When Your Student Says He Wants To Be A Lesbian…

When Your Student Says He Wants To Be A Lesbian…




Before you read this: I am not writing this to make fun of or laugh at the student in the story. When this took place, we actually took the situation very seriously. For the most part, my students with emotional disturbance had little to no coping skills. It was my job to cope for them and help them work through it. If something was important to them, it needed to be important to me. I never coddled them, though. I was always upfront and honest. My delivery could be a little dry, but never condescending. But, looking back on this story, I have to admit it was pretty funny. 


I had this one student, and to be honest, he was probably my favorite. He was adopted from Russia. In Russia, orphan babies are not treated well. For the most part the orphanages are overrun and babies are put in cribs and stuck in a corner. Because of this, their development suffers greatly. Some kids come out with no developmental issues, and some come out with mental and physical issues. This student, we’ll call him MacGyver, was one of the “unfortunate” ones.

I think he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism. He was in my emotionally disturbed class. He wasn’t low functioning enough to be in the classes with the kids diagnosed with MR. He was pretty short for a teenage boy and scrawny. But when he was angry, he had the strength of 10 men. MacGyver had a love for all things science fiction. That’s probably one of the reasons I liked him so much. The difference in our fandom was that I am pretty sure he thought that those worlds existed. His favorite shows were anything to do with the Stargate series. We had a lot of nerdy conversations that I enjoyed.

When MacGyver turned 18, he started to take on some new interests. Among those new interests was girls. He had noticed girls before, but now he was attempting to make one his girlfriend. I felt bad for him, because his social awkwardness was going to make it very difficult. He knew he was different, but not how different.

There was a young lady that came to our class every so often. She had some anger issues, but for the most part was able to go to regular classes. Occasionally she came to us to cool down or get help on homework. She was a geeky little goth chick, and MacGyver had taken a liking to her. So, one day he decided to ask her out. Her response….

“Sorry, I’m a lesbian.”

Most kids would know what that means. Not MacGyver. His first thought was, “I gotta find out how to become a lesbian.”

Usually before school, we would let the kids have some free time on the computers. We were able to monitor what the kids watched on our own computers. Well, on this one particular morning, I noticed that MacGyver was looking at a site with some questionable content. He was watching a show called The “L” Word, that comes on Showtime network. For a little background, you should know that this show is about young to middle aged professional women living in Hollywood and all their mischievous exploits. Oh, and they are all lesbians. We had Showtime at our house, and I knew that this show had cursing and nudity and anything else you would expect from an R rated TV show. (I promise I didn’t watch the show). So, I asked MacGyver…


“Whatcha watching there, Bud?”

“Oh, just a show my mom likes.” (I knew his mom. She didn’t like that show.)

“Why don’t you turn that off and let’s talk for a sec.”


He was a little perturbed to be pulled away from his soft-core porn. I asked him if he knew what he was watching and if he knew it was inappropriate for school (or any time for that matter). He seemed to know it was wrong but not why. He said he was 18 and should be able to watch what he wants.

After some digging, I found out that he discovered the show on his home computer. After he was rejected by his ladylove, he decided to do some research on what a lesbian is. Like any other kid with a question about life, he googled it. The “L” Word is what he found. He told me how Goth girl said she was a lesbian, and if he wanted her to be his girlfriend, he wanted to be a lesbian, too. Needless to say, this was going to turn into a major “teaching moment”.

I didn’t want to explain sexuality to him. It just would not have registered. So I went into some simple health questions.


“Do you know anything about sex?”

“Yeah, it’s when a guy and a girl lie down next to each other.”

Ok, so he thinks all sex involves a male and female. Fair enough.

“Uhmmmmm, do they do anything?”

“The touch each other’s butts.”

He says this with a great deal of disgust. Clearly, I needed to call his mother.


At this point, I asked him if he knew anything about how babies are made. Needles to say, the answer was, NO!! The more he said, the crazier it got. As it turned out, he thought guys and gals were running around with the same plumbing, gear, equipment….I’m talking genitalia here folks. As far as MacGyver knew, boys have a penis, and girls have a penis too. It never occurred to me that I would have to have this kind of conversation with an 18 year old. For some reason, I thought it would be smart to open up the health book and head to the penis/vagina section of the State issued book. After all, I was the Health teacher. I did not show him anything exterior wise. Graphic pictures were not in the books I was given to teach with, and that was not what he needed at the time. All he saw was what’s under the skin. Fallopian tubes and testes were the extent of this lesson.

MacGyver’s mind wasn’t just blown…I had dropped a nuclear bomb on it.

We wrapped up with why porn is bad, and that I needed to call his mother to tell her what we talked about.

When I called her, she laughed a bit. She told me that this was not the first time they talked about the difference between boys and girls, but it was the first time the lesbian thing came up. I left out no details, and she was fine with taking over when he got home. I thought the situation was handled. I was wrong.

MacGyver came back to class and he was in a tizzy to say the least. He was hallucinating that all the girls in the class were lesbians and were kissing. I take no responsibility for this. I blame the porn. He and I discussed no sexual acts. Somehow we were able to calm him down and have a normal day. It was tough, but we did it.

I had to call his mom again. She assured me that she would handle it. She did…..kinda.

The next day, MacGyver came in early. I started our usual pleasantries:


“How you doing this morning?”

“Not good!!!!!!!!!!! My mother banned me from the computer. I had to listen to her talk about sex again. And, the worst part is I had a nightmare. I dreamed about lesbians and there were girls kissing and vaginas floating around all over the place.”

“I gotta tell ya Bud, most teenage boys would not call that a nightmare. We need to figure out how to get these thoughts out of your head.”

“But I still need to become a lesbian.”

“No, I don’t think your mother will approve the surgery, first of all. Second, lets forget about having a girlfriend and concentrate on graduating.”


Obviously, MacGyver was never able to accomplish his goal of becoming a lesbian. He never got a girlfriend, and hopefully his little stint with pornography was avoided. I am not sure if the basic anatomy or sex ed. lessons ever stuck either. It took about a week, but we finally got MacGyver to stop having lesbian vagina flashbacks. It was a joint effort between his family, teachers, and counselors. I will always remember that as the hardest lesson I ever had to teach.

{I was not trained for this, folks. To be honest, if I could have taught theology of the body, most of my problems would have been solved with all my students.}


Daniel: Could you make me a woman?
Frank: Honey, I’m so happy!
[hugs Daniel] Daniel: I knew you’d understand.

Robin Williams and Harvey Fienstein; Mrs Doubtfire

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