Upon watching the video of the novel “Him” being read at a school board meeting, I was appalled but for different reasons than some. As a high schooler who has read books with graphic depictions of sex (usually from public libraries), I was not shocked by the level of detail. I was more worried the book targeted was one depicting a homosexual relationship despite the overwhelming prevalence of books with heterosexual relationships. Considering earlier events, I was concerned a crackdown on LGBTQ+-friendly media was occurring.
There is a preoccupation with the concept of LGBTQ+ indoctrination, thus restricting our ability to address tolerance issues. However, LGBTQ+ indoctrination is a myth. The rise in the numbers of people identifying as LGBTQ+ results from increasing inclusion (but not complete inclusion, or the numbers would have stabilized).
No child is willing to risk the ostracism I have witnessed others undergo to identify as something they are not. Rather, I know people who feel they are in the LGBTQ+ community but are willing to hide it from the public for fear of ridicule. If people feel they must hide a true aspect of their identity because of societal circumstances, there is something wrong with society.
I have had friends mention how they were hurt by the determination with which some have been going after (rainbow) stickers and now books. This is in a district where the student body is understandably far from perfect; students’ jobs are to learn, after all. Considering how many of my classmates at Sartell have used the word “gay” as a synonym for stupid, or used “gay” to denote something that is perhaps homosexual in nature and therefore stupid, or called other people “gay” to shut down arguments about valid issues, there is clearly a lack of understanding by students, and thus education regarding such issues is vital. Teachers have done their part in promoting understanding, but their ability in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance can only go so far. We all must promote such acceptance for it to be achieved.