Letter: Seek first to understand

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I read “My Story” on Florida’s bill, which many call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill [“My Story: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Denies Identities and Truths,” April 6, Xpress]. My heart goes out to the author and all those who have felt in some way judged by society. However, the author’s characterization of social conservatives as homophobic white supremacists is totally unfair in my opinion, and worse, it is divisive.

The author wrote that she feared “being whispered about or bullied” in school. This is unacceptable for any child to be allowed to feel this way. It is adults’ responsibility to create environments where all children can develop a positive sense of self, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity or race. I understand what the author described as the negative school environment. Any put-down of people, just because they are different somehow, cannot be tolerated, and children need to be taught this.

But we also have to role model acceptance of people different from ourselves. Florida’s bill is not a “gag order,” as the author presents. The bill simply prohibits school staff from giving instruction in sexual orientation or gender identity to very young children (kindergarten through third grade), and that when these subjects are taught after third grade, they are done in an age-appropriate manner. The bill does not prohibit a school counselor from reassuring a child who is feeling different or alienated for any reason, as long as this support is not hidden from the parent. Parents want to teach their own children about sex at an age the child is developmentally ready to understand.

How might someone feel if the situation was reversed and their child was being taught by their teacher that being gay is wrong? This bill also prohibits this. When my son was at an age to show interest in sex, I told him that sex should only be shared with someone he loves and who is very special to him. That was the value I wanted to impart to him, contrary to what I perceived as the message of popular culture.

The author also refers to the conflict over critical race theory in schools as an example of white supremacy. I do not believe this is anywhere near true. My understanding is that parents are not objecting to teaching factual history, especially our country’s long struggle for equal rights. Parents object to their child being labeled as either a victim or an oppressor solely because of the color of their skin.

If we truly want to stop the divisiveness that is tearing apart our country, we must follow Stephen Covey’s advice to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” To create the peaceful, united country that we all want, we must try to listen to each other with an understanding heart.

— Mollie Rose,
Candidate for N.C. House District 116


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2 thoughts on “Letter: Seek first to understand

  1. akhet

    That’s a lot of words for “I support the persecution of the LGBTQ community”.

  2. NFB

    “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    Fair enough, but perhaps the letter writer can inform us on just what she and the Republican party are doing to do just what when it comes to the LGBTQ community?

    The letter writer seeks the nomination of the Republican party for a NC House seat. The highest elected state Republican, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson recently compared being gay to “what the cows leave behind” and that it is “filth.” Imagine a 14 year old gay or lesbian teenagers, already bullied at school and already more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, feels in hearing that. Has the letter writer urged Robinson and the state Republican party who supports him to “understand” before he and it bludgeon people with this kind of rhetoric, or is this just a one sided street?

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