My Religion Was Written By Stephen Trask

I was raised on the teachings of the Christian Bible – I attended Youth Group and went away to Bible Study Camp and memorized scripture – but it has been a long time since I felt like a Christian. It’s not that I’ve disowned the faith, but I consider myself more of a multi-cultural sponge – a tie-dyed shirt soaking up the color. I do teach Culture, after all. I enjoy picking through ancient legends and myths to piece together my perfect Faith. And as a Lesbian, I find myself grasping at any culture or artistic creation that paints me as just a normal member of a working society – not an outcast, sinner, or disease.

And that’s how I found the words that make the most sense to me – The Origin of Love.

Stephen Trask wrote the music and lyrics to a musical entitled “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in 1998. That show was made into a movie in 2001 by the original writer and star John Cameron Mitchell. Together, these two men made magic. The show is a beautifully designed piece of self-discovery and internal dialogue that seems to speak to my soul. Hedwig, a transgender rock-star from East Berlin, sings a song early in the show called “The Origin of Love” and steals the audience’s heart from that point forward.

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head,
So they could watch all around them
As they talked, while they read.
And they never knew nothing of Love.
It was before the Origin of Love.
The Origin of Love.

Big Rolling Kegs

And there was three sexes then:
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
They called the Children of the Sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Was the Children of the Earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the Children of the Moon
Was like a fork stuck on a spoon.
They was part Sun, part Earth,
Part Daughter, part Son.
The Origin of Love

Zeus Said No

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance.
And Thor said,
‘I’m gonna kill ’em all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants.’
But Zeus said, ‘No.
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales,
Dinosaurs into lizards.’
And then he grabbed up some bolts
He let out a laugh,
Said, ‘I’ll split them right down the middle,
Gonna cut ’em right up in half.’
And the storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire.

And then fire
Shot down from the sky in bolts,
Like shining blades of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the Children of the Sun
And the Moon
And the Earth.

Scatter Us Away

And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up to a hole,
Pulled it around to our belly
To remind us the price we paid.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm,
To blow a hurricane.
To scatter us away.
The flood of wind and rain.
The sea of tidal waves.
To wash us all away.
And if we don’t behave,
They’ll cut us down again.
We’ll be hoppin’ round on one foot,
And looking through one eye.

Deny Me and Be Doomed

Last time I saw you,
We’d just split in two.
You was looking at me,
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar
I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face,
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.

That’s the pain
That cuts a straight line
Down through the heart,
We called it Love.

We wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We was making Love,
Making Love.
It was a cold dark evening
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures.
It’s the story of
The Origin of Love.

That’s the Origin of Love.

Origin of Love

Hedwig then says, “It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What would this person look like? And were we really separated forcibly? Or did he just run off with the good stuff?”

Beautiful.

My Fear Landscape

* * * *

10/2/2014, 7:21 PM: It is Back-to-School Night. I sit nervously in my classroom waiting for the Parents to be dismissed from the PTA meeting downstairs and sent to their child’s Homeroom. I have set up my PowerPoint on the SmartBoard, complete with colorful WordArt and exciting animations. I have my sign-in sheet ready by the door and my handouts copied and stacked. In a last-minute fit of nerves I get up to straighten the rows of desks for the 5th time. I  glance at the clock above the door. 7:23 PM. The Parents should be coming up the stairs soon, schedules in hand, ready to follow in the footsteps of their sons and daughters in a fast-forwarded version of a regular school day. I shake the anxiety out of my hands and take a sip of water.

This is my 9th year as a teacher and I usually look forward to Back-to-School Night. I certainly was a bit nervous that first year, but I generally enjoy meeting the Parents and telling them about my class and my methods. Not this year. This year, everything changed. This year is different because just 4 weeks ago, on the first day of the 2014-2015 school year, I did something I have never done….

* * * *

9/3/2014, 8:48 AM: The First Day of School is always stuffed with paperwork and announcements and handouts and scheduling errors and name-learning and a small bit of chaos, but in between all of that, my introductions in each class usually go like this: “Welcome to the 7th Grade! I am Mrs. Chappell and I will be your Homeroom Teacher for the entire year!….This is my 9th year here at NJMS……I grew up in Southern California, but moved here to New Jersey for College….I LOVE History and even though I know some of you may not realize it, there is something interesting in History for EVERYONE, since History is alive in everything!” I usually stay away from my personal life. Where other teachers may say something like, “I have 2 kids your age,” or “I have a newborn daughter,” or “I just got married so my last name is a little new to me,” I usually just skip it. But not this year. This year I have decided to lay it out there, right from the get-go. It is September 3, the First Day of School and I am no longer going to teach from the closet.

I decided before today that I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. I don’t want it to appear to my students like I am announcing something. I also don’t want to be accused of turning class time into my personal memoir time. I keep it simple: “I am married,” I say. “My Wife and I legally married in the State of NJ last November, just a month after Gay Marriage was legalized here.” And then I move on. I do sense a slight change in attention from my students. Some eyes dart around as if to ask others, “Did she just say what I think she said?” My racing heart-beat slows as I continue talking about my classroom. “I have a reputation at this school for running a pretty ‘tight ship’ – and that is very true. But I also am known to be a big goof-ball. I like to make class fun for you just much as I like it to be fun for me! Here’s my promise to you – you follow the simple rules and expectations that have been set out for this class each and every day, and you will see how exciting 42 minutes of History class can really be!”

As the day goes on, I get more and more comfortable with the change I have made to my introductions. Surprisingly, the students just seem to soak it in like they do everything else on the First Day. The first questions from students don’t appear until my 8th Grade Honors Class late in the day. Many of these students had me last year and therefore this new information seems to have a deeper shock value with them. When the hand goes up, right after I mention Gay Marriage, I am hesitant to call on the student. I don’t know exactly what I fear, but there is definitely fear at that moment. I take a quick breath and nod to her. She puts her hand down and asks, “How come Gay Marriage isn’t legal everywhere?”

I breathe.

* * * *

10/2/2014, 7:26 PM: Over the course of the last few weeks, I have gotten more questions from students about my Wife. Just normal stuff, really, like, “What does she do?” and “How long have you been together?” I braced myself for emails from Parents in the days following my “announcement”, but none came.

Yet here I am, just moments away from seeing them all face-to-face. What if they have been waiting for tonight? What if they have formed a Coalition Against That Lesbian Teacher and have held secret meetings? What if this is the moment they’ve waited for to pounce? I take another sip of water.

Glance at the clock. 7:27 PM.

More water. Straighten the desks. 7:28 PM.

Replace the pen by the sign-in sheet in case it ran out of ink in the last few minutes.

Sip of water. Have to pee. No time. 7:29 PM.

Re-stack the handouts. Check the PowerPoint. Did I forget anything? No time. 7:30 PM.

What is keeping them? Is the PTA meeting running late? Is there a fire? Maybe tonight was cancelled and I never got the news. Maybe I should go home. Yes, maybe that is best. 7:31 PM.

It definitely must have been cancelled. 7:32 PM.

But then I hear the sounds and voices in the stairwells and the doors are opening and the Parents are pouring into the halls. Just like that, the night is underway.

I stand at the door to my classroom, introducing myself and shaking the hands of each and every parent that comes to my room. I gesture toward the sign-in sheet and kindly ask each one of them to take a handout. Some parents have questions about their son or daughter’s schedule or how tonight works. I explain that they will spend 7 minutes in each class, Periods 1-8, and  will have about 2 minutes in between each one. The whole thing usually lasts until around 8:45 PM.

By 7:37 PM, our Vice Principal is on the Loud Speakers: “At this time, all Parents should be in their child’s First Period Class.” That is my cue to begin.

I go through my entire spiel: Curriculum, Textbook, Homework Policy, and Contacting Me. After all these years, I have it down to a science, and am usually just finishing up with “If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me since we have such limited time tonight,” when our Vice Principal is informing the Parents that they are to now move onto the next class. As I finish up, just on-time, I start to wonder why I worried in the first place. What was I afraid of? There’s not even time tonight to organize a mob of the CATLT. I start to relax.

And then it comes. Despite the fact that the transition period to the next class had been announced, one Parent speaks up. “My kid told me you’re Gay.” Ice shoots through my veins. I am not sure if it is anger, fear, anxiety, or shame. I reply with, “Yes, that is accurate.” The parent responds: “I’d appreciate it if you’d stick to teaching History and leave the Gay Stuff out of the classroom.”

Now I know that ice I feel is anger.

I pause for just a moment to steel myself for what may come next. I look directly at the Parent when I speak. “As a Public School Teacher in New Jersey, I have a strict Curriculum to follow. Each and every week, I submit detailed plans to my Supervisor, complete with Core Curriculum Content Standards and 21st Century Skill Objectives. My Supervisor drops into my class periodically to check that these plans are being followed and keeps records of such visits to submit to the State. I can assure you, I indeed ‘stick to teaching History’ in this classroom. However, as a Social Studies teacher, I often incorporate Current Events, Political News, and Election Discussions into my lessons, all part of my Curriculum. As a result, some of the ‘Gay Stuff’ you refer to may find its way into my classroom. If you have a problem with that, perhaps you should consider Home or Private School.”

And then all Hell breaks loose.

* * * *

This is My Fear Landscape.

* *

New Classroom Rules

This is so perfect! Only a teacher that respects herself and her students enough to care about classroom management and teaching self-sufficiency could write such hilarity…and only a teacher with those qualities could appreciate such a post! 🙂

Little Miss Perfect

1. Enter the room and socialize at your leisure. The daily “warm-up” is just a suggestion that is not in any way intended to promote the acquisition of grammar skills over necessary social interactions.

2. Every time you enter the room, please be sure to ask me if we’re watching a movie. I may have neglected to plan a movie, and will quickly be reminded that a feature-length film, however loosely connected to the curriculum, will be both more entertaining and more instructive than whatever lesson I had originally planned.

3. Sit wherever you want. If you feel like sitting. Standing up is good, too, or sitting on top of the chair and rocking in it. It’s important for those of you who are kinesthetic learners to feel comfortable.

4. Please don’t put your name on any papers that you turn in, especially on multiple choice quizzes. I enjoy challenging…

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The Gays vs. The Grammys.

*untitled*

A friend from New York City posted the following status update this morning, “If only people would have as much courage to stand up to their enemies as vigorously as they try to rip apart their allies.” My feelings toward the social media commentary (from a particular segment of the population), regarding last night’s Grammy Awards, had been perfectly captured.

Ah, award shows. A time-honored tradition that I had pretty much written off once the music industry segued from recognizing the innovative in favor of the commercial (that’s an article for another day). With that said, I had very little interest in any aspect of the 2014 Grammy Awards until I came across a blurb about a scheduled performance of Macklemore’s marriage equality anthem, “Same Love.” The rendition was also set to feature the track’s collaborators, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert, as well as Madonna and Queen Latifah (the latter would be the…

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Cat’s Outta the Bag

So it happened. Without even thinking about it…it happened.

I have several students (the “Groupie” kind of kids that a teacher tends to collect year to year that hang around after school and come visit more often than necessary) that have become quite persistent in uncovering my personal relationship. They have become fixated on my “significant other”, clearly set on my admission of being a Lesbian. They have asked, “So what is your spouse like?” or “Can you tell us about who you married?” I am no fool – I knew where they were going with their questions. But the truth is, my life is still mine to protect. Never to hide. Just to protect. I have always said that if a student ever came straight out and asked me if I had a Wife, I’d never lie. But of course, these students haven’t been that bold.

Today after school and after tutoring, the same Groupies showed up to chat as I packed up my things. On the wall next to my desk, I have a picture of me at my wedding with all of the teachers from school that came that night. It’s an impressive picture, with close to 30 coworkers! The girls were pointing and giggling at the sight of their teachers dressed so royally, and one asked, “So where’s your husband in this picture?” Without skipping a beat, my reply was, “I don’t have a husband.” How funny it was that it didn’t even phase me. How interesting it was that I felt no hot nervousness on my face. I did not hold my breath. I didn’t regret it. In a way, I felt relief. Relief that the first droplet of water has now been released, and perhaps what can now follow is the rest of the river.

It took a moment for the girls to register what I said. Then, one by one, they turned to me, shocked looks on their faces, displaying their realization. Perhaps they never thought I’d be so nonchalant with my “big reveal”. Perhaps they expected this secret that they think I’ve guarded to be harder to liberate. But to me it never was a secret – just a piece of my life I kept protected.

Of course what followed were dozens of questions about my Wife, my life and my past. I told them that, as I’ve explained to them before, I’d rather not discuss my personal relationship in such detail. However, I promised that at some point, I’d answer their questions.

Maybe in the near future, one of the discussion points of our developing club “Unity Link” can focus on LGBTQ issues and I can open up about my experiences. I don’t know yet. But I am very proud of this first drop.

Now brace yourself for the river.

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Tolerance, Acceptance and UNITY

I took the first steps this week to create an on-campus club similar to the nationally recognized “Gay-Straight Alliance”!

I started by emailing my school Principal, with the basic idea. He responded back to set up a meeting for the following afternoon. To the meeting, I brought a few of the ideas that I had for a mission statement and how to advertise the new club to the students.

My biggest fear with the creation of a club like this is that it will turn into a source of embarrassment. I would never want the members of the club to feel like they had to defend their involvement against harassment at school. I would never want the club’s purpose to become counter-productive. My principal had the same concerns. We had a very productive “brain-storming” session about how to best move forward with the idea and came up with something that I am so proud of!

We decided that it would not be best to create an official “Gay-Straight Alliance” at the Middle School level. We realized that it would be difficult to create the safe environment that we are hoping for, without a prior track-record of trustworthy members and/or advisors. We chose instead to move forward with a “social club”, promoting it as an environment encouraging acceptance and tolerance. I named the club “Unity Link” and drafted a Mission Statement to present to our Guidance Counselors and to our Board of Education.

Mission: Unity Link is an extra-curricular club and social organization that connects students to each other and to the New Jersey Middle School Faculty through peer support, leadership development and discussion. The purpose of Unity Link is to provide a safe environment for students to form alliances and inter-personal relationships that can help strengthen individual confidence. Unity Link will also create a platform to combat teasing, discrimination, harassment, and bullying school-wide. A secondary benefit of the organization is to provide a direct “link” from this alliance to the NJMS Faculty Advisor(s) of the club.

 Why Unity Link is needed: A 2013 survey of Bullying in the United States indicated that one in four kids are bullied on a regular basis. The same survey showed that about 77% of all students reported some kind of verbal bullying. Out of that 77%, 14% have a severe reaction to the abuse, leading to poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.* Student polls have indicated that when an organization like Unity Link is present on campus, students feel safer and more supported. **

The response to the Mission Statement was incredible. The Guidance Counselors on-campus seem very excited about this and so am I. We are still awaiting Board approval, but I am very happy that this first step went so smoothly. Hopefully, in just a few weeks, I will be having my first meeting!

*BullyingStatistics.org, **GSANetwork.org

13 Reasons Why Not Fitting in as a Kid Makes You an Awesome Adult

I came across a BuzzFeed article by the same title a few days ago. I was pretty intrigued and quite curious as to what the BuzzFeed cohorts dug up to share with the world. The content of the article, however, was…underwhelming, to say the least. I decided to thieve the title and rewrite the content, attempting to live up to the potential to which it lended itself. I was, after all, one of those misfit kids. Sometimes realizing it all meant something, can really mean something.

1. You learn independence. Being a bit odd often meant hanging out by myself. Sure, I found my niche eventually, but many of my early memories involve eating lunch alone and playing with a jumprope at recess. I learned to rely only on me. And I realize now that a little independence was the healthiest lesson of my childhood.

2. You learn humility. Maybe knowing I wasn’t perfect wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Perhaps a little dose of humble pie is best at a young age, when you still have time to learn and grow.

3. You toughen up. I have plenty of coworkers and acquaintances now as an adult that were clearly the “popular type” and I am constantly witnessing their inability to cope with certain adversity. I am not saying that all Homecoming-Queen-Teens make Cry-Me-A-River-Adults, but it certainly seems to be a “popular” side-effect.

4. You get a sense of humor. It’s not true for everyone, but for many of us misfits, our childhood woes have given us a platform for an actual personality.

5. You get inspired. So many popular artists today tell their stories about being an outcast. Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Howard Stern, Michael Phelps, and Eva Mendez have all shared stories about overcoming bullying and teasing as kids. Each of them got inspired in their own ways to grow into what the world sees today.

6. You can look back and not feel like such a perfect little douche. I am now pretty proud of my oddities as a kid. Perfect-kid-type-stories stick out like a sore thumb in the adult world. No one wants to hear about a Princess and a Pea. Sorry ’bout it.

7. You learn to observe. Like I said, I spent a lot of time alone. I got to take in the world around me and learn from what I saw.

8. You find an inner voice. Self-reflection is, unfortunately, a practice that is not as common as it should be. Something about being an outcast gave me a dialogue about myself, a way to cope with what was happening around me. That inner voice has followed me throughout my entire life, molding the adult I grew into and allowing me to adapt and grow over time.

9. You learn kindness. Every bullied kid remembers the times that kindness, no matter how infrequently or how minor, was shown to them. Sometimes that shining light is enough to outshine the darkest situations. You learn to appreciate what the smallest acts of kindness can do, and pass it on as you grow older.

10. You realize that the world isn’t always a nice place. As sad as it is, this was another important lesson I learned as a kid. Sometimes the “Movie Theatre Reality” or the “Sitcom Point-of-View” is thrust upon us so blindly as kids that we think it’s all true. My time crying behind the soccer net on the playground as I endured the cruel words from classmates brought me face-to-face with the real world and its ugly side. Upsetting, perhaps – but I’m sure glad I learned that early on. The strength I took away from it got me through the rest of my youth.

11. You write. Or create. Or explore. You do what you need to do to survive. I was a writer. I have kept a journal since I was in 5th Grade. My younger sister (or my Mom, rather) gave me a little lock-and-key diary for my birthday and I went to town on that thing. When that one ran out, I got a new one. And a new one. Now, at 30 years old, I have between 10 and 15 notebooks in a box in one of my closets. Every once in a while I pull one out and read a bit, just to get a sense of my childhood mind, and that inner dialogue with which I had gotten so in touch. I am determined to keep that connection to the kid version of me so that I never forget the toughest times.

12. You gain confidence. It may seem a little oxymoronic, but confidence really is one of the greatest treasures of my childhood. By being left out, picked last, laughed at, ignored and teased I was stripped down to my bare bones. I was forced to steel myself and be confident with what I had – or fail.

That was it.

Let it break me.

Or let is make me.

And so I chose.

 

And finally….

13. You could grow up to become Jinkx Monsoon. Super-Star Comedienne, Confident Beauty, Wise Soul and Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5. She is everything an awkward kid (boy or girl) could hope to become and she has given us such an amazing mantra: Water off a duck’s back. Because no matter what comes at us, we just need to let it fall off of us like “Water off a duck’s back.”

Jerick Hoffer in Spring Awakening at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle. Jinkx Monsoon serving Marilyn realness.

Jerick Hoffer in Spring Awakening at the Balagan Theatre in Seattle. Jinkx Monsoon serving Marilyn realness.

Top 10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong*

1. It’s Not Natural

Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Other People Will Be Gay

Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. It Will Lead To Other Crazy Behavior

Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Marraige Isn’t Open To Change

Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all. Women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. The Sanctity of Marriage Will Be Broken

Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour-just-for-fun and Kim Kardashian’s 72-day-highly-profitable marriage would be destroyed.

6. Marriage Should Produce Children

Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Gay Parents = Gay Kids

Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. It Is Not Supported By Religion

Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

9. A Male And Female Role Model Is Required

Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressively forbid single parents to raise children.

 10. It Will Change the Foundation Of Society

Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. We could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the downfall economy, or longer life spans.

*Taken from TheOtherTeam.com

Gay Marriage

A Resolution for the Real World of Twenty-Fourteen

I am usually not a believer in New Years’ Resolutions. It’s way too common for someone to set a goal January first, and forget about it by January thirty-first. It’s also a bit irritating that one can hope to wipe away the past years’ laziness with the turn of a new one. But as the clock ticks down to midnight on Twenty-Thirteen, I find myself setting one very honest, very serious goal.

A few weeks ago, one of my 7th Grade students came to me and asked if she could talk privately. I have acted as a kind of mentor to her for the last year or so. She had some major problems at home and her attitude towards elders and authority figures landed her in a lot of trouble as a 6th Grader. Last year, she ended up repeating Grade 6 – that was when I got involved. She began coming to me for extra help with homework, tests, projects, etc. She also began seeking advice from me about family relationships and some of her friendships. So, when she said she needed to speak with me, it didn’t alarm me – but I also wasn’t at all prepared for this particular conversation.

I knew something was up when she began to appear nervous. This girl does not get nervous. She is confident and strong – never nervous. I asked her if she’d rather write down what she needed to tell me and she nodded. She quickly scribbled a note on a post-it and handed it back to me. The note read, “I am kinda dating a girl.”

Yikes.

I found myself in a situation that I both feared and desired. I feared it because of the many ways this conversation could go South – or how my part of it could be misconstrued. I feared it because of the paranoia that she’d find out about me. But I desired it because this was why I became a teacher. This was what I wanted – to help kids. To be there for them when no one else seemed to be. To be the mentor and elder that they could trust.

She expressed her own fears to me – that she didn’t think she was gay and that she didn’t want people to call her “a lesbian”. I did my best to lend her my thoughts. It went something like this:

“I don’t exactly have a traditional view on sexual orientation and the labels that go along with it. To me, nobody and can label  you unless you give them permission to do so. If you do not consider yourself gay, then you’re not. However, perhaps you should worry less about the label and more about finding whatever it is that makes you happy. Your generation seems to be much more open about exploring gender identity and sexual orientation than previous generations. All that means is that perhaps you don’t know what makes you happy just yet – and that’s perfectly OK. I tend to look at humans like atoms – like in Chemistry Class. Atoms want to find others to bond with, to be happy. When they bond with another atoms, it’s because they have found balance. Maybe humans are the same. We bounce around, discovering the world around us until we find the atom that perfectly balances us. To me, the balance is all that matters – not sex or gender or labels.”

By the end of the conversation, I felt liberated. I was so proud of the fact that I was able to help her with that particular struggle. She thanked me for my help and left saying that she felt better about the whole situation. I figured that was the end of it. I was very wrong.

Later that week, that same student showed up with three more friends that had questions about their own struggles with identity. I sat there realizing that these 4 students are just the tip of the iceberg. I work in a school of 925 pre-teen adolescents. They have questions. They have fears. They have pain. There is a void in my school, and likely thousands across the country, where a safe place should be – a club or group of some kind to give these students a place to talk.

That is my goal. My New Years’ Resolution.

I did some research and found an organization called the “Gay-Straight Alliance”. To be honest, I can’t believe I didn’t get on this sooner. I feel ashamed that I have been a Lesbian Teacher for 8 years and am just now getting serious about something like this. If it weren’t for that particular conversation with that one student, I am not sure I ever would have gotten serious about it. But now I am. I am going to create a Gay-Straight Alliance Club.

Perhaps somewhere through the creation of this club, I can find a way to come out to my students. Perhaps by giving them a safe place to talk and discover, I will see that the best place for me isn’t in the closet.

Why gay and trans rights really are equivalent issues

Thank you!

A Feminist Challenging Transphobia

I have a foot in two worlds, and this gives me unique insight into the connections and crossovers between the experiences of the trans and LGB communities, which I wanted to reflect on in this blog.

We don’t fully know what makes people gay or trans, but the science is suggestive that both could be manifestations of hormonal fluctuations while we’re “cooking” in utero – so I have come to think of gay and trans people as cakes and cookies – lots of the same ingredients, some different. I tend to think we have more in common than not, and that we are stronger together as an inclusive queer community.

I have been trying to get my head round the odd estrangement between gay and trans communities ever since a “friend” of mine linked to an article about why there should be no “T” in “LGB(T)”. I refuse to give…

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