Thanks to Tom Hilton, who shared his thesis work on LGBTQ youth on PEI at the CONTACT conference at this morning's session, for tuning me in to this video. It was developed by www.YouthforHumanRights.org, and gives an excellent overview of the concept of Human Rights, as well as a little history lesson on the same. Worth the 9 minutes of your time....
Last night I had the great privilege of visiting the past. And the past has grown into a charming and talented young man!
I was in the audience of a performance where the lead vocalist and entertainer happened to be a "kid" (He was about 11 years old at the time; he's now well into his 20s) with whom I had sung in a church-based a-capella group over a decade ago.
Brilliantly talented and clearly gay (though not out) even then, my young friend was not growing up in an LGBT-friendly environment. His own true self was accepted neither at home nor at church, and eventually, he fell away from the latter.
As I watched this flamboyant and amazingly gifted young man OWN the room last night, I reflected on how lucky I had been to be surrounded by at least a few people of faith who -- as I was facing one of the most difficult challenges of my life -- had acted as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. Instead of turning away from God, coming out has been, for me, a process that has brought me closer to my Abba than I could ever have imagined possible.
The "God-as-father" notion of the Christian church (and indeed, the patriarchal perspective of many faiths) can be especially challenging to those of us pondering our sexuality and struggling to understand how God could make us "this way". Despite my own good fortune, I'll also had my share of interactions with "crucifiers", those who refuse to consider that their long-held and rarely-questions views on Scripture might not be the only "right" interpretations, and who thereby crush the souls of fellow journeyers along the path.
So, on this Father's Day Sunday, I offer this list of GOOD NEWS websites from Alex Sanchez, man of faith, and author of the amazingly inspiring "God Box", a novel aimed at young adults, which I have recently begun to read.
For those of you unsure, know that God loves you just as He made you: YOU ARE HIS CHILD!!!
Happy Father's Day, my little gay friends!
It's interesting, the things one stumbles upon while surfing the net. With a classroom to pack, an apartment to move out of, two workshops to prep and 21 report cards to write over the next few weeks, I've been doing a lot of that (surfing, a.k.a. "procrastinating", I mean!)
Earlier today, I followed a rabbit hole that originated from a list of online parenting articles a friend from my former church sent me. The path eventually led me to Tony Campolo's new project, a blog entitled "Red Letter Christians".
I first "met" Tony in Toronto's High Park area over a decade ago, at a sermon he gave, about poverty, and our call as Christians to serve the poor. I was intrigued at his dry, authentic humour and his charismatic approach. I heard him speak again some years later at a prayer breakfast event, and was again moved by his heart for the marginalized and his apparent commitment to convicting his fellow Christians of our collective need to address the complex and varied issues of Social Justice during our sojourn on Earth.
Campolo's blog project is kind of a neat space, where so-called Christians are challenged, by an assortment of bloggers, to reflect on a variety of sometimes "difficult" themes...
What would it mean to those individuals willing to share that being gay is all that they’ve ever known, if members of the church would respond by wanting to hear more of their story rather than rushing to tell them its the wrong story to have?
It's that time of year again... our one token day each year, where boys are encouraged to wear pink, and we get to focus on a specific type of bullying.
It's PINK DAY!
Once again our school's climate committee put on an excellent assembly, inviting students to sing along to a Kids Helpline remake of Cindi Lauer's "True Colours" (see video below) as well as organizing a flash mob dance, which multiple students led, and all participated in.
Andrea U'Ren's Pugdog was also read aloud; it's a nice little story about a poor pup who gets gender stereotyped in misery, but is eventually understood again by his/her well-meaning owner.
It's neat to see how this day has grown over the past few years, and nice to observe the learning that goes on in various schools and community contexts.
As usual, though, there were some students whose parents intentionally kept them home, and I worry about the subliminal messages of intolerance those students are learning by such a move. :(
It’s a hot topic in Christian circles… and it’s about time I address it in a meaningful way here on my blog, where -- as long-time readers will surely have noticed by now -- things have changed considerably over the past three years.
At my children’s request, I went to my “old” church on Sunday morning with them and their dad. A number of people came up to me and shook my hand or hugged me, telling me how good it was to see me “out” (no pun intended, I don’t think, hehe), and how nice it was that I was there to celebrate Easter with them.
It was as though many of my former fellow congregants had processed whatever “news” about me they had heard through the grapevine, and had come up with the supposition that I was no longer a Christian, that I had clearly decided to stop attending church, and that they therefore needed to really encourage me on my first foray back into the fold after nearly 9 months of not attending the little blue collar church where I was baptised about two decades ago when I first publicly acknowledged Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
Little did they know that I have done more reading of the Bible in the past 9 months than I probably had in the preceding 39 years!!! Or that I have been attending and worshiping at another church in our fine city most Sunday mornings when I am in town.
When will more conservative/traditional Christians stop assuming that those of us who identify as LGBTQ must have “fallen away” and are in need of “re-saving”? When will they finally respect those of us who are comfortable with our sexual orientation, even when this comfort stems from an understanding of Scripture which may differ from their own?
Anyway, all this preamble to say that on this Easter weekend, when many are thinking about what it means to be a Christian, I would like to “preach” a little about some stuff I have been shoving around from one corner of my crowded mind to another lately… I hope you’ll join me on this exploration of the Scriptures by reading the rest of this blog post
Kathleen Wynne’s coming for dinner. Or at least, she could be, according to my kids!
Alex and Simon hear so much “shop talk” at home with two teacher parents, and they are so used to the networking second nature of their extravert Mommy that it seemed only natural to them that, as they heard us wondering aloud about our new provincial premier , we should invite her to dinner.
“But I don’t even know her!” I protested when one of the boys suggested the plan.
“Chat her up, Mommy! You’re good at that!” he pointed out, completely oblivious to the fact that perhaps his mom, even as much of a social butterfly as she was, might not ever come into personal contact with the political leader of the province he lives in!!!
I also explained to the boys that a political leader has a very busy public life, with little time for personal social engagements like dinner with people she hardly knows. There are meetings to attend, letters to write, inequitable bills to craft and pass… you get the idea.
The boys, however, seemed not to consider that these obligations ran on weekends too, rather than just Monday to Friday: They suggested I call her up right now, and invite her now, tonight, or maybe tomorrow (Sunday).
While I enjoy the sweet innocence of my children, I will confess that I am not likely to follow up on their suggestion.
After all, Kathleen Wynne is not the only busy dyke in this province. ;-P
Once again I am surrounded by loud, annoying travellers. Louder, and more irritating, even, than I!
Stuck on board a 3 hr 45 minute flight from YYZ to YYC, we are seated behind two balding men in “cool” hoodies yelling to each other about investment strategies. Behind us are a woman and her heavily-made-up teenage daughter. The latter seems fearful of flying; the former is “soothing” her in a loud, abrasive voice.
I am not soothed.
The daughter keeps yapping for a while, and eventually drifts off to sleep. The mother continues to grate on everyone around her for about 20 more minutes, then she, too, settles down for a nap.
Soon the flight attendants come through with their cart of in-flight snacks available for purchase. The healthy, fresh, Asian vegetable wrap and cheese with fruit platter I had pre-ordered online at a savings of 50 cents a piece are not on board, nor is there any record of them, or of the other three pre-ordered meals on this flight. The flight attendant is very apologetic, and offers us complementary nacho chips and twizzlers, the only other “vegetarian” options on board.
Inspired by a colleague down the hall’s “Penguin Art”, and shamed by a recent Arts workshop I facilitated with pre-service teacher candidates at the university (where I had to admit that I, myself, had not actually done any art with my own class for nearly two months!!!), I took the proverbial bull by the horns, and dove right into a wonderful morning of fully integrated Art, Literacy and Social Justice this Valentine's Morning!
One of the books on our recommended “inclusive” reading list is a lovely little story about two penguins at the New York Zoo in Central Park, who – with the help of an observant and open-minded zoo-keeper – create a most unusual family.
Last year, when I read “And Tango Makes Three”, I struggled with how best to frame it in a way that would honour the increasingly common type of family that Roy, Silo and Tango (the book’s main characters) represent, while still addressing the emotional and social needs of the students in my class for whom this type of family would embody a new and unusual concept. Giving the latter room to explore their prejudices and perhaps grow in empathy and open-mindedness was, in my opinion, as important as creating an inclusive, safe space for the children in my class who may live with or have friends who live with same sex parents.
I was not very successful with that endeavour last year, and ended up having a long correspondence both in person and via multi-page letter with a “concerned” (read “homophobic” parent) whose child was "disgusted" by the dirty gay penguins, as the book's main characters came to be referred to by me and my colleagues whenever we joked nervously abour the incident in the months that followed.
This year I had a better idea.
Rather than introduce the book in a “social justice and equity” context, I decided to talk about “Love” in general, since it was, after all, Valentine’s Day today, and therefore Love was a relevant theme!
First, I showed a bunch of sample pieces that the students in my colleague’s class had made, and asked my own students to think about which emotion was portrayed in the artwork. Many of them guessed “love” or “happiness” or “security”.
Next, we talked about what love means, what it might look like, i.e. that it is not always between two grown up people, but could sometimes refer to love amongst family members, and that many people really love their babies/children, and their mommies, daddies, aunties, uncles, grandparents, etc.
This led to a discussion of different types of families, and we shared what our own nuclear families looked like, and how much we loved them, no matter how big or small, or what configuration.
I noted that the family in the book we were about to read was considered by some to be a little bit unusual. We talked as a class about how “unusual” didn’t necessarily mean “bad”.
And then I read the book.
Although I did hear one or two suppressed “ewwws!” at one point in the story, I chose to ignore that and continue reading, stopping at parts that were less related to the same sex penguin couple and more related to families, feelings and baby penguins. In general, the students were quite intrigued with the story, especially when I read them the author’s note at the end, about how the book was based on true events that actually happened at the Central Park Zoo in New York City not that long ago.
As could be expected, there were many questions at the end. Surprisingly, very few of them were “gay”-related queries.
After we read the book, I invited students to create their own Penguin Family scene, using either Roy, Silo and Baby Tango as inspiration, or their own familes, or simply their imagination.
As you can see, the results were quite charming.
For more about this book, check out this "banned books week" article from the KC Education Enterprise.
reblogged from releasedorothy.wordpress.com
I was appalled recently to read that a Baptist church in Texas had been picketing the funerals of some of the children who were gunned down in Connecticut last week… but not nearly as appalled as I was when I visited the church’s website: GodHatesFags.com comprises quite possibly the most frightening filth I have ever read, not even insomuch as it spreads messages of hatred against the LGBTQ community (I have confidence that my more intelligent LGBTQ brothers and sisters will know better than to be negatively influenced by that sort of all-to-familiar theme), but more because I worry about the many seekers who will be turned irrevocably away from God after experiencing this sort of ugly extremism.
Although I believe that the Great Organizing Principal of the universe makes Himself known to us in so many irresistible ways if only we’d open our eyes and ears, the truth is, many of us are looking for (or noticing) God in our fellow human beings. And when human beings picket the funeral of a 6-year-old shot to death at school, with a sign proclaiming that the massacre was God’s way of punishing a nation that is open to marriage equality, I fear that those who are looking for the God who loves them and made them will stop doing so.
Interestingly, the same day I read of this – what I would call – “crime of iniquity” by so-called “Christians”, I also noticed that someone had stumbled across my blog by typing in a “should Christians support pride week” search term. And so, I’ve decided to share a few websites and articles related to Christian and LGBTQ issues. I don’t usually comment overtly about that “stuff” on this blog, but perhaps the time has come to be more vocal about it here in my increasingly well-visited little corner of the Internet.
I hope that my Christian readers will read these links with an open mind as they consider that, if 6-10% of the world’s population is gay, then you’ve probably got at least a few LGBTQ folks sitting in your church pews, even if they aren’t "out" (their silent personal anguish and fear in the proverbial church closet doesn’t “cure” them of their homosexuality, people -- they're still gay, even if they didn't tell you they were!)
And I hope my LGBTQ readers who may not be believers will also explore these sites, and see that not all Christian folk are the hate-mongers the mainstream media would like you to believe we Bible-thumpers are!
Enjoy, and please submit a (respectful) comment, if you so wish.
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.