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We’re Here! We’re Queer! Get used to it!

Heterosexism in our culture makes LGBTQ people feel ashamed, embarrassed, shunned, and like they need to hide their sexual orientation. And bigoted and hateful language is a tool that reinforces homophobia, heterosexual superiority, and ultimately anti-queer violence.
There is a misconception that openness about being queer is somehow being “in their face” to heterosexuals. Our culture’s norm is heterosexuality and people look at any deviation so critically that queer people are often ashamed and submissive. If LGBTQ people are proud and accept him or herself then they’re often consider “trouble-makers” or something of the like.

So if I say I am queer and do not apologize—or if I’m with another male and do not look ashamed—heterosexism would say I am “rubbing it in your face.” But I am trying to enjoy your privilege. I don’t want to hide or tell myself I am less of a person because of which gender(s) I like. Just because I refuse to put myself lower than you and reject the idea that your sexual orientation is somehow superior to mine does not mean I want to start drama or want attention. Instead, I just want to be acknowledged as a human being, regardless of my sexual orientation.

In the long list of privileges heterosexuals enjoy, one of them is not being viewed as an insult. The hallways don’t ring of “that’s so straight” or “you’re such a hetero.” Instead, they are filled with “that’s so gay” and “you’re such a homo/fag.” When being who you are is viewed as an insult, there is no way to feel comfortable or accepted. You might try to use the excuse, “but they are only words.” But that would be incorrect. Phrases like “you’re so gay” show the underlying mentality that being queer is a bad thing and heterosexuals are superior.

We all know bullying is happening; it’s ubiquitous. From verbal to physical harassment, LGBTQ youth suffer along with heterosexual youth who may not conform to gender roles. Tolerance is great and we need far more of it, but it should never be applied to bullying, hate, and bigotry.

What we need is a proactive way of dealing with homophobia, bullying, and heterosexual superiority in our school; we do not need a lazy and reactionary way of dealing with these problems. We need a queer-friendly environment, which involves education.
LGBTQ struggles and historical figures get no mention in our classrooms. Health and sexual education classes are geared toward heterosexual students, leaving LGBTQ students with questions and feelings of seclusion.
We need to view hate speech and bigotry against other sexual orientations the same way we view it towards other races and genders. And we need a student organization for LGBTQ and queer-friendly heterosexual students, such as a Gay-Straight Alliance.

There are queer students at school. We are just like everyone else and we demand and deserve the same respect as all other students. Borrowing the slogan made famous by Queer Nation, “We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”



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