It's with a really heavy heart that I write this. If you have read any of our blog at all you know I am pretty much a live and let live kind of gal- do what's right for yourself and your family, to each their own, etc, as long as you aren't hurting anyone it's all good, etc.
I read something yesterday that just broke my heart- it was a guest post on Scary Mommy's blog written by Texan Mama from Who Put Me In Charge Of These People.
The post was polite, well thought out, well written and in fact I am a regular (well, as regular as I get) reader of both of these blogs so I thought way cool when I saw there was a guest post. What I read though literally left me slack-jawed. Seriously, I was shaking my head and my chin was steadily heading towards the ground.
I'm not going to post verbatim but I'll give you the gist and then quote some of the more memorable OMG's.
Basically, Gretchen is worried because her child is in a class with an openly gay - HUH- so does that make her openly straight?- teacher. Don't get her wrong, the teacher is wonderful and she's had NO PROBLEMS with her teaching, told her (the teacher) and her child as much BUT... (get ready to hold your head here, my brains or lack thereof wanted to start leaking out when I saw this) "the reason I was concerned came from a fear that the issue of her sexuality, if discussed openly, would pull the focus of the class away from education and place it somewhere else" IF? IF? It hasn't even been brought up and in fact, NO 4th grade teacher should be discussing who they are intimate with or their sex life or lack thereof with students. Why on earth would you fear that a lesbian would have an uncontrollable urge but not have that same fear with a heterosexual teacher?
You can say all you want that you aren't prejudiced, you aren't against gays, you like them you just have different beliefs but you show right here you ARE prejudiced. No matter how nicely you word things, what kind of pretty bow you put on that package it is what it is.
The scary part is that she truly doesn't see that she's teaching her child hate and prejudice.
Numerous times in her post and in the comments I read (there are TONS, I did not get to them all) she states it's about values. Being GAY is not about values, any more than the color of your skin or height or being handicapped is about values. It just is. It's not a choice. Your religion- that *could* encompass your values. How you treat people- that's values. Your politics could be based on your values. How you behave in private when no one is looking- that's values. But to assume because someone is gay they have no (or different) morals and values- that's prejudiced and hurtful and hateful.
Why do you think it is okay to make her hide part of who she is? To protect the children from what exactly? Again, all she should be to those kids is a teacher, possibly a friend and/or mentor. I can *almost* guarantee that she's not going to blow one day and start talking about anything inappropriate to those kids any more than any other teacher would bring up an inappropriate subject.
"I would be a failure as a parent if I didn’t try to give my child some moral and ethical values as a foundation on which to build their opinions." Say what? Again, judge and jury here- as a conservative christian isn't one of the first things you learn JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED? and then DO UNTO OTHERS and let's toss one more on for good measure- (this is NOT a direct quote but it goes something like) GET THE LOG OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE BEFORE TRYING TO TAKE THE TINY SPECK OUT OF YOUR BROTHERS.
Why should this teacher have to hide the fact that she's in a loving, committed relationship (or whatever) just because it makes you uncomfortable? Do you hide the fact that you are married? How would you feel if people thought you should? What if gay someday became the norm and you were told well have a relationship if you really must but it's shameful and nasty and goes against what we who are *right* believe so hide it from everyone and feel like crap about yourself because you are MADE TO FEEL wrong. You aren't wrong, but you are made to feel that way.
Can you possibly comprehend that? BEING GAY IS NOT WRONG any more than being black is wrong or being Chinese is wrong or being short is wrong or being handicapped is wrong. IT JUST IS. Being gay is something you are born being and while yes, people have denied it, hidden it, pretended to be what they are not, or what have you THEY ARE STILL GAY. You can't beat it out of them, you can't pray it out of them, you can't shame it out of them. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE THEM FEEL LESS WORTHY than you for something they can't change.
Ignorance can be changed. Hatred can be changed. Intolerance can be changed. But until people see and understand exactly what they are doing, what message they are sending their children these things will not be changed.
One of the reasons I wasn't sure whether I would post or not is because my feelings are pretty clear on the subject- REMEMBER- OCT 20th is National Spirit Day- show your support by wearing purple in honor of those poor children who were bullied into taking their own lives. That can and should NEVER be tolerated for any reason.
Back to why I felt compelled to post- Kyra who is my most peace loving hippie dippy trippy chick called yesterday in tears- she had just gotten a message that one her transgender friends had been beaten so badly she was in the hospital- face swollen, broken leg, crushed ribs, much blood and many many many stitches. This was not done in a small town with narrow minds, but a large metropolitan city.
All because she was given a male body at birth and chose to try to be true to herself by becoming the female she was meant to be. You may not agree with this although if you like we can link you to studies showing that there are different chromosones etc that make someone this way- again they are BORN, not made, not a choice, not because of their childhood or anything else- they are BORN THAT WAY, but I don't see how anyone could possibly think this is okay.
I am NOT saying Gretchen would think this is okay, I think she'd be horrified, but what I am hoping is that she and others like her might begin to understand that trying to shield our children from certain people makes those people WRONG and causes those children to grow up with fear and hatred and while I'm sure it won't be the case with her children, the evil people who would do this to someone, regardless of the circumstances were raised to be intolerant- and quite possibly by people who thought they were doing the right thing trying to protect their kids from those who are different and they just took it further than most would.
Kyra was all set to do an angry post- she knows it is not the answer but she was hurting so badly and so sickened by what had happened that it was instinctive- fight back for someone who can't fight for herself. After calming down she realized it would be much more productive to give it time- not to lose the anger, for how can you not be angered and disgusted by such an act, but what she said would be given more consideration and thought if she wasn't ranting and raving. So, this is my post for whatever good it will do.
I commend Jill for having the guts to post the original blog and Gretchen to share her feelings in a thoughtful manner. I'm sorry Gretchen feels attacked (though from what I saw most of the comments were respectful and polite, with a few - very few, comparatively- on the nasty side). I think it is important to talk about touchy issues, otherwise we would never know where the other side was coming from.
And there you have my respectful if not so humble opinion- we'd love to hear yours!