Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gay Van


It’s been a month since my seventeen-year old son, Cody, came out. For the most part things have been going great. Both sides of the family fully accepted him for who he is, he has a great group of friends and he’s so much more comfortable in his skin. A couple of months ago, he even started the first GSA ever at his high school.

Nearly all of the administration and staff at his school supported him. He did have some issues with getting one of the secretaries to announce the meetings and the school librarian has decided that he deserves a hundred or so dirty looks. His principle was the hardest one to deal with, however. When they first started the GSA, Cody and his friends put several posters up. Before that first day was even over, Cody was summoned to a meeting with the principle.

Cody walked into his advisors room and was promptly handed one of his posters. He was then told that they’d already received numerous calls from concerned parents. (Mind you the school day wasn’t finished, yet.)

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see any problems,” Cody said after he’d scanned the poster.

The principle pointed. “It’s this word ‘Allies’.”

“Well sure, it’s a club for Gay and Straight Students plus their Allies,” Cody replied with a confused shrug.

“We think that may sound a little too militant and some of the parents agree.”

The principle than insisted on attending the first meeting, to make sure that “this group was run correctly.” Imagine his shock and disappointment when twenty-eight kids showed up. Many of them told Cody that they had to lie to their parents about where they were because they were terrified to tell their family they’re gay. Now they have a place where they can go and be accepted, a group where they can be who they are without fear of judgment.

That was the first of what has now been four meetings. During the latest round of poster hanging, Cody started to walk down the hall when he heard someone yell, “That’s so gay!”

Cody turned and saw a senior boy pointing to the poster. Keeping a straight face, Cody replied, “Yes, it is gay. Literally, it is. Congrats on finally getting something right.”

I just learned tonight that one of his friends’ father doesn’t want her hanging around Cody because he’s gay. I started to get outraged until Cody told me it wasn’t worth getting that worked up over. His logic is he thinks so little of people who are hateful that their opinions mean nothing to him. His words did calm me down some, but I still want to go over to the jerk’s house and kick him in the shins. Then I remembered a skit I saw on LOGO. It’s a comedian name Erin Foley and she’s discussing the Gay Recruit Van. I went and watched it again that her hilarious outtake made me feel a little bit better.   







23 comments:

  1. Your son sounds remarkably clear-headed, Stephani. That's awesome.

    Loved the video. And if you want someone to go shin-kicking with you, let me know!

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  2. Thanks, Wren. As you can tell by all the blog post, I'm so darn proud of him. I'll make sure to add you to the shin-kicking list. LOL

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  3. You have a pretty damned awesome son there, Stephani. It's no wonder you're so proud of him. :)

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  4. Kris-Thanks. 99% of the time, he's a great kid. The other 1% is when he's wanting money, so he can go to the mall and buy yet another outfit.

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  5. Poop, it won't let us Canadians watch.

    I'm sorry your son has had to deal with that, but he sounds like a sensible young man who will go places in life. Some parents make me want to just lay into them about what HORRIBLE role models they are, but those kind are usually the ones who would never get it and beating your head against a wall only hurts yourself. But god yeah, we all need to show up on his door step en masse, his shins would hurt for a month. ;-)

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  6. Tam-Bummer about the video. What she basically said was some ignorant people seem to think that there is some big Gay Van driving around, just waiting to swoop in on wayward souls. Of course, she presented it in a much funnier fashion than I ever could. LOL

    I wonder what that guy would do if we all did show up on his doorstep? I can just see the look of shock on his face when we all went in for his shins.

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  7. Militant??? Really? Oh, that's just grasping for teeny tiny straws.

    You can add me to the skin-kicking list. I'll even wear pointy-toed shoes.

    Cody is so awesome. You've got a great kid there.

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  8. Laura Aleman StriplinFebruary 2, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    I tried posting a sec ago but it seems lost. If this is a duplicate, please deltete. What I typed before was that I have a son who is 8 and a daughter who is 16. Before either of them were my son or daughter, they were my children. If either of them came to me and said they were gay, it would make no difference to me if they were gay or straight. Not just because they were my children but because there IS NO difference. Love is love. God bless you for being one of those parents who recognizes that. For those parents and others that have a stone in one hand while throwing one in the other - well - their horrible loss. May your son find happiness and love in his life and may you find a way to print copies of your books with a different name than your own so he can read of love and relationships AFTER he is 18 and not know those were written by his mommy. Let him think she wrote other naughty mm books.

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  9. Laura-Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Every time I see a message of compassion like yours, it takes away a bit of the hurt left by those who express hatred.

    I've started the first book in a new YA series, so he can read those books. In fact, I'll probably be going to him a lot with research questions.

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  10. Ava-I think pointy shoes would be perfect for our mission. You should have seen Cody's face when he was telling me the whole "militant story" I've never seen that much eye-rolling in my life. He said that they must think this was the WWII era.

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  11. You have an awesome son, there, Stephani. I am so sorry that he must face stupid people like that in such a young age. But I hope it doesn't diminish his spirit.

    Ami

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  12. Wow, great that your son also tries to help other people :)Even if not everyone at school is very supportive... Which I find strange, I think at school is the perfect place to make people more aware what their prejudices can do to people.

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  13. Woa that is one remarkable young man you have there! There should be more of him around! Tell him "go you!" from me! :-)

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  14. Though I have to admit that from a language point of view the principle had a point on the word "allies" it does sound provoking. A word like friends or supporters would have been less proving.

    Though I have a feeling that wasn't his point, just an excuse!

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  15. luciatea-Thanks! We live in such a small town and people tend to have an "old-school" look at the world. There's one kid from his school who drives around town with a huge Confederate flag flying from the back of his truck and we live in Michigan.

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  16. Ami-This is making me so much more determined and strong. I think it helps that he goes to a GLSEN meeting once a month. There he gets to talk to kids from other GSA'a and they support each other.

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  17. Lis-Thanks, I think he's pretty great, too. Although, I'm a bit prejudiced, since he is mine LOL The words "Ally" "Allies" and "Alliance" is actually used in a few different national organizations. PFLAG is the first one that comes to mind. They also use it at the official GSA website. So I agree with you that the principle was just looking for an excuse.

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  18. I'll wear my Keens (hard toes) to the shin-kicking party!

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  19. Thanks, Chris! We'll teach that guy not to be meanie butt!

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  20. oh my god! I used to be one of the recruiters in the gay van! :D

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  21. LOL Jase. When they came to get Cody I thought I saw a familiar face.

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  22. Hugs to your son and his friends.

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  23. Thanks, Eyre. I'll pass along the snuggles.

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