I will also add that recently, at work (teaching middle school special ed in Baltimore), I have been the target of a lot of viscerally homophobic comments from my kids. “Mr. Fan, you’re gay!” or “Mr. Fan, you is a faggot!” are common comments the past few weeks that I’ve done my best to shut down.
The kids in my environment say those things for the same reason they curse teachers out: it’a an attempt to get under your skin.
Fortunately, I have handled these comments maturely and had dialogue with my kids. In response I’ll say “so what if I was gay? Do you know how difficult it is to navigate the world as a gay person?”
If there’s any better way to address these comments, in your opinion, I would really be open to your suggestions because I value your thoughts and opinions.