Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm About to Cross the Line

I realize I'm playing on the book title's pun, but bear with me readers... this one is a bit more serious.

I'm reading a book for SLJ that would come under the topic of LGBT bullying.

I'm about halfway done. I just got the book early this week, so ... obviously it's pretty readable. I can't decide if it's making me mad in it's portrayal of a quasi-gay high school student or proud. Maybe a little bit of both even. The character, Alan, has basically been bullied the whole book. In the chapter I just read, he showed up to school wearing lipstick.

Although not the same thing, a student in my high school came to school one time dressed in what I can only describe as a "rainbow jumpsuit." While in the library, he would approach people he did not know and ask them if they had a problem with him. The story was something I got secondhand, but I did actually know the student. There was a kind of gay/straight alliance at the school that we were both a part of. When I heard the story, I knew at least the majority of it was probably true.

At the time, I had a problem with his actions. I think I still might- I don't really think school, nor the library in particular, is a place that you should be demanding acceptance from others who either may or may not have a problem with you. I think it should be about respect. You could probably make the argument that, if my personal feelings entered into the equation, I have problems with many people I encounter. You can't make people feel a certain way if they don't want to - but you can ask that they be courteous and keep those feelings to themselves. If someone had snickered at this kid in my school, or called him "Fag!" or something worse, I probably would have been the first one to defend him. But that's not what happened. He got sent to the principle's office for disrupting other students' learning, then spent the next month saying he was discriminated against. That part, I heard directly from him. I didn't really think he got the point- I think he mostly wanted attention, and I he found a really negative way to get it.

I wonder how I would have felt if he came to school wearing lipstick.

In fact, some kids in my school probably did. I know another boy came to our prom in a dress. If he had put on the lipstick in front of me, asked me what I thought, and I had said something negative... isn't that a solicited opinion? I think the crux of my argument here is that I wouldn't really care... unless I didn't know the student and they got unnecessarily confrontational about my emotional reaction. As long as you let me go my own way, I'm glad to let you go yours.

I feel like these are the questions that everyone is still asking. I don't have an easy answer I guess. Definitely something to think about.

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