“That bullying thing is the biggest lark out there…There are sexually confused children who could be pushed into a lifestyle that I don’t think is appropriate with them and it’s not for the norm for society, and they don’t know how they can get back from that. I think a lotof timesthese young teens and young children, they find it very hard on themselves and unfortunately some of them commit suicide.”
You know, it’s funny to remember this now, because I used to consider the environment I grew up in to be conservative, but my Catholic school in its “understanding sexuality” type class, brought in a gay dude to talk to us about being gay. Not to condemn it, or even discuss how it related to Catholicism. Just to talk about what it was like to be gay, and how he always knew he liked boys, and that was just how he was. The only out gay person I’d ever known of up to that point was a distant relative who lived very far away, so this was a whole new thing to me and probably to a whole lot of other people.
And it was probably not a whole new thing to a number of kids, who probably felt very alone before that day.
I don’t think anybody walked out of that room gay who hadn’t walked into it that way. It’s not like all the boys sat up and said, why, penis can be an option for me! I never thought of it that way! Come here, Biff, let’s get busy. I mean, granted, it can be a bit of a revelation when you discover bisexuality exists or that you might be straight but you’re not blind, but mostly this is about putting words to stuff you already knew, not coming up with new feelings because you now have a language for them.
The idea of the gay contagion is so pernicious, and it’s not that every homophobe is closeted, like that’s not an excuse or even really a very good reason to be a hateful asshole, but when you are afraid that the mere exposure to someone who is not like you will destroy the very fabric of society, well, let’s just say you’re not that confident in your worldview to begin with.