Diary

Mr. Savage, It Ain't Because You're Gay....

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The “It Gets Better” Pledge: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are.
I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors.
I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work.
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A video recently came to light over a speech that was given by Dan Savage to a group of students as part of the National High School Journalism Conference in Seattle.

In this speech, Mr. Savage clearly demonstrated why he isn’t asked to speak at many of these conferences:
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ao0k9qDsOvs
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His parents must be so proud.

I’m guessing that Mr. Savage will find that a lot of his invitations to speak to high school students are going to be rescinded as a result of this stunt. No parent wants to find out that their child has been cursed at by someone who is purportedly there to give a speech about how wrong bullying is. And no school wants to be sued by parents who are upset that their child was exposed to the kind of behavior exhibited by Mr. Savage.

For someone who started an Anti-Bullying group to help gay teens get through those very difficult adolescent years, it is ironic that he doesn’t recognize that what he said in that speech was bullying of the same sort.
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What is also ironic is that he doesn’t seem to realize that he lives in one of the most tolerant nations in the world. The fact is that most Christians don’t have a problem with people who are homosexual as long as they don’t constantly “insist upon themselves“.

He doesn’t appear to realize that he is doing real damage to the work done by those members of the LGBT community who have fought very hard to be accepted by society at large.

That old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” still applies, as outdated and corny as it may seem.
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Our daughter, Michelle, is gay.

It’s been an interesting journey – one that has been harder for me than other members of our family. I have never stopped loving her – it would never enter my mind. I carried her under my heart for 9 months; I felt her move within me – that is a bond that can never be broken.

That’s not to say that I didn’t grieve, though. And I know that it was hard for Michelle to watch as I went through that process. I remember her saying once that she didn’t understand why I “accepted” Rebecca’s Down syndrome “so much easier” than another daughter being gay. I told her that I guess I must have hidden how I dealt with Rebecca’s diagnosis better than I realized….

There is a grief process for some parents when their kids come out to them, and the later in a person’s life that they make that announcement, the longer that grief process will probably take.
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Michelle had a wonderful counselor at her high school who was able to explain to her that by the time that a person is comfortable enough to “come out” to friends and family, they have already gone through that process themself. However, they forget that when they finally DO come out, the person that they are telling will be starting that process from “scratch”.

By the time that Michelle finally told us that she was, indeed, gay, she was a teenager, and she had spent many years insisting that she WASN’T gay. Well, when someone tells you that they aren’t gay, you kind of build that into the tapestry of how you think of that person. When they come back later and tell you that they ARE gay, you have to take the time to pull those threads out and replace them with new ones – the more “threads” there are, the longer it’s going to take to “replace” them.

I had to ask Michelle to be patient with me – thankfully, she has been. She’s a great kid, and I am very proud of how well she has handled all of the stuff that has come her way. I know that she has been instrumental in helping other people of her acquaintance who are wrestling on their journey of coming out. She is a gentle soul, and people turn to her for advice quite often.

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One thing that she absolutely will not tolerate, however, is people who act out or deliberately confront others in order to draw attention to the fact that they are gay.

It’s so funny to hear the exasperation in her voice whenever someone like Mr. Savage acts like he did at this conference.

When she left for college, one of the things that she did was to seek out the LGBT group on campus. She was telling me about this one time when she was home on Christmas break – about how frustrated she got with the more militant members of the group who went out of their way to deliberately provoke a response from people in the general public.
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What really ticked her off, though, was when they would get indignant and huffy because people usually wouldn’t react to them unless/until they got really outrageous in their behavior. And then they would get indignant and huffy BECAUSE people got upset at their over-the-top behavior, to the point that they would blog about it, trying to get people to agree with them that these people were homophobic.

And her reaction to that was, “Well, if I saw you guys acting like that, I’d be upset, too – and I’m GAY!”

She kept trying to explain to them that most people are fine with things as long as you aren’t in their face about it, but there were some in that group who seemed to like the drama. She quit hanging out with them as often as she had at the beginning of the school year; she still stands up for gay rights, but she knows that the best way to get people to accept her is to just quietly go about her business.

As she says, being gay is part of who she is, but it doesn’t define her – it’s just a part of the whole package.
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I don’t know what Michelle thinks about Mr. Savage’s speech – I haven’t asked her, and she probably has better things to do than to peruse political blogs (unless they talk about snakes…).

I’d kind of like to think that she might say something along the lines of, “Didn’t your mother ever tell you that when someone invites you to come over, you make sure that you are on your best behavior?”

If Mr. Savage isn’t invited to speak to any more high school or college functions, it isn’t going to be because he is gay.

It’s going to be because he is RUDE.

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[Cross-posted at Koch’s Tour]
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