Homophobia and bladder priviledges

h/t to the Advocate

Franklin County High School in Kentucky has advised teachers to bar gay students from using the bathroom during class. Assistant Principle (but head bigot) Karen Buzard saw two girls kissing in a bathroom during class, and apparently needed to save her school from the horrible plague of lesbian kissing.

Yes, how terrible.

Now, I was in high school just four years ago. Lots of lesbian kissing went on. Gay kissing did too, but it was generally considered disgusting by the omnipresent male gaze, and was thus sequestered to underneath bleachers at lunch. Naturally, I recall my principle catching two girls swapping spit outside the office after school. PANIC ensued, and the girls got suspended. I assumed that she generally disapproved of PDA. That clearly wasn’t the case. Two students were caught the next week playing a suggestive game of “nervous” that ended up with a girl’s hand down a male classmate’s pants at lunch. My friends had claimed the adjacent area as our lunch spot years ago, and so we were all uncomfortably familar with that couple’s frequent display of teenage hormones.

Apparently the idea of going to first base with someone of the same sex after school is more disgusting than heavy petting during school hours with someone of the opposite sex, because the next day the couple was at it again with a vigorous game of footsie. Turns out the principle lectured them for ten minutes, threatened to call their parents, and let them go.

Proportional? Obviously not.

The Kentucky reaction screams of the same irrationality. High school students have been getting frisky in bathrooms since schools became co-ed. It’s only when doing homosexual things in bathrooms comes to light that mass panic ensues. Little johnny might get a pat on the back for getting his dick sucked in the ladies room in eleventh grade, but only if the suckee is a girl. Otherwise, we might have to call in disease control and test all the children for AIDS.

This is a clear manifestation of homosexual oppression. Homosexuality is so demonized that it is forbidden to be expressed in public. However, it’s so politicized and feared by the majority that it cannot be freely chosen in private either. Homosexuals—children or adults—have no privacy and no public voice. They are shaped in the public eye by bigots and their over-reactions. A closet? Try a cage at a zoo. Every sideways glance, every fleeting touch is dissected by the merciless judgment of a society that, at best, merely “tolerates” your deviancy. You’re a criminal, hiding from those that go out of their way to notice you and then recoil in distaste. You can’t be invisible, you can’t be unremarkable. Hell, you can’t be at all. You can only be defined, mocked, and shamed. The butt of every joke, the punch line of every over zealous fear of human sexuality. That’s you.

I know why gay high school children rendezvous in bathrooms during school hours. They cannot touch in public. Their words must be carefully chosen to avoid social ostracization. They cannot express affection. They fear to date openly outside of and after school. As bad as it is inside the halls, out on the streets or under your parent’s roof the risk of being yourself is higher. So they meet, clandestinely, in the bathroom. That is their closet, their cage, their romantic candle-light dinner. Their affection, love, lust, and exploration must be done in three square feet, pressed up against plastic walls and porcelain toilets.

And for going out of their way to keep their intolerable filth from the judging eyes, they are only pushed back out onto the stage, into the limelight, and chastised for daring to exist at all. Now you cannot pee, because they so fear the small place you’ve carved out for yourselves as safe. No place is safe for the gay teenager, they remind you. You cannot have your public hand-holding and pecks on the cheek. You cannot have your prom or your homecoming dance. You can’t even have your three square feet.

And for daring to assume you can, they’ll take away your right to use the restroom at all. Hold your pee while the good straight children play footsie at lunch and use the bathroom during class.

What, did you think you were human or something?


Posted on May 5, 2009, in Feminism. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks for writing about this. I included a link to this post on Female Impersonator. (If that’s not okay for any reason, let me know).

    I’m glad you continue to blog, because I think you have a lot of good insights to offer on feminist subjects.

  2. In schools in Australia we’re trying to do the opposite… Bathrooms have been identified in most studies as the place where homosexual students are most likely to be bullied or assaulted – indeed particularly in studies from the states there are a quite a few instances of sexual assault.
    Many gay students have reported never using a bathroom at school for fear of assault, which is far from healthy…

    So most schools now are trying to think of ways and means to make bathrooms more accessible and safe for gay students – and prior arrangements with teacher to go during class, and other things are being tried… quite a challenge though…

    • Really? That’s considerably forward-looking of Australians. I mean, we still have public figures questioning whether or not hate crimes even exist. I can’t imagine Americans actually taking proactive steps to protect homosexuals from hate crimes.

  3. Well, remember the USA is two or three dozen slots down from #1 among the countries in the world regarding feminism. It goes to reason that we’re lagging behind in overcoming heterosexism, too. Sadly. If my second-wave brain could retrieve data regarding on which blog I saw the ranked list re feminism, I would give you the link, but I’m an elderly radfem and my grey cells are dispersing.

  4. Oh, you rock, by the way, Jenn. Hugs.

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