A Queens, New York fifth-grader named Kameron Slade won a class competition and was slated to deliver a speech as part of a school-wide competition at PS 195. However, because Kameron’s speech was to be about same-sex marriage, his principal told him he would be removed from the contest if he did not choose a different topic. Here are some excerpts from Kameron’s “inappropriate” speech:
SLADE: 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.[...]
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.
Watch Kameron read his full speech, courtesy of NY1:
Some parents agreed with the principal that the topic was an “adult conversation” that didn’t belong in school, but Kameron’s own speech addresses this hollow complaint. In addition to the fact that young people can easily learn about this issue from the President of the United States, many are bound to encounter same-sex families among their friends and classmates. To censor such topics is an attempt to erase gay and lesbian people from communities entirely.
Numerous studies have found that schools are safer for LGBT students when curricula are LGBT-inclusive. Young Slade should be applauded for doing for his peers what his school community refuses to do. Supposedly, he will have the opportunity to give this speech in some sort of different assembly, but in the meantime, he is preparing a speech for the competition about preventing animal cruelty.
The department of education has guaranteed that Kameron will have the opportunity to give his speech at a special assembly on Monday. He has been invited to speak before the City Council and at several pride events, but he says he just wants to give his speech in school for now.