UPDATE (09.10.12) — Seeing as this post caused the outbreak of World War III in j-school, there are a few things I want to clarify. For starters, I want this to be read with the classroom setting in mind. Most critics have pointed out that no one has the obligation to listen to ideas they don’t care about; and I want to make it clear that I agree. However, in a seminar where we are encouraged to share our thoughts and ideas, I like to think it’s fair game, and that the attention and thus potential for debate among students is key.
I’ve also been told that some are upset and offended by my use of the phrase “checking your privilege.” Your upset is the exact reason it is included, and I regret that I am not apologetic to you for those reasons. If you feel you can roll your eyes at, or better yet, actively try to silence a minority figure, you’re missing the point, and you probably do need to check your privilege.
Lastly, students in j-school have apparently been turned off by my “preaching” (which I’m not sure I’ve done at all, beyond this blog post, of course). Supposedly I sit in rooms and lack the social skills to talk about anything but my inherent gayness, and while I have to respectfully disagree, it truly disgusts me that so many of you would actually elect a spokesperson to ask that I be silenced in my activism. I’m sure you will all be familiar with this famous Voltaire quote (in fact, most of you liked it on Facebook just a few days back): “I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to death your right to say it.”
J-school is a great place to hone our skills and become better writers, and I like to think part of that means sharing our ideas in the classroom, when and if they are relevant to the bettering of our education. It’s an awful shame that there’s a lack of respect between us in the first place. — E
This was originally supposed to be a post about why kid-centric television shows should feature prominent LGBT characters (which I promise will come shortly; I’ve been meaning to write it, I swear!), but my mind tends to wander so this is going to be yet another post about j-school.
You see, I was bashing away at my keys about the importance of exposing kids to LGBT characters at a young age so it becomes an ordinary thing (not some sort of blood-sucking, OMG-it’s-the-end-of-the-world-because-I-like-the-thought-of-two-boys-touching-dicks ideology that my, and many other, generations grew up having to face and thus unlearn as we matured). Then I thought about GLAAD’s annual visibility report. Then I remembered briefly reading about it in my new textbook for Critical Issues in Journalism, The Media Gaze by Augies Fleras. Then I remembered about the week in that course about sexuality. Then I remembered how my professor thought it’d be witty and hip~ to title that week’s lecture “I Kissed a Girl.” Then I thought about Katy Perry and the multiple, idiotic and ignorant run-ins she’s had with the gay community. And then my insides spontaneously combusted, and I died, and my brains scattered all over the keyboard and splattered against my beautiful, pale blue bedroom walls.
Don’t worry, I’m still with you.
So, while my brains may still be safe and snug in my skull, I can’t help but feel fiery rage in the pit of my guts when I think about my program, and how most of the people I am surrounded with can name the titles to more Katy Perry singles than countries in which it’s still illegal (and in some, punishable by death) to be gay. It’s so discouraging to be in a program that is supposed to respect the free flow of ideas and, most importantly, the rights and beliefs of others, but always tends to show a lack of support and more and more of an increase in immaturity than anything else.
Regular readers should already know that I haven’t had what I would call a fair experience in any of the schools I’ve attended yet. In elementary school, I wasn’t a proper enough girl. In high school, I was The Dyke. And in university, I am the overbearing, overly righteous lesbian that apparently needs to tone it down.
Hint: I’m not toning it down.
See, the thing is, I like to think I’m fairly tolerant of people’s beliefs and interests. You know, if I’m being honest, I don’t know much about the Middle East; but if you’re passionate about the Arab Spring uprisings, I’m not going to judge that. In fact, if you want to give me some background on it, I’d be more than willing to listen. So, when I’m introducing myself to the class, and I’m telling you all that I’m passionate about bringing visibility to the mainstream media regarding LGBT issues and rights, your ignorant eye-rolling in my direction makes me wish I had one of those automatic tennis ball machines that tennis players use to practise on, only it’d be shooting knives at you instead of balls.
Seriously, you can just politely ask me to explain the issues you don’t understand, and I’ll tell you all about it. Or, if you simply don’t give a fuck, shut up, zip your lip like a padlock (thank you Ke$ha for these inspirational lyrics) and don’t make any suggestive gestures in my direction.
And I mean, I guess I’m being a little harsh, but j-school hasn’t been overly accepting of my beliefs. In fact, a portion of special snowflakes in j-school have also conjured up the idea that my beliefs have somehow meshed into my girlfriend’s own beliefs, or perhaps that we’ve moulded into one entity. So now all the dickwads that hated me hate her too, and that’s just simply unacceptable, because she’s cool and I’m lame. I mean it. I’m asking you all to hate me, not her. She’s pretty and smart. You have no reason to hate her.
And I guess I also am not looking forward to our Katy Perry-themed lecture because I know there are so few out people in my program, and the others know fuck all about LGBT issues, and it’s just going to be so embarrassing to sit there as a lesbian and listen to a bunch of straight, ignorant special snowflakes try to talk about what they think is important because they watched Glee one time and really empathized with Karofsky and now they’re experts in everything gay. It’s the same way that all the white kids are going to pretend they know something about being racial minorities because they listen to rap music. Like, no. Just stop.
Is it too much to ask for a bit of education? Or to have people, you know, check their privilege every once in a while?
I’m no expert in LGBT rights and issues and all that. But I experienced a lot of stuff firsthand. I intern at one of Canada’s biggest gay and lesbian publications. And I’ve done my research.
Just ask. And stop rolling your fucking eyes at me.
Thank you, j-school, and the rest of the world, for that matter.
Here’s a list of sites you should visit if you want to be educated on this kind of stuff:
- Revel & Riot
- Human Rights Campaign
- GLAAD (which, FYI, has a great section on writing about LGBTQ for the media)
- Trans Equality
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
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