Monday, April 11, 2022

Will Larkins - Inspired Young Person

Florida teen goes viral educating history teacher on Stonewall. Now the school is “investigating.”

Will Larkins

When 17-year-old Florida high school student Will Larkins asked their teacher if the Stonewall riots would be included in an upcoming curriculum on U.S. history of the ’60s and ’70s, the response they got was less than inspiring. The history teacher was unfamiliar with the events, which are widely considered to be the spark that ignited the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

So Larkins took matters into their own hands, delivering a powerpoint presentation about Stonewall’s significance to their U.S. history class (and teacher).

“LGBTQ American history is not taught in Floridas public schools, so I took it upon myself to explain the events of the Stonewall Uprising to my 4th period US history class,” Larkins captioned a video of their presentation on Twitter that has since gone viral. “#SayGayAnyway,” they added, referencing Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was recently signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. The law forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, but also includes ambiguous language that could allow for parents of older students to sue over perceived violations.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Larkins wrote that “under threat of lawsuits, districts, schools and teachers may be hesitant to talk at all with students about gender identity and sexuality, even if the conversation is ‘age-appropriate.'”

“When I look back to elementary school,” they continued, “I wonder how different my childhood would have been had my classmates and I known that I wasn’t some tragic anomaly, a strange fluke that needed to be fixed. People in support of the bill always ask, ‘Why do these subjects need to be taught in schools?’ To them I would say that if we understand ourselves, and those around us understand us, so many lives will be saved.”

Larkins, like so many others, think that education is the key to stopping hate and ignorance.

I have come to realize that those who have been so openly hateful toward me often knew little about the queer community — they thought being LGBTQ was a conscious choice. Education didn’t just give me a sense of self worth but also the knowledge of a community and lifeline there for countless young people.” WHERE DID THEY SAY THIS?

Larkins told the Washington Post that their fight is just starting. They’re now working on voter registration for the November elections.

“We’re not going to stop fighting,” they explained WaPo. “As horrible as this all is, it’s inspired young people to get involved.”

Thanks Velma for this link.

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