Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fear: There really isn't any other explanation

Original Post Date:3/11/10
When is this shit going to be over? Really?
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 11, 2010; 8:18 AM
JACKSON, Miss. -- An 18-year-old student says a Mississippi school board that canceled a high school prom did so in retaliation for her request to bring a same-sex date.

The American Civil Liberties Union had demanded that the Itawamba County school district allow senior Constance McMillen to attend with her girlfriend. A school district policy requires that dates be of the opposite sex.

A school board statement Wednesday announced the district wouldn't host the April prom. The district's statement didn't mention McMillen's request but did refer to unspecified recent "distractions."

McMillen tells The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson in Thursday's edition that other students at the school will hate her for the board's decision and called it retaliation.
Growing up, I'll admit that I was a very homophobic person. A lot of it was due to sports, the church I went to and just blatant fear. I remember a friend of mine tried to make a pass at me at a very uncomfortable age and it took years for me to realize how hard it must have been for him to come forward so blatantly. It really took my freshman year of college to turn things around for me. I had a roommate who was gay, obviously gay, but my perception of him as my roommate and as a pretty nice guy prevented me from really being sure about this until he was crying one night. I asked him what the problem was and he told me that his mom had found a book(I think it was Wrestling with the Angel:Faith and Religion in the Lives of Gay Men) that made it pretty obvious that he was homosexual. He hadn't ever told his mom and growing up in a very Christian family(hence the book) he was very scared that his mother would somehow abandon him or hate him because of his sexuality. The good news is that this was all meaningless. His mother knew(or had some ideas) so the shock wasn't all that great and everything worked out very well for that relationship. The point I'm trying to reach here is that it took a friendship with a man who was openly gay to reveal to me that there wasn't anything wrong with gay people. There isn't really even anything different about gay people. And that's why hate like this is just so baseless. The only reasoning for it is fear.

As I said, I used to live in that world. I didn't hold near the hatred that many anti-gay persons have and I really didn't ever have any violent thoughts about how to deal with homosexuals. I was just scared because another boy who was a friend of mine wanted to look at my penis. It sounds so childish now that just typing this makes me giggle. But the point is fear, in any form will always lead to negativity and eventually hate. Fear is the opposite of Love.

All these students were trying to do is love. Why is that such a problem for people to accept?

UPDATE: Over at FirstDraft there's some more good commentary on this:
Maybe this is my small-town talking, and a city school would have been different, but if what I've seen of teenagers all over is true, high school is at best an awkward experience in why you suck. Why is why this is so enraging, this girl and her girl and the inability to go to prom together just because adults are fucking stupid. There's so little joy in the world, and even less when you have acne and are worried about college admissions and whatever it is kids these days worry about, with their iPods and stuff, and then grown-ups come along with all this bullshit and make it worse. God.

Another UPDATE: And a shitty one at that:
To avoid Constance McMillen bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

"They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them," McMillen says. "The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to."

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with these people? Not only is this just fucking wrong, but these parents are just participating in the hatred and fear. Another random piece about this "fake prom", two of the other kids at the fake prom were kids with learning disabilities and I'd assume the remaining few were the unpopular kids or the ones that agreed with McMillen in the beginning. More proof that these parents are clearly irresponsible and like mentioned elsewhere, they should be fucking ashamed of themselves.


E.Pollarine said...

Can not say that I have ever been all that homophobic- in fact in the majority of meetings,dealings and conversations I have had with members of the Gay/Lesbian community- I do not choose to address the others (bi and trans-gender) as it is my, albeit controversial and politically incorrect right not to do so- I have found a greater amount of worth in their humanity, and at times a far greater amount of acceptance for creative undertakings- though being a veteran of the theater, as you are, I find it a little odd you didn't think that at least there was something askew with the majority of men who wanted to be in shows-

But at least you worked through it- and that's really the main point, so I gather, that you can, if you want to work through these things in a rational manner-

Though there is always the subconscious or hidden brain thaat we all must combat- the predetermined societal norms that are programmed into us since day one, i.e. Doctors being men-Nurses being women-etc etc- though I think that we few who were born at the tail end of Gen X and the very head of the Millennial Generations have had less in the way of what I would classify as sociological pre-programming.

Dr 4LOM said...

see, I don't think gender bias is something subconscious. I think it's learned. And I think that now, partly because of how much pressure there is on gender, race and other diversities, that there are a lot of parents out there teaching their kids old phobias and bias because they fear their lives are in some form of jeopardy without it.
It's like the Us vs. Them rhetoric we got through the majority of this decade. There are a lot of people that really see diversity as a threat to their way of life. And what's really sad about it is that it's not helping anything. This mentality is preventing us from making stronger allies in the Middle East, keeping us from enacting reforms that we desperately need in health care and social services, it's basically stifling our growth as a nation.
90s=lots of diversity=lots of growth
00s=stifled diversity=poor growth

Maybe I'm being to simplistic, but I really think these things are all related.

Dr 4LOM said...

Oh and just as an add on. I was very naive in high school about my career. I knew that gay people was something I had to deal with and I was never outright homophobic, just internally. I wasn't so much afraid that gay people existed, but like many adolescents, I was afraid I would be an object of the wrong affection. What's funny is how completely reversed my position because later. I remember one night actually offering a gay friend of mine who was feeling particularly lonely some favors if you will. He rejected the idea since he knew I wouldn't really be that into it, but I was thinking, help a brother out y'know? But that's really how silly most of the sexual circumstances in this country are. We're either too prude or too liberal, not respectfully understanding that we're all sexual beings with desires and for the majority we haven't quite figured all of those things out completely. That's why it's no surprise to me when a 40 or 50 year old man turns out to be gay. For some people, it takes that long to know who they are.