When Octavia Parks' 12-year-old daughter came home carrying her latest vocabulary test, the Georgia mum wasn't happy to see that her child got the answers right, but was instead livid at the words she was asked to define.
It was a "sexual identity" quiz, given to sixth graders at Lithonia Middle School in their health class, and asked the students to point out which definitions matched words like "lesbian," "queer," "bisexual," and "transgender."
"Why are they teaching that in school?" Parks told Fox5 Atlanta. "What does that have to do with life?"
She and some other parents feel that it's inappropriate for kids to learn about sexuality and gender identity at school, she told Fox5, and that if a kid is curious about what being gay or a lesbian or transgender means then they should ask their parents.
Yet, she also admitted that she, as a parent, wouldn't be ready to talk about sexuality with her child. "We're talking about a sixth grader who still watches Nickelodeon," Parks told Fox5. "I'm not ready to explain what these words are nor what they mean."
The school has yet to confirm that this assignment was even handed out to the students, telling Fox5 that they're "working to verify its authenticity." Yet, even if the assignment is fake, it brings up an important point about what kids are (and aren't) being taught in schools — and that learning that queer and transgender people exist absolutely has something to do with life.
As one person pointed out in the comments of a Queerty article on the controversy, "In grade 6 I KNEW most definitely that I was gay." While some LGBTQ people aren't aware of their sexuality or gender identity until much later in life, others remember feeling different before they even had the words to describe the feeling.
An assignment like this, even if it makes their parents angry, would give those kids the words and make them feel less alone in their difference, and would help their peers understand them better.
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