I think that it is incredibly important that we recognize that being a gay teenager is horrific. Though things are slowly, haltingly, getting better (at least in terms of awareness of the problems if not in any other sense), life for a gay teen is horrible whether in the closet or not. They face problems not just in the heterosexist culture that surrounds them, but also from the outmoded concept that the child is tabula rasa...that a child isn't born gay but somehow becomes one through intervention of some sort (the most common thoughts of the unthinking stereotypers seem to be "bad mothering = gay child" and "contact with gay person = gay child" which is enough bad logic to make anyone scream).*
This intersection creates a special hardship for younger gays who want to come out. This rhetoric that circulates that somehow being gay is "just a phase" astounds me--I have no idea how that logic would work, either--and yet they face it every day.
I was quite happy, then, when this story was published. Though I'm not incredibly happy with the idea of asking the people you interview to out other people as part of the interview, but otherwise this article is really good. I plan on using it as part of my discussions when I get to LGBT literature later this semester.
Joy Behar did an interesting segment on this, too. I think she spends too much time talking and not enough time listening, but it's not bad. Have a look:
The bottom line? As critics of children and adolescent literature, or parents, or educators (or educators of educators), we absolutely have to try to find ways to make sure that issues of tolerance are talked about openly and explicitly in our classrooms, our homes, and our scholarly work. It is never easy, but it is absolutely necessary.
*=That genius scene in Bryan Singer's genius film, X-Men 2 where Bobby's mother asks him "have you ever tried not being a mutant?" sort of sums it all up.