Out and Proud

Love, Open Letters, Wedding

Saw a lovely post from a teacher who speaks about coming out, after marrying her wife.

He roost reminded me why I came out and keep coming out each year, each semester, in each new class. Being out in my classroom is one of the most valuable lessons and teachable moments I have to offer. It shows closeted kids or those with queer family that it’s possible to live a beautiful, rich and happy life; to be a professional; to be respected and successful as a queer person.

What else motivates me to be out in my classroom? It provides visibility and hope to kids and a learning opportunity about the diversity within our community. So many important steps towards inclusion and acceptance begin with the risk of being seen. For many it is about knowing someone and having that relationship spark the curiosity to question what we have learned or previously taken as truth. It’s hard to bear hatred or intolerance when you have a face to put to the name, whatever the marginalized group or person may be. I am their teacher. Someone they know and care about. Someone who has modelled caring and for respect for all the things that make them who they are. I actively teach anti-oppression and critical thinking about diversity, myth-busting the rhetoric that too frequently is used to promote intolerance.

If it’s safe to do so… come on out. Our kids need to see you there.

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Racism in the Media: Update

Open Letters

In an interesting twist of events, a recent article has clarified some big misconceptions about the GAP Kids ad that was deemed racist by many in the Twittersphere. I wrote an article about it here and am happy, or sad (depending) to see that as I suspected, more information is really what people should be looking for … before leveling huge charges and accusations of racism.

Turns out that the two girls ‘oppressing’ each other are SISTERS. One black, one white. This reflects my initial discomfort with the way adult internet users were labeling this young woman as a victim without knowing her story or hearing from her.

The article clarifying this mysterious ‘new’ detail can be found here.

As I said previously, I think we need to step back and look at the bigger issue:

Intention versus perception. Perception is subjective.

We bring ourselves to the conversation and our own experience can add new dimensions to  the dialogue. That is not to say that we should ever overlook racism, or any ism. But that facts should factor into our reactions. There is a fine line between willingly choosing to ‘hear or see no evil’ and plugging our ears, covering our eyes and claiming to see, hear and feel it – despite our better judgement, upon a proper weighing of  the facts. Let’s not plug our ears and pretend we are having a productive conversation.