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The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

Queer

Queer

Queer

By Cammie LeBlanc

My kindergarten was small and infested with ants. Or at least, that’s how I remember it. On Mondays, we took turns sharing experiences from the past weekend. I excitedly rattled on about the adventures I’d had with my two moms until I was interrupted by the boy sitting beside me.

“…Moms?”

This wasn’t the first time I’d been asked about my parents, so I explained that my moms married because they loved each other, despite being two women. As he processed my words, his expression changed from curiosity to something I could only classify as disgust.

“Ew,” he said. “That’s weird.”

I felt a new sensation crawling up my neck as if an earwig tickled its way out from behind my ear and settled on my cheek. I was ashamed. This was my introduction to homophobia. 

Slowly, I began to question the way my family was viewed by others. The directions from teachers referencing “mom and dad” at home just unwittingly highlighted my parents’ deviation from the “standard” family. My moms wanted a child more than anything and were unable to have one conventionally. Unfortunately, this conversation wasn’t easily had with my elementary school classmates.

My inevitable alienation led to my development of anxiety at an early age. I had many irrational fears, though nothing could surpass my hatred for bugs. I found them disgusting. They were appalling creatures, disturbing me with their very existence. The only thing I dreaded more was the bus rides home. I spent hours wishing that the kids on the bus would stop throwing paper balls at my head, calling me a word I didn’t know the meaning of Queer.

The queer label stuck with me throughout my early schooling, along with my intense fear of bugs. Eventually, I learned that queer is another word for “strange”. Being an embodiment of both meanings of “queer”  wasn’t something to be proud of in my conservative rural town. Despite the negative stigma, I knew how lucky I was. My parents were the best in the world. They loved me unconditionally, no matter how weird or queer I was. Some kids can’t say the same.

As time went on, I found myself relating to the creatures I previously despised. Why did society hate bugs? What makes the way we treat moths different from the way we treat butterflies? The negative connotation that comes with the word moth does not extend to other Lepidoptera. Both moths and butterflies go through the same spectacular pupation process, so why does one hold more value than the other? Who said it was wrong to be the moth in a town of butterflies?

Soon enough, I found myself fascinated by spiders residing in their webs, jumping at the chance to catch a meal with their handcrafted trap. I studied ants marching rhythmically in complex traffic. I admired bees succeeding in their quest to gather pollen from tulips in my yard. I found comfort in weird and strange things – queer things – the things I once feared. Oftentimes, what makes an arthropod unique not only makes them beautiful but aids them in survival. The adaptations developed over thousands of generations are features to be looked at with awe, not disgust.

Throughout high school, my self-confidence grew, as did my love for misjudged or stereotypically weird creatures. I took the bugs I once feared into my care, placing them on my bare hand to admire their beauty. My fear metamorphosed into a deep love and understanding that I longed to share with anyone who would listen. This love allowed me to discover my passion for unconventional creatures, sparking my wish to possibly become an exotic veterinarian. I adored my weird critters, no matter what anyone thought of them. In learning to appreciate the value of their unique intricacies, I learned to appreciate another queer creature: myself.

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