Monday, September 28, 2009

The Invasion of the Gay Tweenies

One of the reasons homophobia is a growing problem in our schools is that gay kids are coming out at an earlier age.

And as this article shows many schools aren't prepared.

A middle-school counselor in Maine summed up the view of many educators I spoke to when she conceded that her school was “totally unprepared” for openly gay students. “We always knew middle school was a time when kids struggle with their identity,” she told me, “but it was easy to let anti-gay language slide because it’s so imbedded in middle-school culture and because we didn’t have students who were out to us or their classmates. Now we do, so we’re playing catch up to try to keep them safe.”

So many schools are still dangerous places for gay kids..

What is clear is that for many gay youth, middle school is more survival than learning — one parent of a gay teenager I spent time with likened her child’s middle school to a “war zone.” In a 2007 survey of 626 gay, bisexual and transgender middle-schoolers from across the country by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (Glsen), 81 percent reported being regularly harassed on campus because of their sexual orientation. Another 39 percent reported physical assaults. Of the students who told teachers or administrators about the bullying, only 29 percent said it resulted in effective intervention.

Just like they are in Canada.

The good news? Despite that hatred and violence more and more gay kids are standing up for the right to be who they are.

“When I first realized I was gay,” Austin interjected, “I just assumed I would hide it and be miserable for the rest of my life. But then I said, ‘O.K., wait, I don’t want to hide this and be miserable my whole life.’ ”

And parents everywhere have a new/old challenge to make their lives even interesting.

Mother: And he has a shaved head and piercings everywhere. Is this who you really want to date?

Ely: All kinds of people have shaved heads.

Mother: I don’t think you’re ready to have a relationship right now.

Ely: Ugh.

May the Parent God protect them. Here comes the invasion of the gay tweenies.

And of course, whether you're ready or not eh?

Here comes Lady Gaga....

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