Monday, March 31, 2008

A place for everything

It has come to my attention that some newer visitors to this blog were offended by my recent post about homophobia at our children’s school. So offended that they found it necessary to find read, print, discuss, distribute and introduce it to the headmaster of my children’s elementary school.

Perhaps we should first discuss what a blog is, maybe that would help our new readers have some context for my last rant, and all of my previous years of rants, advice and poetic comments of participatory journalism.

Wikipedia defines a blog as:
(an abridgment of the term web log) a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.

Each blog has it’s own raison d’etre if you will. Ours has always been to create and provide a space, a community for gay and lesbian parents to connect, find comfort, seek advice and share stories - commonality. A place for opinioned rants – mine, as the heading clearly states – and most importantly, a place to fit, complain, come together. And all who love, all who want to learn, all who are open are welcome.

That said, perhaps we should also discuss what is and is not appropriate when dealing with conflict - in a child’s educational setting – in THAT context and environment and also in a separate media editorial blog context.

You see
I was SHOCKED when I received a call from the school
Asking me to meet with the headmaster
Telling me a family had read my blog and was upset
In fact one family had informed another of the blog…
So then there were two…
Worlds collided
There is a time, place and way to be in all contexts
Like when you are at work and a colleague introduces a political joke, or over personal conversation. Very uncomfortable – because the two just don’t fit together. I believe there are appropriate places and times to discuss these issues. When I go to work I wear a suit, cover my tattoos and take out my eyebrow ring. Life has its uniforms and frankly I am ok with most them.

This blog
My blog
Has a purpose
An audience
A place that it fits
A need that it fills
An importance
Not just for myself but for many – internationally
Gay families need places to feel – discuss – share and connect
To feel free to express
Just as coats and ties have a place
There is a modality to blogging and ranting that differs from the
Office modality, the subway way of being and the elementary school modes of communication and language.
Look – you don’t wear a tuxedo to go mountain climbing.

When discussing this incident of homophobia at our school
I did not wear the activist hat
I did not use the radical voice
Or the advocate mantra
My hat was MOM
And I speak and spoke with an eye to my kids
And a community that I cherish and greatly feel blessed by.
I would NEVER introduce this mode
Blogging mode
of language into our school
Everything has a place – a uniform if you will
And coming from the side of difference
Of oppression
Of “other” for so long
Perhaps I understand these rules better than most.

We chose to handle this situation maturely
With an understanding of people’s processes
Kid gloves
An eye to, yes, educate
But as organically as possible

I chose to share this incident on my blog
Because it is relevant
And important
And allows dialogue and learning
And a place for me to vent - which was quite needed
And this is exactly the type of moment that
I have written about
and answered questions about for years

But now
Has introduced
My professional activist voice and language
My external poetry
Into the mom, child, educational arena
And is condemning my language
In that arena

I am not naive
I know that what I write is public
We are syndicated
If you Google
“my daddy’s name is donor” (one of our T’s)
Every conservative site across the net has an article condemning us
And I value the dialogue
I value the challenge
Frankly I value the publicity - can’t hurt eh?
I expect it in the world
And in All appropriate contexts

I am shocked however
And I find myself feeling violated and invaded
That parents at our school
Chose to expend time and energy
Seek out, find, read, print, discuss, complain about and
Then bring to the headmaster of our school
Out of the context of the full blog
This one entry
And condemn

The writing was done appropriately in context
Where it fits
It is the bringing of my writing
Where the violation exists for me
Why were they even reading this blog?
Clearly not for advice or to purchase gay baby clothing for their kids
I did not ever intend for this to occur
Good god
Imagine if all of our writings
All of our political views and biases
Our communications at work
Poetry we published in college
from our church sermons to graffiti
Our first novels depicting our hard childhoods to
Letters to the editor of People
Imagine if all of these were brought before all of our peers
In all contexts
My, that would be pretty!

I am so very disappointed
That this occurred
No parent spoke to us directly – as we did out of respect for them
And look, conflicts will arise
Disagreements occur and discussion about them is
Of utmost importance
And how they are handled lays the groundwork for the future

But in this case
what did they seek to accomplish?
To silence us?
Remove us?
Cover up our concerns and erase them?
hide their embarrassment?
Did they assume the headmaster would agree with them?
Gang up with them and bully us into silence
Did they expect the school to participate in quieting us
In our external editorial?
How distressing!

Our school howeveras always
Acted with grace and care
And a huge dose of support and respect for
Our kids - our family - all families
The administrators engaged in a deliberate
Open dialogue with us
And we are grateful for that

The issue for the kids is resolved
But we have no closure

And now here is the rub
There is now
A palpable level of discomfort at school
Once our haven

People are talking – as people do
We handled this situation perfectly calmly maturely
Thought it was done
And yet it is not over
We now do not know who to trust
Who are our friends?
Our allies
Or at least the folks who are open to us or learning more
Who will now become closed to us
Due to this
Due to gossip
Due to discomfort

We feel violated (weren’t we already wronged once in this already?)
We feel somewhat stifled and edited
And now we must be defensive
And wonder what folks think
Who they are talking to
Again we must feel “different”
Must I worry each time I post of who I will please and anger in each phrase?
Of who is reading this blog?

And why come here?
Why read
If our blog does not fit your world view
If you are easily offended
there are 47 million other blogs
Just click and you will be freed from our liberal
Opinionated blathering
If I choose to listen to Imus
Or Dr. Laura or Rush
I am not shocked when I find I am offended

I am at a complete loss now
Mitigated only by the fact
That our children went to school the next day
Blissfully unaware and unpoisoned
By all of this chaos

My wife said to me
What is important
Is our love
Helping to raise our amazing kids
And being blessed to be able to educate and help the world
So be it.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

baby sage turns 5

It took longer to make the cake
than to make Torin Sage
first try at the GYN office
and 5 days later
Jessie was nauseous

It took longer to design the cake
choose the ingredients
cut the shapes
than to narrow down on the donor
we knew in an instant
which one was right
and magical
and for us

It took longer to mix and bake
decorate (yup it's all edible)
and color
than for Torin to be born
The cake was 72 hours of labor
Jessie was in labor for only a hellish 6

How can it be
that the miracle of our daughter
took less time

I think of families who do not cherish
do not respect
do not dote on their babies

Every day with Torin is a miracle
and a blessing

cherish your little ones
bake them cakes of doggies and lakes
give them the world
show them it's beauty
so that they can pass on the
to their children

ah family
ah love
that's how to change the world

one magical cake at a time
(Zion wants a skate board park cake - goddess help me!)

Happy birthday Torin Sage!
thanks for picking us!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

homophobia begins at home

Private schools
have 2 weeks of vacation
in a row!
After preparing for a week
it seems to take a week for the kids to settle in
they miss their routine
their friends
one week of play
and then another to
orient them back
to the world.....

Our world came with a bit of a bummer moment this week
1st day back from break
my son
in his crunchy private school
was exposed to big batch of home grown homophobia
really the worst kind - or maybe the only kind
a girl in his class, a friend actually
told Zion that two moms can't actually have a child
so that means that "his family tree is broken"
and that "we broke it!"
she went on in her monologue to tell him why having a dad is better than 2 moms
"dads play sports with you and let you play with toy guns!"
Ahh where to begin
Here is what we did NOT say
  • Dykes love sports and we can kick your dads ass at any sport any time anywhere
  • Idiots play with guns and even bigger idiots lets their kids play with them
  • Zion is adopted - a straight family could not handle having a baby and chose us to raise him - guess their tree is broken honey - we had the power to make a tree with ovaries only -now that's power!

Jessie, my wife did call her parents with the hope of offering some language to help their daughter understand. Jessie did not blame. She actually said that their child was not bulling and that she just wanted to be helpful.

Dad - our daughter has never known anyone like this and "alternative lifestyles" are new to HER. And she "did not learn this at home"

Jessie spoke to the mom at drop off today - Mom was frozen and clearly not understanding why we were still discussing it. In a panic to end talking to the lesbian she stated repeatedly "we will talk to her"

Luckily for us the school rocks and today the teacher will read Tango and few other books that might help.

The teachers will begin to educate the child whose parents raised her and trained her and taught her to limit, judge and look down upon others

we have our work cut out for us people

lets get out there and fight

love, S & J

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