While the Gay Uncle is busy getting excited about the exploits of openly gay high schooler Kurt on Glee–who seems contractually obligated to come out to someone on every episode of the program–there are apparently other “trends” a-brewing in the land of homosexual adolescence. Documented with precision, if sometimes a lack of humor, in the precise but often lacking humor pages of the New York Times Magazine, is the experience of openly gay middle schoolers. Those of us who are gay–and the Gay Uncle counts himself amongst this group–had all sorts of inklings that this was the case long before high school or college or whenever it was when we started telling people (for the G.U., these were particularly present in the 7th grade gym locker room. If there was a camera trained on him during that time, you would see footage full of furtive glances and shameful avoidance, and there just may have been a flock of actual question marks flitting about his faggy little head.) But some brave queer kids are actually making their presence known to friends, family, and school administrators. More than this, they’re demanding an end to anti-gay/lesbian bigotry and harassment, which is generally simply avoided in many junior high schools because a) people don’t care b) administrators don’t want to be seen as pushing a “gay agenda” or c) no one’s been hospitalized or killed yet.
Having worked in a preschool classroom for many years–and having had his first boy crush in kindergarten–the G.U. knows that these feelings start much earlier than sixth grade. He also knows that it shouldn’t take an “incident” like someone being stabbed or the star quarterback coming out to get folks talking about what is in reality the normal range of human sexuality and experience. He spoke openly and supportively about being gay with his four year old students (check out this article to find out how) and if anyone claimed he was pushing the Gay Agenda, he reminded them that we’re pushing the straight one on kids constantly, and demanded equal time.
Remember: The fact that the age at which kids are first coming out is going down isn’t a function of people “turning gay” earlier. It’s a function of the ubiquitous presence of INFORMATION (here on the internet and elsewhere) that allows young people to put a name to the feelings they’re already having. The GLBT kids are there in elementary school, middle school, maybe even in the womb. So let’s do what we can to make it easier for them, instead of more difficult.