Teaching: Hatred and Stupidity for the Masses

By | January 4, 2011

Seth Stambaugh was fired for being honest.

This is the lesson we are teaching young people. Be honest until it’s inconvenient. As a gay teacher of color, my contributions to the lives of young people are often looked on as strange and abnormal. Like Mr. Stambaugh, I have both a love for teaching and young people.

It is troubling to me that gay men are seen as predatory and less than trustworthy regarding children. Where did this dumb shit come from? Why are these morons confusing pedophilia with homosexuality?

This is so disturbing because it seems that so many people are in on this colossal joke. Mr. Stambaugh has probably had to listen to stories of straight relationship triumphs and failures in the lunch room, in the teacher’s lounge and on the playground daily. This was my experience when I worked in schools.

There was always an assumption that everybody was the same and if you weren’t you’d better shut up about it. I applaud Stambaugh for his courage and honesty. You cannot demand integrity and responsibility to and for others and then lie about something so significant. Nobody is hurt or destroyed by hearing the truth.

Lies destroy. Cowardice causes death.

There is no way for any instructor to do his or her best work when there is the constant threat of dismissal looming overhead. Having worked with hundreds of young people between the ages of four and 18, I can honestly say not one of them was born homophobic or hate filled.

Hate/homophobia and just being plain dumb are all lessons that we teach our young folk early and often.

My baby sister once made a very awful remark about gay men. Later, after some maturation and learning that her big brother was a “them” she repudiated some gay slurs and jokes heard in her high school.

Change is possible. No one wants to be ridiculous and yet attempts to silence us continue. Where is the teacher’s union in the midst of all of this? Where are the co-teachers who aren’t afraid of being next in the witch hunt? Why aren’t the parents who disagree with this decision demanding reinstatement?

This is not a time for silent and powerful introspection. It is a call to action.

I live for the day that all gays and lesbians who love children can do so freely. I live for the day when concern for young ones can move beyond suspicion and fear. I live for the day when we are no longer told that as gays and lesbians we have nothing of value to add to young lives.

I live for the day that gay teachers and administrators collectively scream “We will be pushed around no longer. Fuck you! I have much to offer and your children are lucky to have me in their lives.” I want the adults who teach hate to do it on their own time, not with any taxpaying dollars or preferably not at all.

Do we all know how difficult it is to find someone passionate about learning and engaging something and someone outside of themselves. What a role model we could set for our younger generations by allowing them to see that your passion can be realized and not negotiated by and with bullies.

Seth, keep ya’ head up. The day of our collective silence is over. We are here to support and lead and not back down.

Negotiations are over. The asked for ransom is unpaid and you’ve won and this lets us know that we can all win.

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