Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amazing Feat

I went to my first former student wedding this past weekend and instead of simply making me feel old, it filled me with joy and hopefulness.  The ceremony was sincere, honest and filled with laughter, as a wedding and marriage should be.  Beautiful. 

The wedding was held in the quaint Berkshire village of Lenox,  a drive of less than an hour from Albany, yet miles away in terms of acceptance and welcoming grace. The union and commitment, which we guests were fortunate enough to witness, contained the same components as many of the weddings I've attended over the years; beaming parents, stunning flowers, thoughtfully selected food and wine, celebratory toasts...

The fact that the relationship we all saw being formalized in front of our very eyes, was one between two men, was incidental to the sense of radiating happiness which all of those present felt.  What is remarkable, to me,  is that there are families where such acceptance is absent.  Or that there are young men and women who are so tormented by their natural sexuality that they opt to end their lives rather than continue an existence in a community which does not support them.

The traditional refrain of a wedding ceremony is "I do,"  two simple words which come together to convey commitment and promise. Well, I think I don't can also demonstrate commitment and promise.  Although I don't want to hijack Darroch and Michael's most joyous day to rail against the homophobic in our society,  people who believe their own sense of morality should be the only acceptable normal, I don't want to stand by silently.   I don't want to have to wonder who the parents are that  raise children to secretly videotape intimate moments between consenting adults and then stream them on the internet for the world to see.  I don't want to know that students in my very school have to lie to their parents rather than openly attend meetings of the Gay-Straight Alliance club. I don't want to read about another teenager committing suicide because they can no longer tolerate the brutal bullying of which they are made a regular victim.  I don't ever want my students, former, current or future, to ever feel they are not accepted and celebrated for who they are.

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