Friday, May 22, 2009

I Came, I Saw, I Rambled

I just got back from the big parent meeting about the photo of one miss Tobi, a transgender woman in the RainyTown community. I went there with the full intention of just listening and not saying anything. Then there were about five people in a row adamantly against the array because they felt it wasn't "age appropriate" or that they wanted to decide when their kids found out about gay people, not the school and calling it a super sensitive issue. I honestly still don't get what the big deal is. She is transgender, not the ebola virus. Also, there was a group of women behind me acting like they were still in high school, scoffing at what other people said, making little comments to each other. Very annoying. So I took the microphone and I said my kids have known about gay and transgender forever and it wasn't a big deal, and that I thought kids should see the photo because a normal psychological reaction to something new is to react in fear or anger, so if they start seeing these people now, then maybe when they meet someone gay or transgender, they won't freak out. Also I didn't understand why these people were acting like their kids had never seen gay people before. I don't think I made that point very clearly though I did point out that the most popular show right now, American Idol had a gay person (openly gay off the show) as runner up (he should have won, damnit!). Then I said something about how these people can't change the way they are that it is genetic so we should teach our kids to accept them. Of course I was not nearly this coherent. Something that I really wish I had mentioned, but completely forgot was to refute some people's supposition that bullying about gender orientation doesn't start in elementary school, because it does. Some girls in my fifth grader's class recently called some other girls lesbians. It is ridiculous to me that lesbian is still considered an insult.
Something else that I wished I had mentioned was that in Spain, in that tiny backwater town Campillos, of only a few thousand people, isolated and largely farmers, there lived a transgender woman. When I first saw her, my stomach clenched up, not because I had an aversion, but because I was afraid for her. I think that is really sad, having grown up in RainyTown a supposedly progressive, diversity loving city, that my first reaction was to fear for her safety, because let's face it, being transgender or even gay in this city is no picnic. Why people think anyone would CHOOSE that 'lifestyle' is beyond me. Anyway, my thinking was that if in a big 'progressive' city like RainyTown would shun such a person, imagine what this woman must go through in this tiny working class town. However my fears were, of course, completely unfounded. Nobody was the least bit offended, frightened or angry. In fact, I later saw that same transgender woman and two of her transgender friends sitting on a bench together, having lunch. People talked to them, teenagers and young kids didn't give them a second glance. There was no pointing or snickering or staring.
I can just imagine what the people of that town would have thought of this nonsense going on at our school. It would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing. I have never been very interested in these people in our school 'community' before, but now I have been irrevocably disappointed in 99.8% of them (Enormous Plumes and her husband, who also spoke and much more eloquently than I did, are the obvious exceptions!)
Even though I rambled and mumbled and said a lot of things I probably shouldn't have, I'm glad I spoke, and I'm really glad I went to listen so I could see these people first hand, cause if I'd heard later what came out of these people's mouths I might not have believed it.

4 comments:

Enormous Plumes of Smoke said...

Thats great that you spoke up. Even if you did ramble at least you showed that NOT everyone there was against the display. My husband felt very that we were definitely in the minority with regards to this topic. Welcome to FSB. The most conservative neighborhood of Eugene possibly.

Expat Wannabe said...

Yeah. I couldn't believe how many people had an issue with this.

Enormous Plumes of Smoke said...

My husband thought yours was good, by the way. You are being your own worst critic again.

Expat Wannabe said...

Yay! BJ thanked me today by starting with, "I'm guessing public speaking is not something you're comfortable with . . ." Blah. I'll go with what Mr. Plumes of Smoke said.