By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Odum says the audience for Gellar's play would have included middle-school children, possibly as young as 10, and what if some of them had come with younger siblings? The play was not "age-appropriate." He also points out that they are operating under the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school rules, and Gellar's play "fell outside of their guidelines."
Asked what exactly the guidelines are, Odum replies, "I would really rather you talk to the school system about that. We have been a little bit frustrated with the fact that they have not really clearly articulated what that is." He suggested calling the Board of Education and the board suggested a call to Sam Gellar's principal.
Dr. Charles LaBorde, principal at Northwest School of the Arts, finally shed some light on the guideline that dare not speak its name. "There are two topics they do not allow teachers to discuss in health class anymore: homosexuality and masturbation," LaBorde explains. This was the "community standard" established for the health curriculum (Family Living, Ethical Behavior, and Human Sexuality) about six years ago by a group of ministers, health professionals, and other concerned citizens. LaBorde chuckles at the runaround I'd gotten on the "guidelines" but adds that he thinks the Children's Theatre is very progressive.
The problem for gay kids is that their entire lives are censored. I asked Samantha Gellar what it would have meant to her to see a play such as Life Versus the Paperback Romance in middle school. "Oh God, it would have been great. I mean, if I had ever seen a positive reflection of what I was dealing with, it would have been fabulous. The first time I saw anything about lesbianism, it was in Higher Learning. I don't know if you've ever seen that movie, but it pretty much insinuates that the girl becomes a lesbian because she was raped. For a while, I thought I would have to be raped to become a lesbian," she laughs. "We get so many misconceptions from the way it's usually portrayed. I think if we give a truthful, loving interpretation to middle schoolers, it's not going to hurt them. Even two-year-olds. Heather Has Two Mommiesis the perfect thing to read to your kid if you want them to understand it as they're growing up. I just don't understand the silence."
For tickets ($50), call the National Youth Advocacy Coalition at 202-319-7596, ext. 13.