Let’s say you receive a notification from your gradeschool-age child’s public school teacher, informing you that next week the class is going to be reading a story about a non-traditional family, specifically one in which both parents are women.

While many parents would just shrug or appreciate the heads-up (this potentially being a new topic that might result in followup questions), I’ve also come across a “how dare you expose my child to this?!?” crowd.

Let’s talk a bit about these people.

Their general objection tends to center around not wanting others (especially the big bad government) deciding when to “expose” their impressionable children to the existence of LGBTQ lifestyles. They’ll argue that these types of curriculum updates infringe on their religious liberty, and that this is a product of the “politically correct” modern world.

This is close-minded nonsense.

Of course details about sex and sexuality are inappropriate before children reach certain ages, but we’re only talking about acknowledging (and most importantly not marginalizing) different types of families. These types of relationships exist in the world. Ignoring them only breeds a sense of exclusion and fear. What about the child in the class that has a pair of dads, should he or she be made to feel like an outcast?

Why does it seem like we’re seeing more conversations around this topic, and at what seems like an accelerated pace? Well, for one thing, marriage equality is at long last now the law of the land, and for another, social media (for all of its flaws) has helped give a voice to the marginalized like nothing before in human history. Just because people with a certain lifestyle are new to you doesn’t mean they didn’t exist before, it’s just that they were forced to stay in the shadows. America was never really that “great” for them.

Still sticking to your outrage guns? Still want total control over your child’s experience of the world? Best of luck with that, and you’re free to homeschool and continue stewing in your own judgmental, flavor-blasted Pharisee juices. If you find value, however, in public education, it’s time to spend some time meditating on empathy and the spiritual value of engaging with otherness. I know a carpenter that would agree.

Written by Kyle Ford

Husband. Father of several clowns. Product guy.