Sunday, June 12, 2016

Defying gravity

Andrew Campbell always encourages me to think about things, no less this time an utterance I boldly share from his Facebook timeline.
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Prediction: Your TL will be full of reaction to the horror of the shooting in #Orlando insisting things must change. Nothing will change
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Andrew, you're wrong. 
And you have to be wrong.
No, we're not going to get a rational approach to gun ownership in the US, no we're not going to remember that personal choice in religion stops at the end of your pew or prayer mat, or that engaging in political hate is any better than any kind of hate.
But I'll give you one change, Andrew.
I'm moving "gay" from the last in the list of descriptors to the first.  I always thought that being a learner, a teacher, a mathematician, a motorcyclist, a Canadian, an auxiliary Constable came before defining myself by who I chose to love.
But these fifty people were killed because of exactly that.  Now,  they were likely not going to be mistaken for living the kind of "gay" life that I enjoy ... They were enjoying what most people associate with being gay and where I utterly fail ...  Loud and expressive, dancing to music I've never cared for, worrying what they wore, gossiping about celebrity.  They were likely fabulous -  the gays the media celebrate, not the quiet, invisible gay that disappear into the heterosexual majority. But they were also learners, had jobs, helped others, had people care about them, and cared about others. But being gay was enough to kill them.
So I'm putting gay first.  And I'm going to work on fabulous. We lost fifty lives full of fabulous and I'm going to do my best to make it up to them, and for them.  I was once told by an administrator to keep my gay under wraps at school, that it was only for my personal expression on the weekend (like all my heterosexual colleagues do).  But in accepting that request, I did a disservice to my students and my community, I failed as a learner and teacher. By not clearly expressing who I am, I allow everyone off the hook...  They don't have to confront their homophobia, their fears, their assumptions and their prejudices.
This is career limiting and this puts me in peril in half of the countries of the world; this means people judge my statements and my actions on anything through a pink lens. So be it. 
You can choose your religion, you can choose your political ideology, you can choose what you say or do, but baby, I was born this way.