Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Years ago when I was teaching in Texas, a young man read his paper about coming out as a gay man to the class. This was well before Gay/Straight Alliance clubs, before Glee, before celebrities came out in the tabloids. The class was filled with openly homophobic types. My student could have read any paper, but he chose this one. I thought it an incredibly gutsy move and when asked about my happiest moments teaching, this one would rank as a top ten. I don't know where he got his courage, but he had it and the stupid gay jokes I overheard before class ceased after this moment. Now that the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a college student who was publicly outed on the internet in the cruelest way (having his sex life recorded and live streamed), I grow deeply sad. I've had many friends who have come out to me, never an easy process even with an audience who loves you and doesn't have a stake in you being heterosexual. I can't imagine the agony Tyler felt as he contemplated what to do as he saw his privacy crash down around him.
We live in a society where it is very easy to surround ourselves with people who are just like we are and never challenge our world view. While we have made great strides in many areas, I find that the sad truth is that our existence is both more public and more isolated than ever. How alone and devastated Tyler must have felt as he contemplated jumping off the George Washington Bridge. I'd like to think we've made huge progress since kids played Smear the Queer on the playgrounds of my youth. But alas, Tyler's story tells me that those days aren't so long ago and for all the rainbow stickers I see, we still haven't reached the end of it yet.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
Anyone watching Detroit 187? So good!
Benedictions and Maledictions