Without disclosing too much about what I "do" right now (it's just too depressing, trust me), I was spending some time with a teenage girl who is in the middle of discovering her sexual identity. I knew she was having trouble, and that she was being persecuted at school for her sexuality. She was withdrawn and quiet during our time together today, but when I took the initiative and brought it up myself, the flood gates opened. There are so many things for which kids get teased, but it seems the most painful of them (bad skin, SES, and of course sexuality) are the things they can't control. Yes, so now I've established that. I don't think sexuality is something we choose. The world is tough enough for teenagers, but it's absolutely tragic when they feel boxed in and persecuted for something that truly belongs to them. I remember just being destroyed when I didn't get asked to prom my junior year, and I certainly never had a date to homecoming. And here's this girl, smart and witty with eyelashes Oprah would envy; she does get asked to a dance, and the school won't let her and her same-sex partner attend.
In Ohio, the age of consent (the age at which a child can legally agree to have sex with someone of an appropriate age) is 13, technically. More generally, it's 16. I would think that if someone is of the age at which they can choose with whom they have sex, they should be entitled to choose who they take to school dances. Regardless of how one feels about gay marriage, this really does seem like a basic civil right.
Being someone of a particular spiritual persuasion, I feel required...nay, challenged to love all. It's really hard. I fail miserably on a regular basis. But the least I can do is not be concerned with the things others do that have no bearing on my own health and safety. This is simply one of those things. I sat her down and referred her to GLAAD and our local chapter of GLSEN, and she became bubbly and excited. No one had ever suggested to her that there are people whose job it is to help kids through these transitions. There are people who can help her bear her burdens. I'm deeply thankful that I've always (well, at least for most of my life) had that knowledge.