Archive | May, 2010

Open house

Icanfly-2

Eight months, two and a quarter inches, a buncha pounds, and a whole new world later. We came to the school grounds for Back to School night last September, filled with excitement and trepidation. So overwhelmed by the sensory overload of it all that we just picked our way to our girlie’s classroom and stayed put the whole evening. Didn’t even know ’til it was time to leave that people customarily floated around and toured the school.

Sitting in the pint-sized, putty-colored kid chairs, we asked ourselves what so many parents have asked before us: In this new, large community — the first of many so big we’d be lucky to know the names of all the people she’d come to know in it — would she bloom? Or wilt? And another question, not unfamiliar to many parents before us, but for us fraught in its own unique way, since our right to our parenthoods and families is far from presumptive, years from “natural.” We wondered: at what point would our difference make a difference to her? One other kindergartener out of 60 at the school has two women for parents; none has two dads. By the luck of the draw, the other kid of LGBT parents was in another class. So this year’s school journey for her would be, at least in this regard, a solo one.

Or so we thought. That was before we came to know her teacher, a rookie with instincts that years in the classroom couldn’t manufacture, and a loving kindness both rare and tailor-made for this work. Over the months our daughter’s schoolmates and their families grew to be fellow travelers — they were bound to be.  But as of Back to School night, we hadn’t gotten so far as to realize that along the journey we’d all make friends — not just our daughter.

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Gone today, here tomorrow

oldyoung

After dinner she tossed the teddy bear in the air over and over again, catching it maybe 50% of the time at best. Said, with a seriousness available to only a five and a half year-old, that this was her new goal: to toss the bear up as high as possible and try to catch it.  That her dubious success rate should be anything to be aware of, much less embarassed about, is beyond her ken.

I should also note that this goal sits side-by-side with the goal of reading thirty chapter books before the end of the summer, and mastering the proper deployment of the term “infernal.” I might be exaggerating a bit about the number of chapter books she’s looking to polish off this summer.

This mind-boggling juxtaposition is surely one most precious jewels of childhood.

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Prêt-à-porter bigotry

tshirtforbabybigots

Convenient iron-on transfer for babies and toddlers whose parents can’t be bothered to sew homphobic slurs on their kids’ clothing.  As seen at Michael’s arts and crafts in Emeryville, CA, a store chock-a-block with fun stuff that my dress-wearing boy was grooving on big time (yarn, ribbons, sewing kits), and a store we’re pretty much not going to patronize any more. Pity.

The iron-on transfer below this one, as you can just make out at the bottom of the cameraphone pic,  is “Future Diva.” A cute juxtaposition, don’t you think? Sissy? Followed by Diva? Ironic.

Getting one’s knickers in a wad over this use of this term could be seen as oversensitive by some. Fine. Whatever. It’s a free country. Won’t be the first time I’ll have been accused of being oversensitive.  But just as an illuminating excersize, I invite you to substitute any number of low-grade, utterly tolerated in their heyday pejorative remarks about, oh, say, this or that ethnic or racial group, or maybe people with diabilities. I don’t need to run it out for you here. It’s easy enough: pick your stereotyped characteristic, pick your slur-lite. Casually naturalized derision. Show of hands: who among you thinks “sissy” isn’t a gateway term for “faggot”?  And for bonus points: which term do you think is most frequently  yelled at men who are in the midst of being gay-bashed?  Right. I’m going to go with: “Faggot!”

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Weekend bonus shot, 05.23.10

wegrowHarvey

WE DON’T LIVE IN YOUR SHADOW WE GROW IN YOUR SHADE, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA, March 5, 2009.  (From the LD archives).

This was outside the California Supreme Court on the morning arguments were heard in the case challenging Proposition 8’s constitutionality. Reader and online comrade BeethovenLives reminded me of this image, for which reminder (and much more) I’m exceedingly grateful.  The post it came from was this one: “A hastily compiled photo essay of the Prop 8 arguments, outdoor rabble version.

I wish I could relay this young woman’s name.  I asked her if I could take a picture of her holding her sign, and she was, as you can see, very proud.  If you check out the post on the other end of that link, you’ll also see an image of the flip side of her sign.  It read: “Please give my mom the right to watch her 4 out of 5 gay kids get married.”

That’s the younger generation right there, folks. Harvey’s kids.

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Happy Harvey Milk Day

Today’s California’s first observed Harvey Milk Day. Actions and celebrations are stockpiled here by EQCA and here on the Harvey Milk Day web page. Here’s the Milk Foundation’s site, which includes a great page on Harvey In Schools.  Our school district will be adapting HRC’s Welcoming Schools curriculum next year, as policy district-wide (first such district in the nation, thankyouverymuch!), and I reckon we’ll be working with this material plenty.  I look forward to reporting on it.

Our family  didn’t go door-to-door today, which some did (see the EQCA page), or attend a celebration out and about. We did talk about Harvey Milk, though, and liken him as someone who is, to mama’s and baba’s people, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are to their Auntie Rachel’s people. (Both Martin and Malcolm are celebrated in our school district; this past Monday was a school holiday for Brother Malcolm).  The word martyr is an important one, but one we haven’t broached yet. We have Kari Krackow’s kid’s book The Harvey Milk Story,  but stopped short of reading it this year.  The assassination is on the third to the last page; no graphic images but the following:

On a gray November morning, Dan White crawled through a basement window at the back of City Hall with a loaded gun.

Dan White entered the mayor’s office and, after a brief argument took place, shot Mayor George Moscone.  Reloading his gun, he hurried down the hall to Harvey Milk’s office. Five shots rang out.

Both Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk were killed.

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