A friend of mine runs an inclusive sexuality education program called “Our Whole Lives” at a local Unitarian church. She invited me to be on a panel of LGBTQ folk tonight for their middle school class. I and the others shared short versions of our stories: discovering ourselves, coming out, dealing with friends, family, and society at large. The kids asked us questions about shopping and what we liked to do for fun. They shied away from difficult issues a bit, but it was also nice to see they were interested in getting to know us as people.
In addition to answering their questions live, they wrote some questions on index cards to be answered anonymously between meetings. My friend read one question to us afterwards. I don’t remember the exact wording, but here’s my paraphrase: “What can I say to people who are afraid of gays, lesbians, and trans people to change their minds about them? I want to help.”
I’m just floored that there are middle school kids today with this perspective. I’m not going to attempt to answer this question fully, but I can point to others who can, because they’ve done it: Straight Up Thanks is a blog filled with tributes to straight allies who worked hard for marriage equality in the four states where it was on the ballot this year. The power of straight people speaking out on behalf of their queer friends is not to be underestimated, no matter what is said.