Tying up loose ends

I know that it seems a bit tedious to be writing about my life day to day, so I’m going to try only writing about interesting things that happen throughout the day rather than giving a long spiel about how I went to some class and nothing happened.

Last Friday the group went to the neighbourhood watering hole. It was as if they rounded up all of the high-schoolers that think they’re bad-ass getting into a bar when they aren’t legal and their parents that support them all in one place. I couldn’t complain about the drink prices though. $3 for a rum and coke? Hells yeah!

Our group definitely stuck out like a sore thumb because for one, I was the only guy in the group of 8 girls and two, a friend of a participant, who is gay as well, came down to visit her, making our table (sadly) the most diverse. A gay man, a lesbian, and two bi-sexuals at a booth, clearly over-dressed for the environment in which they sat.

Lastly, it was obvious that we were the new Katima-group in town. Some guys bought us all a round of Buds (oh happy day) and later introduced themselves saying, “You guys must be the new Katimavik group. We can tell because the last group sat in that exact spot. Plus you guys are probably the most attractive group here.” I know that was directed at the girls, and not me. By looking around the bar, I realized that it didn’t take much to be the most attractive group. All of the high-school people that could drive and fashionable people that have better things to do than be in a tavern were all in Winnipeg, being classy and complaining about the cold as they run from their cars to the club doors in their mini-skirts.

On Monday I started work at SCI. The teacher who was supposed to be there to give me my schedule was absent (I later learned it was due to her child having strep throat), so I shadowed Courtney and got to know the teachers and the ins and outs of the school.

That evening, Courtney and I were invited to record the high-school performance of Guys and Dolls (we got in for free, the rest of the group paid). I ended up recording the whole thing due to my hands and their ability to arc around a camera and zoom in and zoom out at appropriate times. Next week there will be a viewing party. I want to go and see how my work turned out. After watching that play I remembered just how much I missed theatre. Perhaps I should try out for a community theatre when I return home, or maybe see if there is a dinner theatre that could use my help.

I struck a deal with the music teacher and I now get to help out in his band class, troubleshooting, working on tricky parts with sections, and maybe conducting when he is absent. I am so excited to be back in my element, I could not contain myself as I squirmed and tapped out times and rhythms to a troubled trombone player.

Every Tuesday the Special Education (or Special Me. Bad joke) class goes to the local bowling alley and plays a game of 5 pin. I missed bowling so much and scored 187. I’ll be able to track my progress as I accompany them each week. Maybe I will surpass my 15 year-old self’s average of 175. I think I may join a league when I get back to Toronto (there is so much I want to do when I get back, it shall be a post of its own).

I help out at an art class once in a while, and on the second day I heard a student say, “That’s so gay“. I had heard the term be tossed around a few times that class in a derogatory way, and I decided at that exact moment to do something about it. I was going to reclaim a little piece of my high-school self and never feel more proud of my sexuality in my life. I turned around and said to the student, “That’s so gay, huh? You know what else is so gay? I am so gay.” He was taken aback by what I had said, so I repeated myself: “I’m gay.” “Uhhh, what?” he said, still in shock. “I am a homosexual.” I said, emphasizing the last word to it’s full effect. “When you say, (in a mocking tone) ‘That’s so gay‘, I feel that you don’t realize that there may happen to be a gay person in your presence. For all you know, there could be someone in your class that is gay and not comfortable with themselves. Think about what you say.” Later on in the class I took him aside and apologized for calling him out in front of the whole class. He apologized to me as he had no idea and he had a friend that was gay and he was afraid of him. I explained to him that just because someone is a homosexual, it does not mean that they are going to come on to him. He understood that and I think I made an impact.

It’s funny because a similar situation had happened before, in my first year of University. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

We went back to my res for a second, Kate had to use the computer for a quick second. As she’s signing in, some frat boy from my res and some chick are sitting there, having a bit of stuff to drink, they’re buzzed… and I hear the frat boy whispering loudly something like “I hear that Joey’s gay, he denies it, but I think that he’s the biggest fag ever.” I don’t know who Joey is, but I was pissed off that someone would say that about him without him knowing. I’ve been through it before, and it is really annoying to have someone spread rumours behind your back. It’s like the drunk guy had this big issue with it. So, in reply I said, “I’m gay. Get over it.”

Instantly his face turned to complete shock. He was just there with some drunk girl on his lap and his mouth made a giant oblong “O”. I left with Kate to my room, used the computer and washroom, and as we were about to leave, Lucas knocks on my door. He tells me that what I did took a lot of guts, and he’s impressed that I did something so courageous. He said that the dude was totally shocked, it was awesome. I said thanks, and we went to St. Clair College to go play poker.

So there you have it. History repeats itself, and I feel that this will happen many more times in my life. Every time, I will be more than happy to correct the homophobia and fears that people have about people with a sexuality that is not the norm. I will fight for the rights of diverse sexualities everywhere.

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3 thoughts on “Tying up loose ends

  1. jelizabeth says:

    What a great story about how you responded when you heard a student say, “That’s so gay!” Perfect response. It’s so hard to know how to handle those situations that stops me in my tracks. Another thing that students at my college sometimes say is, “That’s so retarded!” or “I’m such a retard!” and I find that so offensive, yet I have not reflected on or rehearsed how to handle it next time. I have to think more intently about this, and what I can do, as an ally.

  2. Heather Corrigan says:

    Ah, Ed! Keep fighting the good fight. Kudos. Though it shouldn’t be out of the ordinary for people to speak up when gay is thrown about like it’s just the cleverest little insult that ever was, it still seems to be the case. With more people addressing it at you do, hopefully one day the people who don’t call it out will be the minority. (Actually, hopefully people won’t do it at all.)
    Best.

  3. Edward says:

    To Jane:
    Thank you. It really is difficult sometimes to respond to someone who says something so derogatory without letting your emotions get the better of you. Actions speak louder than words, but using the two effectively speaks louder than anything. I’m sure you are more than capable of handling a situation like this one. You write so eloquently and express yourself so well. That must count for something.

    To Heather:
    I haven’t heard from you in so long! I hope that one day sexuality won’t have to be such a hot topic. One day, the fact that I prefer the company of men won’t matter. One day, a woman who wants to identify as a man won’t be given strange looks. One day, we will all just be.

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