Tag Archives: Gay Rights

Social Media, Politics, and “Friends”

It’s that time of the election cycle. Our feeds are full of political opinions. A friend of mine posted an article about how easy it is to offend our virtual friends on Facebook. This made me reflect a bit on how we project ourselves to the virtual world. I personally don’t mind all the opinions, even if I often choose to stay on the sidelines, piping in with likes and comments instead of starting the discussions myself.

The way I look at it, if someone wants to unfriend me or stop following me for my beliefs, that’s fine. Makes me wonder why I’d want to be connected with someone that doesn’t respect me for my differences in the first place. Likewise, I have shed a few connections over the years for their consistently hateful ideas, which has only left me feeling lighter in knowing that those people don’t belong in any facet of my life.

Instead of seeing the barrage of opinions put out into the online universe as overkill or offensive, I see the Internet as a useful, natural filter for deciding who I really want to have in my online sphere. Sure there are plenty of relatives and coworkers and old friends and acquaintances I do not agree with, but as long as the dialogue is kept respectful, I like that there is a place in this world where they can express themselves openly and I can know them a little better.

This whole idea that we should not have hard conversations with the people in our lives gets under my skin. If we cannot have them in real life, as the article points out is often the case, then I am happy they can occur, even superficially, in the virtual sphere. The only way the world changes is if we start to listen to each other and understand our differing perspectives a little better.

I know it may seem like all the political noise does not really change anything, but I think it does, little by little. When I was in high school, gay kids were beat up, and no one publicly said anything to stop it. Now, all those same kids are grown-ups with Facebook accounts, and suddenly it is pretty mainstream to speak up for gay rights, (even if some of these adults are still on the other side of the fence). This shift in dialogue is just one example of how putting ideas out there can make other people feel safer in voicing their opinions too.

So, as your feeds fill up with ideas you may or may not agree with, I encourage you to be grateful a space exists where people actually speak their minds. Maybe eventually it will make people brave enough to start having important discussions in real life too. And, if nothing else, at least it shows us where the people in our lives stand, whether it be on the left or the right, or in a space of wanting to say nothing.

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I did not choose to be straight.

Every time I hear someone say that being gay is a choice, I laugh.  I cannot help but then imagine whether the person that is saying this decided to be straight.  Did they sit there and consciously decide who to be sexually attracted to?  Are they admitting that they could be gay if they did not decide to be straight?

Put yourself in the reverse shoes.  Can you imagine forcing yourself to be gay just to fit in?  I can’t.  I’d “choose” to love Alex anyway, even if meant I had to become a pariah in some circles.


This morning I began my day by perusing the New York Times on my phone.  I’ve found that this tactic is far more effective than the snooze button because it forces my brain to wake up and gives me something to look forward to… Yes, I am a nerd.  Yes, I also look at Facebook, which is why you may get 5:55 AM messages from me.

Back to the subject at hand, I woke up to an article on gay students being bullied and committing suicide in Minnesota.  The school district has a policy that teachers “shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation” that has resulted in many teachers ignoring or mishandling the bullying of gay students.  Apparently, it is difficult to address the bullying of gay students without also sending a message that gay students, and thus being gay, should be accepted.

I find this appalling.  As a country, we have more-or-less figured out how to accept different religious beliefs, but many of us still refuse to accept different sexual orientations to the point that young people are killing themselves as not to have to go to school.  At my own high school growing up, I remember being filled with anger as I listened to the football players harass two boys in my PE class, ruthlessly calling them fags, among other things.  If I only knew then what I know now.  If I only had the courage then that I have now.

Even though I clearly believe that being gay is not a choice, (nor something to be ashamed of), I do not understand why acceptance of homosexuality in schools is interpreted to be the same thing as endorsement.  I also do not understand how those teachers could interpret the district policy as a directive to underplay the bullying of gay students.  As a teacher, I understand that sometimes bullying is difficult to pinpoint, especially since there is always more to the story than shared.  However, acceptance of all students is non-negotiable for me.  I do not understand how, regardless of core beliefs, it could be negotiable for anyone else.

My heart goes out to all of the students in this article and all of the people in this world that get mistreated for being themselves.

Side note: Not exactly sure what’s up with the spacing of this post…  
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