Like a lot of other people, I'm getting thoroughly tired of having the sexuality of " celebrities" thrust at me at every turn.
An article on sir Ian McKellern tells of his "coming out" as a homosexual, but fails to mention his acting career; a piece about Martina Navratilova ignores tennis in favour of her already well-known homosexuality.
As far as I'm concerned people's sexual preferences are their own concern: yet society and schools alike seem now to be obsessed by the subject. We are bombarded by sex in all its forms by films, soaps, magazines and plays.
There is, it seems, no escape.
Now, I find, we are to have a month-long "Schools Out" project, advertised in the magazine of the teachers' ATL union as "gay month", in which children in their history and English lessons examine minutely the lives and works of great literary and historical figures, such as Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Florence Nightingale, to try to find evidence that they were gay, all in a bid, would you believe, to promote tolerance of homosexuality in schools.
I am not naive enough not to know that homosexuals of all ages are subjected to persecution and belittling by the ignorant but for the life of me I cannot see how trying to prove some famous people of the past were gay will help a confused youngster to confront his/her own sexuality.
It will offer him/her no comfort, nor will it help him/her "come out" to their peers in school. It's just another ill- thought out scheme, dreamt up by wellmeaning crackpots.
After all, one might argue that all the "bullying initiatives" with their role-play and dramas, have not made any real difference to the hardcore bullies or to what goes on in the playground and on the way home from school.
Wouldn't school-time perhaps be better spent helping children broaden their experience of life by explaining to them the wisdom of Shakespeare, his knowledge of the human condition, as found in his plays and poetry, to make them see that "all human life is there"?
After all, I don't see how knowing that Charles Dickens was a heterosexual who sometimes frequented prostitutes helps us to appreciate his broad knowledge of human nature; nor does knowing that Coleridge was a drug addict help us to understand his poetry. (Nor, for that matter, will this knowledge give one crumb of comfort to a modern drug-addict).
Similarly, I can't help but feel that a knowledgeable teacher would give more to children by explaining Leonardo ' s paintings and sculptures in terms of more than his sexual orientation.
It all smacks to me of silly, "liberal" trendies, wanting to cash in on the latest trends for "sex with everything", rather than seeking to teach children anything of lasting worth. It left a very sour taste in my mouth to find they intend to waste a whole month of valuable teaching time trawling through the lives and works of some of our greatest people, like tabloid journalists, looking through people's dustbins for dirt.
Are teachers and educationalists not interested in any other topic nowadays than sex?