Friday, April 19, 2013

Homophobia Workshop

For the third day this week, we're experiencing winter storm conditions with an additional foot or more of snow, howling winds and white-out conditions.

Last night before the snow started, I re-shot the picture from my last post, where I was wearing my Spider-man jammies. I deeply regret the bed-head, but otherwise, these pics look okay. I much prefer the picture at the bottom of this post which shows less of my pasty-white flesh.

Here in the north, we very rarely get a snow day where the schools are fully shut down.   If the public schools shut down completely, they would lose a great deal of their funding money!

On days like these, the school buses are cancelled and the city students who walk to school will normally skip out.  But we teachers are expected to drive through hazardous, treacherous conditions and to teach the three students who show up.  And if we don't show up, the bean counters at the Board Office would dock us a day's pay AND charge us the cost of a supply teacher;   a double whammy! 

As teacher living in a rural area, the only acceptable reason for me NOT to show up would be if the police shut down the highway due to unsafe conditions or if our city declared a state of emergency.  If punative action was taken, however, I could appeal it to the Superintendent with my union's assistance but who needs that frickin' hassle?   I'd rather drive into work.
---------------------------------------------

Recently, the 850 teachers in my school division ("Boards" as we call them here) received a notice of a national workshop for male educators being held in a far-away city.  The topics to be discussed include "sexism, homophobia, gender equality, healthy masculinity and positive role modelling."  The goal is for educators to foster "healthy relationships with young men" to promote "a new vision of manhood."

This is right up my alley!   In our vast region, one delegate was to be selected for the all-expenses-paid trip, selected by the professional development committee made up from teachers from all schools.   I wrote a 100 word essay on why I should be selected to go.    I said, in part:


"As a gay man, I have personally encountered homophobia and intolerance in my personal life as well as in the classroom.   I now regard the issues of gender equality, masculinity and acceptance (in particular of LGBTQ people) a topic of primary importance in my life.   I am keenly aware of the huge impact that I could have as a positive and strong role model for our students, straight or LGBTQ and indeed, for everyone in our school community. 

 
But to assist me on this path, I would benefit from more information and strategies to help all of my students in this regard, regardless of their gender and orientation.   I hope this workshop will provide the information for me to increase my effectiveness as a LGBTQ educator, leader and role model."
 
 
Prior to this, I was out to many of the teachers at my school and (I assume) some at my wife's former school.   But with this letter, I essentially outed myself to pretty much everyone in the school division, directly or indirectly.  

I hesitated for an entire day and then chided myself for my cowardace before I clicked "send."

I thought of the sweet little gay kids in my classes who are quietly out, courageous warriors in their own right.  I also thought of some former students over the past twenty years who had committed suicide and who we suspected (retroactively) did so upon figuring out that they were gay.

If my coming out as a strong, positive, happy and successful gay teacher saves one kid from suicide or even from living in fear or guilt over his sexual orientation, that may end up being the most important thing I do in my entire teaching career.

ps:  I was picked as the delegate for the workshop!





Hi ho!  Hi ho!  It's off to work I go!



14 comments:

  1. YAYZ! double "exposure" arse pix! :)

    congrats in being selected for the workshop. as my friend ron of "retired in delaware" said in his latest blog post, older LGBTQ people are passing on the torch to the younger generation in the hopes that hatred and fear and bullying of gays ends with them. bless you for "paying it forward"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anne marie: I took the arse pics just for you! And yes, when I signed up for the workshop, I did think of Ron testifying at the Delaware committee hearings on same sex marriage.

      Delete
  2. What a huge day!

    CONGRATULATIONS on sending the letter and taking the closet door of the hinges and repurposing it!

    I'd say congratulations on being selected but I think all the students and people who will benefit from you deserve the congratulations!

    Finally, thanks for the gratuitous ass pic! As Drum said to Ouiser, "I luv a nice piece of ass!"
    Make that your lead pic and watch your hits skyrocket!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sean: thank you for your kinds words! Yes, I can see a future role for myself as an advocate for "the cause." Exciting!!

      Please note that I took your suggestion and changed my pasty-white ass to the lead pic!

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on being chosen to attend the workshops! That's HUGE! I hope you'll share the experience with all of us. I'm especially interested in what "healthy masculinity" could mean.

    Your current and future students will benefit - as will other teachers who care to inquire of you.

    Bravo!

    BTW - Thanks for the photo redeaux; you've got a great ass!

    ReplyDelete
  4. whkattk and Mark: thank you! I'm very excited by the trip to the big city and also to find out what the workshop has to offer. It is just a start!!

    I actually don't know how many applied to be the delegate. For all I know, I might have been the only person interested!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Doesn't matter if there were 50 others applying or 0 others: you wrote a strong, reasoned statement and you got to be the delegate. Bravo!

    Now, when you get to this "far-away city," I hope it has a nice gay community so that when the workshop isn't in session, you'll be able to go out and practice what you preach. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. There are many great things mentionned in this, but I was really happy with " healthy masculinity " and " new vision of manhood " . Please make sure to tell us about that after the workshop!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's really awesome, Buddy Bear. The whole thing, coming out, getting selected...yeah, man. I wish I thought I could do the same here. Good for you, and I am sure that you will come back loaded for bear!

    Peace <3
    Jay

    ReplyDelete
  8. Will: thank you! I intend to have some gay fun as well; but you already knew that I wouldn't let that opportunity slip past.

    JF: yes, I will provide a full report.

    Jay: thanks you! Why do you think that you can't do the same thing where you live?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JAY! I apologize but I accidentally deleted your comment as I thought I was in my Junk mail folder.... but I retrieved it from my e-mail inbox!

      Jay replied:
      "It's a long story, but short version is: once accused, always guilty, and I live in a state where you can be fired for any reason, and no reason, therefore in a conservative school system, being openly gay would be as good a reason (or no reason) to fire someone. In my case, it would be the last nail in the coffin were certain people to find out. In 12 years here, I know of only one out person, and she's not in the classroom either, but she sure doesn't flaunt her status!
      Peace <3
      Jay "

      Delete
    2. It's VERY early on a Sunday morning for you! Of course you're forgiven! No problem, man. Easy to do.
      Jay

      Delete
  9. Congrats!
    As a kid, I came out early and there was one English teacher in high school that I suspected was gay. Through a book report, we silently acknowledged each other. It was kinda sad, though, as he had to be careful to be supportive, but not show favoritism. We were never alone in a room together, in case anyone cried foul play. But he still proved to be an influential part of my life.

    ReplyDelete

Please tell me what you're thinking!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...