“We persevere.”

This is happening in Florida’s legislature:

For readers unfamiliar with Iliana Garcia, the distinguished Florida state senator who won her seat by thirty-two with the help of a “ghost” candidate named Alex Rodriguez, the remarks are not signs of cynicism. She’s a cruel, stupid salamander who believes teachers makes boys into sodomites by teaching them about Oscar Wilde and teachers “groom” children into becoming pedophiles or something like the governor’s press secretary admitted last weekend.

Behold the courage of seventeen-year old Javier Gomez of iPrep Academy:

In his speech, he explained that at age 5 he knew he wasn’t like his peers. He knew he liked boys, but didn’t know the words to use. He was bullied extensively “for characteristics I couldn’t control until I lost my voice.”

But in the fifth grade, he learned to accept himself with the help of his teacher, school counselors, a GSA sponsor and countless other teachers who supported him. Without them, Gomez told lawmakers, he wouldn’t have been standing before them.

“[I] persevered because that’s what our community does,” he said, explaining how he overcame his fears to testify. “We persevere.”

Indeed. At my private Marist Brothers high school, my classmates weren’t gratuitously brutish even with slurs (PE coaches required us to shower after sport). We knew which brother or lay faculty — there’s a name — was gay. To have been out in 1992 at a Catholic school would’ve required the self-knowledge and courage of a Rousseau — or a Genet. I envy what these kids got in their schools, and mourn what the state will take away.

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