Soundbites

The New York Times Magazine published a cover story Wednesday about an apparent increase in middle school students coming out as homosexual. Four Daily Wildcat columnists muse on the validity of these feelings and whether the coming-out surge is a positive or negative change.


Young people coming out could cause discomfort

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Since the middle school years are about as close as most Americans come to personal hell, the big question is what's going to happen to these kids in relation to the adolescent culture they're basically defying — everyone gets called ""gay"" in middle school, not usually met with a ""Yeah, I know."" If we start having gay-oriented middle school dances, is this going to become standard practice as more kids come out of the closet? Are we going to separate them from the straight dances or integrate them, despite the inevitable opposition from some parents? The thing is, as this becomes more common, gay and straight middle school kids are going to have to coexist peacefully, no matter how cruel middle school is.



— James Carpenter is a creative writing senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


Preteens too young to understand their sexuality


It's great that teens with same-sex attraction feel society is accepting enough for them to come out at a younger age than they might have in the past. But how much of this is a result of knowing oneself to a greater degree, a way in which older men and women describe the coming out process, and how much of it is a result of the hormonal upheaval that all middle school students experience? As the young teen profiled in the New York Times Magazine article said, ""Half the girls I know are bisexual."" But no one really knows who they are in middle school. It cheapens the almost spiritually introspective process most older gay and lesbian men and women describe. These kids who come out before they can even possibly comprehend what sex and sexuality mean can neither spell nor define ""introspective.""


— Anna Swenson is a sophomore majoring in English. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


Some adolescents know they're gay quite early


Augusten Burroughs mentions in his memoir ""Running with Scissors"" that he always knew he was gay, even in childhood. Some can argue that junior high school students are too young have a grasp on sexual preference, but there are definitely cases of people knowing their sexuality from the moment they develop a personality. I don't question the validity of all middle school students' homosexuality claims, and the increase in this type of confession reflects well on society.



— Laura Donovan is the opinions editor. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


Age unimportant when coming out of the closet


As a teen, I was bombarded with messages that confusion about our sexuality was a normal phase. And yet, the only confusion I remember anyone experiencing was how to come out to a society that assumes sexual confusion is a phase. We would never suggest that those who identify themselves as heterosexual should try having sex with members of the same gender before they can lay claim to any camp on the spectrum of sexual orientation. However, this is the well-meaning suggestion often presented to teens who come out. The issue is not so much when they reveal their homosexuality, but rather figuring out a way to minimize — or even, dare I say, eliminate — the negative response they often encounter.



— Dunja Nedic is an Australian exchange student. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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