In this wonderful TEDx talk titled “Why am I so gay?”, Thomas Lloyd presents three reasons (no, obligations) he has to be out:
In case you missed them, there were three:
1. Obligations to history.
2. The realities of his own identity.
3. Obligations to those yet to come.
The third one hit me hardest. This kid on the TED stage was telling me that I owe it to the next generation to be out so they might find their ways more easily.
The last few years, I found myself settling into a notion of the world as post-gay. Whatever, I thought, being queer is so mainstream now. I even suggested as much to my wife, Liz, at dinner tonight. I told her that kids these days aren’t interested in seeking out LGBT representation in popular media because they can find examples so easily. Her response? “No way. Look at how often one of your kids sends you a song or a video with a queer character. They’re excited to see themselves represented.” [Edit: I realize now that the number of fan-made videos on YouTube featuring LGBT couples is also a huge indicator of teen interest.]
Thomas went on to speak about the exhaustion we feel and loss that society suffers when we try to hide our identities. I agree that our creative energies should NOT go to hiding an affect that’s been ridiculed, to worrying over the sound of our voices, or to watching the pronouns we use to describe our crush.
Ever since seeing Thomas’ talk, I wondered what my creative energies were (because I never thought of myself as creative). Then it came to me: I’m choosing to put my creative energies to helping my students find media resources that reflect their identities. With that, I introduce Teen-Friendly Queer Media, a page of movies, TV shows, and books that are appropriate for the younger LGBTQA peeps.
Awesome post, Megan – thank you. Being the parent of a gender-queer child, I so wish that we were in a post-gay world, but I feel their pain every time they are asked, “But aren’t you really a girl?” Your #3 “Obligations to those yet to come” really resonated with me as well; we always need to speak out for greater equality and justice on many issues so that we have eased the way somewhat those who follow us. Bravo – very well put, all of it.
Brava. Thanks for being who you are for your students. It is important me that my kids know my classroom is a safe place.
My biggest wish is to be a post color world too.
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