by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

Pride and education

21 Jul, 2017

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

Last week, in San Diego (where I live) we had our annual pride parade. This is one of the biggest events of its kind in the city: 230,000 people watched 253 entrants into the procession as they closed down a major thoroughfare for hours. It was certainly heartwarming for me to see such a huge volume of people coming out to show support for a cause which seems to need it more than ever. In a time when the Vice-President of the USA has advocated for conversion therapy and legislation preventing people from using the bathroom which corresponds to their gender identity is on the rise, it makes sense to show support and solidarity.

I notice every year that there seem to be more and more young people at the parade. I am sure not all of them identify as LGBTQ+, although more of them do than in previous generations (a Gallup poll in January this year suggested that an estimated 10 million adults now identify as LGBT in the U.S. today, and increase of 1.75 million compared with 2012). But even for those who do not, it seems important to normalise LGBTQ+ people so that they can better understand and support their friends and colleagues as they go through their lives. In the US, it seems that marriage equality is a generational issue and that opposition to it will fade away as previous generations pass on and the younger generation accepts that we all have the right to love and marry whomever we wish.

This month Teen Vogue published their guide to anal sex. Predictably, the middle of America crawled out of its cave and began waving its bibles. Those bible wavers are well represented by Ohio Vlogger Elizabeth Johnston who responded “I was truly flabbergasted. They should not be teaching sodomy to our children...All of us are trying to do our best to protect our children from immorality and over-sexualization in our culture. And to see this disturbing article where sodomy is being normalized, not discouraged ― even the CDC says that sodomy is the riskiest sexual behavior for getting and transmitting HIV for men and women.”

She seems to have conveniently illustrated exactly why this IS important. More studies than i care to mention suggest that abstinence based sexual education doesn’t work. Kids want to do what is normal and natural and evangelizing at them is not going to stop them. It’ll just make them less informed and less safe, not to mention less stigmatized if they are men who have sex with men. As for the claims of “immorality and over-sexualization” they’re just patently ridiculous. Nothing is more immoral than opposing things which make children safer, and sexuality is something natural and inherent in humans, however much your bible may disagree it is healthy and normal.

Hopefully our schools, magazines and youth organizations will keep our young people informed and engaged for both their physical and mental health. How are the pride parades where you live? Who attends?