When I first came out, I, jokingly, said I was now going to assume everyone was LGBTQ until they told me they weren’t. It was a “flip the script” moment for me. My “normal” is lesbian. So when we talk about “normal, common sense” and other norming terms, I ask “whose?”
Many are struggling with the “era of inclusion” that seems to be upon us. It’s scary, unnerving and makes people think. We, humans, don’t like to think. It hurts our heads. As athletes will tell you, muscle memory is hard to change. Your brain functions the same way. You learn a particular way to do something, think about something, and then something else comes along that takes you out of your comfort zone. Asks you to question things that you took for granted.
It’s hard. But it’s here and now. We cannot go back. We will not go back. We can only move forward, fast, slow or stalled for a while. But eventually, we will move forward.
The question then becomes, are. you coming with or are you another rock eroding in the stream of life?
We have tried to regulate history as not important in the 21st century. Books published at the beginning of the century talked about the end of history. Thomas Friedman said the world was now flat.
History is not about the past. It’s about how we adapt to change.
Everything we have ever done causes us to react in ways that affect our future.
We are an amalgamation of our experiences, both personally and collectively. How we raise our children, what our priorities are, are all based on our individual histories.
Our society has evolved from how our ancestors dealt with everything. Whether we perpetuated positive or negative policies, expanded or contracted government, how our laws work or not. Our entire legal system is based on precedents (that’s history).
History is complicated, nuanced and always changing. Partly because of historians. Good historical research constantly looks for new information to deepen and enrich our understanding of the past. These things encourage others to relook at how that past affects our current world. We can see the ramifications of decisions. We can evaluate what worked, what did not, and what was not tried.
Isn’t this what life is all about?
Looking at ourselves, collectively and individually, figuring out what moved us forward and what did not. Then continuing along the path that allows us to deal with our screwups, celebrate our successes and move forward to change what needs to be changed to make this planet a better, safer place for ALL the people who live on it.
So a lot of stuff on FB is asking what being a lesbian means to those of us who identify as lesbians. So here’s what I came up with…..
Being a lesbian is about being the true me. It’s understanding my uniqueness in the world. Coming out was like being able to finally breath and understand myself. Like all the pieces fell into place. I made sense to myself.
The world finally made sense. I was different. At peace with me. Maybe not with the world but me was okay with the lesbian thing. I realized that there were more of “me” in the world, I wasn’t the only one. I had “people.” I had a group to identify with. And that was a good thing.
So, I am visible. I am a lesbian. And it’s my day. But everyday is my lesbian visibility day. Everyday since I came out. (and maybe those before?!). Those who see me may not realize it but they are viewing a proud, happy lesbian. I hope they can get on board with that.
If they cannot, then that’s on them. I cannot hide who I am. I don’t want to. I love my life (most of the time) and I try to show everyone that side of me. Do I have issues? Of course, I am still a human being (I think?).
I have people who love me, who like me and family who accepts me. I have rainbows, triangles, lots of music, tons of books and research that supports me being me.
I love my life, every lesbian minute of it. Oh, and for all those people who haven’t met me yet, you need to know something about my viewpoint of the world. I decided when I came out I would “flip the script” on life. I now assume everyone I meet is LGBTQI or A until they tell me they’re not! Just keeping those true heterosexuals on their toes!
I hope you all have had a great Lesbian Visibility Day! I look forward to this annual event! (Now if we can only get everyone on board to the concept that women are innately superior to men, my life will be complete!)
People are saying that the LGBTQ+ visible boycott of Chick-Fil-A is another example of “trolling” and leftist activism. I disagree.
There have been boycotts before, many of them, by a variety of constituencies and for a variety of reasons. Farm workers against low wages & inhuman working conditions, blacks against segregation, many of this country against businesses for continuing to work with South Africa as it practiced apartheid. It is a peaceful way to express one’s disagreement with something a company is doing.
I have refused to eat at Chick-Fil-A off and on for the past 10 years because of their support of groups that discriminate against me. I refuse to shop at Walmart for similar reasons or eat at Cracker Barrel. Yes, the people have the complete right to support whatever group they like. I know that my little personal boycott won’t cause them to change.
I do agree that the wedding cake case was a little out there. My reasoning is that why on what should be one of the happiest celebrations of love, would you want a bakery, church, or other entity who feels you are an abomination, are going to hell or think you should be jailed, put into therapy or even killed, because you choose to love differently than they do. I understand about making a statement but you cannot “force” people to accept things they disagree with. We, as a people, have been trying to do that for years. We need to prod through our government, yes, but not only that. We need to change minds and hearts. Ellen DeGeneres has made more in-roads toward acceptance and equality through being true to herself and an example. I remember reading a book where it said if all LGBTQ+ people were “lavender” for a day the straight population would be amazed at how connected we all are.
I believe we need to talk to each other instead of yelling/fighting/or running to our respetive “corners” and sticking our tongues out at each other then turning our backs. For those who knew me when I was a confused teenager, that confusion lasted until I was 30. Then I figured it out. As the perpetual student I am, I did my research and found that there were other people “like me.” I also knew that I had been “this way” since I was a kid. So, unlike many of my friends, I believed that I “came” this way. That to me meant that God was okay with it. My mother was supportive but confused. She never disowned me, stopped talking to me or denied my existence. She said she loved me and that was it. That is really all everyone wants, it’s it? If we can move back to a place of respect for everyone but agree to disagree, I’m all for it. But RESPECT is the key.
I have just finished reading Eric Alterman’s article in the New Yorker, The Decline of Historical Thinking. He talks about how our colleges and universities are seeing declines in those majoring in history.
I have read articles like this in the past. I was told when I was majoring both in history and history education that I would never find a job because no one wanted to learn about history anymore. When I was working on my masters, the same thing. With the dawning of our current century, books came out saying it was the end of history for a number of different reasons. In fact I have a few of them. Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat comes to mind. The uptick in history majors at elite institutions shows that those seeking privilege or wishing to remain privileged understand that studying history in important. For them, it is to retain their advantage. Smaller schools with more first gen students are now seen as modern day factories for workers in many ways. Listen to the way administrators talk at these schools. This is way politicians are so adamant about being involved in education at all levels. It’s a means to maintain the status quo.
But Alterman does not end on a dismal note. He mentions Bruce Springsteen’s awakening to learning about history through A Pocket History of the United States. Many people have come to similar realizations upon finding something interesting in historical tomes. I, myself, have renewed my love of history in reading Jill Lepore’s These Truths, a new study of United States history. It is a thick book but it is readable and full of different stories regarding the American continents. Most people only think history is about “dates and dead people.” My first high school students told me this when I began teaching in the 1980s. I asked how did they know they were “dead.”
As a student of history, I know now that history isn’t dead, it’s not even past many times. And as Alterman says, our current President in NOT a student of history. If fact, he rewrites it every chance he gets. He is assuming that U.S. citizens were just as bored in their school history classes as he was. I work everyday to make sure he is incorrect. History is vibrant, exciting and very relevant to our country. And I will be damned if I allow it to be repeated.
I was listening to NPR this morning, as I usually do. However, since today is a “snow” day for me, I didn’t have to get up and get ready for work. I stayed in bed, listening to the different stories of the day. The federal government is still “partially” shutdown, many employees are furloughed or having to work without pay, in Los Angeles, teachers are going on strike over the issues of their school system. These situations are intertwined.
Our nation seems to have forgotten the above quote. Local and state governments across the country continue to de-fund or underfund school systems, public and states colleges/universities. In the name of fiscal responsibility. However, these same governmental entities will offer tax incentives and breaks to multinational corporations to move their businesses into their areas, in the name of creating more opportunities for their constituents.
REALLY?! Are there some that do that? Of course there are. But they are at all levels of our society, rich, middle class and poor. The rich take advantage of their ability to influence public policies and laws to skew them in their favor. The middle class take advantage of tax breaks that they can. The poor have fewer choices.
When I was a kid, gambling was considered evil and vile. Now we have government sanctioned lotteries across the country, casinos in every state and many businesses constantly have promotions that make people think they can get something for almost nothing. Most people believe that working for a living is a good thing. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, a sense of worth, a sense of being.
Now, many seem to think that we cannot expand our economy, our culture, our nation and our democracy to accommodate newcomers again. They are incorrect. It is our diversity that strengthens us. Our differences that bind us together. Our belief in an ideal that causes us to unite into one nation. Our strengths come from our common goals – freedom, the pursuit of happiness and equality.
Those in positions of power and those with wealth believe that they can continue to keep us divided by exposing our weaknesses and pitting us against each other. That is one way they continue to exploit the system.
Remember what this “American Experiment” aspires to be – a better place for those who are willing to believe in a better life.
“First, education is a political act, whether at the university, high school, primary school or adult literacy classroom. Why? Because the very nature of education has the inherent qualities to be political, as indeed politics has educational aspects. In other words, an educational act has a political nature and a political act has an educational nature. . . . Education worldwide is political by nature.”
– Paulo Freire, The Politics of Education
What is Freire saying here?
This is an order to me. It doesn’t matter who says it, I hear it as an order. Know who you are and be THAT person. Even it’s me who’s saying it to me. It’s taken a long while to figure out who me is.
I don’t always know who me is. I’m old now. I should know who I am, shouldn’t I? Really, I’ve probably lived more than half my life now! How come I don’t know what I want?
I am good doozer when I work. I don’t like to work too hard. But I will get things done. I don’t like doing the same thing over and over.
I like to play. I love to laugh. Life is not always serious to me but I cherish it because it’s my chance to make a difference. I don’t always know if I am but I hope so.
I think I’ve ended up where I need to be at this point in my life.
I know I’m doing what a should be doing.
I’m still looking for who I’m meant to be with. I don’t think the cat counts. Although, she will argue that fact.
I’m happy with who I am, finally. Life is good. Love is elusive. But I muddle along, being my optimistic self.
Be myself. Introspective. Moody. Goofy. Patriotic. Questioning. Finding answers. Asking more questions. Argumentative. Opinionated. Smiling. Fun-loving. Swedish. American. Butch. Sentimental. Loving. But all the while – Loving the Life I have and Always Looking for More Ways to Love it!
Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
This may be the last time anyone who actually participated in World War II will be alive to commemorate a milestone like this. Many have already died. They have been called the Greatest Generation. There are many reasons for this. Not just participating in World War II, but living through the Great Depression and other issues both prior to and after.
Some of them remembered the abundance and optimism of the 1920s. Many of them remember the devastation of the 1930s. And all of them remembered the fear, destruction and DEATH during the second World War. Millions did not survive these decades. The western world was inextricably changed by these decades. Now those who were there are dwindling. Stories are being forgotten and lost.
I am not part of this generation. My parents were. I am a baby boomer. Our generation benefited greatly from the sacrifice and changes that these people made as we grew up. Yes, there was still strife and war, yes, there was inequality, discrimination of all sorts, but our society was forever changed by the differences created by the Greatest Generation.
I can tell you, anecdotally, that some members of my generation did not, or do not understand how their lives changed because of the Greatest Generation. In fact, some of them feel entitled to the prosperity and wealth that was created for them by their parents. Others, those of color, women, LGBTQ, were discriminated against and did not reap many of the benefits of our prosperous society after the war.
My Father was too old to enlist, but he did try. They said no. He had been in the Swedish Navy when he was eighteen some twenty plus years before the U.S. entered World War II. So he stayed and worked at GM in Chicago. They were producing locomotives for the war effort. My Mother worked as a cook and waitress, feeding the workers on the south side of Chicago. They both had lived through the Great Depression. My mother as a teen who had to quit school at 16 to find a job to help keep her family together. She was the oldest of five. Both her parents worked as well. I’m not sure about my father. He was in his thirties and had just come to the United States in 1933. They were married in 1934.
I wonder if my generation, having experienced the prosperity after World War II, the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the optimism of John F Kennedy presidency and the huge hole that was left after not only his assassination but also those of Martin Luther King, Malcom X and his own younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy, lost its innocence is such a horrific way that so jaded us to lose our faith in anything or anyone greater than our present, including ourselves.
We have stopped dreaming or even believing we can have any influence on the future. I do not remember Korea but the rest is firmly planted in my memory. Many of my peers are so myopic and concerned with their own little worlds. I have my feet in two different worlds. Raised to believe I could do anything I chose to, even as a woman, and later as a lesbian. My parents allowed me the freedom to make my own choices, regardless of their personal views. Maybe I was the exception to the rules of the rest of my generation, but I do not think so. I grew up in the turbulent sixties and became an adult in the weird seventies. Through all this I held on to the optimism and the hope of making the world a better place. Others in my generation did not. They became jaded, disheartened and want to go back to what they considered a better time. Was it? I look back without the rose-colored glasses they seem to wear.
I study history. I see the inequality of then and now. I see the hatred of things and people who are “different.” I see the fear of loss. I have felt that loss, personally. Life is different now, yes. We are growing and changing. It is inevitable. Because there is only forward, fast, slow or stall, there is still no reverse when it comes to life. Fear of the unknown is normal. The future is always unknown to some extent. But as Americans, we have always looked forward, not backward. We can learn from the past but we cannot recreate it.
I hope I am incorrect. I hope that we can again believe in hope and maybe even optimism. I look toward the future with guarded joy. I see this latest generation, so much younger than I, and I see sparks of the young people that believe they can help others, find solutions to our seemingly overwhelming problems and maybe, just maybe they have some of the optimism I remember from my youth, so long ago.
The changes we run toward and then just as quickly run away from, will continue to come. It is our only constant, change. Let us move forward with guarded optimism and hope. Because we cannot move backward EVER.
For those of you who feel that English & math are more important, if you have no music, dance, art then you have no empathy, compassion or sympathy. If you need an example look to the White House today.
Is this what we want to be remembered by? Yes, music, art, & dance take time. But they infuse so much more. Also, we seem to have a number of students who have ADD, ADHD, emotional issues,etc. These give them an safe outlet for their energy, emotions and teach them positive ways to express themselves.
Who knows, we might create an entire generation of caring, understanding, empathetic human beings? I know it’s a radical idea, but I still believe that “the classroom remains the most radical space in the academy.” – bell hooks.
Our inventions to make war so heinous that we would never wage it again, has just numbed us to useless death and destruction. Each time we wage war or invent new ways to kill people, we lose a bit of our immortal souls and move further away from our purpose as human beings.
How do we change? How do we achieve peace before we destroy each other and the planet?
I believe I can, most of the time. Now and again, I don’t. Somedays, I get scared and feel alone. This is one of those evenings. I finished my grading today. The semester is over except for the meetings and graduation. And I am feeling depressed and alone. I think I know why but I’m not ready to put a voice to it yet.
Then this Billy Joel song starts to play. And I remember….. about the power of love, the power of healing. About being strong, having faith, and miracles. Understanding that life isn’t fair but my faith remains, tattered and torn but somehow still intact. About love, devotion, emotions, being tender, staying tough and moving forward.
My soul is tough but my heart is tender. And I wait for what I don’t know. But I keep going, trying, reaching out, and being half way there.
I know believing is important. It is all about soul.
She waits for me at night, she waits for me in silence
She gives me all her tenderness and takes away my pain
And so far she hasn’t run, though I swear she’s had her moments
She still believes in miracles while others cry in vain
It’s all about soul
It’s all about faith and a deeper devotion
It’s all about soul
‘Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
She’s got to be strong
‘Cause so many things getting out of control
Should drive her away
So why does she stay?
It’s all about soul
She turns to me sometimes and asks me what I’m dreaming
And I realize I must have gone a million miles away
And I ask her how she knew to reach out for me that moment
And she smiles because it’s understood there are no words to say
It’s all about soul
It’s all about knowing what someone is feeling
The woman’s got soul
The power of love and the power of healing
This life isn’t fair
It’s gonna get dark, it’s gonna get cold
You’ve got to be tough, but that ain’t enough
It’s all about soul
There are people who have lost every trace of human kindness
There are many who have fallen, there are some who still survive
She comes to me at night and she tells me her desires
And she gives me all the love I need to keep my faith alive
It’s all about soul
It’s all about joy that comes out of sorrow
It’s all about soul
Who’s standing now and who’s standing tomorrow
You’ve got to be hard
Hard as the rock in that old rock ‘n’ roll
But that’s only part, you know in your heart
It’s all about soul
Songwriters: Billy Joel
All About Soul lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
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