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Archive for January, 2009

A new political page

I added a new page (up top there — a tab at the top of the page) about why I occasional sprinkle political thoughts on a blog that is often more local and personal. Have a look. Let me know what you think.

And thanks for reading!

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Looking towards tomorrow and the days and months and years to come, I am filled with hope.

A boy looking toward the future

A boy looking toward the future

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I know we want to protect our kids. You can tell from these pages that I definitely do. But “protecting” them by way of cutting out soup subsidies, so to speak? Totally ridiculous. Think of the message this is sending to children, no matter what their family make up, gender expression, sexual preference.

Oy!

(Thanks to Mombian for this tidbit)

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I was recently perusing a catalog for a Scholastic book order. When I was a teacher, I gave them out half-heartedly. On the one hand, they enabled some students to get books at a very low cost, they encouraged reading, and they also helped me to build my classroom library. On the other hand, I found the offerings to be quite limited, much of the “literature” to be of poor quality, and too often the books came with chintzy toys and the toys seemed to sometimes have more draw than the books themselves. All that being said, I do not think the idea itself is a bad one.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I was looking over the flyer online as I thought I might want to buy a book or two via an online buying option. After just a moment, I knew there were no books that I wanted to add to the library. But as I looked at the flyer, I was more struck by the options that were available. Most blaring was the section “For Girls.” (You can find an example if you look at a flyer here.)

I do not deny that there are books that tend to be better liked by boys and those that tend to be better liked by girls. But the operative word here is tend. There are no books, save perhaps those on particular developmental or biological topics, that are really only for girls (or boys, for that matter).

More troubling, however, is the idea that a boy might get when he looks at the flyer. Let’s pretend he’s perusing the flyer and finds a book or two he likes. One happens to have a girl as the main character. And the cover happens to be pink. His eyes travels up and he sees the header for that section of the flyer: “For girls.” What’s the boy to think? Is he not allowed to read that book? Is he not allowed to be interested in the book? If he is interested in it, what does that say about him? Worse yet, if he likes it, what does that say about him? The messages of exclusion, of narrow gender roles and gendered options are insipid. And their effects troubling. Yet most of us probably don’t even give that little header on the flyer a second thought. Troubling….

Gendered Options

Gendered Options

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New Look!

We’ve got a new, easier-to-read look (I think) here at labels are for jars.

Hope you enjoy this newish start for the new year.

Let me know your thoughts!

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Well, not in any real way, but the focus of the blog, for today, is going national.

Please check out this letter to Obama from the LGBT community (hosted at Join the Impact). The letter is here.

Basically, it reiterates Obama’s campaign promises to the LGBT community, asking him to stand by them. Please sign it. Which, my friends, is super easy, as you can do it SIMPLY, by leaving a comment here with your name. I’ll add it to the signature page that I submit. If you don’t want to leave your name here, feel free to email me.

Please sign for the future of our country, for LGBT folk, for my family, for my boy to see that his family and his parents count just like everyone else.

Thanks.

The future, it's looking bright!

The future, it's looking bright!

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Love it!

The scene:

Cubby area in Q’s lovely kindergarten.

The players: Q, boy 2, boy 3

All three boys are huddled together looking at a book about weather. They get up to get on their things to leave.

Boy 2: Q, I really like your necklace.

Q: Yeah (he doesn’t really know how to respond to a compliment). It has dragonflies.

Boy 3: And it sparkles!

How much do I love these kids and this school?!?!? We are lucky, I say.

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Thinking more about Milk, I find myself wondering about the trailblazers. It’s always someone. Or a group of folks. They travel the path enough times that it gets worn. And familiar. Did he know he was wearing it down such that others could trod with ease? I’m pretty sure he did. At least to a certain extent. Which makes me think and wonder about all those who came before. When the grass grew thick, when no path was clear. Knowing about Milk, having a movie for millions to see is so important. Yet there are so many others about whom we don’t know. We will never know. So I’m thinking about them, wanting to know more.

And also thinking about how we, my own little family, my boy, others we know, may be putting our foot down on barely trod pathways. Yet how we can also look around, reach out, and know those who have already made those pathways a bit easier to traverse.

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Thanks to those who responded to yesterday’s post telling me to calm the $#%$^ down. I will. And I think I am. Perhaps the thinking and writing about it actually made me sound or made me be more hyped up than I am in reality. So let it be known that I’m taking a chill pill. Enjoying the calm of the status quo with life. (insert deep breath here)

In addition to relaxing, I’m waiting and wondering and considering. I saw the movie Milk tonight and enjoyed it thoroughly. In addition to the enjoyment, I was given pause by so many things.

1. Many of the TV report blurbs that they showed about family values vs. gay rights could be the very same things we hear today, which I find shameful, but mostly saddening.

2. I was so struck with the passion and selflessness of Harvey Milk. How he followed his beliefs, literally, to his death. I feel like we have so few examples of that now. There are the fervent activists, those who proclaim their passions at every turn, and groups who fight for rights. Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge, honor, and participate in some of those groups and causes. Yet there seems to be no one out there who is so visibly leading a fight for rights like Milk did. And this sets me to wondering whether we (and especially folks ’round about my generation) are just too complacent, whether we fail to learn and learn from history. Do we just hide behind the internet as a supposed tool of organizing and activism? I could go on and probably will when I think more about it. But really, I am wondering who the new leader will be, in particular, in the struggle for queer rights. And it’s high time we have that person because our rights continue to be in jeopardy.

3. I left the movie wondering what Milk would think about the status of queer rights today. On the one hand, there I was, with my legal wife, at a movie, kissing in public (gasp!), etc. No fear. We knew we were in a safe environment, as we do most days in our community. So there’s that, on the one hand. On the other, there’s California, Prop 8, the rights of queer folks being taken away. What would Milk say about these extremes?

So, I’m relaxing, but I’m also really wondering here. And thinking more. Stay tuned.

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Things have gotten comfortable around here lately. And by that I mean, I’ve gotten comfortable. I think that we’ve made it through many of the potentially discomforting situations, such as Q wearing a skirt to school, wanting to play mostly with girls, explaining stereotypes to peers, me answering questions about his clothing choices, etc.

And with that comfort comes a bit of a sense of ease. A feeling of “let me kick back and put my feet up for a while.” But when I have those thoughts, I definitely am want to think twice. I think it’s when I get too comfortable that I forget to look out, forget to anticipate what might be to come, whether it be a few words that we should say to Q about how rarely-seen relatives think about toys or how folks might receive his new earrings (they are fabulous, of course!).

I’m not saying that I should never rest, relax, sit back, but I do think that parenting Q in this domain takes a bit extra, perhaps a heightened level of alertness or awareness. And I don’t begrudge him that, or the world that, or anything. In fact, I sort of see it as me doing my part to open minds and to help make the world a great and comfortable place for him.

So here we are, at a bit of a plateau. Not sure what is next, but I know there will be something. So for now, I think I might just put those feet up for a moment. Or two.

Just relaxing

Just relaxing

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