Combatting Anti-Gay Bullying Through Young Adult Fiction
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Trevor’s pain, frustration, confusion, and angst are realistically portrayed and while the book has a relatively happy ending, it serves as an important supplement to more theoretical works about anomie and coming out. By zooming in on one kid and the conundrums he faces, readers get an intensely personal look at an all-too-common scenario. From there, it’s a short leap from micro to macro, personal to political.
Trevor illustrates the impact of sticks, stones, and yes, words, on the thousands of adolescents who are targeted for harassment and exclusion. The challenge is to get the novel—along with films like Bully--into every sixth grade classroom. That said, skilled facilitators—whether regular teachers or outsiders—are essential in helping kids openly discuss the themes Trevor addresses, among them heterosexism, hate speech, depression, and despair.
At the end of the day, social and emotional learning are as important as reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic. Books like Trevor emphasize that these themes should be aspects of every school curriculum. Indeed, they should be considered as important as the stuff that gets counted on tests.