Part of me chuckles whenever some kind of sexuality-based issue comes up. LGBT, Pride etc. I mean, other than a broad notion that a couple should be able to behave as they wish, as long as it is consensual, I am surprised that it is such a big deal for people. But then I’m probably surprised because with any non-hetero situation, there has been an associated fight for equal rights. I’ve always seen this in other scenarios and appreciate that, yes, a fight for equality is a big deal.
There’s an issue currently with some schools in Birmingham. As you can imagine it’s not a topic I follow closely, so I might have this wrong. A group of schools up there are teaching kids about relationships. The teaching includes gay and bi relationships, and I’m not sure if all the schools involved are primary schools (4-11 years), but certainly some of them are. These lessons have sparked protests from parents, and I think the dispute is framed as the establishment (including local council and national government versus the parents.
I think the interesting question here is the broader one of “at what age is it appropriate for someone to do x. X might be many things, from something like learning about non-hetero relationships to the criminal age of responsibility. We’ve had politicians over the last few years for expressing views when they were young-grown-ups which are different to the views they hold now. I’d include this as well – basically anything along the road from immaturity to maturity.
Just taking a yardstick, I think that the current age of legal responsibility in the UK is twelve. So, presumably, somebody could be convicted of a hate crime aged twelve. Theoretically. So if you’re teaching somebody about non-hetero relationships, it is probably good that people know about them before the age of twelve.
I don’t say here that twelve is the correct age, merely that one event should precede the other. In fact, I think that twelve is a pretty arbitrary number and would be happy to be swayed by science. Just as I would with things like the minimum age for smoking and drinking etc. In particular, that other example I gave – people changing their views on something – I have heard that there is evidence that our brains don’t finish growing until our mid-twenties, so maybe rather than talking about lowering the age to do something, we should be talking about raising it?
Incidentally, the reason I’m mildly amused is because, to me, somebody’s sexuality is totally unimportant. I’ve thought this since maybe the stroke, so possibly something like stroke re-defines the things we consider to be important in life? Having said that, equality is still important to me. So I can understand their struggle, even though I don’t share it. It can’t just be an “age” thing, because some of the people getting so worked up on this issue are older than me!