someone into becoming a homosexual).
3. Teacher/Administrator Evaluation PolicyThe assessment and evaluation of teachers or administrators is the primary way with which a school district can discriminate against an employee. Although mention is made that if the employee feels that an evaluation is incorrect, they have the right to write a challenge to the evaluation and to have a second observer at the next observation. In reality, this does not work because the employee will be construed as a trouble maker if they take such action, particularly if it occurs on the first evaluation. Non-tenured teachers are particularly at risk of discrimination. Thus, this policy suggests that on any negative evaluation, a written response by the employee be required and that a second observer will be assigned to the next observation. These actions are to be immediate and without the employee having to make such a request.
4. Student Classroom Placement/Transfer PolicySexual orientation should not be a determining factor in the placement or transfer of a student into a particular classroom. Whether it be a homosexual teacher or a homosexual student, only in cases where it has been demonstrated that physical or emotional harm will result should special considerations be made. More importantly, an effort needs to be made to structure the class such that all students will benefit. This includes an out-reach to the parents who typically are the persons requesting specific student placements.
5. Teacher/Administrator Transfer PolicyOnce an employee is known or presumed to be homosexual, history has demonstrated that the person is very likely fired or transferredparticularly if the employee is a teacher and great notoriety results from the revelation. The district needs to implement a policy that will recognize when an attempt to transfer an employee is being used to discriminate. An educational program should be implemented that will educate the students, parents, teachers and administration to this form of discrimination instead of trying to assign blame to the employee and hiding the problem through a quick transfer.
6. Hiring/Promotion PolicyAlthough homosexuals are not yet identified as a protected class by the US Constitution, school districts need to have a policy that actively hires and promotes open gays and lesbians. This will show that the school supports all persons, give recognition that being open is important and that open gay and lesbian teachers are legitimate role-models. Not only will the homosexual students benefit, but all students will benefit from the experience of working with sexual minorities. Hopefully, having an open staff may reduce the terribly high rates of suicide found among sexual non-conformist adolescents.
7. Student Grade Change PolicyA students' grade needs to be based solely on achievement and not the students' or teachers' sexual orientation. Some schools implement school-wide grading policies while most schools leave it open to the teacher. In either case, a review of the teachers' grade book should be able to spot instances of unfair treatment. Also, in cases where a parent or student challenges a teachers' grade assignment, the administration needs to use objective criteria in determining potential discrimination.
8. Posting of Materials PolicyMany school districts have guidelines about the posting of materials on classroom walls. The guidelines should be scrutinized for conformance to an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. Also, a list of help-lines and hot-lines should be posted in all classrooms without censor as to content or age of students using the room.
.c2.Recommended Curriculum Policies
1. Acceptance of Gender and Sexual Non-Conformist PolicyThe curriculum needs to be reviewed with regards to negative stereotyping of homosexuals and to include the sexual orientation of the persons the students are studying (e.g., ScienceIssac Newton, Allen Turing, Margaret Mead; HistoryAlexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Frederick the Great, Lord Byron, J. Edgar Hoover; PhilosophyPlato; MusicPeter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Aaron Copeland, Benjamin Britten; WritersWalt Whitman, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, E.M. Forster, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Noel Coward, Tennessee Williams, Yukio Mishima; Economics/BusinessJohn Maynard Keynes, Malcom Forbes, etc).
2. Deviating from Curriculum PolicyAlthough teachers in California are allowed to deviate temporarily from the curriculum as special events come up, a district policy should make it clear that short discussions on AIDS, homosexuality or other "controversial" subjects is encouraged.
3. Specific Curriculum on HomosexualityHomosexuality needs to be talked about in the schools and at a very early age. The report on suicide showed that students who self-identified homosexual by age nine, ran the highest risk of suicide. Thus, the discussion of homosexuality cannot wait until some far-off high school health class. A persons sexual identity is form early and starts to express itself by the end of elementary school. Thus, a specific effort needs to be made to include the subject of homosexuality as a natural affection.
.c.IV. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Public school systems are not receptive to maintaining openly gay teachers on their staff. The courts have upheld societies' condemnation of homosexuals, particularly when dealing with adult homosexuals being the role model for children. Various stereotypes and misconceptions about lesbians and gay men has led to their harassment and ultimate dismissal from employment as teachers.
Statistics indicate that child molestation is not linked to homosexuality and that heterosexual men are more apt to the molest young girls than gay men and lesbians combined. Sexual orientation is most likely genetically determined and is well established before the individual reaches school age. Thus, the homosexual teacher cannot influence the sexual orientation of their students. And finally, the idea that the gay person is an immoral role model makes the homosexual ineligible for teaching, thereby excluding them not on the basis of conduct but rather on the basis of status.
Because our society is heterosexist, if a person does not share their sexual orientation, the person is presumed to be heterosexual. Being "closeted" then is acceptable.
One gay pattern common to all modern or 'emerging' nations is the closeting of Gay s into an underground society. Apparently this shift from visibility to invisibility happens in the often centuries-long changeover from tribe to village to modern industrial state. The compulsory hiddenness of Gay life is evident to Western Gay people. 'Being in the closet,' that is, hidden, and 'coming out of the closet,' that is, being revealed, are expressions that have recently escaped from Gay slang into American pop culture as a result of the impact the Gay writing, Gay mass demonstrations, and other Gay organizing endeavors have had on mass consciousness during the 1970's. At present the term 'closet' implies a scandalous secret, or skeleton, in the family closet. In the case of a Gay person, it refers more precisely to being the skeleton in the family's closet. That skeleton is the reality of Gayness itself. The sometimes violent and always frightening suppression of Gay culture often forces Gay people to live in the closet, in a secret world. And this suppression prevails throughout the modern industrial world.
Living in the closet does not eliminate Gay sex or lifelong gay relationships, but it does hide Gay culture from view, channeling it into a closely guarded and psychologically dangerous, though vital and lively, underground. Social suppression of Gay culture is reflected in such statements as 'no one cares what you do in private, just don't flaunt it,' that is, don't express it, make it public. But without flaunting there is no culture; there is only the initiation of heterosexual culture and the illusion that only one culture exists. Closets exist to maintain this illusion.[emphasis added]
A system that encourages homosexuals to be closeted is dysfunctional on two levels. First, a person who feels that they must hide their basic core identity, their sexual orientation, are more likely to have a lowered self esteem and subsequently live with an impacted health and lowered productivity. Secondly, forcing the homosexual teachers to hid their sexual orientation ignores the approximate ten percent of the student population that are also homosexual. These students are denied positive role models that can lead them into becoming healthy, productive citizens.
This project reviewed many of the court cases revolving around the issue of homosexuality and employment as public educators. In most cases, the cultural disdain for homosexuals has been reinforced through the dismissal of such teachers. The sodomy laws make it very precarious for teachers to be open about their sexual diversity in almost half the states in the United States. Because of various changes in law and court actions, the rights of the homosexual teacher is determined primarily by the state in which they are employed.
Homosexual teachers are most likely to be discharged if their orientation is discovered and shared with their students. All the national teacher unions support full civil rights protections for homosexuals, including being open their students. The reality is that very few teachers are open, thus reinforcing the beliefs of administrators and school boards that there is not a problem. Even with teacher protection through collective bargaining contracts, an administrator can set-up a teacher on other charges, masking the heterosexist bigot.
The primary problem faced by homosexual teachers is the harassment and potential dismissal by administrators and school boards. This project provided an overview of applicable case law and national teacher union resolutions. What is needed, is a greater study of specific school systemsthose that have anti-discrimination clauses that include sexual orientation and those that do not. A comparison of these two kinds of systems should look at regarding: (1) language of anti-discrimination policies and its relation to state statute, (2) how anti-discrimination policies are enacted within the school systems and their administrative oversight, and (3) most importantly the issue of administrative attacks designed to set-up a teacher for dismissal and what are the the procedures to monitor and control bigoted supervisors.
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