The Fabulous Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT 2014

First, a HUGE shout out to the folks at The Day Against Homophobia – you can find them HERE.

Another HUGE shout out to the organizers of the Annual Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia – this was a ginormous undertaking and you can find them HERE.

As a participant I’ll be giving away the winner’s choice of EITHER Santa Claus is Coming (available from eXtasy Books), OR the sequel (tentatively called) Toy Testing in Santa’s Workshop (slated to come from eXtasy in late July – hot off the presses to the winner – blurb to come this week!) To win, you must comment on today’s post HERE on the blog. (There are two more planned posts this week – if my guest posters get off their heineies -coff, AUBRY,coff- and send me stuff!) Winners will be chosen on the 24th from comments on today’s  post, though feel free to comment on anything related that finds its way onto my blog between now and then.)

I generally approach this Hop as a teacher – now a former teacher – and I believe with all my heart that the best and surest way we will ever eradicate both homophobia and transphobia is by educating our kids. In the past I’ve written about my students. This year I’m going to let parent speak for me. My very dear friend has a son who is roughly the size of a mountain, and who is gay. He’s grown now, and I HOPE living a fabulous life with people who love and accept him as he is, but high school for him? Not such a wonderful place. Here’s one family’s experience – it has a happy ending, in the “Shakespeare” definition of happy endings: No one died. But, God. We should want so much more than that for our kids.

My son is gay.

 

And I don’t mean happy. He’s seldom happy, but I think that’s standard issue for young people today.

 

In high school it was worse. My son is extremely strong-willed. He’s never been afraid to tell anyone the truth, and that included his sexual orientation. And high school kids are bastards on the whole. They will say or do anything, no matter how heinous, to hurt the kids who are different.

 

So my son became a target.

 

Now, my son isn’t a small guy. In the 8th grade, he could have picked me up and set me on the kitchen counter. By his freshman year he was 6’1″ and pushing 300 lbs.

 

You might think this would work in his favor, but it didn’t. It made his teachers less willing to help him.

 

“He’s a big boy,” they would say.

“He can take care of himself,” they would say.

 

Until he actually DID defend himself.

 

Then all I heard was, “He can’t fight in school; we’ll expel him.”

 

This went on for a couple of school years. The first half of the year, he was bullied because “he could take care of himself”.

 

We’d have meetings.

 

Then, the second half of the year, he’d defend himself.

 

And we’d have more meetings. Suspensions. Threats of expulsion.

 

By his junior year I was fed up. I told his Vice Principal that either they would protect my son, or he would protect himself and I would find a lawyer willing to destroy a school district.

 

All this helped. For a couple of months. Then it started back up.

 

“The teachers don’t have time to follow your son around.”

“If they didn’t see it, they can’t do anything about it.”

“We can’t be everywhere.”

“Can’t he deal with this himself?”

 

Things came to a head halfway through his junior year. We got a call from the school. My son had been to the school counselor, talking about suicide.

 

I guess that’s the magic word in a public school.

 

It’s okay when a student gets relentlessly picked on, teased, and bullied. That’s just “part of being a teen these days”. But a suicide threat? Oh, heaven forbid! That kind of thing could bring bad press to a school district.

 

Now everyone wanted to get involved, but by that point nothing they could do could help my son be comfortable or happy at that school.

 

So, he packed up his possessions and moved to Kentucky, thinking that with a new school and a new start, he could get through.

 

Not a chance.

 

As I mentioned earlier, kids can be bastards. And school officials often don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect them personally.

 

I thank God often that my son chose to drop out of high school and get his GED rather than commit suicide, but I find it so sad that it had to come to that. That our children can’t be kept safe in the schools that we all pay for, even as we’re told that “they are doing all they can”. [VJ’s addition: Yes. All they can. While Administration talks and talks and produces, in another Shakespeare moment, “sound and fury, signifying NOTHING” for these desperate kids.] I’m here to tell you that they aren’t. There are teachers who care, but they seem to be getting fewer and farther between by the year. [VJ’s addition: Yeah, it’s incredibly demoralizing to have your hands utterly tied in the face of the bullying we see but are allowed to do nothing but give warnings and write referrals that are never acted on…]

 

My son is happier these days, but his high school years still effect many things in his life.

 

Work.

Friends.

College.

 

He is always waiting for the next bully to show up, the next person to yell “fag”, or “homo”, or worse. Because it’s inevitable. Because so many parents can’t be bothered to teach their kids right ffrom wrong, and their kids grow up to be just as big of bastards as adults.

 

My son is a high school drop out, but he’s ALIVE, and working toward happiness and learning to deal with life as it comes.

Advertisements

And the Winner IS!

hop badge 2013Going to be announced tomorrow! Yes, I’ve sort of fallen down on the job of keeping up with comments, etc. for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, so I’m going to choose my winner bright and early tomorrow morning and I’ll post the winner at 6 AM.

The prize?

  • A cool duct tape “violet” pen & VJ Summers mini-notebook
  • Awesome swag from my awesome publisher, Ellora’s Cave
  • A copy of Violet Summers’ out-of-print-never-gonna-be-available-in-this-incarnation-again m/m BDSM wax play story, “Velvet Memories.”

So, leave your comments! I’ll combine the comments from my 5/17 post and the comments from this post, and put them in the random-chaos-generator, and post the winner at the butt-crack of tomorrow morning!

I’m Hopping!

Okay, let me clarify. I’m BLOG hopping. The only time you’ll find me PHYSICALLY hopping is if there’s a spider within touching distance.

hop badge 2013Today I am supremely honored to be a participant in the Hop Against Homophobia… And Transphobia.  I’m in excellent company – almost 200 of us are joining the party this year. I hope you’ll check out their blog posts.

A year ago I posted on this very topic. HERE’s the link. In last year’s post, I talked about my experience in public education – how I’ve seen attitudes slooooowly shift. I also talked about how freaking PROUD I was of my amazing student who used the day as a vehicle to educate her peers. I’m even prouder of this young woman today, as she begins her grown-up life as an out and proud lesbian in the US Army. I’m also terrified for her, because I know the out and proud part is going to make her life more difficult – painfully more difficult – on many levels. But I know, deep in my gut know, that hiding it – or even just not being open about it – would be even more painful for her.

My baby, my beautiful, brave baby, has an irresistible need to celebrate all the wonder and joy in her life. She inspires me.

So, today I’m celebrating her, and all the students who came into my classroom out and proud. The kids who faced their peers with grace and courage. The kids who stood up to the bullies, who took it and used it and didn’t let the fear and ignorance they faced make them bitter and filled with hate. Those kids? Deserve more than a day or a week every year. Those kids deserve to be celebrated every minute of every day. They are heroes.

Today I’m also mourning for those kids who came into my classroom afraid. Those kids – the ones who were out, but beaten down (sometimes literally) by the hate and intolerance surrounding them – they broke my heart then, and they break my heart now. Those kids are living, breathing evidence that we’ve got a long way to go. The only way to make things better for these kids is to shine a bright light on the ignorance and fear (because doesn’t all hate stem from ignorance and fear?) so the world can see how foolish it is – can see how beautiful our children are and can learn to celebrate the wonder and joy that they are.

I hope you’ll join me, and millions of others HERE, at the webpage for the Day Against Homophobia. You’ll learn a lot – including how you can make a difference in our society at large, and in the lives of individual people.

And now, the gift!

duct tape rose penAs part of the Hop, each and every one of the 180 or so blogs participating are offering a prize. Mine is a care package – sort of like one I’d send to my baby in the army. (I didn’t forget, sweetie. I *do* have stuff to send you!) It includes yummy treats, fabulous reading material, and some really cool swag – like this pen, which is hand made by moi.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog with your email included. You don’t have to leave more than your email, but I’d love to hear what you have to say about your experiences with PRIDE and with the Day Against Homophobia!

See How Much Happier She Looks?

I’ve been on “radio silence” for the last couple of weeks – Blissfest was beyond awesome, and I’m gonna Bliss-Out with some posts, but in the process I exacerbated the small tear in my left rotator cuff, and so have spent the last two weeks stoned on painkillers. Love me some Tramadol. For reals. I *have* been checking email periodically, though, which involves me passing the Yahoo News page, and today this caught my eye: Matrix Director Publicly Debuts as a Woman. It’s a fairly innocuous story most notable for the fact that it unhesitatingly refers to the former Larry Wachowski as she. Yay, them!

Check out the photo. Can you believe how much happier she looks?

Personal and Patriotic Pride!

We live in a “free” nation – note the quotes. But, for all our flaws, in America at least we can step forward and speak out when we see our rights being infringed upon – suppressed, if you will. So, while I have grave misgivings about our political system in *many* areas, and while I am often dumbfounded by the LACK of tolerance my fellow men and women often share, I am intensely grateful to live in a country in which I can voice my misgivings and dumbfounded-ness without fear of retribution.

Oreo Is Love…

Here’s an extra dose of PRIDE! (thanks to Susan who gave me the head’s up)

Real Pride!

(Again, images found in random Google search, no poaching intended)

(OMG – Is This Frickin’ Awesome, or What?)