The groundbreaking film that addresses anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with children about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. Part of The Respect for All Project.
It's Elementary is the first film of its kind to address anti-gay prejudice by providing adults with practical lessons on how to talk with kids about gay people. Hailed as "a model of intelligent directing," It's Elementary shows that children are eager and able to wrestle with stereotypes and absorb new facts about what it means to be gay or lesbian. Since it aired on more than 100 public television stations in 1999, It's Elementary has fueled a growing movement of educators and parents - gay and straight alike - who are committed to preventing pervasive homophobia and anti-gay violence. The film shows what happens when kids in kindergarten through eighth grade discuss lesbian- and gay-related topics in age-appropriate ways. Shot in six public and private schools, It's Elementary models excellent teaching about family diversity, name-calling, stereotypes, community building and more. Written by
This award-winning documentary was very hard to locate in VHS. Reading about it on the web, I had difficulty finding it at the usual internet sites, local video stores, or even libraries.
Still, I persevered, having become intrigued with the glowing reviews it received. Finally I tracked it down on video format from Women's Educational Media, the film's official distributor. The cost was high, but the investment was worth it.
Throughout its 78-minute running time, I was fascinated and uplifted by the enlightening remarks and questions by elementary youngsters on current social topics.
These young people do indeed represent our future society. How uninhibited, sincere, and honest were particular comments by first graders. I was reminded that children are certainly people in little bodies, with something to teach adults.
What their instruction offers is a kind of open-mindedness, unhapered by the limitation, taboo, restriction, predjuce and fear that so many of us adults have become saddled with.
These delightful, beautiful kids open their mouths and out comes a refreshing innocence, purity, and yes, wisdom. These kids have an important lesson for us adults--if we have the good sense to hear their message.
As I sat watching this extraordinary exposition, I wondered where do our limitations come from, when and why did we buy into these fallacies, and is it possible for us to change?
I also pondered the purpose of human transition: to make room for new wine to be poured into new wineskins--the old skins just won't do.
Kudos to Debra Chasnoff and Helen Cohen for fashioning this find documentary, and to Women's Educational Media for making it available to schools, tv stations, and the general public.
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