Florida high school student Will Larkins has gone viral for educating their classmates and their teacher on the Stonewall riots.
They were inspired to do so after they asked their history teacher if the Stonewall riots would be included in the U.S History curriculum. Their teacher was entirely unfamiliar with the events that spearheaded the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement “What’s Stonewall?”.
After this revelation, Larkins took it upon themselves and educate both their classmates and their teacher “LGBTQ American history is not taught in Florida’s public schools, so I took it upon myself to explain the events of the Stonewall Uprising to my 4th period US history class”.
The video has since gone viral on Twitter with the hashtag #SayGayAnyway referencing the recent ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that has just been signed into legislature. The horrific bill forbids the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in school environments.
LGBTQ American history is not taught in Floridas public schools, so I took it upon myself to explain the events of the Stonewall Uprising to my 4th period US history class. #SayGayAnyway pic.twitter.com/A73TKPlWXF
— Will Larkins (@ProudTwinkie) April 3, 2022
Along with being an incredibly inspiring LGBTQ+ educator, Larkins is also the co-founder and president of the Queer Student Alliance and testified against the final Senate hearing for the Parental Rights in Education Law.
In their piece for the Times, Larkins opened up about the struggles they faced not conforming with their assigned gender “I wasn’t interested in the things other boys my age did, and I didn’t really feel comfortable in the clothes my parents bought me. The struggle for acceptance was not just internal, it also felt as if my classmates didn’t know what to make of me. By fourth grade, I was convinced that I was broken.”
Learning that they were part of the LGBTQ+ led to a reflection on how different it would have been for them if they had known about different gender identities and sexuality at an early age. “When I look back to elementary school, I wonder how different my childhood would have been had my classmates and I known that I wasn’t some tragic anomaly, a strange fluke that needed to be fixed.”
Whilst delivering their empowering talk on Stonewall, the Florida student wore a dress which was met with people questioning why they would do so. Their response was nothing short of iconic:
A lot of people in the comments are asking why i “had to wear a dress”
— Will Larkins (@ProudTwinkie) April 4, 2022
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