Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Death should never be an option."

Before I get into my interpretation and analysis of Safe Spaces I would like to start off by including my own experience with a close friend of mine who has "come out of the closet" and told me he was gay.

Zak has been my neighbor for all of my life and I have grown up with him in every school since kindergarten. My family and I were fairly close and I can always remember going over to his house during the summer and spending hours and hours baking under the sun; jumping in and out of the pool. So when my sister, friend, Zak and I were sitting at Gregg's Restaurant one evening and were having a meaningful conversation about life and everything the future had to offer us, it soon became a moment I will never forget. In one sudden outburst Zak said, "guys I have something to tell you.... I'm gay." I distinctly remember this moment in great detail because it affected Zak's life more than he had ever expected. I looked at him and said, "yeah and?". With those two words being uttered from my mouth he broke down in tears. He explained how nervous he was to tell us because he didn't want us to see him any differently. The insecurity that he had not to tell us who he really was did not come from the relationship we had, but with the judgment that came from society.

For someone to feel that insecure about showing who they really are to the people that mean the most to them is not something that teenagers, or anyone for that matter, should feel. And for some it becomes too much and they feel as though they have end their life, to end their misery. For a person to feel that helpless is something that no one should have to go through and in order for that to change, we as a society need to change our mindset. An just like August says in Safe Spaces, it starts within the classroom walls. If teachers learn to include LGBT into the everyday vernacular of the classroom the exposure to it will allow for it to become less foreign to students. Once they are more familiar with the concept they are more accepting of the idea outside of the classroom. Just by including a story about a happy family with two mommies can show the positivity of a different household and affect the way a child views a family different from theirs. As teachers can include this positivity and LGBT vocabulary, then the acceptance of people that are seen as different from us will be increasing.

As a connection to the modern world, who is revealing the increasing acceptance of the LGBT community, this one singer that is paving the way for the idea that talking about the issue is the first step toward actual acceptance is Macklemore. Upon hearing this song over a month ago I remember being in awe because everything what he says in his song is inspiring and true, but most of all he was saying it. He was saying it and that is everything.

"For those that like the same sex had the characteristics
The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition, playing God
Ahh, nah, here we go
American the brave still fears what we don't know
And "God loves all his children" is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase book written thirty-five hundred years ago
I don't know."

And here is the man who is "saying it".


  1. It's sad to see that your friend still has these fears and insecurities even in today's age. Not because it's a lack of character on his end by any mean, but because the fear of that judgment is still very real. Homosexuality is still seen as different and those that are different are made fun of or judged in school and in the "so called real world". Until students are taught that there is nothing different about a family with two mothers or fathers at a younger age they will still see the idea of homosexuality in general as different.

  2. “Zak didn’t want us to see him differently.” I teared up when I read that Rebeka. Zak wasn’t any different when he told you. What a horrible feeling to have thought about your friends reaction to who you are.

    I absolutely adore that you used lyrics to a modern song to capture a strong point in Safe Spaces. “American the brave still fears what we don't know and "God loves all his children" is somehow forgotten but we paraphrase book written thirty-five hundred years ago.” It is so true that people fear what they don’t know and that’s why we must talk about it. In this piece they mention how Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is taught without the discussion of a man lying with a man. Because they fear, they paraphrase. They choose what to share. What happened to the oath we take on the stand: “the whole truth, nothing but the truth….” It’s time to speak the truth.

  3. Thanks for sharing this story, R. :)

  4. Hi Rebekah,

    "If teachers learn to include LGBT into the everyday vernacular of the classroom the exposure to it will allow for it to become less foreign to students. Once they are more familiar with the concept they are more accepting of the idea outside of the classroom." -- I agree with you! The more they are exposed to it in a positive way, the more tolerance will grow. And then they'll carry that tolerance back to their friends, family, and beyond because they wouldn't see it as something abnormal. Hiding/avoiding it only reinforces the notion that it's "wrong" or something to be ashamed of.

    LOVE that Macklemore song. So powerful. :)

    - Jamie

  5. Hey Rebekah,
    I appreciated that you shared the story of your close friend Zak coming out. I found it very emotional since I too can place myself in shoes. I also appreciate you being a strong ally for him during that time because you may not realize how much you are helping someone by just listening and validating them for who they are. I also enjoyed how you were able to incorporate something very relevant in your post. Macklemore is a rapper who is advocating the rights for the LGBT community which is very rarely done in the rap world!
    Great Job!!! :)