Saturday, February 26, 2011

Conversation with a Student

I had an interesting conversation with a student yesterday. He sometimes hangs out in the classroom after school to talk, and he did so yesterday. He asked if he could ask a question. I could tell it was probably going to be a personal question he wanted to ask.

I must interject here. I have come out to some of these students as I taught them last year in 5th grade and now they are 6th graders. And this one in particular was there last year when I came out and we looped together to 6th. And he has asked other questions before; such as, when another student last year (before I came out) asked if I was married. I was at that time, so I said yes. Then after I came out, this first student wanted to know if I was married to a male or a female. I said, "Put two and two together." The light bulb went off and he said, "Oh." And he has shared personal information with me, like who he has a crush on this month.

So, yesterday he wanted to know if I had had a girlfriend before I knew I was gay. I said I had had two, one in middle/high school and one in college. He paused and then wanted to ask another question; he had heard a rumor I was going through a divorce. I said yes, and then he wanted to know how my dogs were coping with everything we're going through. They've adjusted, I said.

Is he questioning himself? I don't know. Is he just trying to make sense of whether gays and lesbians are, in fact, any different from straights? How we make sense of our lives and loves? Perhaps. The fact that he is comfortable asking questions is a good sign. It also shows how his mother raised him. We are all people, regardless of our differences. I just hope when he leaves our school, (we aren't growing a seventh grade as we really don't have the room) he finds someone else to talk to, or comes to find me.


  1. "he wanted to know how my dogs were coping with everything we're going through."

    -- I can't stop laughing at that question he asked. Hahahaahah.. Maybe he wanted to know how YOU YOURSELF was coping with it, but was somewhat embarrassed to ask? Anyway, how old is a 5th grader in America supposed to be?

  2. A fifth grader is 10 and usually turns 11 during the year.

    But we are 6th graders this year.

    It's possible he wanted to know about me, but I think he truly would have asked about me. After all, he did ask if I had had a girlfriend before I knew I was gay. He loves animals.

  3. It's just that no 10yo kid I know (or have ever known, I daresay) would ask anything like "how is the dog coping with it?". It sounds like something only a very innocent (pure?) child would ask, and that type of children can't be found in Brazil anymore..