I had the wonderful opportunity last Saturday to work the IYG prom; a prom for GLBTQ youth. It is so refreshing to see youth being empowered and their identities affirmed in a way that many schools and American society at large has continuously failed to do.
Some of the faulty threads of reasoning used by the oppressors of gay youth (such as American Family Association, Family Research Council, and many others using deceptive “nice-sounding” names to hide their hate) are that kids are too young to know their orientation, that they were not born that way, and that someone/something/some being (but curiously never god, who apparently made everything in the universe BUT gays) must have made (corrupted/converted/bent) them that way.
Such argumentative threads never get applied to straight kids. If you are heterosexual, your sexuality is promoted, encouraged and embraced from the time you first show any interest at all. It is assumed you know yourself and your knowledge is validated. But it is at this very level of knowing that I think things become twisted by those who would doubt the existence of gay kids.
For knowing skips a step.
That goes for whether you are a boy liking another boy or if you think you might like girls. Such attraction is first and foremost a question of feel. Knowing makes it sound like it is something you’ve figured out after lots of thinking about it. ‘I know the house would withstand the earthquake because I did the math.’ But attraction isn’t academic. Nor do you have to be some magic old enough to feel what’s in your heart. When you feel attracted to a boy or to a girl, it just is. You can subsequently know that you feel that attraction, but the feel has to be there first.
I “felt” attraction to males as long as I can remember. But I “knew” the environment around me was hostile to such feelings, so I ignored them to the point of nearly erasing myself altogether. A place like IYG and activities like the GLBT would have made my own childhood much brighter.
But I won’t dwell on that darkness. Instead, I am happy at long last to be a part of the reverse eclipse, with its rays of rainbow light expelling the homophobic night.