Anything but Ordinary, please!

Embracing life to the full… Including questions, challenges, joys and adventures

Self Assessment Time

On Thursday I brought in a guest speaker from the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) to my class. I met Rob through work I was doing in the community on human trafficking. I was receiving training about providing care for victims of trafficking from all different client populations. This particular training was on understanding challenges that the LGBT community faces.

I left his presentation with increasing empathy and a desire to understand more about what my LGBT brothers and sisters face, not just a trafficking victims, but in daily life. I also realized that my students could benefit from learning about these challenges and could grow by considering their own paths as friends, family members, co-workers, and romantic partners. I have students who are LGBT and students who are homophobic. My classes provide a wide mix experiences and perspectives.

One of the most interesting portions of his presentation is about “coming out” — about the fears and risks associated with it as well as the freedom that comes from living an authentic life. I want to be a safe person for my friends and family members to trust with their stories.  I may write another post about this later, but I am still digesting it.

At the end of his presentation he leaves the group with the following self assessment:

  • Do you ever stop yourself from doing things for fear that people might think you are LGBT?
  • Do you think that LGBT people try to convince/can convince other people to be LGBT?
  • Are there any jobs that you think LGBT people should be barred from having?
  • How would you feel if a family member revealed that they were LGBT?
  • Have you ever been to an LGBT event? If not, why?
  • Do you use terms that degrade LGBT people or make jokes that degrade LGBT people
I think it is important to take this assessment and take it honestly… regardless of where you fall on your beliefs about homosexuality…
One of the ways that we can create safe spaces for people is by resisting homophobic behavior, jokes and comments. For example, in the past it was accepted to tell racially charged jokes (unfortunately they are still accepted in some groups), but for the most part if someone uses a racial slur, we give them a dirty look… But, if someone tells a gay joke or uses “gay” in a derogatory way, many turn the other way, laugh or accept it.
Oppression of any type is perpetuated by ignorance. So, when we avoid and stereotype we have no way of challenging our assumptions or discovering individuals for their individuality verses for the sexuality. I am challenged to love better and to listen more completely.
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This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 by .
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