WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Gay.
The most common words said at my school are not kind and intelligent. They induce giggles and jokes. They make the receiver feel helpless and afraid. For these words to be thrown around so often is a travesty far greater than the so-called need for boxes of mac and cheese for “needy” children that the student council focuses all their attention on. Let’s examine why.
The state of being gay is not a bad thing. Let that sink in for the bigoted among you.
It is, as my friend Luke Pearson often says, “A way of expressing your love for another person that is far greater than you can comprehend.”
The teachers in America’s school system say that all inequality has been driven from the land of the “free” and the home of the “brave.” Not so. Every day, some boy that does not have a “hot” or “popular” girlfriend who he treats like an object (I got so-and-so), and some who do are subject to a mean and uncomfortable position from their peers.
Far too frequently, a boy in this situation is called a “fag,” “homo,” or “gay.” This is a more difficult position than you might imagine. First, the boy in question must deny the “accusation” that he is homosexual. Then he might possibly need to slur gays, or accuse someone else, to shift the attention away from himself.
If he says nothing, the ridicule will continue, mercilessly. The ignorant thickheads who are saying these things will not be thrown off his trail by anything less than hearing his rushed, angry denial and seeing him join in their “fun” as they tear apart the next victim.
This chain can continue for a long time, and it’s hard for a kid who believes in justice for all.
This problem may be created by America’s society, TV, or lack of education. I personally think that all three are involved, but there is only one that can be easily dealt with – education.
I actually have a rather good school, so I can’t imagine what the bad ones are like. My school district in West Hartford, Conn. and others around the country need to drop the veil of silence about this subject. It is just a biological genetic coding that makes a person attracted to members of the same sex.
It is much worse to use “gay” as an insult than to be gay. In fact, being gay is not wrong at all. It is brave to be gay in American society, and it is brave to befriend and defend gays. A gay person faces ridicule often.
Kids can help change things by simply watching what they say. Saying “fag” is just as bad as any racial slur. Laughing when someone else says it is also bigoted and just plain wrong.
So back to what the schools should do. I think that the school systems should not tolerate using the words “gay,” “fag” and “homo” as insults. In fact, anyone caught saying the words “fag” or “homo” should receive an immediate detention.
Teachers should provide an accepting classroom where gay students feel safe. They should make it clear that it is not okay to use words like “fag.”
In middle school, classes promoting acceptance should be taught instead of Human Growth and Development. That is the definition of a useless class. High schools should teach gay acceptance, too.
In an ideal world, hatred and bigotry wouldn’t be tolerated. In fact, they wouldn’t even exist.
That’s what we should strive for. The integrity of our country may depend on it.
Kiernan Majerus-Collins is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.