Talking Points #3: Reflection:
|Preach it Honey Boo Boo Child!|
First of all let me say, that this article was very personal to me. I've decided to do a reflection of this piece entitled Safe Spaces by Gerri August because I know that in order for me to dissect it properly I need to acknowledge my own personal experiences. This was written to aid teachers and other potential teacher in caring for LGBT children in their classrooms. Creating a safe space is essential and extremely important for the prevention of all unnecessary teen suicides due to anti-LGBT harassment.
Okay, so where do I begin. Let me start off by coming out and saying that I am gay and that meaning that I once was an LGBT youth so I know how extremely important these safe spaces really are. To say that growing up gay in this society is easy is just a down right lie, and many people who are not apart of the LGBT community will never understand it. "Straightness and gender conformity are assumed, LGBT identity is deviant" (August 84). This is one of the many problems that the LGBT community face. Heterosexism is overly instilled in the mindset of almost everyone that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people are seen as deviant, something that is wrong or morally corrupt. This pisses me off because obviously being gay isn't wrong! The mindsets of anti-LGBT individuals are wrong. Sexual orientation is a part of life and just like skin color, it's not a choice. It's not like people just voluntarily choose to be crucified in a heterosexual dominated society.
|People magazine depicting|
three accounts of teen
suicide due to
The biggest issue that is made aware in this article is how much words have an impact of the LGBT community. Many LGBT teens are bullied to an extent where they see no other alternative than to take their own life. This hurts me to the core because nobody should have to take their own life because they are made to feel like an outsider. Suicide should never be the answer but sometimes the hurt is so extreme that your left with two options, suicide or continuing to live as an emotionally dismembered human being because due to all the anti-LGBT harassment. For example, when August gave the example of Tabby Aaberg. Tammy's fifteen year old son committed suicide because he was bullied for being gay and that just broke my heart. He was bullied by his peers at school and this left me wondering where the hell the parental guidance was at the school. Tammy said the following about the staff, "Most of the teachers and principals...mean well--they want to intervene. But the teachers still don't know what they can and can't do." This is where the importance of a safe space comes into effective. If the staff instilled the normalcy of homosexuality than this suicide wouldn't have happened. Lucky for me, growing up I was blessed to have great parents especially my mother. She raised me to have extremely tough skin in every facet of my life and to not give a damn what people thought of me. I quickly adopted this mindset and it's very beneficial. Yes, growing up gay was hard but I was fortunate to have a great mindset. Words did and still hurt me, I am human after all but I just learned to stand off for myself and give those words no importance. Just because I was fortunate to have this way of thinking doesn't mean there are others who do. Some LGBT teens experience a great deal of psychological damage. So a teacher controlling the language in a classroom is imperative.
I often think back to Johnson's piece on privilege. Straightness being the dominant ideology of today's society had a lot of emphasis in this article. Especially, when it came to including LGBT educational material in elementary school. I think it's important to educate kids on the LGBT community because this will lessen the chance that these kids will grow up with a bigoted attitude towards homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual people. I was shocked that some states even have Anti-LGBT teaching laws. Like, really? Alabama even goes as far as say that homosexual poses a health risk! Like calm down mofos, being gay is a construction of certain individuals, it's not the flu, you aren't going to get sick! There are some foolish people out there. Or let's talk about how one teacher candidate didn't like the fact that same sex parents was being taught in school! How do you expect those children who have two dads, two moms, or even those that live with their grandparents to relate and identify their place in the classroom. Reiterating what Johnson had said, that being gay in a dominant straight culture is tough. There are always going to be times where we will get discriminated against. Being gay, I always have to worry about being discriminated against in certain areas where straight men will not. It's just the extra challenge of being gay but you get what you can handle in life and I can handle almost anything that comes my way. One day I will have a family and I will be a same sex parent so it's important that the kids see that it's okay. I will be damned if my kids feel like they don't belong because they have two fathers.
Before, I conclude I want to address one last thing and I will start with a quote. "Youth who see themselves as wise or powerful main characters of heroes worthy of celebration and emulation will feel validated, included, and safe inside their classrooms. LGBT youth rarely have this experience." This is very true for LGBT youth. If they could see themselves as powerful heroes then they would feel validated and a part of the whole. But it's hard to do this when the LGBT youth have nothing to model after. For example, homosexuality is seen as a taboo and everybody tries to avoid it but I think is very detrimental in the schools because a safe space should be inclusive not exclusive. One thing I noticed in schools was that there were some teachers who where gay or lesbian but they kept it hidden because it's something that just wasn't talked about. Sort of like the "silenced dialogue." If straight teachers are talking about their husbands, wives, and children then I think LGBT teachers should too so that LGBT children can relate and have a role model. This is something that I hope that I can bring to the table as a teacher. Whether, anybody likes it or not I'm going to show off my future husband and future kids just like the rest of them. I'm going to be a role model for my gays, lesbians, and transgender people!
Point to Share:
"When someone with authority of a teacher, say describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked in a mirror and saw nothing." Think for a moment at how powerful that quote just was. It perfectly sums up the hardships and inner struggle that we LGBT people faced as youths. Can you say that your sexual orientation has made you feel invisible? How can we get LGBT youths to see themselves in the mirror?