Texas House Budget Amendment Forces Public Colleges to Promote Heterosexuality
By a 110-24 vote, the Texas House of Representatives has approved a budget provision that will require state colleges and universities that offer gender and sexuality studies courses to spend an equal amount of money promoting “family and traditional values,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
Republican Representative Wayne Christian, the amendment’s author, cited Texas A&M University and other schools that have centers “promoting alternative sexual practices” as the reason for the measure. “I’m not treading on their rights to that, to teach alternative sexual behavior,” Christian asserted, adding that his measure only forces schools to match such programs, dollar for dollar, promoting “traditional”– read heterosexual– values.
“If they’re going to pay for one, they need to balance it with the other,” Christian said.
Christian’s amendment covers any center “for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning, or other gender identity issues,” prompting San Antonio Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro to inquire “what is a pansexual?”
Christian replied that if he went to Texas A&M’s gender and sexuality center, “they would teach you.”
The “family and traditional values” amendment raises troubling questions. First, who is to say what constitutes “family and traditional values?” A child raised by two moms or two dads or one mom or two dads and a mom is no less of a family than one raised by one father and one mother.
Second, what is an “alternative sexual practice?” Are two loving, married lesbians practicing “alternative sex?” What about your all-American boy-next-door son who’s still bragging about the frathouse gangbang he and his bros pulled on a sorority pledge last semester? There is no such thing as universally “normal” sexual behavior. But try telling that to Texas Republicans, at least one of whom will probably end up getting busted for sucking off one of his teenage staffers.
Third, what’s “tradition” to one group of people or one geographical location may be outrageously unacceptable to another group or place. It is tradition for men to gather in a sexually charged atmosphere and engage in public sex acts during San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. Locals– including police– embrace this event as an integral part of San Francisco culture, yet the exact same behavior will land you behind bars just an hour’s drive away in the more conservative Central Valley. It is tradition for the Amish people of Pennsylvania to live Luddite lifestyles devoid of modern technology, yet try driving a horse and buggy down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and see what happens. You see the problem with the word “tradition?”
Of course, none of this matters to the Republicans who support Rep. Christian’s amendment. Those right-wing reactionaries don’t realize they’re on the wrong side of history and that one day in the not too distant future, people will laugh at the lengths their fear-driven ignorance drove them to. Many of us are already laughing at them, even while we consider the sobering consequences of their efforts to keep us all living in medieval darkness.
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