Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Deepening My Thoughts Over Tea and Lager

oxford starbucks
Originally uploaded by p2son.
I just had delightful time (I’m starting to sound more and more like a British church lady) with Marigold and Geoffrey. She is a member of the Oxford Friends Meeting, a retired Spanish teacher and author. He is a retired Oxford professor (St. Anthony’s) and a Winston Churchill Scholar.

We had a long and rambling talk about politics in the US, Milton’s Samson Agonistes, Pinochet, and James Dodson's Focus on the Family.

I was able to introduce them to the world of blogging and wikipedia. In their sitting room I picked up a wireless signal from one of their neighbors and showed them my blog including a comment by Rob who met Marigold this summer. (Rob she remembers you and sends greetings).

Earlier in the day over a lager I met with Matthew from Way Out. I asked him if the church in the UK does not constitute a large problem for LGBTQ youth, why do they have queer youth support programs like Way Out.

He explained that in the schools most queer youth are taunted, bullied and even attacked from both students and staff. Because of Section 28, a law passed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1988 that said that homosexuality could not be promoted in schools. As a result, for years school administrators did NOTHING to address queer issues. The law was only overturned in 2003.

He went on to state that many queer youth in the UK today still choose to be silent about their sexual orientation and live for years in isolation. Wtih the lonliness and the oppression they feel, a good number of these get out of school as soon as possible instead of pursuing higher education.

Stuck in entry level jobs and with stunted social development, they suffer to establish themselves in the world.

From what he tells me, the schools in the US provide safer spaces for youth with our growinng number of GSAs and some enlightened staff.

Fortunately in the UK organizations like Terence Higgins Trust provide opportunities for youth through weekly youth groups. Some teens, oppressed at school and not yet out at home, wait all week for that two hour meeting when they can be themselves.


At 2:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fellow Mac-user!

I knew there was a reason I liked you...

Oh, besides the whole charming personality and amazing story and wonderful acting and creativity thing...

I guess there's that, too.


At 2:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homophobia is still rife in schools; "queer" and "fag" are still the top insults in the playground.

I've had more positive experiences in the classroom, too. At one school I taught at, a 13-year-old boy was openly gay, and although I would be naive to assume he never had any problems, there seemed to be a high level of acceptance among his classmates.

At 5:46 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Of course I am a mac user. You mean there are other types of computers out there? Oh, you mean those clunky boxes with all those errors. Yeah, I've seen them. I thought they went extinct. ;-)

At 8:23 AM , Blogger Willie Hewes said...

Wow, you're blogging lots! Gotta keep up. :)

For most of the friends I made at university in Wales, school was a hostile (and surprisingly violent) environment.

I went to school in Holland, where there was some bullying going on, but I don't know of anyone who actually got beaten up (there were shoving matches, but no real fights, as far as I remember). Our biology teacher was a lesbian, which most people knew.

I'd like to think we were pretty accepting at school, but thinking back, I can't think of a single gay student at my school. Even keeping in mind that I was not exactly up to date on the school gossip, and was largely oblivious to what happened in other years, that's still not a good sign, is it?

Or maybe it is. I once told my friends I assumed I was bisexual until I learned otherwise, as that seemed most logical (kind of a Freudian train of thought that). They just shrugged. I wasn't bullied for it, because no body knew, because no body cared.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here... The UK could definately do with some GSAs though. As long as my best friend won't walk hand in hand with the person he loves, there's work to be done.

At 9:51 AM , Blogger Rob said...

Thanks for saying hi to Marigold for me! The world gets smaller and smaller...

At 1:30 AM , Blogger Dee said...

It has been awhile since I was in school but I am betting there were gay boys there as well as some girls who were lesbians but they kept it hid. While I do not approve of the lifestyle, I have a live and let live attitude towards it.

At a time our schools were not safe for gays but much of that has changed and many young men are have come out. My daughters best friends are some gay males. She often has to walk the campus late at night and when she does, she has her friends, adam and clyde, both of whom are gay, walk her back to her dorm. They are her bodyguards so to speak. They have been here a few times and I like them both.

My daughter asked me once how I felt about them coming here and I said they were welcome to come. I am glad I did. They were very funny and great guys.

At 2:38 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

So glad you were able to meet up with Marigold. I personally didn't talk to her at the World Gathering because of there being so many people to meet and talk to, which was impossible.


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