Thursday, March 09, 2006

Enough Biographical Updates!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled thought-provoking and queer-eyed look at the world around us.

As regular readers know, I am trying to establish a career as a professional speaker. I have my 4th paid speaking engagement scheduled for April 5th, at a high school in Washington DC. The Georgetown Day School has over 1000 students and is pre-K through 12th grade. I'll be speaking to the high school classes, grades 9-12. During their pride week. You heard me...a high school with a pride week! They have a version of a GSA, but it's the school itself that hosts the pride week. They have a section of their website dedicated to diversity, are participating in the DC Metro Middle School Student Diversity Conference, hold a 9th grade diversity seminar, and have won national awards for their efforts in diversity education. The times, they are a changin'!

Back in my day (I feel and sound SO old when I say that) this was unheard of. Even in the larger metro schools, they didn't put this much attention on diversity. Now I realize that this is a private school and so it's a little bit different environment, but still... I can't imagine having gone to school where I felt comfortable coming out before I left for college and was 4 hours away from home. I can't imagine what a difference that might have made in my life, or in the lives of so many of my friends. Don't get me wrong, I've learned not to regret the pain and struggle of growing up in the closet. It has a lot to do with the person I am today, and I'm happy with me!

I used to ask myself, if I could have gone back in time and made myself straight, would I have done it? It would have been a lot easier, that's for sure. I likely wouldn't have been suicidal in 9th grade. I might have been more outgoing and social in school (those who didn't know me back then are sometimes shocked to learn that I wasn't my boisterous, social butterfly self in high school). I might be happily married with kids. In high school, I knew I wanted to be straight. Now, you couldn't pay me enough to change who I am, and my sexuality is an integral part of WHO (not what) I am. Today the answer is no, I wouldn't make myself straight.

But what if I could go back and change my environment, making it more accepting and welcoming? Making a place where I could have come out in high school, along with several of my classmates I have since learned (and for some, always hoped) aren't exactly at the straight end of the Kinsey scale. How would that have affected the person I am today? It's a much more challenging question for me, and one I don't think I have an answer for...yet. So I have a question for my readers:

Is there something about yourself, your family, childhood, school, etc. that you wish you could change? How would that change the person you are today? Is the change worth it in the long run? Flex your gray matter, and leave us a little insight as a comment.

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