The No Outsiders Project
 
The No Outsiders Project
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   01.27.09

“To sin by silence, when we should protest, Makes cowards out of men.”
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

In a piece I wrote early last October, entitled “Pro-Homosexual Advocates Seek the Hearts and Minds of Our Little Ones,” I wrote that “It’s a good idea to check in every once and again with the mischievous goings on in the U.K. to see what our future holds if we don’t awaken from our moral slumber.” I wrote about the No Outsider’s Project that was being marketed to elementary schools in the U.K.

Their website explained that “The project is exploring ways of challenging homophobic discrimination through the positive use of stories, drama and the visual arts, as well as through revisions to school policies and practices and the development of guidance on challenging homophobia at primary level,” and that the project developers were “recruiting teachers to the project NOW!”

Well, they got the teachers they so frenetically sought, and this is what they taught in their govern-funded seminar series entitled “Queering the Body; Queering Primary Education.” Please wade through the obtuse jargon to get at the perverted and subversive ideas the jargon is intended to conceal:

The team is concerned to interrogate the desexualisation of children’s and teachers’ bodies, the negation of pleasure and desire in educational contexts and the tendency to shy away from discussion of (sexual) bodily activity in No Outsiders project work. The danger of accusations of the corruption of innocent children, particularly in the context of the world-wide media attention the project has received, has led team members to make repeated claims that this project is not about sex or desire – and that it is therefore not about bodies. Yet, at a very significant level, that is exactly what it is about and to deny this may have significant negative implications for children and young people.

Through ongoing debate and exploration during the project, members of the project team have challenged the pervasive images of romantic love and life-long monogamy portrayed by the lesbian and gay characters in the children’s books used in project schools; have questioned the denial and/or repression of their own sexual identities, pleasures, desires and investments. . . and have challenged each other to go beyond imagined possibilities into queer practice. In addition, the team has explored the multi-layered ways . . . in which such performativity might be interrupted/disrupted in order both to queer the norm and normalise the queer.

The seminar continues this process, aiming to trouble us – and the seminar participants – out of our comfort zones and to question the taken-for-granted of the supposedly sexless, bodiless (except for running noses, leaking bladders and untied shoelaces) and desire-less primary classroom.

    • What sorts of border work (Thorne, 1993) do children and teachers engage in as they work (consciously or subconsciously) to maintain the heterosexual matrix. …
    • How might we create primary classrooms where gender-queer bodies and queer sexualities (for children and teachers) are affirmed and celebrated?
    • What would it take to teach queerly? How would teachers’ and children’s bodies be implicated in this? What sorts of subversions and reversals might it entail?
    • At what cost do we deny children’s and teachers’ sexuality? What do we lose if desire and pleasure are banned from the classroom? . . .
    • [W]ho might be harmed by an insistence on fluidity and non-unitary identities?
    • What is the place of the research team members’ own bodies, desires and pleasures in this research?

And here are some of the titles of the lectures offered at the seminar:

    • “Childhood and Pleasure: sexuality, the body and the primary classroom”
    • “Subversion and the carnivalesque: breaking rules in the queer classroom”
    • “Queer spaces, queer places: locating ideas and bodies in anti-heteronormative education”
    • “From the park to the pulpit: the body, sex, religion and children”
    • And the keynote speaker, Professor Susan Talburt* from our very own Georgia State University, spoke on “Queering the body; queering primary education: new imaginaries and new realities.”

I hope IFI readers understand the threat to First Amendment speech and religious rights; to parental rights and values; to truth; to respect for the authority of Scripture; and to the health and well-being of both individuals and society that the pro-homosexual juggernaut poses.

Those who hold conservative or traditional values must stop merely tsk-tsking the corruption of our culture that is being facilitated by our money through public education. Cowering in our homes and churches complaining about the presence of pro-perversion advocacy in our schools is indefensible. In huge numbers, with conviction and courage, we must speak out against this child abuse. And we must be willing to endure the inevitable hostile response. Do not through your silence become complicit in this evil.

Organizations like IFI cannot accomplish this task alone. We need courageous truth-telling church leaders, fathers, mothers, teachers, civic leaders, and students to come alongside us. Become equipped: learn what the future holds if we continue in our acquiescence; learn how to respond to the specious secular arguments used to normalize deviance; and stop avoiding difficult conversations with friends, neighbors, colleagues, teacher, school administrators, and school board members.

If you don’t feel equipped, please contact Illinois Family Institute. We will come to Sunday school classes, small groups, church leader groups, youth groups, college groups, and educator groups to help equip you to join this bracing cultural battle.

Please don’t bequeath a legacy of diminished rights and even greater cultural oppression to your children and your children’s children.

*Here are some of the topics of interest to Professor Talburt who was solicited to teach teachers how to “queer” elementary students:

She is the Director of the Women’s Studies Institute and Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies. She teaches Feminist Methodologies, Poststructural and Feminist Theories, and Youth and Sexualities. Her research interests are Feminist and queer theories; faculty and student lives; and youth and sexualities.

For those interested in contacting her, her email address is stalburt@gsu.edu

Georgia State University President Mark P. Becker, telephone: 404-413-1300.


Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High...
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