Kameron Slade, a very impressive fifth-grader at PS 195 in New York, won a speaking competition in his class with an excellent speech he'd written on the importance of teaching kids about same-sex marriage. He was all set to deliver that same speech during a school-wide competition, until his principal stepped in and said that Kameron could not deliver the speech because the topic was "inappropriate." So much for encouraging kids to be open and learn new things! What's extra rich is that if you actually listen to what young Kameron has to say on the matter, he addresses these very concerns. He begins his speech with this wise-beyond-his-years observation:
Some people are for same-gender marriage, while others are against it. Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want. Marriage is about love, support, and commitment. So who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept all differences.
He then talks poignantly about the experience he had meeting some friends of his mother's who are in a same-sex marriage, and this was his takeaway:
My mom is very open to me about same-gender marriage. However, some adults may feel uncomfortable and think it's inappropriate to talk about this to children. I think adults must realize that as children get older, they become aware of these mature issues that are going on in the world. If children read or watch the news, they can learn about things like same-gender marriage, so what's the point in trying to hide it?
In conclusion, I hope that everyone understands how important it is to respect everyone for who they are. Same-gender marriage is becoming more popular. I believe that same-gender marriage should be accepted worldwide and that parents and teachers should start to discuss these issues without shame to their children.
First of all, let's all give a hearty round of internet applause to Mr. Slade for having the poise to talk about such mature topics in such a smart and compassionate way. The fact that children like him exist is enough to give you the tiniest shred of hope for the future. Unfortunately, Kameron's extremely valid points were not enough to stop the principal's knee jerk reaction from keeping him out of the competition. Luckily, the Department of Education stepped in and promised that he'd instead have the opportunity to speak at a special assembly today. He's also been invited to go speak at the City Council and at some pride events, but Kameron says he's content just to speak his message to his schoolmates—though now, thankfully, his message is being spread farther and wider than it ever would have had the principal had not objected to it. Score one for Team Tolerance.