i’m 25 now and i hope that no matter how old i am or how educated i become i never talk over young LGBT kids or tell them they’re wrong. i mean shit, i have some pretty strong feelings about things like the split attraction model – i don’t condone things i think can be painful or invasive for kids to publicly divulge, especially in the interest of keeping young lgbt kids safe from predators.
but i’ve tried to relax a lot in my politics, and as i get older i try to remain helpful and willing to listen, even to young inexperienced or uneducated kids.
i see these 30-50 y/old queer studies majors just rolling their eyes at young lgbt kids for “not knowing their history” and shit like that – which is hilarious, because coming from a position where you have been afforded a degree and years of education you would think you of all people would know how important it is to listen to the young & struggling voices in our community, but i guess not.
as adults in our community it’s not just important to carry on our history, but to also not lose sight of how the landscape of our community’s oppression changes for generations younger than us.
being lgbt isn’t rocket science, and talking about your experiences does not require some kind of prerequisite understanding of our history in order to talk about how homophobia/transphobia/biphobia/transmisogyny/lesbophobia hurts us individually. it’s ok for young kids not to want to be called or identify with words or use terminology the way our community did decades ago. things change.
the thing about being marginalized is that being educated or older doesn’t mean you inherently Know More about oppression and the lgbt experience. there are homeless trans kids who didn’t even finish high school whose experiences and insight are just as important as the voices of educated Queer Elders, if not moreso.
i personally never want to seem like i’m beyond being wrong. i don’t want to be a part of a community that talks down to our youth and creates an environment where they feel stifled and not listened to.
the knowledge of our history is VITAL, and making sure the youngest in our community know the struggles, accomplishments, and experiences of those that came before us really is crucial. i will always advocate for this.
but LGBT history is not a tool adults should constantly use as a way to shame or write off young folks and their experiences, their comfort, etc. there’s a difference between “this is ahistorical and you should be aware” and “these STUPID KIDS who think [x] is a slur/transphobic just DONT KNOW!! I CAME OUT BEFORE YOU WERE BORN”
maybe it’s just me, but that sure doesn’t seem like a very helpful or radical attitude to have.