Where’s the Tolerance?
School education systems, are pushing “tolerance” training and acceptance on children, teachers, and families, with less true “tolerance” for differing views than you might imagine.
This is the training our children are getting when they talk about learning to be “allies” in public school. Parents beware.
In doing research for the Alameda School District “tolerance” training, I came across the Riddle Homophobia Scale, used in many districts and programs to instruct students and teachers on how to avoid being homophobic. This measuring stick seems designed to beat down opposing modes of thought, labeling any view that does not welcome homosexual behavior with open arms as strictly homophobic.
Interestingly the assumption Dr. Riddle’s “Homophobia Scale” makes is that homosexual feelings and homosexual acts are one and the same. There is no room for the idea that you can love the person yet still disagree with the actions of that person.
In this assumption, Dr. Riddle and the purveyors of “Ally” week do the homosexual community a great disservice. By lumping actions with desires and forcing the categorization of thoughts to one extreme or another, the majority of the religious who do not necessarily believe “God hates fags” yet disagree with the lifestyle are alienated.
Why make enemies unnecessarily? Tolerance is a two way street. There are millions of people who will never change their minds on homosexual behavior, yet who are or can be encouraged to be truly tolerant. If you can’t be tolerant of their ideas, how can you possibly expect them to be tolerant of yours?
—Beetle Bloggerfrom SafeZone Student Resources
In a clinical sense, homophobia is defined as an intense, irrational fear of same sex relationships that becomes overwhelming to the person. In common usage, homophobia is the fear of intimate relationships with persons of the same sex. Below are listed four negative homophobic levels, and four positive levels of attitudes towards lesbian and gay relationships/people. They were developed by Dr. Dorothy Riddle, a psychologist from Tucson, Arizona.
Homophobic Levels of Attitude
Repulsion: Homosexuality is seen as a “crime against nature.” Gays/lesbians are sick, crazy, immoral, sinful, wicked, etc. Anything is justified to change them: prison, hospitalization, behavior therapy, electroshock therapy, etc.
Pity: Heterosexual chauvinism. Heterosexuality is more mature and certainly to be preferred. Any possibility of “becoming straight” should be reinforced, and those who seem to be born “that way” should be pitied, “the poor dears.”
Tolerance: Homosexuality is just a phase of adolescent development that many people go through and most people “grow out of.” Thus, lesbians/gays are less mature than “straights” and should be treated with the protectiveness and indulgence one uses with a child. Lesbians/gays should not be given positions of authority because they are still working through their adolescent behavior.
Acceptance: Still implies there is something to accept. Characterized by such statements as “You”re not lesbian to me, you”re a person!” or “What you do in bed is your own business.” or “That”s fine with me as long as you don”t flaunt it!”
Positive Levels of Attitudes
Support: The basic ACLU position. Work to safeguard the rights of lesbians and gays. People at this level may be uncomfortable themselves, but they are aware of the homophobic climate and the irrational unfairness.
Admiration: Acknowledges that being lesbian/gay in our society takes strength. People at this level are willing to truly examine their homophobic attitudes, values, and behaviors.
Appreciation: Value the diversity of people and see lesbians/gays as a valid part of that diversity. These people are willing to combat homophobia in themselves and others.
Nurturance: Assumes that gay/lesbian people are indispensable in our society. They view lesbians/gays with genuine affection and delight, and are willing to be allies and advocates.
Obear, K. (1989, March). Opening doors to understanding and acceptance: Facilitating workshops on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. Materials presented at the ACPA meeting in Washington, DC.