Queer Kid Speaks to Other Queer Kids – Installment 1

Tonight my daughter suggested that we start a book for queer kids:

I want to write this because I want other people who are in my situation to know. I have my mother, but my mother had nobody, so I understand how hard it is to be understood.

If you’re my age and are reading this you probably already know you are gay or lesbian or transgendered or bisexual. It’s not one of those things you learn early on – I was 7 when I learned. But some kids learn at 5 because they have a crush on an older person.

I might not be the most perfect and you might not think I am stating the truth, but you should come out.

Here’s the way I do it:

I say, “do you believe in gay rights?” If they say “yes,” then it’s a step and you say, “I’m gay” or “I’m lesbian.”

If they say “no,” then you just drop the subject because you don’t want to tell haters.

I think that it’s important to let everybody know. But I’ve learned from experience that not everyone is open minded enough to see that we’re still people.

We deserve rights.

We want to be taught who we are. In sex ed we want to be taught what to do with our lives. I don’t want to learn about something I’m not. If they’re not going to give me a proper education, what’s the point?

Why do we learn about Martin Luther King and not Billie Jean King or Harvey Milk? It’s not fair. They’re not giving us the education we need. These people did great things. They are right up there on The Famous People List and they should be taught. They did something for our world. They didn’t just bring equality, but something new. They brought me. I don’t have to just be fighting alone. I am fighting with them.

I know I’m not fighting alone and for all of you who are reading this YOU AREN’T EITHER!

You should be learning about gay culture and who you are and we should get the right education. We don’t need to only learn about straight people. We want to learn about us. We want to learn about who we are!

I just want to stress to you how much we need to learn. I feel like we are alienated out, but we’re still part of this world. We aren’t aliens.

– daughter, age 10

In her own words.


Gay Rights Activists – Where Are They?

Listening to public radio today in the car my daughter and I heard a story about a famous civil rights activist.

She looked at me, “why haven’t their been any gay rights activists?”

“There have been gay rights activists. Lots of them.”

A look of betrayal crossed her face. “Why don’t we learn about them in school?”

“I think it isn’t allowed in the curriculum. Do you want to learn about gay and lesbian history?”

“Yes! And that school isn’t going to know what hit them. I demand that we learn this,” her small body tense with anger and determination.

“I can teach you about gay history but, . . . I really think teaching it in the schools is not allowed. In fact when you have sex education they aren’t going to tell you about anything gay either.”

“What!? I don’t want to be less educated than everyone else!”

I assured her that I had never intended to leave her sex education to the public schools and besides in our community sex education is abstinence only, so she can rest assured plenty of the straight kids will be far more uneducated than I’d ever let her be.

I think that last little snarkiness directed at the public school sex education curriculum went over her head.

Nevertheless, she was buzzing with righteous anger. She has a sense of justice. She has learned about the fights for civil rights in her Social Studies classes. She knows about slavery and women’s suffrage in the 19th century, the fight for gender equality and the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. She knows that there was a time when we didn’t teach about those fights for justice in the schools.

Teaching that history in the public schools is part of our continued progress toward equality and justice.

It’s a sad moment when you have to tell your fifth grader that in 2011 the school refuses to teach her history and her sexuality.