My daughter came out of the proverbial closet to me more than five years ago in the kitchen of our home. I remember her sitting on the steps fumbling with the right words to say.
“What if I told you I kissed a girl?” she stammered.
I stopped dead in my tracks, but tried to play it off by quickly turning my attention to the food cooking on the stove.
It wasn’t that I didn’t expect that we would eventually have this conversation. It was my fear, as a lesbian myself, that she would be forced to endure some of the same battles I encountered when I voiced my truth.
I was an adult when I came out of my walk-in. She was just a child. Could she handle what awaited her in our sometimes cruel world?
Fast forward some years later and she is owning her pansexuality better than I ever did. It makes me proud that she was able to do something that I had to read a book about just to understand.
I often wonder about how other children handle the social issues that come with declaring a sexual orientation different from the public’s perceived notion of what is “normal.”
Recently I engaged in a conversation with a friend, Tee Dubose. We often find ourselves discussing the plight of LGBTQ children. While I am still trying to find my way to help our youth, she is actively working with teens and young adults to provide the support and guidance needed to navigate the matters that accompany “coming out of the closet,” both personally and publicly.
Dubose is part of the Greensboro chapter of an organization called QORDS. The program is mostly known for their “school-of-rock”-style summer camp, but has gradually expanded to provide year-round programming.
When camp is not in session, the QORDS chapters organize events across North Carolina to raise funds for the camp session and to continue their efforts to support queer and trans youth through workshops and informational seminars. QORDS accomplishes its goal to reach queer and trans youth, not only through its music program, but a wide array of art genres such as dance and composition.
I am fond of the program because of its use of various avenues to connect and communicate with youth. While music is a fundamental component, the group engages a range of subjects including race, socio-economic status, leadership and self-image.
Volunteers come from all walks of life, and include advocates along with representatives of fine arts and corporations. This component provides campers with a real- world view of the issues they face on an ongoing basis.
While there is a fee to attend the week long camp, QORDS will turn no one away.
Of course, one of my favorite core elements does involve the camp itself and the formation of a rock band at the end of the session. It’s pretty cool that the camp offers children the chance to learn to play an instrument that may be new to them during their camp stay.
I would love to be a part of one of those bands and channel my inner Janis Joplin, but for now, I guess I will have to volunteer instead. However, don’t be surprised if you get wind that I have decided to form my own band.
What can I say, the kids of QORDS are inspirational. You think I could learn to play “Free Bird” in a week?
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