We're here, we're queer, we're still in high school

5 posts

nuclear launch detected
We're here, we're queer, we're still in high school


The F-bomb was dropped on me only once. I was at a bus shelter with my then boyfriend when we heard the "call of the wild": "Go back to Mardi Gras you f---ing faggots!". I responded as calmly as I could: "I may be a faggot, sir, but you are a fool. My people get parades, what do your people get?"

The gay teenager is a modern invention. No longer must we wait for the liberal oasis of university to express our sexuality identity. After several years enduring those polite euphemisms of "flamboyance" and "sensitivity" I tiptoed out of the closet. Fifteen, out and proud.

My story is not unique. For the more liberal members of our generation the closet has become an antique.

The internet has become an important resource for the fledgling homosexual. A boy a few years below me at school came out by editing his MySpace profile. The advent of cybersexuality has allowed gay teenagers to communicate, connect and flirt without fear of persecution. Feel lonely? Log in, chat. Where once a teenage lesbian would have felt confused or alienated, she can now google stories just like her own. The internet first introduced me to the history, the politics, the rituals of being gay. My sex education was exclusively heterosexual, and I didn't want to risk borrowing that book from the library.

Television has also made a difference. Programs such as Will and Grace have popularised the image of the fag hag and her effete companion. The result: I have been accessorised by teenage girls who want you to be "their" gay best friend. Having gay friends makes them feel like one of those metropolitan goddesses from Sex and the City . We'll merrily trot from one boutique to the next picking dresses or boyfriends. I try to explain that I know nothing about fashion or men but they simply won't listen. (I do try to be more like the well-trained, urbane, television homosexuals. I really do.)

Thankfully, my own high school is, largely, the tolerant, accepting society in microcosm. It is Wollongong's only academically selective school which means that the student body is intelligent enough to know that sex only matters when you're involved. To the Sydney readers, I hope that shatters some of your stereotypes of Wollongong: we aren't all steel-brained Neanderthals.

But other students are not so lucky. According to a LaTrobe University study into the lives of same-sex-attracted youth, 44 per cent experience verbal abuse, while 16 per cent suffer physical abuse. Gay teens can end up homeless, depressed and suicidal. The average high-school corridors are known for their inimicality. Friends of mine have to rush from class to class through hidden paths to avoid the obligatory shout of "faggot".

This intolerance makes it obvious how the modern gay rights movement has failed gay kids. It is a political movement driven by the concerns of wealthy, white, middle-aged, metropolitan men. Marriage, apparently, is the gay equality issue of our time; the right to give your relationship governmental oversight. It is a noble project but when you compare it to real queer issues of our time it appears a waste of focus, time and resources.

HIV infection rates are on the rise in gay communities, as is the use of crystal meth. The afflictions that school students face remain unaddressed. Internationally our identity is criminalised: there are still nations around the world that enforce the death penalty for being gay. In Russia and Poland, reactionary parties have tried to remove the civil liberties of gay protesters. These groups face the problems that our community dealt with decades ago. I thought history bred compassion.

Growing up gay involves moving slowly forward in the traffic jam of progress. You savour each small advance but you can only see your destination in the distance. Sometimes bigotry, hatred and cruelty bring your journey to a standstill.

Daniel Swain is a year 11 student at Smith's Hill High School in Wollongong.
Niccolo and Donkey

Can't tell in that photo if he is contemplating his inner queerness or what type of snack cake he will eat next.

It seems he has has been reading saloforum, or saloforum has its collective finger on the pulse of homopervness.


Niccolo and Donkey
Snack Cake Contemplation :thumbsup:

Bad news though:

Twinkies go bankrupt

Looks a bit like Mr. Bean.