Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On being outed.

It has happened.

I had no control over it.

My friend was at a Bible Study (wait, did I actually just capitalize bible?). People were leaving, the night was nearing the end. But the discussion was apparently just finally getting interesting. And somehow, as my friend often does, she managed to bring up the many sins of the church to which she is so committed.

And the sin that was on her mind was the sins made against the gays.

And, for the sake of her argument I was outed. People cried - particularly those who know me. And she was ok with it; she felt as though those around her, whom would deny me the right to do the things I love (like spend time with children, spend time with men, spend time with humanity), were finally slapped in the face. They knew of somebody that was gay, and was hurt by their prejudice.

She told me the following day that she had outed me.

And I liked it.

There has been no fallout thus far. I don't know what to anticipate, but I have no concerns. This is a moment that I have feared for far too long, and now that it is just starting to arrive - now that I am being shoved over the cliff side into that precipice of the unknown - I am anticipating salvation.

And I crave it.

And I know that good will come out of it. Because I have faith in humanity, in my friends, and the people that surround me. And though I am sometimes disappointed, I am finding my faith is very rarely misplaced.

Monday, March 28, 2011

“I don’t have a sexuality. I don’t feel like I’m female or male. I don’t belong to the gay or straight society, if there is such a thing. I feel like I’m capable of falling in love with other people. I’m not saying I’m bisexual, I’m just sexual!” -Elly Jackson

What a lovely sentiment. Not something I can relate to, but something I wish more people would accept as a social philosophy of sexuality.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Do not treat life as a way to pass the time until you die."

- Anonymous

Monday, March 21, 2011

Take it all in stride...

My mom has told me that I have to tell my brother I am gay before I move to the coast. Which I totally understand.

She also wants me to tell me grandmother. Which I totally understand.

And I don't really have any concern over telling either of them, really.

She is urging me to, so that she feels as though she is free to talk about me with her friends as a proud mother - something she wants to do, but refuses to do until the rest of my family knows. Which I totally understand.

When I initially had this discussion with her, I felt like she was forcing me to do something that I don't really want to do. I don't agree with the philosophy of 'coming out', as I have stated before. And I don't really want to tell my brother - though he has changed considerably over the past couple months and our friendship has improved drastically.

And then I thought it through again.

My mom wants me to confirm to my brother and grandmother that I am gay so that she can talk about me with pride.

I am a very fortunate young man.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

School sucks.

"The answer would be no." - Gerald Casey, Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board Superintendent of Education.

When asked if a Gay Straight Alliance would be permitted in their school, he responded that 'the answer would be no.'

Having finished high school just years before GSAs became relatively common, I never had the opportunity to benefit from them. Indeed, even with them in place I do not think that many students of sexual minorities take advantage of the opportunity that is allowed to them - and the valuable resources that GSAs have access to. But, and this is a massive but, they remain an important fixture of high school cultures in fighting social homophobia in school cultures - in classrooms, changerooms, hallways; among teachers, students, and visitors. They make it clear that sexual minorities matter. And they provide a potential safe place in a world without safe places - the only of its kind available.

So, when a school board would deny this safety to some of its students, one must ask upon which educational basis they are doing so. And the obvious answer is that it isn't based on any educational philosophy, as most modern ones recognize the importance of safe spaces in schools for people who self-identify as a minority. Unfortunately, it is upon the basis of religion that Catholic sexual minorities, including those individuals who are not catholic, are forced to remain in the closet. Not that I would suggest Catholics support hatred in any way (I think that many are very good at fighting it as best they can), but I would suggest that they are very slow at adopting the gay rights bandwagon.

Xtra.com, a Canadian Gay News Website, recently surveyed all of the Catholic School Districts in Ontario and asked them if they supported or had operating in their schools a GSA. None of them could confirm the existence of any.


In Corpus Christi, Texas, at Flour Bluff Intermediate School, all school clubs have been discontinued. So that a GSA could not be started. Which just makes sense, right? I mean, rather than overcome our discriminations and prejudices, we should make sure that everybody is treated fairly (and that, once again the gays get blamed for the cancellation of much beloved programs).

Schools need to become aware of how they are producing a culture of hatred and, at my most possibly kind, indifference. Failing to include sexual minorities in a school culture ill-prepares students for a changing world, and can very negatively affect the psycho-social development of those who are sexual minorities. Which is something that the 'gay' community is already, and always has been, dealing with. Expecting children and young adults to hide this part of their being ruins their sense of self, self-confidence, and self-respect - it contributes to violent behaviour, sexual promiscuity, and a general lack of healthy decision making in the community.

It is dangerous. And it fails our students.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reflections on Majdanek

It is odd that a historian-in-training has not yet completed his first viewing of Band of Brothers. But I am getting close. A lot of credit is owed to those who were a part of the production of this mini-series.

Tonight I watched the 9th Episode in the Mini-Series. 'Why We Fight'.

It includes the scene in which Easy Company discovers a Concentration Camp.

After watching the episode, I began talking about it with a friend of mine. And I had to hold back tears. Because what was shown was powerful, and painful to view. As it should be - and hopefully is for everybody. But, when we started talking about Auschwitz-Birkenau, and we started talking about Majdanek, and the feeling of walking through the camps and knowing where you are, recognizing your location in a photo taken 60 years ago by a journalist documenting the extermination of people.

As cattle.

Individuals treated as cattle and left to die as though they are worth less than over-ripe cabbage in a flooded field. Only worth death, but just barely worth that.

When I was on my tour of Germany and Poland, and going through death-camps, I was given a 'person' whose story I was to follow from day-to-day. My person was named Ruth. She was Polish. Jewish. 14-years old when the war started in 1939; a dedicated piano player who loved to go to the library. She had two brothers, both younger. Lived in a house with her parents and grandparents (on her mother's side). In 1941, at the age of 15, she was taken to Majdanek. She survived the first selection, and the second, and the third. Her mother and grandmother did not. Her father, grandfather and brothers were separated long before - and she didn't know their fate (none of them survived the camps, only the father made it past the railway). On the fourth selection, without hope and having been defeated long before by the death and disease and death and disease and harassment and death that surrounded her, she failed. She was killed in late 1941 - aged 16.

My brother had a completely different story, of a boy from Yugoslavia. Jewish. 7 years old. 1943 - put into a train cart. Selected for extermination. Killed, 1943. 7 Years old.

There were 22 individuals on the tour with us. 24 different stories dangling around our necks as we walked through fields of rapidly deteriorating barracks that once housed hundreds of people. Tiny buildings, tiny beds. The ruts where the water was the run were still there. In some places you could still get a sense of how human traffic moved from day to day - weakly, but with purpose. To survive to the next meal.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

That boy...

There is this boy in my life.

He is a nice boy. And he likes boys. And I like boys.

And this boy really likes me. So he talks to me, as much as possible. About his life. And, admittedly, his life doesn't interest me -

- because he makes it seem very dramatic, as though the world is against him, as though his life is the only one in the world that sucks. And yet, even with all of his complaints and self-hatred (oh my, his self-hatred!), he does nothing to deal with it. He has no happiness or joy, and is dealing with some serious depression regularly.

It is as though coming out of the closet confirmed for him the reality that he is a lesser creation. And he can't ever allow himself to forget that he is gay, or that he is an important person, or that he has a right to allow himself to feel good. Beautiful. Worthy to be loved by real love.

I have things I can offer this boy, but I can't. His attitude, and desperation to get my attention and pity and maybe my affection, drives me away. I want to remove him from my life because the vibes he sends also pushes other men away - in the same way that it pushes me away. And yet he has managed to have some success; I won't leave him entirely because he concerns me. But I won't reach out and truly help him feel good about himself either - for fear that it may lead him to think that I want to spend life with him (he has started talking about moving to Vancouver). But he is the reason that I need to find myself more gay friends.

Because I need to find other gay people in town that I can hang out with.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Grasslands and Val Marie wants me back.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear future home.

Dear future home.

You may not have been informed yet, but you and I will be together in only a matter of months. I hope you're ready for me, and I hope that I am ready for you.

I hope you can provide me with all the academic opportunities that I am seeking, and all of the social ones as well. I hope you can take me hiking up mountains occasionally (I am bringing my tent and backpack), or down to beaches (I am buying a new swimsuit). I hope you can make me love the rain as much as I love the snow. I hope you can give me a space where I will feel completely safe and yet always on my toes in the 'big city', and that maybe - just maybe - you'll be able to place somebody special in my life. I hope your library is large and vast, and I hope your archives will provide me with knowledge that I want to know.

Simon Fraser University. Vancouver, Vancouver. I'll see you soon.