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Born This Way: Glee's Gay Teens Learn To Love Themselves

On last night’s Gaga-inspired episode of Glee, the students at McKinley High embraced their unique differences and learned to love themselves, and at the center of this journey were the LGBT members of the New Directions.

From Kurt’s touching farewell serenade from his boyfriend Blaine, to Santana’s nuanced sadness at seeing Brittany’s relationship with Artie and her determination to win Brittany’s affection, to Karofsky’s alarm when Santana confronts him about his orientation, Glee is giving voices to teens who are at different points on their paths to self-acceptance.

As part of Kurt’s agreement to return to McKinley, he insists that Karofsky co-found a school chapter of PFLAG so Karofsky can educate himself on LGBT issues and get to the root of his abusive behavior. And though his hand is being forced, he and Santana begin affecting real change at McKinley through their anti-bullying patrol. Closing out the episode is the showstopper performance of Gaga’s anthem of self-acceptance “Born This Way,” where the New Directions each don a shirt that proudly announces the parts of them they’re embracing:

While Kurt is trailblazing as the only openly gay teen at McKinley, Brittany, who is bisexual, is encouraging Santana to embrace herself openly, giving her a shirt for the performance to celebrate her identity (it adorably says “Lebanese,” intended to read “Lesbian”) and telling her  "you're the most awesomest girl at the school. Why would you try to hide any of it? …I do love you. Clearly you don't love you as much as I do or you'd put this shirt on, and you'd dance with me."

Glee is proving itself time and again to be a remarkable spotlight for LGBT youth by telling the stories of gay teens who are working towards self-acceptance, with characters like Kurt, Blaine, and Brittany leading the way for students like Santana and Karofsky to flourish and embrace who they truly are.

Because baby, they were born this way.

If you missed the episode, you can check it out on the Glee website, or you can view it here: