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What is a Queer Kid?
The construction of ideological offspring
When I attended the 1 Million March 4 Children in Calgary on September 20th, one of the things that struck me the most was signs with slogans about queer kids. “What’s a queer kid?” I asked one of the counter-protesters as we passed them by—to no answer, of course.
While “Protect trans kids” is a slogan I’m sure many of us have heard a lot, I believe references and slogans about “queer kids” are increasing. Just as “queer,” once a terrible slur (and still a terrible slur according to many), has come to represent the entire “LGBTQIA+ community,” so it is becoming a label for kids who presumably fall somewhere into this alphabet.
The term is vague on purpose because every type of postmodern speak must be so broad and inclusive as to be nearly meaningless. To be generous and give it a somewhat workable definition, I would say that what queer activists mean by “queer kids” are kids with a non-normative gender or sexuality (see, I can speak postmodern with the best of them).
Of course, that doesn’t really help our situation. “Gender” is another meaningless term that different people understand differently. At the end of the day, kids have a sex. They are either a boy or a girl and throwing “gender” into the mix as a concept separate from sex any way you try to do it will only serve to confuse them.
To say that kids have a sexuality is suspect as well. I know that a lot of gay people in particular knew they were different somehow from a very young age. I certainly did. I recognize that many people recount having crushes at a young age as well. Personally, I felt youthful infatuation for both boys and girls because I loved the idea of love and relationships. But to speak about young people having a “sexuality” before the hormones of puberty kick in is overt sexualization.
I am reminded of the controversial book Rick by “genderqueer” children’s author Alex Gino that has been found in school libraries. In the book, the 6th-grade main character decides that he is asexual because he doesn’t have sexual feelings yet.
But understanding what a queer kid is doesn’t end here. To get a full picture of what these activists mean we have to look at queer theory. Queer is fundamentally a philosophical and, today, a political orientation. The idea of a “queer” that isn’t an avowed progressive is almost unfathomable. I myself am often accused of not even really being a lesbian. Neither can you be a “queer” if you don’t accept the basic tenets of queer theory.
And what are those? Well, queer theory at its core is about disrupting and breaking norms because it views norms as fundamentally oppressive. It has a particular focus on breaking norms around gender and sexuality to the point that mere acknowledgment of the gender binary or the prevalence of heterosexuality is verboten. And, because queer theory is postmodern and constructivist, these norms are easily troubled simply by constructing new “queer” identities.
Take, for example, the paper often considered to be the manifesto of Drag Queen Story Hour: “Drag pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood.” The paper is riddled with critical references to normalcy and normativity. In particular, it attacks the “normative classroom and nuclear family” and offers “queer relationality with children” as a replacement.
Most useful idiots who cheer along to signs and slogans about protecting “queer” kids have no idea that what they are really supporting is philosophical indoctrination. They are championing one very specific (and, in my opinion, rotten), philosophical framework borne out of a specific historical place and time that filters their world through a highly distorted lens. But try to point this out to them, and you’re a hateful bigot who wants children to be suicidal.
So, what is a queer kid? A queer kid has been groomed to be an ideological and political foot soldier for a specific philosophical outlook on the world. A queer kid is an indoctrinated kid. A queer kid is a child whose childhood has been stolen from them.
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