Growing up Queer

A glimpse of my experiences as a queer child in honor of Day of Silence

Growing up Queer

Linda Ramirez, Page Editor

Until now, I wasn’t aware of the National Day of Silence- shame on me. I had to educate myself in order to feel that I was being not only at my best, but a good ally to other members of the LGBQT+.

I learned that the DOS is a student led movement started in the late 90’s, where participants take a vow of silence in order to take a stance against the oppression and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community in schools. 

I’ve been fortunate enough that in our schools, I haven’t experienced or witnessed any outright homophobia since elementary school. Not to say I was proud and out, and experiencing hate in kindergarten. But I did find out I was bisexual, and quite proudly proclaimed it on the playground, when I was in fifth grade.

I remember being in around third grade, and a little boy had recently begun insulting people and objects by calling them “gay”. He eventually tried to insult me too. He looked so proud and giddy, like it was the funniest joke. 

He probably didn’t expect me to say, “yeah, I am.” My argument back then was that gay people like boys, and lesbians like girls. Therefore that, since I liked boys, I was gay. I also may have called him a lesbian.

Of course that thought process is wrong, but I knew that. As a kid I didn’t quite understand that I liked girls, but I knew well that being gay wasn’t bad, and I hated how he was acting like it was.

The point of telling that story is that homophobia is learned from a young age, and it’s something that we grew up with. It’s something that I and every other queer kid in my grade have had to deal with the moment we knew we were different. And yet somehow, on a day to day basis, I don’t see that anymore. It’s mind blowing to think how far my classmates have come, how the way we think has collectively grown without ever being truly addressed by us all.

That doesn’t mean that bullying isn’t still happening, and it doesn’t mean that students don’t face ostracization at home, or fear of it from their friends. It’s important that we continue to be understanding, because while the generations before us got us to a place where we live so casually and freely with our identities, that doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do.

I know a lot of people who are still afraid to come out to their friends and families. I can be blessed enough to say that a lot of them know they’ll be accepted, and know there’s a large community there to support them. But as progress is made more issues become uncovered. Still, there are people who believe they’re broken or wrong for the way that they feel.

That’s why I’m hoping that tomorrow, more students will know about and participate in a vow of silence. That way more people can tell their stories, and feel the support and acceptance I know is out there, and is yet to be made.