What Queer Kids Wish Cishet People Knew About Them

What Queer Kids Wish Cishet People Knew About Them November 1, 2021

This summer we hosted Queer Camp, a weeklong gathering of about 90 middle school, junior high and high school LGBTQIA+ youth, a camp staffed primarily by queer adults and parents.

Toward the end of camp, I asked the kids to share with me what they wished cishet knew about them. So many of the participants in the week of camp have experienced harm from adults not listening to them, not respecting them, etc. So I wanted to learn and listen.

Here are some of their responses:

I wish everyone knew that period products should be in all the bathrooms.

“I wish people didn’t make assumptions before we’re even old enough to know who we are. Before we can even talk, most people have our names, genders, pronouns, sexualities, and sometimes religions/political stances decided for us. Don’t assume we are who you want us to be.”

I wish people would believe us. I wish they wouldn’t say anything like “Oh, you’re just confused” or “It’s just a phase.” It’s not a phase, this is who I am. And not just about being gender, sexuality, etc.- about what we’re struggling with, instead of saying something like “That darn phone again!” Or blaming it on something else that really isn’t the problem. About the phone excuse specifically. For some of us our phones have been our only connection to the outside world for over a year now, and we’ve grown dependent on them because of that. If I could choose it wouldn’t be this way. It’s not our fault. Please, please believe us when we tell you that it’s not our fault.

I really wish people would understand that, especially for queer kids, oftentimes the majority of our friends are online or not where you can just walk to and so taking away our access to them can be really harmful

I wish adults would understand that i’m not trying to be like everyone else, I wish they would understand that I’m not doing this to make anyone else happy but myself, I’m not doing this to be trendy. I’m doing this because this is who i am, and it makes me happy that I can be who I am.

I wish adults knew that using a trans persons name and pronouns is prevention.

I wish adults knew saying that you might get bullied at school for who you are doesn’t help at all.

I wish adults understood that we experience things differently than they do and that things they consider ‘not stressful’ can be extremely harmful.

i wish adults knew that lots of trans people can’t obtain the resources we need to fulfill this goal without help.

I wish adults understood that the reason we don’t talk to them about our mental health is that they don’t listen to us and claim we don’t actually have it/faking it, then turn around and act betrayed that we don’t talk to them anymore.

i wish cis people knew that being gay doesn’t automatically mean you’re exempt from accidental transphobia

i wish adults didn’t talk down to me in most situations, but especially when i tell adults about my name change. i’ve had family friends do the Fake Supportive/Condescending “well… okay then” as if i don’t know what’s best for me. and i know i’m still young and havnt experienced a lot, but only i know everything i have experienced and i’m tired of people downplaying that and seeing it as less worthy just because i havnt been around for as long

i wish cis people knew that outwardly appearing cis doesn’t mean you are

I wish adults knew clothes and toys aren’t gendered.


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