I usually write my blogs about whatever topic has popped up in my life. Recently, it’s been kids. Peers For Pride talked about the use of children in the Westboro Baptist Church’s “God H8s” video. I spoke with one of my supervisors about adopting a relaxed/child like mentality in order to really enjoy some of the things I’ve been doing lately. And then once more in my lit class when we read Audre Lorde’s essay The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.
I’ve often heard people say “I learned everything I needed to know in kindergarten” or “we had it right the first time”, meaning that as we grew up we learned to hold our tongue and pass judgment and our scope of the world, in general, shrank. I read this blog called Gives Me Hope and the LGBTQ section is filled with stories of kids who don’t find anything wrong or disturbing about the idea of a same sex relationship, all they see is love. Children are born with their mind already opened, they haven’t learned the rules and regulations of society; they’ll grow into that and their mind will narrow.
In my 21 years of life I’ve only recently come to realize this. There is so much that I grew up learning that I had to unlearn to get to where I am now. For example, when I was little I didn’t care what it meant to walk around holding hands with my neighbor, who also happened to be a girl, or what the implications of playing dress up in my dad’s football jersey collection. I’m sure you all can relate to this careless, free at heart nature that children have. I’m envious, I want that back. I don’t want to care about what others think when I hold another girl’s hand around campus or if I decide to wear men’s clothes every now and again. I want that freedom that a child possesses, again. Think about what it would be like if you had never learned what shame was or if you never learned that you needed to be one of the masses. If society retained more of that mindset then just imagine what kind of world we would be living in; think about all the prejudice that would disappear.
Since we can’t exactly turn back time to our 5 year old consciousness, we have to think about what we can do right now. This may come as a shock to you…but there are currently kids in this world without all the ties that bind us to our very controlled and contained behaviors. I realized that we, the queer community, aren’t exactly capitalizing on these blank slate minds of kids. There is only so much they learn from their families before they become socialized by the rest of the world. There’s got to be some way to take the ideals of the queer community and express them to children. It could be a pilot program, maybe “Allies: From the Beginning”. But really, are we putting anything out into the world to teach children about the queer community? I see the random coloring book that has Jill and Jane running up the hill to fetch a pail of water and occasionally a children’s cartoon that has vague LGBTQ undertones (think Phil and Lil’s mom from Rugrats...) but what else! Is that it? There has to be more we could do. If we’re here saying that “we had it right the first time” and that we should be as open minded as children, shouldn’t we also be trying to preserve that open mindedness?