Saturday, July 26, 2008

Homos

When I was a kid, in the third grade, I heard somebody call somebody else a "homo".

I had no idea what that was. My best friend, Timmy, was also the smartest guy I knew so I asked him. Timmy said, "a homo is kind of like a retard, except they put their finger up their butt."

That didn't make a lot of sense to me, but it didn't sound like anything any reasonable person would do or want to be so I decided it was best to avoid homos.

It would be another three years before I learned that a "homo" was actually a "homosexual", and they weren't like retards with their finger up their butt, but rather they were people with a sexual interest in people of their own gender.

They may not put their finger up their butt, but I heard they did put gerbils up their butt so it still made sense to me that it would be best to avoid these people.

It would be another ten years before I learned that homosexuals were actually fairly nice people and there wasn't any good reason to avoid them--in fact, several people I already knew and liked were homosexuals.

I tell this story because it's so easy for people, especially children, to form wrong perceptions of other people based on really bad data.

I have no idea when is the right age for adults to talk to children about these things, but rest assured that they are talking about it amongst themselves long before you might think is appropriate--and they're getting it all wrong.

I also can't help but think about the kids, who, sometime in adolescence, begin to realize that they themselves might be attracted to people of the same gender, but decide to keep it hidden or even deny it to themselves because of the crazy things they hear the other kids say.

It was hard enough going through adolescence and the teen-age years as a straight person, I can only imagine how hard it is for kids who are gay.

Adults get it wrong too. I have a friend, who years ago was fired from his job as an incredibly popular high-school teacher for being gay.

This sent a pretty clear message to his straight students that, no matter how much you like this guy, he still has to go because he's gay.

It sent an even clearer message to his students who were gay themselves that no matter how successful you are, and no matter how popular you are, there's no room for you here if you're gay.

Now, you may not like homosexuals or the so-called "gay agenda", but keep in mind that it's just not that simple and what you do or say can really hurt kids who are already having a hard time adjusting to the world.

When I was young, I said a lot of pretty hurtful things about homosexuals, absolutely oblivious as to whether or not my words hurt anybody. If any of my readers were one of those people I hurt, forgive me. I was working from really bad data.

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