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- Grethe

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Immigration to Canada

Submitted: 2005-11-25 16:54:02.000 (post #: 330)

I would like some feedback to a few questions that keeps me puzzled. First a little background, I live in Utah. I work for a public school system; so therefore, coming out would mean my job. Some friends say, things will not change until we all come out. I was hired by the administration knowing I am in a relationship. It is almost a 'don’t ask don’t tell policy.' I have never hid the fact I live with a women and she comes to faculty parties and everyone treats her kind. We both work for the schools. I attend her functions as well. Between us both, we know almost everyone in the district. We both have 20 years and can retire with full benefits in 5 years. It is not my coworkers I fear, it is the parents and their ignorance. We are both politically involved and are leaders in our voting district. Now for the real issue: I am tired. I believe my and hers ancestors, immigrated to this country for a better life. Although, my maternal great grandmother was a Native American who married, had my grandmother, died; then, my great grandfather gave my ˝ breed grandmother to his brother to live and work with the slaves. Now I want a better life. Many say stay and make the USA change. I tell my partner we should move to Canada and live the last part of our lives with social acceptance and legality. We both have family who are accepting, I have a grown daughter who is wonderful. I don’t know why to stay, other than family, and we can fly them to Canada. They have a health care system which takes care of their elderly, we can marry and have rights as a couple, we can be out in our community and work among people who cannot legally discriminate against us. I need reasons to stay. It is a war here in our country and people are dying because of it. We are in a war of equal rights. Greth, I admire you and your courage. I feel a coward. I am afraid of spending my retirement years fighting for something I may never see. Why are you staying? Why is anyone who is gay? How do you reconcile the reasons to stay and keep going? I guess I need feedback that is not just what others around me keep saying. I believe this is a forum to get all kind of feedback. Please reply. Thank You
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Re: Immigration to Canada: vs being change agent
Submitted: 2005-11-26 14:11:28.000 (post #: 331)

You certainly send a challenge to us all to think about what we do with our lives. I absolutely believe you need to be able to live your truth. At the same time the world does not change by living in silence and not challenging the thinking of the ignorant. No social change in America or anywhere else takes place without people standing up for temselves enough that their circle of friends want to stand beside them. Every social movement has the core group, the minority, but it is when the majority join in that the social change takes place. Think: What is the worst thing that can happen if I come out? I may lose my job (is that acceptable?), I may lose my friends and family (is truth worth it?), I may lose my sense of being less than (how grand that would be)? You might talk with your boss to see what would be the worst thing that could happen, even if parents are at first unhappy, would it matter? More importantly though, it is about the kids, it is about the future generation. If they see, know, no rolemodels they will carry the bigotry of their elders. Thank how grand it would be for a questioning youth to say, I had this great teacher, role model when I was in school who also happened to be gay. It was so neat to know there was a chance for me too? Our kids deserve to know they have a future and that there are unlimited opportunities for them. We are their change agents. My challenge to you would be: "If you are uncomfortable, that is where you need to be" to change the world.
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Re: Re: Immigration to Canada: vs being change agent

Submitted: 2005-11-26 17:27:43.000 (post #: 333)

Thank you Grethe for your reply. Your insight, thoughts and questions were very poignant; they have given me more to muse on. I agree that as educator’s, we could be a catalyst for change. The question you posed of: what is the worst thing that can happen if I come out? I may lose my job (is that acceptable?) Perhaps that is my hesitancy. Now is not the time to lose my job (the State of Utah and the school district I work for frequently terminates gay employees who come out). I came out to my family immediately when I made my discovery. It's not friends and family that I worry about; it’s the financial freedom. I have spent 20 years setting up for retirement (I feel very selfish for that statement). We are also caregivers to my partner’s 87 year-old mother and my 84 year-old aunt, both living with us. So, currently loss of job is not acceptable, but it does not take away from the daily restrictions and confinement that we as a loving “gay” couple endure. It’s amusing in your response; you used the phrase “change agent”. That is the very fundamental principle my profession, social work stands upon. We have discussed that in our own way at school, we become the ‘silent change agent’ perhaps by changing policy and facilitating programs that educate our youth, parents, and faculties. In both schools where we work, we are actively developing policies, programs, activities, and intervening in harassment and bullying in all forms. I work as a School Social Worker in an elementary (K-6) and my partner is a School Counselor in a Jr. High (7-9) setting. Developmentally we have very different populations. I teach all grades about differences and the acceptance of others without judgment. It seems that in Utah, kids base their foundations and whole belief system on the teachings of the predominant religion. They would not have that insight, if I were to be fired. I strongly believe that parents would not allow me to teach and interact with their children if I were open (you know, that gay agenda which others think exists). My partner was raised a Mormon and had a very strong religious upbringing. Her father was a Mormon Bishop (now deceased) and her Mother is an active, tithe paying, temple ordinance worker, etc. She has 4 siblings, all with families. We are out to them, but their attitude is “they love us, but don’t accept that we’re lesbians”. I have never been Mormon, nor did I raise my daughter in a particular religion. I was married for 15 years, and then met my partner. My sister called on the phone while I was driving my car and asked “are you with Rene’?” To which I replied, “No, she’s in the truck driving behind me…” (what naiveté). Those “barriers” simply haven’t existed in my family – we are simply a couple. I believe that it is my daughter and her friends and generation that are going to change this world. They have grown up knowing, loving, and associating with gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals without all the old dogmas and attitudes of the past. I believe that they will over turn the prejudices that exists in marrying, equal opportunities & rights, and laws constricting and dictating who we love and how. That is where my faith and hope lie. I will, however; work on how to be a better vocal ‘change agent’ and for now, in ways that protect my job and income – 5 years just seems an eternity in the scheme of things! I would like to pose a question to you - I believe you stated in your book and website you have a son, who is an active Mormon; does he see this in congruency, raising a family and having a mother, who is openly gay - and a partner? Could you and Diane attend a “Grandparents Day” at their public school and expect no repercussions from other parents and children? I want you to know that the words and experiences in your book had a lot of "wow, that’s how I felt”. I do appreciate your courage and perseverance. You are wise and I appreciate your insight. I still have many thoughts and questions to sift through. Thank you and sorry I get so wordy. Many an answering machine has cut me off *giggle*. I read that you are working on another book; we have just finished the first one. I will be first in line to buy it.
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Internalized homophobia can immobilize
Submitted: 2005-12-07 11:55:55.000 (post #: 344)

It is curious how we think about being out and living freely. We do have the idea that "no one knows", which of course is rediculous. These days living with a same gendered "housemate" is all but saying you are gay. When I told my Mormon son I had told the military I was a lesbian he said "Oh, mother we've known for years", When I asked him to tell his wife so she would not be distressed when the military case went public "She's known for years". When I said, when you tell your in-laws, "They have known for years". My only response was "Well you could have told me" :) The subtleties of our lives, usually in their absense (presence of someone of the opposite gender) speaks in silence. When people come to visit, there is a comfort level, the single used bedroom etc which gives messages, the vacations taken, the week end spent in joint pursuit.... When my Mormon son Matt spoke with his bishop, he was told "Support your Mother". And that he and his family has at every turn just as we support them as we can. When Diane and I married in Oregon and later by the Episcopalian church in an outdoor ceremony, Matt and his family were here to celebrate with all the family and friends. Love, respect, decency are core values we live by and receive in return. It used to be a novelty to be gay but now our community is one where there is no gay subculture because we are the community. So I guess I am saying live your truth as you can. Make sure the barriers you set up are real and not your own internalized homophobia. Absolutely balance the cost benefit ratio. That said, I have never NEVER, heard anyone say they regretted coming out and being free.
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Re: Immigration to Canada
Dan Koelker
Submitted: 2006-07-13 12:53:14.000 (post #: 638)

This person's feelings are identical to mine. I guess the way I keep going is bits and pieces at a time. I volunteer for Basic Rights Oregon to do any mundane task they need done. Also, I keep my ear to the ground and watch for any opportunity to help flood email boxes of politicians. I'm new to the neighborhood, middle class, people out in the yards to talk to. I mow my elderly neighbor's lawn and openly reveal my partner. They think I'm a real nice guy and tell their large extended family members what a nice man lives next door that is gay. I find that it's not us individually people hate it's the media programmed gay person people hate. We have to get to the media and no doubt will because we are such kind and caring idividuals that were born and live that way. Face it, we homosexuals are good news copy especially since most other people could give a squat about helping others outside of donations to charity and non profits.
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Constitution and our Equal rights
Submitted: 2010-02-13 23:45:31.000 (post #: 2357)

You know I have been reading about a book, about the constitution of the United States of America. About Equality and Liberty and Justice for all. However, the fact of the matter is, that we do not have Equal rights. Look back in our History. The subject of slavery, the fight for equal rights among our Black brothers and sisters. Then our fight for rights for all Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgenered individuals. But I must say, that I am appalled with the USA not in general. But with all those Christian, fundamentalists. They say things in the name of Jesus Christ. But they in actuality deny us the most basic, fundamental rights as Gays. I hate living in Utah too. Me and my partner, do not participate tomorrow in our church. They have the subject "Standing on the side of love. " We would love to participate. But hence the Media is there. For my partner unthinkable. As she is still a professional teacher. I can't believe the two standardness in the USA. Sometimes, I want to scream and say, then change the darn constitution. Cause we feel trapped! I can't wait for her to retire in a year. Cause, then we could care less. But is this right, that I can not hold my hands with her in public/? It truly sucks. Well, I guess I had to vent. But this is so two-sided!
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