Saturday, August 2, 2008


One thing i haven't talked about is the effect DPI decisions have had on me, personally. There's a couple reasons for that; I am really worried about GS and its existence and I am really worried about students and future students. It is dangerous to send a message to these students that there is something wrong with them if they want to be reflective about their sex, gender, or desire.

But getting fired is also been detrimental to me. That's important too. The decisions that Tom, Mary, and Michael make don't just harm some hypothetical future student. They did and are doing real harm to me, right now, in a real way.

First of all, getting fired somehow indicates that i did something wrong. Tom has sent emails to people who have contacted him (and said in other situations) that they don't know all the facts of the story, as if there is some crime i committed that, if they knew, would make them agree that I should have been fired. This is a lazy and cruel strategy often taken against queers. Put forth some vague suggestion of impropriety and let people draw their own conclusions.

Michael told the students that I didn't get fired for being queer or for calling homophobia homophobia. I understand he feels contractually obligated to say this, but it also indicates that I did get fired for some real reason.

I didn't. I got fired because a homophobic group in Arizona wants there to be nothing resembling homosexuality on our curriculum, because the administration of GS decided to acquiesce to that instead of stand up and fight, and because I insisted on labelling those actions as homophobic. Lots of other faculty did too, but they aren't queer or can't be identified as queer in a simple Google search. Until DPI starts admitting that, they are doing harm to me every time Michael, Tom, or Mary tries to act like it is something else.

Secondly, i don't get to teach at Governor's School any more. Being at GSE was a great pedagogical and artistic inspiration to me. Being around my colleagues and the students made me a better teacher and writer. DPI has removed me from that community against my will and for no good reason. That actively hurts me as a teacher and writer.

The third thing it does is send a clear message to me that I am deficient in some way. Not only was I fired, but DPI had no intention of ever talking to me about it at all. I understand why- they had to make up ridiculous reasons for firing me and then Tom has to look like an idiot when they trot him out to repeat them. But not even having the integrity to talk to me, to tell me the truth, indicates a real lack of respect on DPI's fault. The truth is, Tom should have been down on his knees, begging me to come back and to forgive them.

Finally, it is insulting to insinuate that I do not recognize homophobia when I see it. I've been queer and out for a long time now. I've taught gay and lesbian, queer, and sexuality studies for a long time now. I've been a victim of homophobia and homophobic violence before. What, in the long and storied personal lives and careers of Tom Watson, Mary Winton, and Michael McElreath indicates that they would be better at recognizing homophobia or its lack better than I? What leads them to believe that they will be better off fighting a homophobic group without me than they were with me?

Tom, Mary, and Michael are actively hurting and oppressing students,alumni and the institution of GS. That is important. But they are also actively hurting me for no reason then their own convenience. And that's important to say as well.

Let's see if any of them are brave enough to stop and to start telling the truth.

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