Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gay Marriage Debates

I will attempt a real post, but it will probably be short. Drex is much more eloquent and has much more valid things to say. However…I do have some interesting things to share.

I teach government at a Jordan District High School and in an effort to try and “spice up” my class (because according to a certain student I get a D- in my efforts to do so) I decided to present the topic of political parties through the medium of political debates. I got the presidential platforms from the 2004 elections from a colleague and prepared my lesson. What, you might ask, does this have to do the mohosphere? Well, one of the platforms is Gay Marriage. I honestly thought the debate on Friday was going to come to blows. I had the students take a political spectrum test to put them in polarized (Democrat and Republican) political parties. Many of them ended up being “moderate” so I let them choose which side to be on. With this debate, it was interesting to see how many of the students were actually for Gay Marriage. One of the girls who was presenting brought up the studies that are being done regarding the idea that homosexuality is genetic and that brought many of the “republicans” to their feet. Another of the students said, “gay people can’t get married. They just can’t reproduce.” It was all I could do to sit there and not list off all the MOMs I know off the top of my head and the Will and Grace episode where Will and Grace are trying to decide whether or not to have a baby together, and they’re probably too young to know that Ross’s first wife on Friends was a lesbian and gave birth. As it was I brought up, “Well, there is the possibility of sperm donation for gay men and in-vitro fertilization or surrogate pregnancy for lesbian women.” At that point, one of my students piped up with, “Yeah! There’s a sperm bank by the library!” Awkward moment. The students were amazingly fired up and the last idea debated was: would it be better for children to be adopted by a gay partnership and raised that way, or for children to be born to a “straight” couple and later find out that one of their parents is gay? Knowing what I know about some of the people in the mohosphere it was incredibly hard not to get really involved in this topic. I tried to gently get them thinking, but I doubt I had much impact. Keep in mind, I have 4 of these classes, and only 1 so far has debated the issue.

Another story also comes from school (as I spend more time there than I do at home with Drex, unfortunately). During lunch one day after Dumbledore came out of the closet, some of the teachers were discussing the student reactions and I went into “observe mode” as I usually do when the homosexuality topic comes up in public settings outside the mohosphere. And then another (male) teacher walked in wearing an extremely well put together outfit—almost too well put together. My mentor (a self-proclaimed atheist and all around pretty great guy) turned to me with a raised eye brow and I just shook my head. And then he whispered, “So, uh…do you think he wife dressed him?” And I answered, “I’m not going to tell you what I thought [which was “PEGGED!”] because you’re not going to think I’m very nice.” He pressed harder because he’s not one to give up and I relented with, “It wouldn’t surprise me if he and Dumbledore had something in common, if you catch my drift.” He nodded his agreement and then said something to the effect of, “You always get really quite when ‘gay’ stuff is brought up.” At that point the bell rang and I told him I had a secret to tell him later. He hounded me after school, popping his head in my room while I had students taking tests saying, “I want to know your secret!” It was pretty entertaining. When my students left I went into his room and spilled my guts. The first thing he asked was, “How personal can I get with my questions?!” (He’s the psychology/philosophy teacher). I laughed and told him he could ask what he wanted and I would reserve the right not to answer. He hasn’t asked much lately because he’s been too busy hounding one of the other teachers about her dipping habit, but I’m sure it will come up soon.

Drex says I should save my other stories for later. I will however, try to remember to update on how the rest of the Gay Marriage debates go.



Therapevo Ydata said...

Good stories! I had a similar experience in my government class about the whole gay marriage debate, except everybody was against it and chased me out of the class... hahaha! Good times!

It's good to hear from you again! :)

playasinmar said...

Thanks for letting us know what went down.

I think it's all good news for the future if kids today, kids growing up in Utah today, can be on both sides of a topic like gay marriage!

pinetree said...

Oh, Salad, the BEST thing about AP Government in high school was the weekly (or bi-weekly, depending on how far along with the actual curriculum we were) debate! I'm surprised this is a first for your class! If you do this even just a few times, I bet yours will quickly become a favorite class. I would love to have your job on debate days, not even just when debating gay marriage but about things like legalizing marijuana, federal income tax, abortion, gun regulation, euthanasia, and all sorts of other fun, explosive issues.

Seriously, the debates make everything about the class more interesting and real.