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I am become History


It just dawned on me that I asked my students to write about the historical context of race and gender relations in 1996.

They have no idea what it was like to be beaten up for being gay—despite not being gay, just reading books, which same difference—in high school, and when I tell them that there wasn’t a single person out in my entire high school, they stare at me in disbelief. And with good reason: when I ask them if they attended a school in which no one was out, no one raises their hand. They live in a different—and frankly better—world, and they have no idea how historically unique their lives are.

All of which is me building up to my point, which was that after I informed them that when I started college I couldn’t buy books online because the Internet wasn’t robust enough to accommodate tiny pictures of book covers, one of my male students looked at me, horror in his eyes, and asked “Then how did you get your porn?”

Which is the second-best porn-related question I’ve ever been asked in a classroom. It fought the good fight, but I think we can agree that the champion retains her belt.

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