Two news stories caught my eye over the last couple of days, both to do with writing and attitudes towards homosexuality, but both at vastly different ends of the spectrum.
I’ll do this bad news-good news style in order to give this post a happy ending and kick off with an example of some extreme douchebaggery.
Arielle and Shawnee McPhail are a lesbian couple from the States who were having a meal in The Sting Ray Cafe in New Bern, North Carolina. Having been out for a meal the couple left the restaurant where they were approached by the cafe’s owner, Ed McGovern who handed them a letter.
The letter basically decried homosexuality as being a sin, and urging them:
So please, look at your life. See how it hurt[s] everyone around you. And ask the Lord to open your eye[s] before it [is] to[o] late.
McGovern also added a postscript where stated that his daughter “used to be gay” and that it had almost destroyed her life and his grandson’s. Maybe McGovern should consider that maybe her life might have been a bit easier if she’d received some basic understanding and support from her family, and not been made to deal with a bigoted idiot.
McGovern played the tried and tested “Bible says its wrong” card. Yeah, well, it’s been a while since I cracked open the good book, but I seem to recall that one of JC’s major lessons were on not judging others, love and generally not being a dick, and it appears to me that Mr McGovern just tripped up over all three of those simple instructions.
What irks me the most about this incident, aside from the obvious bigotry and rudeness is the fact that old Ed had no problem with the couple when they were paying for food at his place, and chose to have a pop after they’d left. Classy, dude, real classy. Clearly his desire for them to save their souls and “stop hurting everyone around them” was secondary to his desire to make a buck.
I hope the people of North Carolina, who include Pam Grier, the Tree Hill Ravens and the Hardy Boyz, do the right thing and boycott this insensitive, bigoted idiot until he goes bust and maybe realizes that this is God’s way of showing him not to be such a judgmental tool.
Seriously, what kind of person does something like that, what gives them the right to needlessly insult and judge how someone else is living their life? We’re talking about two ladies who’s only crime was holding hands or kissing, depending on who’s version you believe, who were they hurting? What harm were they doing? Why be such a monumental wanker to them?
From the unclassy McGovern we move on to a far more inspiring tale of acceptance, respect and basic human decency. I don’t have a name for the people involved, but I salute these two anonymous everyday heroes.
An English teacher in the USA set an assignment for her class to write on the subject “the weight I carry daily”, and in response she received one from a student written in the style of a letter to his teacher.
In the letter the young man discusses his sexuality and his fears of revealing this and the possible consequences of this. It’s an extremely emotional read and the guy expresses himself well, but the best part is the end, where the teacher adds a note.
Mrs X tells this boy that she’s honoured to have witnessed him getting this weight off his shoulders, and is reassuring, supportive and generally just super nice to the guy. She finishes by telling him that anybody who’s not comfortable with his honesty are the ones who are losing out, not him.
It’s hard not to read this and not be moved by the compassion and thoughtful response from this teacher, which must be a great comfort to a kid who is clearly going through some tough times.
What I love the most though is that even while being supportive and encouraging she’s still a teacher and continues to point out his spelling mistakes, which I think makes her heartfelt note at the end all the more impressive in a way.
This is what being a teacher is about, the best teachers don’t just impart knowledge or educate, they help shape people and support their students as they grow. So whoever Mrs X is I hope she sees the positive feedback that this story is getting as teacher’s are an unappreciated bunch and I also hope that everything works out for this kid, who seems like a smart, sensitive kind of cat.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.