We tend to hope our kids are making their own decisions and forming their own identities. For the five kids who wore "Straight Pride" t-shirts to St. Charles North High School in Illinois recently, that decision making could start any time now.
The past few weeks have been good for America's teenagers. In the wake of a rash of gay teen suicides, they've seen adults come together in a rare Kumbaya-type moment to treat them like they're important.
It's had some amazing results.
Fourteen-year-old Graeme Taylor had the courage to show up at a school board meeting in Howell, Michigan to defend Jay McDowell, a teacher who was in trouble for disciplining an anti-gay student. Clint McCance, a school board member in Arkansas who openly stated he wanted gay kids to commit suicide, was ousted from his seat (and mocked mercilessly by George Takei).
Even at St. Charles, administrators are relieved that there were kids who actually voiced their concerns with the Straight Pride shirts. They get it.
So where are these other kids coming from? These "straight pride" kids who emblazoned their shirts with Bible quotes? They're obviously walking into school with an agenda, and they've blinded themselves (or been blinded by someone, ahem, parents?) to not only the tolerance programs that are finally making their way through American schools, but simple facts.
In every public school in America, every day is straight pride day.
Guys and girls walk hand in hand. They sneak kisses between classes. They make eyes at each other across Bunsen burners and go to prom with the person they want to accompany.
No one screams "hetero" at them for it. Or gives them swirlies. And if a guy gets panties stuffed in his gym locker when he's straight, it's a thumbs up from the other guys, not an indication he's going to get his butt kicked in the parking lot later.
The kids who wore those Straight Pride shirts weren't shaking up a world they think has turned upside down. They just followed the crowd.
Image via nickjohnson/Flickr