Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Memory of Lawrence King

Gender non-conformity is punished in our society in so many ways--subtley and overtly.

So is being queer, especially if you deign to flirt with another person. A boy flirting with a girl isn't supposed to be considered a threat--why is a boy flirting with a boy? If you're not into it, just say no thanks.

The recent murder--execution, really--of a 15-year-old middle school student from Oxnard, California, is hitting me hard.

His name was Lawrence (Larry) King. He was such a strong spirit that he continued to dress exactly how he wanted to when going to school. He wore makeup and was an out, gay kid in the face of constant harrassment.

Now that he's dead, some of his classmates are expressing regret.

It's crucial that teachers and other adults discuss these issues with kids. And that we don't ever pathologize gender non-conformity but celebrate the creative expression of others, in whatever form it takes.

I wish I could attend the vigil for Lawrence tonight in San Francisco. I can't, but I will light a candle for him at home.
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