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Ode to Generation X for Pride Month

I just want to point out that all these politicians who keep claiming they are protecting children by taking steps to criminalize transgender and nonbinary people and ban drag shows, forget that some of us remember the wholesome television of our own childhoods.

Like "Little House on the Prairie." That show had it all - rape, incest, sex, unplanned pregnancy, racism, pandemic, death, murder, crime, homelessness, and bullying. The episode where the baby burned to death gave me nightmares for weeks.

We watched "Family Ties," and cried our way through the loss of a friend.

We watched divorce. We saw death. We witnessed every grief and tragedy through the lens onto that screen. We were latch-key kids, coming home to empty houses and televisions for company.

We were the generation that went out at breakfast and came home for dinner.

Watching all those shows taught us to live. They taught us that the world is wide and the people in it are diverse and incredible.

We spent Sunday nights watching Disney and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, where we encountered animals and learned to dream of the far away and the possible. We spent weekday afternoons watching After School Specials, which were a mix of fun and really traumatic stories with a moral message, like the one designed to scare us to never hitchhike, or the episode about drunk driving.

We fell in love with "The Last Unicorn." Our generation did not hide under desks, nor did we learn to hide from school shooters, but we watched friends and family as we became the first generation to come of age after the discovery of HIV and AIDS, watching the government ignore it for too many years.

We watched a stream of movies telling us that the world was ending. Some were science fiction like "Terminator," but others like "The Day After" were watched in our living room with our parents.

We experienced "V" and learned to fear the skies as much as we were encouraged to fear the earth. We fell in love with River Phoenix, and then he died. We watched as kids our age who had once filled our television screens and movie theaters died for real in newspaper and magazine headlines that filled grocery store check out lanes. Heather O'Rourke from a bowel obstruction at 12. Jonathan Brandis. Corey Haim. Judith Barsi who voiced Ducky in "Land Before Time," killed by her father at age 10. We had sex ed, and the burden of egg babies in home economics classes.

We learned about getting our periods and puberty in school. So what do all these things have in common? We survived and we came out pretty good and have procreated the world an incredible next generation to care for this planet and love each other through the good and the bad times. We did it, in part, because the adults of our childhood into our own young adulthood understood that humans grow into good humans through experiences, good and bad. They taught us the power of choices, and the consequences that come with them.

We fought to come out.

We fought to give every person the right to marry the person they loved if that was their wish.

We are not the perfect generation. We have struggled, and hurt, and failed. We have also succeeded, loved, and experienced joy. We are human, and we will keep loving and fighting for the change that must come, even against members of our own generation who forget all we have learned.


One Gen Xer

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