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Sara Whitman

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We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used to It!

Posted: 10/14/07 09:46 PM ET

I used to love that chant at Pride marches when I was a young, rebellious lesbian. Sauntering down the street, taking over for the day, you shouted at the top of your lungs, celebrating how queer you were.

It filled you up for the year. You were safe. Out. Everyone around you was chanting, too.

In Milton, Massachusetts, it seems that there are some people who are going to have to learn not only are we here, but we're legally married and have kids in the school. We're in the car pool line. Our kids are going to go to school and talk about what they did on summer vacation.

With their moms. Or dads.

Get used to it.

In fact, a daughter of a lesbian mom didn't think twice about talking about her family. Why would she? Unfortunately, a group of her peers decided it was something to pick on her about. It was reported "what began as verbal harassment last January became more serious over the year, and culminated in what her attorney, Claudia Gregoire, in a letter to school officials, called a "group assault" on Sept. 10. Gaffey said six or seven students surrounded her daughter on the playground that day and were "pushing her back and forth," and two hit her. It ended when another child intervened."

Obviously these kids were not informed about the fact that being gay or lesbian in Massachusetts is legal. We enjoy the same rights as every one else.

Only state in the country, sure, but we do.

I read the article and asked my son Ben, who is now in middle school in Newton, MA, if he had ever been teased for having two moms.

Nope, he said. He went on to tell me at the camp he goes to that is for kids of LGBT parents, Camp OUT, they were asked in a circle if any of them had been teased at school for having queer parents. All the kids raised their hand, minus four. Two went to a private school with very active gay parents and two went to Newton schools where bullying programs have been in full force for many years.

It shows.

We need a structured way to address family diversity. It's time to recognize that kids come from many different homes. Parents come in many different variations. I'm just as married as the next couple down the street. My kids deserve to be recognized for who they are, without fear.

And without some idiot pulling them aside and suggesting they be "careful" about who they talk to, as Tucker Elementary school's counselor did. What kind of training does that counselor have? How could they ever see telling a kid to be quiet about their parents as a positive step?

I'm tired of people talking about LGBT parents in terms of sexuality. My god, you'd think saying "Lesbian parent" is the same as "hot wild fucking."

It's not. Explaining to kids, even preschoolers, that sometimes there are two mommies, sometimes a mom and a dad, sometimes two daddies, isn't showing them a porn movie. It is simply describing what they already know.

In fact, in preschool? They get it. They don't really care. They're more concerned with who has the favorite truck or when snack is being served. What's so scary is that they don't have any hate in them when they are so little. When you plant a seed of acceptance so young, it's hard to teach them bigotry later.

Which is why the right wing nuts get so upset about it. Gotta teach those kids to hate or else we'll lose a generation to moderate beliefs and have a dreaded open and affirming society.

My God, the Unitarian Universalists will take over!

Bottom line? Teachers can be trained and should be trained to teach understanding about different family structures. They need to address their own prejudices so they can create safe classrooms. You can hate LGBT people but please, lay off our kids. They are children. There's enough to be teased about- being tall, skinny, fat, having glasses, goofy shoes your mother bought, or always taking sushi to lunch. Let's not make it any harder for them because of who their parents are.

Schools all across Massachusetts are going to have to hear something and hear it loudly. We're here. We're queer.

Get used to it.