Friday, October 8, 2010

Lucky Ones

International Coming Out Day is Monday, and there have been a number of stories around awareness of this event- culminating, of course in the news of the rash of suicides in bullied LGBT young people, most notably that of Tyler Clementi.  I had heard that Senator Jim DeMint (South Carolina) has proposed banning gays from teaching and then a couple of days ago, a Beaverton, Oregon student teacher was removed from his internship for admitting he is gay.  So Oregon has no DeMint, but at least parts of it do have a de facto ban on openly gay teachers.  Let's all pat ourselves on the back for our liberal tolerance and progressivism.
Stambaugh is in the Master of Education program at Lewis and Clark College. At the start of the current school year, he and his colleagues all started student teaching in area schools as part of the practicum portion of their education.

Stambaugh was paired with a teacher in a fourth-grade class at Sexton Mountain school in the Beaverton District. The story was first reported in the Portland Mercury newspaper and the account of what happened was confirmed by Stambaugh's lawyer Lake Perriguey.
He was leading a writing lesson when a fourth-grader asked him if he was married. Stambaugh said no. The student then asked why. Stambaugh replied that it would be illegal for him to get married because he would be choosing to marry another man. The student then asked if Stambaugh hanged out with guys and he said yes.

On Sept. 15, the school district informed Lewis and Clark that  Stambaugh would not be allowed back as a student teacher at the school. Stambaugh said that he was only told his comments were "inappropriate."
Which leads to this great piece at The Nation: the issue is not bullies.  The issue is that we as a culture somehow feel it's okay to marginalize and exclude members of the LGBT community.
Even for liberals who like to think of themselves as pro-gay, this is uncharted territory, little discussed except perhaps in the deepest corners of Parkest Slope. So when faced with something so painful and complicated as gay teen suicide, it's easier to go down the familiar path, to invoke the wrath of law and order, to create scapegoats out of child bullies who ape the denials and anxieties of adults, to blame it on technology or to pare down homophobia into a social menace called "anti-gay bullying" and then confine it to the borders of the schoolyard.
Then a few minutes ago, I read this op-ed in OregonLive, in which the author repeatedly emphasizes that he's "one of the lucky ones."
I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm still here, and I'm very happy. But it was far too hard getting here, and as we've seen very recently, far too many aren't so lucky. For all the visibility, our national conversation still hasn't changed.

How many more kids have to die before it will?
What appears to be the "official" video of this song can be found here; look at the death imagery and symbolism. I have no idea whether Ms. Naked is a lesbian, nor whether this song is intended to be about homosexuality, but it doesn't really matter. After reading the above op-ed, I knew I had to post it with this song. (Ahh... just figured out how to embed from this source... we'll see if it posts in the US.)
We are the lucky Ones BIF NAKED - MyVideo

Lucky ones, indeed. Count my voice added to the growing chorus chanting, "This has to end."

1 comment:

Fran said...


the vid did not post...
but the sentiment is loud & clear.... I agree the bullying goes beyond the sandbox of schools be it lower or higher education.
The government/military is still bullying gay people in the military- kicking them out for no greater offense than being themselves.

And so many states rejecting equal rights for marriage.

These kids see what's going on- they know that intolerance is rearing it's ugly head in just about every direction.

I had not heard about the story of the student intern kicked out for being gay.
If he would have said yes he has a girlfriend, all would have been well.
Punished for being true to himself.