Saturday, September 12, 2009

Queer talk from straight teens

Here's a very interesting article from writer, Ivan E. Coyote (pictured), who spoke with mostly straight teens about homophobia. Below is an excerpt:

Ivan E. Coyote writes:
Recently, I had the pleasure of being a teen mentor for a group of nine youth at the Vancouver Public Library’s annual book camp. My kids were almost frighteningly smart, and savvy, and hilarious, and of course, well read. I decided I was going to put all that intelligence and potential and internet virtuosity to work and get them to write my column for me this month. We set out to write a piece about homophobia from the point of view of a group of predominantly heterosexual youth.

Ivan: Why do you think homophobia still exists?

Julian, 15: Some bigotry is rooted deeper than just in ignorance, but hopefully those people will eventually succumb to the inevitable and keep their mouths shut.

Ivan: Do you want to end homophobia, if indeed you feel it still exists? Why?

Neil, 17: Why should straight people care? Why do white people care that we are mean to black people? It’s a moral issue and we have accepted that it is not okay to discriminate… period.

Ivan: Does homophobia impact your life in any way, or anyone that you know or care about?

Lisa, 16: I’ve grown up in a family that says they have nothing wrong with it, but have some serious issues, and I feel embarrassed. I meet these truly interesting and inspiring people, and it hurts to learn that they have been treated wrongly, especially when I hear the slander coming from the mouths of people who I respect and trust. What if, somewhere down the line, I realize that I’m not heterosexual? I won’t have a problem with it, but what of my friends and family? Will they be supportive or turn their backs?

Ivan: Give an example of ways we could change things.

Megan: My school has a program on sexual orientation; they mix it in with sex ed and suicide awareness. The leaders asked us what we would do if we found out one of our friends were gay, if you were okay, you went to one side of the room, if you weren’t you went to the other side of the room. Only one person stayed on the not ok side.

Read full article here.