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Tony

April 1998

A bunch of words on a screen by Tony

"Some terribly insightful quote that shakes the foundation of all your beliefs."

March 10:

"No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges and courses of study of any such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. --Massachusetts Law, Chapter 76, Section 5"

There it was, hung up on the wall at the entrance to the auditorium as I walked in to wait for my next rehearsal at six. Just a half hour before, there had been a faculty meeting in the auditorium because of me. I had seen the agenda for the meeting earlier that day thanks to a teacher-friend; "Diversity Appreciation Training" was a serious of speakers starting with "An Overview of Applicable Law Regarding Hate Crimes Based Upon Race, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation," then "Communicating an Intolerance of Harassment, Discrimination, and Hate Crimes Through School Policies and Protocols", "Department of Education as a Resource in Creating Supportive Programming for Gay and Lesbian Youth", "The Experience of Harassment and Discrimination Based Upon Sexual Orientation", and at the end, there was time allotted for questions and answers.

Sitting in the auditorium, I felt proud and awestruck at the same time. My only regret was that only the faculty, and not the students of my school were partaking in this meeting. Granted, yes, the faculty needs to be trained to handle diversity, but the students need it more than the teachers do. The teachers in my school are either too old to have their views changed, or are young and intelligent enough to have an open outlook on the world; there is no middle ground. The students, on the other hand, though for the most part are insular (like my mother) should at least be exposed to the fact that there ARE other kinds of people in this world: most people are NOT white suburbanites in this world. My Latin teacher, who is also an advisor for the school paper, said it perfectly when she said, "Most of these kids are going to go to college and have four roommates: a black, a Jew, and a gay. They're going to come running home, because they can't handle the culture." She said this in response to the average student's reaction to the "James" article. Unfortunately, what she said fits most students only too well.

In the days following the meeting, I saw stickers appear on my Algebra teacher's door, the health teacher's door, and the nurse's office; these stickers all had a pink triangle and said "LBG Youth Safe Zone." I thought it was wonderful...except for one thing. There was no sort of school wide announcement to the students about these stickers. The average student is not going to know about the teacher's meeting, and so, to them, these stickers are just now appearing almost six months after the "James" article was published. Is it just me, or does that not make sense?

--

March 15:

I always procrastinate and finish my articles last minute; it's more fun this way.

I went into Boston today with my friend Jen who is home from college. As is always the case when I go into the city, I didn't want to come back; it's just too much fun simply walking around, checking out cute guys, and not having to worry about what people will think. If only life were this good all the time.

Jen showed me the Boston Public Library; my god, that place is HUGE!! So many books compared to the tiny library that I work in. As we walked out of the library, I happened to notice a window across the street with a rainbow flag hung in it.

"Rainbow flag; cool," I said.

Jen read the sign next to the flag, "GLAD Bookstore. Wanna go in?"

"Sure. If you don't mind going in."

"No problem."

So, I went into a gay bookstore for the first time today. It was an interesting experience. Jen and I browsed for a little while, but I could tell she felt out of place, so we left. I wasn't really sure what to expect...I mean it was just a book store, no big deal, but it was special in a way. Kind of like your first ice cream sundae as a kid; a special treat.

--

And, I suppose, the good news last: I have been accepted to Simon's Rock College, and they have given me a $5,000 a year scholarship. That still leaves $22,000 a year, but hopefully we'll be able to come up with it somehow. I NEED to get out of here, the sooner the better. This town is just too small for me, too restricting, too questioning, too similar. Everyone in this town is the same, there is no diversity to speak of, and I simply cannot live like this. I got to get out of here.

Until next month,

Tony
orrymain@geocities.com


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