It’s a big day in the history of gay rights. The majority of the US population believes that gay people should be allowed to get married, which matters because married people get financial benefits and protections that unmarried people do not have. The majority of people in the US think it is illegal discrimination to deny gay people these same protections and benefits.

While the Supreme Court is trying to figure out how to read the Constitution in the face of our current civil rights battle for gay people, Jason Collins is making his own huge impact, just by being him. He’s a pro basketball player who came out, in Sports Illustrated, this week.

He is the first professional athlete from a major team sport to come out while he’s actively playing. To get a sense of how big a deal this is, read the article at The New Yorker site. Just the fact that the NBA is tweeting with the hashtag #NBAFamily gives me chills. Because the NBA is saying that family protects family, even if that person is gay.

1. Social pressures of school are dangerous to gay kids. 
There is a horrifyingly high level of gay kids committing suicide from the social pressures of school. And we have tomes of evidence that high school is debilitating to a teen’s identity and personal growth. The required conformity in high school – which many people call “socialization”  – is like prison to kids who don’t fit in.

2. Hiding  sexual identity is mentally and physically debilitating.
If you have a gay child who wants to homeschool, consider it seriously. Here’s how Jason Collins describes what life is like trying to keep a gay identity under wraps:  “No one wants to live in fear. I’ve always been scared of saying the wrong thing. I don’t sleep well. I never have. But each time I tell another person, I feel stronger and sleep a little more soundly.”

3. Homeschool teaches gay kids what the real world is like – school doesn’t do that.
Homeschooling is not isolating a gay kid from the realities of the rest of the world. Homeschooling gives gay kids the opportunity to feel the support we can offer to gay people of all ages in the real world. The real world is not like school: the real world supports everyone discovering who they are, being true to themselves, and feeling safe as they do it.


14 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    I think saying that “The real world is not like school: the real world supports everyone discovering who they are, being true to themselves, and feeling safe as they do it” may be a bit over-exaggerated. There are (unfortunately) plenty of examples of people in the real world being horribly bigoted and bullying and all of that.

    That said – it is definitely significantly WORSE in school. There’s a reason that the “It Gets Better” project is aimed primarily at middle/high school gay kids. In the real world you tend to have more options – options to seek out like-minded or open-minded people, options to leave damaging situations. Having options is so huge.

    As a socially-awkward straight kid, growing up in public schools was bad enough. I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t escape awful peers or awful teachers. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be if I had been gay, if those kids and those teachers had had more evident reasons to target me.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        During the Supreme Court hearings about gay marriage, there was a huge movement online to support gay marriage with a red equal sign.

        Here’s a post about the millions of people who put the equal sign up online.

        I loved the Lego version for this site. But that link has so many creative versions of the equal sign. I love that when people get excited about movement they get so creative.


    • mbl
      mbl says:

      Thanks for asking. I was wondering what the squaty 8 meant.

      Per PT’s other blog mentioning transgender, the suicide rate is even more staggering.

  2. Enzomiles
    Enzomiles says:

    Marriage is not about individual benefits or rights. Marriage is about bringing up children and investing in them. Feminist philosophy is what is exulting “gay marriage” to the status of marriage because they see marriage as “patriarchy.” Please look at a video on youtube entitled Fempocalypse made by girlwriteswhat to see what the real problem our culture and your sons are facing.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      If you don’t want marriage to be about financial benefits then maybe you should start your own campaign to change insurance laws and inheritance laws and tax laws – all of which confer financial benefits to married people.


  3. christy
    christy says:

    Penelope, thank you for both of your blog posts today. From the bottom of my soul, thank you. That is all.

  4. mbl
    mbl says:

    Just got an email from our home school association for an upcoming “Queer Prom.”

    And saw a notice for a transgender book reading:
    Author Finn Enke reads from “With Finn and Wing: Growing Up Amphibious in a Nuclear Age,” a graphic novel written from the perspective of a child sorting out the meaning of gender, bodies that cross categories, war, and survival. Also discussed: the value of stories, the ability of stories to convey perspectives that as yet have no name, works by transgender authors. A Q&A will follow.

    And there is a screening for the movie Bully (also on Netflix–I saw it a few days ago.)

    I am so very glad that things are changing and kids have more options and opportunities to be themselves. But am so very sad for all of those whose lives could have been so much less painful had things begun shifting earlier.

  5. Karen Loethen
    Karen Loethen says:

    We had a Queer Prom in our town last year and we heard it was wonderful. Several of my daughter’s friends went and my daughter felt rather left out!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s amazing. It really reminds me of how rural our town is. That would never happen here. It helps spread open-mindedness by talking about things like this – for people who don’t live where this could happen. Thanks.


  6. Jael
    Jael says:

    Re: town being rural. Yes, I was an assistant teacher in our town, which is very small. The gay kids were definitely ostracized. It was so sad. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to agree with someone’s choices in order to show respect for their humanity. The kids don’t seem to get this. Their parents don’t get this. They translate every difference as a stigma. It is very strange. Meanwhile most people aren’t mainstream which means most of those children are walking around with some kind of secret or fear.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Jael, I love this line that you wrote:

      “Here’s the thing: you don’t have to agree with someone’s choices in order to show respect for their humanity.”

      I can’t wait until I have a chance to say this to my kids. It a wonderful way of explaining to kids what’s appropriate and what isn’t.


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