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Understanding What It Is to Be Gay

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Understanding what it is to be gay

Week 3 Reading Reflection for AMES 103


AMES 103

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Dr. Third Andresen

Understanding what it is to be gay

Week 3 Reading Reflection for AMES 103- 26:31

In the documentary “It’s elementary talking about gay issues in school” directed by Chasnof (1996) it is said, “suicide in teen is huge because they haven’t been exposed to this education, but they are gay and lesbian. And society say it is not okay, so they are not okay” (22 minutes, 30 seconds).  This is a problem within society today, especially with teens and even more so a problem within minority groups. While homosexuality is, for the most part, accepted in American, in regards to gays and lesbians beginning to have the right to marry, it is not accepted among other ethnic groups and cultures. When it comes to the education of what it means to be gay or lesbian in America it is not as well taught as it should be. Chasnof (1996) states, “kids hear about gays all the time, but what they hear mostly is misinformation and stereotypes. They are being re-enforced over and over again” (14 minutes, 30 seconds). In the documentary there is a group of teens, mainly students that are minority, and the teacher asks them to talk about what gay and lesbian means to them and some of the stereotypes that go along with it. One of the teens said that when it comes to homosexuality they mainly think of Whites. While being gay as a White is accepted, being gay among other cultures is not as accepted and talked about. Surina Khan wrote the article “The all-american queer Pakistani girl”. The article focuses on the struggles of what it is like to be a lesbian with a Pakistani heritage. It is ashamed upon. She talks about a time when her mother wanted her to come back and visit. Kham (2007) states, “I told her that I didn’t like the idea of traveling to a country that lashed lesbians one hundred times in public” (p. 162).  Surina was not accepted by the people back home. When her mother found out instead of accepting her, she tried to scare her out of it. Kham (2007) states, “ … she tried another scare tactic: you and your lover better watch out. There’s a large Pakistani community in  D.C. and they’ll find out about you. They’ll break your legs, mutilate your face (p.163). From that point on Surina cut all association with her culture off.   When it comes to black communities the topic of homosexuality tends to stay on the back burner, it is not talked about at all. So when it comes to Black gays there is really no place for them to go. Hemphill (2001) states, “there was no “gay” community for Black men to come home to…” (p. 299). While there was no community, Black men could not even go home. Hemphill (2001), “I cannot go home as who I am and that hurts me deeply” (p.298). Black gays could not go home because of this unspoken rule among Blacks the limits the amount of emotions shared and affection showed between man and man. Beam (2001) states, “ we are not friends; he is my father, I am his son. We are silent when we are alone together… he does not ask me about being gay or why I wish to write about it” (p.287).  Not only do Black gays have to deal with having no one to associate with they also will always be looked at as a minority. Hemphill (2001) states, “But all Black men are treated as “other” regardless of whether we sleep with men or women- our Black skin automatically marks us as “other” (p.300).  That is another thing that plays into the gay and lesbian community. Not only is there no support group for minorities that are gay, they are also having to deal with the fact that they are part of the minority in America so they are having to fight other battles as well. 

Ruth (1996) states, “… many lesbian, bisexual, queer, and gay scholars of color choose to focus on issues of race and not issues of gender and sexuality. All the anthologies on queer theory include work by lesbians and gays of color, but we rarely find white lesbian or gay theorists discussing how intersections between anti-normative identities inform or affect one’s queer perspective. If queer theory were to promote these types of discourses, it might then provide a more welcoming space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer scholars of color” (p.172). Not only are us Whites not giving Blacks support in day to day life, we are also not giving them support in the gay and lesbian community. The one place where they should be able to find support. All gays and lesbians share something in common and one would think that regardless of skin color, they could support each other in their commonalities. Beam (2001) states, “we must begin to speak of our love and concern for each other as vigorously as we argue party politics or the particular merits of an athletic team” (p.287). When it comes to teaching about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and queers in elementary school I believe it should be done. It does not have to be focused around sex, it can be center around what love is. At the end of the day love is love not matter what. Chasnof (1996) states, “Students should be taught it. It’s a healthy way to teach students to understand and respect each other” (23 minutes, 50 seconds). Do you believe gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer should be taught to young children?



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