the last time I posted for this event, but here we are. Things have gotten a little crazy around here, and I almost forgot to get the blog post done. Nevertheless, here I am.
Two things come to mind this year as I contemplate homophobia and transphobia. First of all, a student of mine--let's call him Nate--is consistently homophobic, and this really depresses me. It depresses me in Nate's case more than most, because in other ways Nate is among my most enlightened students. He's African American and when he first came to our school, which is majority white, he used to get a lot of laughs by making jokes that were racist towards black people. This is something I've encountered a couple of times before in mostly-white communities. A person of color, in order to gain acceptance, will be the first to make jokes and declarations against his/her ethnicity. But the thing about Nate is, he evolved. I don't know for sure what did it. I'd like to think some of the content in the classes I teach helped, but I really don't know. In any case, he's now one of the kids I can count on to say something intelligent about diversity as it applies to race, and I'm always so pleased when he shares a personal story. I just wish he'd get over the homophobia. He talks about people he knows that he thinks seem gay and how unforgivable that is. He suggests that if a gay man approached him, he'd beat him up. You get the idea. I know it's not realistic to expect a kid who has come so far in terms of how he addresses race to somehow also be able to address LGBTQ stuff with an equivalent level of maturity and security in his own identity. I just wish that's how it worked.
The other thing that comes to mind is the passage of California's so-called "bathroom law." It's actually a law requiring schools to allow transgender student to self-select bathrooms, locker rooms, sports teams, and other gendered options. A very vocal part of the local community here is totally freaking out about it, and screaming about their (straight, cis--or at least so they believe) kids' privacy rights. That would be bad enough, but the school board has said, out loud, at a time during the school board meetings when doing so meant talking out of turn, that they agree with these people and that they will do everything they can to resist implementing the law. I cannot express to you, dear readers, how very disgusted and fed up this makes me feel. These people (and these school board members) seem genuinely convinced that their children are the ones who will be preyed upon due to this law. They have no understanding and no interest in learning about the reality of the situation for trans students. I heard recently that there will be three (or is it two?) seats opening up on the school board and we'll be voting new people in this election. Which sounds good, right? Except the nutjobs are campaigning whole-hog for those seats. I don't know what alternatives we'll have, but if I have to write-in Hannah Phylactic Shock, that's what I'm going to do.
Anyhoo... I'll try to remember to check back with the election results. In the mean time, post a comment here to enter a random drawing (I'll use an internet randomizer) and you may win an ebook of The City Darkens in the format of your choice.
Also, be sure to visit the HAHAT blog to find out about other cool blogs participating in the event.