“It's your journey, do it the way you wanna do it." — Tan FranceTonight, GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) members will gather to make signs for the Northampton Pride parade tomorrow. I won’t be there, but I can imagine the scene. Rainbows, glitter, and affirmation will abound, and mingle with stories and wry jokes. Occasionally, something going on on “ Queer Eye” will grab everyone’s attention. And then, as the laughter subsides and eyes return to posters-in-progress, conversations will resume.
Today is the annual Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN. Some of the students in our Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) are choosing to participate, maintaining silence throughout the class day to call attention to the figurative silence of the closet in which many LGBTQ+ people live, whether wholly or partially. Following GLSEN guidelines, teachers have been asked to support the kids, bending where possible to allow them to maintain their silence in the classroom (for example, writing out answers to questions or doing board work) with the understanding we might also ask them to participate vocally in cases where that might genuinely be necessary. At the end of the day, the kids will gather for a three-minute long period of silence followed by a ritual (read: loud and joyful) breaking of the silence.
On Saturday, January 19, eight members of the Stoneleigh-Burnham community attended a diversity conference, 'Everybody, Everybody': Reimagining Gender and Sexuality in Our Schools," hosted by Vermont Academy. Our group, or “pod” in the terminology of the Dalton Conference model, represented a past and present cross section of students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, alums, and trustees.
This page is meant to represent current thinking on the fundamentals of how we see gender and sexuality based on the writings of experts and the reported lived experiences of people of a diversity of gender and sexuality.
Okay, I’m just going to say it, controversial or not.
I use a Gillette razor. Always have, and still do.
Whew. Glad to get that off my chest.
Recently, I got called out on Twitter. It used to be, like many (most?) of us, that being told I was causing offense, being racist, and/or hindering the work for social justice would lead me to break out in a panicky sweat, want to figuratively or even literally run away, and/or passionately defend myself as “a good person.” By now, though, it’s happened often enough that I’ve learned to view it positively as someone caring enough to engage with me, to challenge me to do better in their eyes (granting that this is easier to process via social media than in the immediacy of face-to-face conversations). And I’ve learned that at such moments, their eyes are generally seeing things I would otherwise miss and that I really need to know. Trying to remain open to being called out, whether on Twitter, in person, or wherever, has enabled me to learn and grow more quickly and more surely than I otherwise would have been able to - in short, to be a better ally.
As much as I love the warmth, sunlight, and pace of the summer, there is something about this time of year that also appeals to me. Part of it is that sense of resilience you get for toughing it out during a New England winter; part of it is the contrast of the darkness with starlight, moonlight, and the brightness of hats, mittens, and scarves; and part of it is the protectiveness of the darkness itself. As the light retreats and the world seems to close in on itself, introspection comes naturally, even if you are all about daily learning and growth, and whether or not you are of a mind to actually make resolutions
Of course there was a point on the ride out to Boston where the kids were singing show tunes. How could there not be?! Singing “We raise a glass...” from “La Vie Bohème” at the top of their lungs, they all clinked their Dunkin’ Donut cups, their faces lit up by smiles.
It was a sunny morning in the early spring of 2017, and I woke up in a pretty good mood. The weather was decent, most of my clothes were still clean, I wasn't driving kids to community service, and we weren't expecting any visitors, so all in all it was one of those days when I could wear more or less anything I wanted to. I chose an Oxford shirt, a black sweater (to complement my nail polish), and my favourite purple and blue skirt.
During advisory lunch on Monday, one of my eighth grade advisees asked why people might not want to arm teachers. The conversation quickly shifted to our school’s policies around lockdowns and other policies meant to help keep kids safe, so we ran out of time before her question was really answered. I told her I hadn’t forgotten the original question, and said maybe we could talk on Wednesday.