Leave it to a child to show how silly adults can be.
All 10-year-old Kameron Slade wanted to do was deliver a speech about acceptance and tolerance to his classmates, and if he’s lucky, win a prize for it. Acceptance and tolerance are exactly the kind of themes promoted in school, but as Kameron has come to unfortunately learn, people can become quite selective about whom they tolerate, much less accept. The principal of PS 195 told the Queens native that because his speech centered on the topic of same sex marriage, he would be removed from the competition because the subject matter was “inappropriate.”
Kameron’s speech included lines such as: “Marriage is about love, support and commitment so who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept and respect all differences.”
Demon seed thy name is Kameron Slade?
Fortunately, the principal has come to his senses (under pressure), though not without sending a (warning) letter to parents on Friday about the nature of Kameron’s speech that is to be read at a special assembly today. After being told that some parents felt conversations about gay marriage should be reserved for adults, the quick young man said to NY1, "There is no point in really trying to hide it because us children, we are going to figure it out some time now or later.”
Therein lies the problem, lil’ man. They’d prefer gay people remain a figment of your imagination. Hell, they want the same for themselves in most instances.
Kameron’s speech centered on being acquainted with a child who had two moms and after his own explained to him how their family worked, he didn’t think any less of them. To him, the message of his story is that love is love, and if you see two people happy, why not be happy for them? What he has or will come to learn eventually is that when many think of gay people they don’t think of love, they think of sex.
And since most continue to be afraid to engage in frank discussions about sex and sexuality, it’s so much easier to denigrate people if you only choose to look at them through that prism. This is especially true if there’s lingering narrative that gay forms of sex are perverse and against God’s will (though, as legend has it, somehow straight people get away with anal and fellatio on a technicality). All of this makes gays icky, icky people that precious children of the world simply shouldn’t know about in detail.
It’s a lesson I had to be reminded of back in September 2008 when Hurricane Ike made landfall. My cousin, who had just delivered a baby only a couple of weeks prior, was invited inside of the home of another relative who was fortunate enough to still have his electricity. Older kin intervened, advising her not to take her children there. She was told flatly: “The kids don’t need to be exposed to that.”
That being that male relative being in committed relationship with another man– one much more solid than the one the person complaining enjoyed. Oop.
I don’t know what they expected to see inside of the home. Whips and chains? Or maybe lots of leather and Beyoncé and Janet Jackson murals, complete with a strong stench of lubricant in the air. Basically: things far worse than being without electricity in the South.
I chalked up that attitude much like the one Kameron’s principal initially seems to have had. Such is an old way of thinking, but if this 10-year-old has taught me anything, it’s that maybe future generations will ultimately look at gays without immediately thinking, “sex, sex, sex…nasty” and that we’re not at threat to children, we are just people.
That is, so long as adults don’t intervene to argue otherwise.