English teachers, a pillar to queer kids
The education system has failed queer kids all over the world. Private schools, colleges, and universities are best known for excluding queer kids from sports, invalidating a kid’s gender identity, and giving more validity to hetero-normality. For example, ever since I was a kid, I had been taught that marriage should only exist between a man and a woman and anyone who thought otherwise was “wrong.”And growing up in such an environment only made me push my queerness far away. Of course, it is constantly conflicting when one goes through a crisis related to their gender or sexual identity but having to experience that conflict in a homophobic region made it harder for me.
It wasn’t until grade 6 that a teacher finally made me feel seen or visible in their class; else, I was always perceived as the kid who was not doing enough to get good grades but having a teacher who believed in me and encouraged me to do better truly made me feel secure and confident in myself. And that teacher was no other than my English Teacher. She indeed was the best teacher our school faculty had, or so I believe. She made her students feel excited about learning and encouraged them to follow their passion equally. Similarly, my grade 10 English teacher was an incredibly humble person who never made studying feel like a chore. He engaged his students in various fun activities and treated them uniformly. It is due to him that I fell in love with reading books. Likewise, the lecturer currently teaching me English is an outspoken feminist who always appreciates my writing. I always find her classes exciting and lively. Nonetheless, the point is gravitating toward English teachers is a universal experience a lot of queer kids, including me, feel. Maybe it’s cause they are the only allies we know of in any educational institute.
Everyone from the mentally exhausted gifted kids to students who are neurodivergent, to socially awkward kids, and to queer kids find their English teachers extremely comforting. It’s also because the subject of English allows students to navigate their feelings through various literary methods. Even though there is little to no queer narrative and voices in our curriculum, the inclusivity in English classes makes all the students feel very warm and welcoming. In retrospect, the stereotypical pedestal that the gays hold their English teachers in is, just an honorary status that expresses the love and respect we have for them.
While our schools don’t have spaces for LGBTQ youth, English classes often feel like a safe place for gay kids who are both closeted and out. In conclusion, the observatory breakdown of the relationship a queer kid has with their English teacher goes to show how far behind the education system is in treating queer kids better.
[Ps: Happy Pride 🏳️🌈 ]