Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vikings Rule, Bigots Drool!

The class of students that graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1984 have turned into some fabulous adults. At the 20th reunion I was amazed at how many of us were doctors, news directors, music producers, Scottish harp champions, etc. Through the magic of Facebook I now have a little glimpse into some of their daily lives and share little bits of my own.

When Proposition 8 passed in California last week I was initially devastated. I did a lot of crying and thinking and talking with my closest friends and I'm feeling better about things now. A part of that was seeing how my Facebook friends took up the issue and chimed in with messages of support. Lots of them were from my high school.

It brought to mind an incident during my senior year. I was in a class called Diversified Occupations which was a bit of a misnomer. It really should have been called Life Skills for White Trash. We learned how to file our taxes, balance a checkbook, find an apartment and apply for a job; things that most kids learn from their parents.

One day our teacher Mrs. Morgan brought in a guest speaker whose topic, contrary to custom, wasn't announced in advance. The woman was well dressed and well spoken, but something about her made me uncomfortable. Turns out I wasn't the only one. Within a few minutes danders were up and tempers were flaring. She was there to teach us how to force our opinions on our children. Being children ourselves, we didn't take kindly to the idea. When questioned as to why children shouldn't be encouraged to explore and develop their own critical thinking, she responded "well don't you want to make sure your children don't turn out gay?"

Seriously. She said that. At which point, my classmates and I exploded in anger and asserted that we would love our children regardless of their sexual orientation. Seriously. Eighteen year-olds in Poulsbo Washington in 1984 did that. The woman became flustered and left. It was an amazing moment when I think back on it, though it didn't occur to me at the time.

If anyone who was there in Mrs. Morgan's Diversified Occupations class is reading this, I want to say thanks. You rocked then, and you rock now. Go Vikings!


Adam said...

The Oregon Citizen's Alliance vigorous push for an anti-gay ballot measure in my state, 1992's ballot measure 9, is what got me to wake up to the issues and take a side.

Funny how sometimes bigots can strengthen their opposition.

Before that, I was pretty clueless.

michael sean morris said...

We had a youth pastor come in to our library to speak on the dangers of rock music one lunchtime; rather than boycott it I got all my godless friends to attend and assail this troll with the kind of ceaseless logic which is anathema to that sort of person.

When the teachers in attendance tried to get us in trouble we were able to get out of it in various ways, mainly by stating that it was lunch hour and that we were only applying out critical thinking skills which they were always after us to use when it suited them. All in all the best hour of my high school career.