Homophobia Writing Exercises for Teens

Speaking out, Steve Berman

Homophobia

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Summary
An inspiring, compellingly readable anthology of short stories by a group of writers that includes many well-known names in LGBT writing as well as some remarkable emerging authors. The thirteen stories in the collection cover a wide range of issues facing young LGBT people, from school and bullying to love, friendship, coming out – and perhaps more importantly – what happens after you come out. Each of the stories is accompanied by a short introduction by the author providing context and insight.

Sample
“You remember the kids that teased you in junior high. They thought you were different. Not different in crazy, wonderful ways, how you felt when you ran around so hard you could collapse exhausted but laughing, or while captivated by the adventures of cartoon heroes. No, they wanted you to feel less than them, even though you breathed the same as them, stuffed food into your mouth in the cafeteria like everyone else. You learned to ignore them.

You slip your hand under his. You ignore the next bout of laughter from the lockers. ‘You can’t hide away forever. Even after high school, there may be people who’ll stare when I hold your hand,’ you say, though the words make your mouth taste bitter. You rest your lips against the top of his head. ‘Or when I tell you how much I love you. No matter what they say, you have the choice to listen or not.’

Neil lifts his head a little.

‘You can listen to them or listen to me.’ “from Steve Berman’s “Only Lost Boys are Found”

Choose One of the Writing Exercises Below

Writing Prompt 1
In Rigoberto González’ “Lucky P” Pedro’s attraction to both Nemecio and Paloma confuses his parents and makes him feel different. Write a short scene in which something has made you feel different, like you didn’t fit in, and describe how you dealt with it.
350 – 500 words

Writing Prompt 2
In Steve Berman’s “Only Lost Boys are Found” bullying and name-calling cause Neil to become lost in the world inside the closet. Though Berman’s story makes symbolic use of this idea, bullying can make people feel lost and alone in the real world too. Write an account of an incident of bullying you know about and explore the feelings of the bullied person.
450-700 words

Writing Prompt 3
In Charles Jensen’s “Duet: A Story in Haibun” Abbott and Lancaster’s relationship in some ways grows out of their shared love of music. An interest in music, books, movies and other kinds of creative work are often things people share and bond over. Write a short dialogue inspired by how you’ve connected with someone over a creative form you’re passionate about.
400 – 600 words

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