Teachers Are Getting Suspended For Their Sexual Orientation As If Straight Were The Only Acceptable Truth

Teachers Are Getting Suspended For Their Sexual Orientation As If Straight Were The Only Acceptable Truth

It should be acceptable for both straight and gay teachers to bring up their significant others to their classes.
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For as long as I can remember, my teachers have always talked to their classes about their wives and husbands and it was seen as completely normal because they were all in straight relationships. Stacy Bailey, an elementary school art teacher, was suspended with pay since September for sharing the same information with her class just because she happened to be gay.

The Mansfield Independent School District explained that they suspended Bailey because she

“insists that it is her right and that it is age appropriate for her to have ongoing discussions with elementary-aged students about her own sexual orientation, the sexual orientation of artists, and their relationships with other gay artists."

They also claimed that parents complained to them about her trying to have discussions with her students about sexual orientations and that Bailey continued to have those conversations with them despite being told to stop.

However, Bailey’s attorney denied the school district’s statements and explained that “she never received directives to change her behavior — and never refused to follow any directive." They also said that the only comments that Bailey made in relation to sexuality were that she had a wife.

Personally, I believe that even if Bailey had tried to talk to her students about sexual orientations, it would not have merited her suspension. Many people think that exposing children to sexualities beyond heterosexual is harmful because it will influence their children into being gay or that the concept of being gay is too confusing to children to understand, and I completely disagree. Children should not be restricted to the heteronormative ideas that the majority of us grew up with. Informing children that it is okay to love someone of any gender is a positive thing because it not only teaches children to be accepting of people that are not straight but also helps normalize the thoughts and feelings of a gay child.

Bailey’s suspension occurred after she asked the school district to add protections for LGBTQ people in its anti-discrimination rules, but the school district stated that her attempt to include those protections did not influence their decision to suspend her. They came to the decision to suspend her because of “parents having certain rights pertaining to the topics to which their children are exposed.” I understand that parents have that right, but I do not think that the solution to the parent complaint was to suspend Bailey because multiple parents and students came to her defense and said that she is a wonderful teacher.

In Texas, the state where Bailey teaches, there are no laws that protect employees from discrimination based on their sexuality or gender, and that is unacceptable. It is time for the world to finally understand that straight people are not the only people that exist and that there is nothing wrong with being gay. Love is one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience and if it really bothers you that much to have your child be shown love between two people of the same gender, then you are the problem, not them.

Cover Image Credit: Celia Ortega

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Please, If You're Somehow Still Using The 'R Word'— Leave That Habit In 2018

Come on guys, its 2018. Google a new word.

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Maybe it was because I witnessed two boys get in trouble in elementary school for using this word as an insult.

Maybe it's because I fell in love with a thing called Camp Able. Maybe it's because one of my best friends is a special ed major. Or maybe it's because I try to be a decent human being. I do not use the R word.

Until this past semester, I hadn't really heard anyone use it often despite one encounter in 6th grade. Most of my best friends I have met while serving at places like Camp Able or Camp Bratton Green where summers are dedicated to people with diverse-abilities. I think having been surrounded with like-minded people for so long made me forget that some people still use it as an expression.

Let me tell you, it's annoying.

The word itself has been brushed off even in a "scientific" sense. It means to be slowed down, but it has stretched far beyond that meaning and has turned into an insult.

It's an insult of comparison.

Like any word, the power behind it is given by the user and most times, the user uses it to demean another person. It's like when you hear someone say "that's gay."

Like, what? Why is that term being used in a derogatory sense?

Why is someone's sexuality an insult? Hearing someone use the R-word physically makes me cringe and tense up. It makes me wonder what truly goes on in someone's mind. People will argue back that it's "just a word" and to "chill out," but if it was just a word, why not use something else?

There is a whole world full of vocabulary waiting to be used and you're using something that offends a whole community. Just because you don't care, it does not mean it shouldn't matter. Just use a different word and avoid hurting a person's feeling, it really is just that simple.

There is not a good enough reason to use it.

I volunteer at two summer camps: Camp Bratton Green and Camp Able. If you know me, I talk nonstop about the two. More realistically, if you know me, it's probably because I met you through one of the two. Even before I was introduced to the love at Camp Able, I still knew that this was a word not to use and it never crossed my mind to think of it.

The history behind the R-word goes back to describe people with disabilities but because of the quick slang pick up it was sort of demoted from the psychology world. Comparing someone or something that is negative to a word that you could easily avoid speaks volumes about who you are as a person.

The word is a word, but it is subjective in its meaning and in its background.

Just stop using it.

A List of Objective Words/Phrases to Use:

Fool/Foolish

Blockhead

Nincompoop

Silly

Ludicrous

Dim-witted

Trivial

Naive

"A few beads short on the rosary"

"On crack or something"

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Gillette's Toxic Masculinity Commercial Is Exactly What America Needs Right Now

It's starting a discussion on a higher level.

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If you haven't seen the new Gillette commercial, it is a discussion and commentary on toxic masculinity from the #MeToo movement. The commercial, titled "We Believe: The Best Men Can Be," discusses controversial topics like bullying, sexual harassment and toxic masculinity.

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) YouTube

Many may think that this commercial will be bad for Gillette's "brand" per se. The commercial comes in a controversial time with a controversial discussion. Although, it doesn't seem like Gillette cares. Gillette's North American brand director, Pankaj Bhalla, said, "We expected debate. Actually, a discussion is necessary. If we don't discuss and don't talk about it, I don't think real change will happen."

Gillette wanted today's grown men to become role models for younger males. Gillette wants to start the discussion and stray away from the toxic statement "boys will be boys."

Why is this commercial so important to America right now? Well, frankly it's because we need change. We're at a time where many subjects like the #MeToo movement are happening, but not much is being done. This Gillette commercial will air on televisions across the nation and hopefully spark a change in men around the world.

The commercial sheds light on toxic masculinity, bullying and sexual assault. Hopefully, it will do more than teach young men not to indulge in these behaviors by also encouraging fully grown men to teach younger men not to engage in these unhealthy habits.

America needs this commercial because it will hopefully be a lead for change. It was similar to what we saw in this country with the Black Lives Matter movement. After the publicity of the movement skyrocketed, we saw more representation of black people in movies, news and just about everywhere. Maybe this Gillette commercial will be able to spark the same amount of revolution around the topic of #MeToo and toxic masculinity.

Hopefully, this commercial starts a discussion about avoiding behaviors that create toxic men. Hopefully, it teaches young boys that it's OK to stand up to bullying, it's OK to cry, it's OK not to be the poster boy of masculinity that society expects. That's what America needs to fix the problems that it is facing.

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