I'm so stunned by a recent conversation, I feel compelled to write about it. It strays far from my normal blog topics. I expect, as usual, I will probably offend some people with my frankness.
I have to speak my heart, though.
I had lunch with a girlfriend yesterday.
She isn't one of my closest friends, but she's more than an acquaintance. I've always thought we were "on the same page" with our outlooks on life.
I guess that's why I was so shocked when our conversation about the TV show Modern Family, took the turn it did.
"I'm open-minded and tolerant of gays," she said out of the blue, and very nonchalantly.
"Tolerant?" I questioned.
(Because, for me, the word "tolerant" implies I put up with gays in spite of my real feelings.)
"Yes," she nodded. "It would be different if one was a teacher to my kids. I'd have a problem with that, but otherwise I think it's fine."
My brain immediately flashed to my friend Jason, who is both gay and a (wonderful) teacher. Then my brain flashed to a few of the incompetent, horrible, straight teachers my kids have had over the years.
I admit, I was floored.
My brain tried to wrap itself around what I was hearing.
"You think being gay is catching?" I asked, appalled.
"No, not catching," she hesitated. "There's just the whole nature vs. nurture argument and I wouldn't want my kids to be influenced by a gay teacher."
"You think a gay teacher would be teaching kids to be gay?" I asked, shocked.
"Influencing," she responded. "A lot of people have tendencies that can go either way. I wouldn't want a gay teacher to influence my kids in that direction. Look, no one wants their kid to grow up to be gay. They just don't."
I thought about my parents. They (particularly my dad) would have had a hard time adjusting if I had been gay, but I know, in time, they would have.
I thought about my own kids. I can honestly say it would not change my love for them one bit if they were gay.
Not one bit.
Seriously, how could I possibly care as long as they were happy?
I don't write those words because they're politically correct, I write them because I believe them with every ounce of my being.
Would I worry about my kids' lives being more difficult if they chose a same sex partner?
Maybe I would.
Maybe they would have to deal with discrimination and biases and people like … well, like my lunch partner.
The thing is, I have a 16 year old, a 20 year old, and a 21 year old and I worry about their lives being difficult anyway. Maybe my worries would be different, but I don't know if I would/could worry more than I already do.
Parents worry about their kids.
It's what we do.
(My mom, who just turned 80, worries constantly about my disability and the fact I live my life in pain.)
My thoughts returned to my friend's comment.
What did she mean "influencing?"
Does she picture a teacher interrupting the day's math lesson to give first graders pep talks on Why You Should Join the LGBT Community?
How is a teacher, in the normal daily course of their day, going to "influence" a student's sexuality?
I thought back to my youngest son's third grade teacher. He was openly gay and, without a doubt, one of the best teachers any of my kids ever had. Parents lined up to request him. Everyone was hoping he'd "influence" their kids with all his wonderfulness. He was known throughout the community for being a truly gifted educator. In fact, he'd won national awards for his teaching.
I never once heard a parent voice any concern over his sexuality.
I guess I'm incredibly naive.
(For my naivety, I apologize to my LGBT friends.)
My heart hurts right now.
I'm not even gay and this whole thing makes me feel terribly sad and disappointed.
I can't imagine how horrible l it would be to be judged, not on the quality of your work, but on your sexuality.
I thought we'd moved further folks.
I thought our culture had evolved beyond tolerance to acceptance.
* I will leave comments open as long as they're posted in a respectful manner. You don't have to agree with me, or my opinions, but you do have to be respectful of others. I will delete any comments which I determine to be hurtful, harmful, or hate promoting. I will close comments completely if I deem necessary. *
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