I’d wanted to tell you about how things are getting better (Addressing casual homophobia, trade school edition – part 4)

Aside from trying to finish my program, I’ve been so distracted by all the homophobic bullshit at school that I can’t. even. write. about. it.

I’ve got to complete the work by the end of the month, which makes this a really inopportune time to be getting serious about the language used by my classmates. Yet that’s exactly what I’m doing, partially because I simply can’t study when my ears are constantly picking up remarks that insult my dignity and partially because I need to do something while I’m still a student here, while the administration has to listen to me.

It’s so exhausting. Right now I feel sick to my stomach, because I sat down at my desk this morning just as two students in front of me proclaimed the name “Lesley” to be “totally gay”. These same two students were given warnings for their use of homophobic language only YESTERDAY, which only happened because after the instructors ignored my previous complaints, I went to their office and read them the college’s “zero tolerance” harrassment policy. It may not seem like a big deal, I told them, HOWEVER: When my classmates, who know I’m gay, use the word gay as a synonym for stupid or pathetic or worthless every single day of school, THAT IS HARASSMENT.

Fuckin’ hell.

Yesterday I had a wonderful talk with the college ombuds, and felt like things were really changing, were really going to be okay. Now I’m just wondering what I’m doing here, why I left academia, how I’ll ever cut it in the trades workforce, what happened to all that hope I had yesterday. Sometimes I’m so naive, so uncynically willing to believe in goodness, and so easily set up for disappointment.

*** UPDATE ***
I just had a good conversation with one of the classmates with the homophobic mouth, and feel a lot better. He still doesn’t get it, but it’s a start.


4 responses to “I’d wanted to tell you about how things are getting better (Addressing casual homophobia, trade school edition – part 4)

  1. I admire what you have been able to do with the situation and how you have handled it. I am such a chicken shit when it comes to these things… is it too cheesy to say that you are my hero? For those that follow you, they will never know who to thank. So, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your endurance and persistence… and courage. It does make a difference, beyond just for the space you are in. Your efforts have helped give me strength to continue to navigate my own homophobic work environment. It should have never fallen on your shoulders, but you should be proud of what you have achieved and how you have been able to cope.

  2. Hmmmm I can’t imagine how you have so much energy for fighting so many battles day after day at school. I would be too scared to challenge, maybe because I’m good at justice fighting for others but never for myself. And if we don’t fight for our survival then there willl be no justice for anyone

    iguess I’m just trying to say that even though I recognize that homophobia is a
    constant struggle I still am awed by your willingnesss to fight it and the wisdom, compassion and courage you show. Inspires me to stand up for myself a little more. Because it’s nevr just ourselves were fighting for

    thanks friend

  3. Well, FG, you really can’t imagine how much of admiration I have for you. I mean it. I.MEAN.IT.
    Yes, you did leave the academia, but I do wonder: “What the hell am I still doing here? What am I doing teaching a course on feminism and sexuality anyway?”
    At times, I think it’s not where the work is. The students I have are all already staunch feminists/queers. The REAL work is what you are doing. This is where we all need to go: Out there in a world that we don’t normally inhabit.
    I also admire the way you address casual homophobia. My way of dealing with it (along with ALL the people I know) is simply to ignore it.
    I know it’s hard, but keep going. Many good vibes to you. <3

  4. Thank you, all.

    I want to write more about this, about support and community and how much it means to me, the amazing responses I’ve been getting to my ranting. It’s the flipside of the bad stuff at school: The good stuff that comes out from everywhere else!

    A more eloquent thank you is in the works, but for now… Thank you.

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