Monday, November 22, 2010

Another T-Shirt, Another School

Remember when Jim DeMint ::::sigh:::: from South Carolina, proclaimed that sexually active gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to teach? And remember when an Oregon teacher was fired because he responded to a student's question about why he was single by saying the law didn't allow him to marry a man?

Yeah, it's like the good old days of  John Briggs, and the Briggs' Initiative, and Anita Bryant and her Save Our Children campaign in the 70's. Openly gay teachers are being singled out as being bad for students, and bad for education, and, well, just plain bad.

In the interests of clarity, Matt Tratner was not wearing the
t-shirt, as shown, in class; he wore a cardigan over it.

Well, openly gay Matt Tratner, a teacher and guidance counselor at John Bowne High School in New York, arrived at school one day in a t-shirt that said: "OUT And I'm not alone."

And he posted pictures of himself, in the shirt, on Facebook with the caption: "Yes- I am OUT at my job... Yes the students like my shirt :)."

Well, that shirt, and that photo caused a lot of ruckus, but by the end of the day. Tratner updated his status to say: "A little after 3pm today, after classes were over a few teacher came over to me to tell me what they thought of my OUT SHIRT I had worn to school today... They said that they had heard all about Tratner wearing it. They asked where they could get one so they too could wear them at school- gay and straight teachers asked to have one. I was never so proud to be OUT."

And gay teachers aren't any different than straight teachers; their job is to educate children; they go through years of college and training to do so, and dedicate their lives to it, gay or straight. So, Matt Tratner's shirt is simply confronting people lie Jim DeMint and that Oregon school, and saying, quite queerly, er, clearly, that gay is okay.

Let's not allow people like DeMint to turn the clocks back to the days when homosexuality was being challenged every single day, and when gay men and women, especially gay teachers, were forced to stay closeted out of fear of being fired.

Jeffrey Campagna, of the Huffington Post:
"Tratner's shirt is also inspiring because it speaks truth to power when others, who should be speaking have been silent. The President has been confronted on his silence about this and a number of other LGBT issues and has refused to use his bully pulpit speak out about it. The teacher in Oregon got fired and Jim Demint got away with his comments because in the year 2010 this country still tolerates the lie that gay teachers lack integrity and that they corrupt the morals of young people....
[Matt]Tratner doesn't have to worry about professional retribution for being out at work or wearing a t-shirt. In New York, unlike the United States, it is illegal to discriminate against someone in employment because of his or her sexual orientation. But the fact that he can do this while in other parts of this country he would be fired instantly only highlights the fact that the President has a lot of leading to do. Mr. President, are you listening?"

Jeffrey Campagna's article for the HuffPo

1 comment:

J said...

Why is it okay to be a Catholic, or Jewish, or Mormon teacher, but being a gay one is this horrendous thing. I believe more people have been killed in the name of religion then by being gay. Maybe we should throw out all of the religious leaning teachers? This is just as ridiculous as firing teachers for the simple reason that they like and love people of the same sex. Being gay makes no difference in the performance of a job, or in the character of the person, so I fail to see what specific problem is being created by gay people and how loving another person is bad. I wish someone would explain it to me. Love and hugs to all.