Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bill 44: Good Idea Gone Bad or Giving Parents the Power to Make Kids Stupid?

Bill 44 is an amendment to the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act in Alberta (which if passed will be renamed the Alberta Human Rights Act) which is aimed to include sexual orientation as a fundamental human right along with race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, maritial status, source of income or family status.
This has been a long time coming……
However, I am suspicious of a part of the wording in Section 11.1 which is the Notice to parent or guardian. I am assuming (big assumption though) that the intentions are good. However, by denying all children basic information about sexual health, sexuality, sexual orientation or religion we are ill-equipping them to deal with subject matter that will become more important as they get older, and information to deal with decisions in a logical and mature manner.
There is no such thing as too much information. Instead of picking and choosing what information we give children, cannot we teach them our values and morals while disseminating the information with them so that they are not afraid of information? If we refuse to teach children about other lifestyles, cultures, and practices they will be afraid of them and therefore discrimination will happen more frequently. (I’m trying not to use cliché’s here, but “Knowledge is Power” and “Your only afraid of what you don’t know” come to mind and are very appropriate I’m thinking)
I am an atheist. However, I want my seedling to learn about all of the other religions out there so that when she hears about them, she will be prepared with her decision & it will not be tricked out of her with half-truths and omissions.
I am heterosexual. However, I want her to learn about homosexual and bisexual people, and the fact that they are the same as heterosexual people. (There is no “gay lifestyle” per se as they lead normal lives just like everyone else) I want her to learn about what monogamy, polygamy, bigamy, and abstinence is. What is sexual intercourse and does fellatio count as sex? I want her to know about birth control for both men and women, abortion, sexually transmitted infections (diseases), child birth and child care.
Mostly, I want her to know that there are choices, so many choices and that no one has a right to chose for her (not even me). I want to instill my values and ethics in her, but the individual responses are up to her. And I do this because I TRUST HER! I trust her to make the right choices for her. I trust her to learn from mistakes that she makes. And most of all, I trust her to let her children choose as well. The only way that she can make choices for herself is if she learns about all of this.
There is another problem with this bill. With religion comes the controversy about evolution. Many fundamental religious people believe that Bill 44 is a way to deny their children learning about evolution. However, what they do not realize is that evolution is a cornerstone of all science. In an effort to refuse their children something that they are scared of, they will deny their children any hopes of being successful in science. But then again, maybe I’m thinking this is a good opportunity for the kids that do learn about evolution (survival of the fittest). Ironic.

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