Viral tweet reveals the things queer kids do to avoid school recess

A school-age boy with rainbow hair in front of a a rainbow flag
(Photo: Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels)

A tweet from a gay guy about how he used to help his teacher laminate things during recess has gone viral. It has prompted others to share their memories of how they got through their school days.

They are funny, relatable, but also sometimes a little sad: One of the common threads is the things that some young LGBTQ people do to avoid school recess, preferring to hang out in safe spaces such as libraries, music rooms, or bonding with trusted teachers rather than risk facing bullies. Other just seem to enjoy gossiping with adults!

Related: Gay teen fights back against school bully as teachers do nothing in viral video

Twitter user Jon Manganello (@jonnymangs) got the ball rolling with a tweet on Tuesday saying: “I knew I was gay when I skipped recess to help my teacher laminate things and gossip.”

At the time of writing, it’s had almost half a million likes, over 30,000 retweets, and hundreds of comments.

Others were quick to offer their own, similar memories.

Jeremy O. Harris, the writer of recent Broadway production, Slave Play, said, “This is so true!!! I literally found so many excuses to hang out with my friends (re: my teachers).”

“Omg I gossiped my entire adolescence with middle-aged women,” said Michael Meyer (@HoganBCMJ).

Some pointed out that there was a lesbian equivalent to helping teachers laminate: assisting the librarian re-shelve books.

“I earned the most reading points in 3rd grade and my teacher asked what prize I wanted (anticipating candy, a book, a hw pass, something like that) and I said I wanted to have lunch with her at recess lol,” commented @celindaburb.

Educators and librarians also added their thoughts.

“This is so beautiful,” said @exlibris. “As school librarian, I was in charge of the laminator. You were my favorite kind of student.”

“I’m a teacher and I had one for a year,” said another teacher. “He was 8 and fabulous. He was the youngest of 5 boys being raised by a single dad. They were all hunting and fishing and fixing the car except this boy. The family adored him for exactly who he was. It was beautiful.”

Others pointed out other school-age clues to their sexuality.

“I knew I was gay when I put my black fur parka coat on my head and impersonated Cher during recess & my teacher played Sonny!” said @jaymathewsphoto.

“I volunteered to answer the phone at the front desk while the secretary took her lunch break,” said @nickwmay.

“I hid in the library reshelfing books and gossiping with the librarian, she snuck me gummi bears every day when I finished,” said @jordnroberts.

Although most of those commenting appeared to do so with fondness and gratitude, others touched upon the reasons recess can be hell for some kids.

“I ate lunch in a classroom alone for two years because I got bullied in the lunch room but used to kiki with the monitor,” said @aaanderso_n.

Numerous studies have found that LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience bullying. Last year, the US-based National School Climate Survey from GLSLEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) concluded, “schools across the nation are not safe for most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) middle and high school students.”

A UK poll of 1,000 teachers revealed in 2019 that kids in primary school are more likely to be bullied over their sexuality than racism, sexism or religion. It found 13% of kids had been bullied because of their sexuality, and three-quarters of teachers had witnessed such bullying taking place.

Related: A gay 12-year-old died by suicide after relentless bullying. His mom says the school did nothing.

Whatever the reason some kids enjoy hanging out with teachers, the tweet certainly proved relatable for many – from across the spectrum of sexuality and gender. It led the original poster, Jon Manganello, to comment: “Nice to hear from fellow queers about where they hid at recess. At risk of sounding corny, I wish we could have all been friends!”

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