“Don’t worry,” we were told at school at the turn of the millennium. “They are more afraid of you than you.” If you’re talking about spiders, it’s a useful reassurance, but what’s the subject at issue here? Lesbian.

His well-meaning but clumsy case fits into the broader pattern of regressive messages at school at the time. At other girls’ schools, cellophane tape may be pressed against various arms and held up if it loses its adhesiveness. The smeared tape was a reminder to “save myself” for a (heterosexual) marriage.

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