Wednesday, October 06, 2010

We're Here

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
Cocktail Hour
Anyone watching Detroit 187? So good!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


the walking man said...

Personally I think these two cruel fuckers should get out of jail when Mr. Clementi can play the violin again.

You know we are a truly fucked up species of animal when we prey upon our own genus.

While I have never felt that level of hopelessness over being gay that Mr. Clementi did, I have felt that space. My only prayer for that young man is that his final thoughts were on forgiveness for the two assholes who stole his dignity and self respect from him and his love for his family.

Yet whatever he thought as he plunged to his death he sleeps now in peace where there are no more troubles to bother him.

Charles Gramlich said...

The increase in openness we've experienced is a good thing, of course, but it is always going to create some turmoil and backlash. It's very sad that people have to so struggle to be who they are.

Scott said...


Sometimes it seems like one step forward, two steps back.

Great pic; I think youu may be my favorite vampire!

Heff said...

Stil watching (& digging) Detroit 187

jodi said...

Hiya Foxy! That is truly a sad and pathetic commentary on how truly NOWHERE we have become. That poor guy didn't deserve that and I hope all involved rot in hell. xo

Anonymous said...

Great post.

So horrible to think about, the swirl of mad thoughts leading up to a suicide.

Watched Brokeback Mountain with my mom a few months back. While even she could not help but crack a few jokes at first, I saw that she was riveted, since she held the control in hand and never changed it one time. It's a painfully beautiful work of art. And the subject, two men who have to lie every minute of every day about who they are... well, it was just a wonderful look into a life most will not know. But still, sitting there made me ashamed since I doubt I could ever have the courage to "out myself" if I had to do so. And I doubt I would end up better than poor old Tyler Clementi if I was ever forced out in such a cruel way by false friends.

Again, great post.

Shea Goff said...

I don't know what to say. It is so incredibly sad. All I know about this story is what you have written here, and I look at through the eyes of a mother.

And my heart simply breaks for her and her boy. I can't fathom what that pain is. I don't want to.

Lana Gramlich said...

You can take the human out of the stone age but you can't take the stone age out of the human. <:(