Our Universal Reality
By Michael MacIsaac Jr., Grade 9, Inverness Academy, Inverness, NS, Canada
Maybe it's not even my place to get myself involved in the first place. I probably could have just left myself to peace and rest and watched this pass my eyes through a universe with no end. Maybe, just maybe, an average Canadian would have done so, but not me. My name is Michael MacIsaac Jr, call me Mike if you will, and I'm taking a firm and solid stand. No one listens to a fifteen year old male, right? No one looks eye-to-eye with a teenager right? Well, maybe that's true in some cases, but I'll write this anyway, in hopes that an educated pair of eyes notices that I've actually got a soul, too. I'm creating a barrier at the middle of the endless universe and I'm notifying everyone of what's on my mind before anyone continues his or her journey. My reasoning behind stating that it probably isn't my place to get involved in what this article focuses on is because I myself am heterosexual. I'm coming before you via the gift of a computer screen to discuss a type of racism that we can all relate to but also a type of racism that most love to mock for entertainment on any given day. I come to you with the issue of gay rights circling through my mind.
Now before you decide this article isn't for you, let me warn you. The instant you click off this article, you yourself are being racist. There's not a doubt in my mind that you, that's right, you, reading this article this very instant, see yourself as never being a racist kind of being. You must involve yourself in extra-curricular activities after school, there is no reason not to believe that you love a party, and you must definitely have a grudge against your parents if you're any run of the mill adolescent. You may never in a million years see yourself as someone to be discriminatory towards someone else, but the instant you close my article, you will be doing just that. Give this the time of day; see it from the viewpoint of somewhere else than CNN or Lloyd Robertson from a change. Read this, see it from the opinion of an outsider who is looking in and shaking his head. I invite you to come see where I stand on the issue of gay rights; come see it out of the window in my world. I can confidently boast that you will most definitely give everything a second thought. Shall we begin?
Seeing as this month's topic involved looking into a prime time television show and seeing how they portray racism through their television wavelengths, I'll start right there. In a rare moment for myself, aside from clicking on Sports center or a little music, I sat down and watched a full half-hour television show. Not because I wanted to, but because there was a magnitude of snow falling on my little hometown village of Inverness. Well, in risk of sounding too overly religious here, I believe it was an omen from a higher power. Aside from my posterior falling asleep, it was a rather productive thirty minutes. The infamous show I speak of was Boston Public. The show is based on the trials and tribulations of a, dare I say, typical high school in the United States. Well, to make the run of things short, there was a member of a track and field team who was gay but not openly. He wouldn't dare tell a soul, especially in the men's locker room for reasons I believe we can all understand. This track star blew a relay and was mildly assaulted, if there can be such a thing as a mild assault, in the locker room after the practice. When the principal came around to meeting those involved, he questioned the assaulted track star's sexual orientation but he backed off and wouldn't open up to a thing. He was assaulted again outside the school in the parking lot but this time, the emergency medical technicians were rushed in to transport the innocent victim to the hospital. The last bit I saw was of the vice-principal starting an organization within the school supporting gay rights. Two people showed up for the inaugural meeting.
However, my power then decided to fail on me so I guess we could call it the most productive fifteen minutes of my life instead. Anyway, long and short, Boston Public did a fantastic job of driving home the true reality of gay rights. They didn't sugar coat anything and they never bothered to butter anything up. With all nutritious metaphors aside, they exposed the harsh reality that being gay is for some reason not socially acceptable and the even harsher reality that most no one seems to care.
Now then, put your hatred directed towards school aside from a second. I come from a very small "institution of learning" called the Inverness Academy. We have, give or take a number in the teens, one hundred and fifty students. We march into school at roughly nine o'clock in the morning and although we may be trapped into learning, we are sheltered from the brutal world that man has willingly created for itself. The Inverness Academy deserves to be the role model of all schools on all seven continents. When Osama bin Laden attacked America, I was in school. When my humble home burned to the ground, I was in school. When children die of starvation in Africa, when drunk drivers claim the precious and irreplaceable lives of a pregnant mother and child, and when eastern Europeans can't walk through a field without worry of placing their foot on a live land mine, from nine to three, I'm in school.
School is the force field that should be placed above all others in its ability to protect. Bonding among students and teachers should be enjoyable let alone equal and the experience of lounging in a men's locker room after a sporting event should be one of creating a bond and not destroying one. School was designed to be the a safe haven for everyone aged five to eighteen and its employees, but what we call the race of man has overused its privilege of being dominant on our planet. We can no longer be our own people. In schools, if one chooses to be attracted to the sex that we see as being different, we see it as the message from the prankster Gods to take advantage of the best situation possible. Rather than opening their lockers to books and scribblers, they will most likely find racial slurs scribbled on papers. When we all enter a bathroom stall, we all see the inscriptions on the doors, but that one gay person will see them directly discriminating against him. Let's take both our hands and look at them here. On one freshly washed palm, we have school being the place to get away from the stress of real life and communicate with all walks of life, all the while developing a hard work ethic. On the other grimy excuse for four fingers and a thumb, we have school being a place where you cry yourself to sleep every night about going to, knowing that all you can pray for is that your sexual orientation is only laughed at instead of announced to the entire student body. You be the jury on this one. What do you want to define school as? I've got scary news for you Internet buffs. As much as we may think it's just television, Boston Public is reality.
Popular culture is over abusing the fact that they dominate most all of the earth. McDonald's stretch from hemisphere to hemisphere, hockey is a sport played everywhere from Canada to India, and no matter where you are on our confused excuse for existence, you will always be able to find a pair of Nike sneakers on somebody's feet. I myself have always tried to be different than popular culture. When people head to McDonald's, I'm off to a home-cooked restaurant. I'm Canadian so I love hockey, but I'm more a baseball man. My sneakers? I don't even have the first clue what brand they are, all I know is that the front of them is starting to dismantle and fall apart. As much as I hate to admit it and as fearful as people are to realize it, the popular culture view on gayness is a lot less accepted than McDonald's or Nike. We see being something other than straight as being as much of a drawback as we do letting a tarantula crawl around our shoulders. Let me see if I can make this sink in a little more.
We live for approximately seventy years. We are not immortal so we cherish every moment that we possibly can. We do everything life offers us; we take everything by the hand and make our own decisions on it. Humans are definitely flawed, we don't have to go far to find that out and with the aid of every person on the planet, we could come up for a list of flaws humans have that just might reach the man in the moon not on our own moon, but Pluto's. We live our seventy years like one of those choose your own adventure books. Do what you may, make your own decisions, just be prepared for what adversity you have to beat back with the broom because of your decisions. We make certain states of mind during those years, too. We cement in our minds what is right and what is wrong. Well then, I'm just absolutely baffled and getting goose bumps at how something so serious can be so easily skewed. Where do we learn what is right and what is wrong? We learn it all from the home. These viewpoints, then, must come from the parents. I don't mean to blame former generations for how we view being gay, but then again, maybe I do. Children grow up idolizing their parents and doing as they do. From years one to five, they learn what is right and wrong, just like I mentioned before, from their parents.
As a teenager, I despise being looked at as a troublemaker with an extreme passion. That's another form of racism, what we call stereotypes. Adolescents are painted with the same brush coming right out of the bucket of ruthless colored paint. I'm not going to be stereotypical; I'll just flexibly point my finger. Why aren't adults looked at? Yet again, not too many people appreciate an adolescent's opinion, but I've done it for months in my local newspaper so I see no reason in stopping now. We learn from our mentors and our mentors are our parents. Now, we know that from year five right up to seventy, the parents create the popular culture that gayness is nothing short of devastatingly wrong. Look at how parents react when children tell them they are gay. If we took ten parents and gave them ten homosexual children, eight of them would scream and yell and bustle out of a door before fainting. Well I, for one, cannot see the problem or the reason in caring about sexual orientation! Let's not have a principal target students for suspensions, let's target parents and just find their reasoning for why they teach their children such things. Nothing against parents whatsoever here, I don't mean to create the wrong image. All that I can say is that truth can always hurt and the truth is that if the children are our future, gayness will not be accepted for at least one more generation, and that is TOTALLY unacceptable; I just cannot stress the word totally enough.
Sometimes I just have to pat myself on the back for having tough skin. Too often, the world speaks at the dinner table and takes it no further. I'm taking it public, and I'm willing to accept what comes of it. Let's stop our generation, let me be the beginning of the barrier midway through the universe. Too often people get the wrong idea when it comes to defending gay rights. We don't necessarily have to march in parades and wave picket signs like we've gone half mad and we don't have to give up our lives and change our sexual orientation ourselves. All we have to do is take a bunch of little voices and make one large one and make racists the minority group. No bully stands up for himself or herself when they are challenged and no racist will survive when he is overpowered. We all too often get the wrong view of racism. We think of the Ku Klux Klan or Rosa Parks or the likes. Racism is everything discriminatory, stereotypical, or racial towards any given group of individuals. The more appropriate word is actually heterosexism. I'll stay away from food metaphors and tell you all right now, even if the chances of it sinking in may be slim, heterosexism is dead wrong. Two plus two equaling three is dead wrong. Snow being purple and orange is dead wrong. Heterosexism is dead wrong.
Heterosexism is often overlooked as being a serious worldwide situation. Can anyone tell me why? Can you tell me why? This is what I mean by watching this topic of discussion pass right by my eyes without taking any notice of it. Most everyone overlooks it because it really makes no difference to him or her. For those who are heterosexual, and do not confuse that with heterosexist, the majority of them see no reason to disturb their lives with caring about gay rights and that is where I'm trying to step in. I'm going to use my time to make the entire world, or at least the world that views this article, a part of caring about gay rights. It's about time that we woke up and took a sniff of the foul atmosphere of life that we have created when it comes to supporting gay people. Are you scared of them? They are human beings, are they not? They have everything we do; they just choose to take a different path in life. One man chooses to be a doctor and one woman chooses to be a lawyer. Do we discriminate against one of them for not all taking the same path in life?
People who decide to be gay are basically involved in the exact same situation. I cannot discover why they are treated differently, however, and I have never met anyone with a legitimate answer. To quote Rod Stewart in one of his better-known songs, "Do onto others as you'd have done to you." Does a fire fighter get a cold shoulder because he saves lives? Of course he doesn't, because he's a perfect example of a good man. Does the President or Prime Minister of a country lose votes when he lowers taxes? Not a chance because it is what the people want. Why then can a gay person or a gay couple not live life normally when they too are fire fighters and they too try to be leaders? Whoever first made up the stereotype that gay people are morally wrong, I would offer him my blue shaded contact lenses to let him see not the biased view of gay rights, but the honorable view of gay rights. When a person has to live in fear about exposing their true personality, even when others in his or her same boat encourage that person to do so, it's a catastrophic sign of things to come and the forecast doesn't look good when I take a peek over my horizon. Being heterosexist is nothing short of cataclysmic. Has the seriousness of this issue set in yet? I'm going to assume it hasn't, just for the sake of my argument. Things are about to shock you, so stay around and find out for yourself that I speak nothing short of the truth!
I will use the United States of America as my prime example for exposing the truth on gay rights since Boston Public really set off my flare to bring this disastrous reality of life to written word. I was visiting an American web site on gay rights, the URL of which I will not expose unless asked for it, and what I discovered was one most devastating fact and one most uplifting fact. Good or bad news first? We might as well dive straight into the shallow end of the pool; I select the bad news first! This web site had a bold headline right centered in the middle of their web page. You know what I had the displeasure of reading? "Even the United States Army openly discriminates against the gay and lesbian."
The United States Armed Forces discriminates against the gay and lesbian. Read that over once more, will you? The group of people selected to lead and protect their country does not allow certain American citizens to stand up for their country and their rights and lead their country onwards in sheltering it from all evil because of their sexual orientation. If you're like me, right now you're clenching your fists and taking deep breaths at how ungodly absurd that is! The Army won't let gay persons live the dream life that they let heterosexuals live! How discriminatory is that! The American Army can actually look at themselves straight in the mirror when they know full well that they will not allow just another American defend his country in its time of greatest need. If you are an amputee or are hearing impaired or something along those drastic lines, I could understand keeping them out of the Armed Forces. Their safety and limitations would be at risk and low, respectively. On the other hand though, I mean come on! If a gay or lesbian person has twenty-twenty vision, passes all physical tests, excels in basic training, and has all the makings to serve his part in the Army, the United States will turn them down based on sexual orientation? I need to speak no more on this topic, partly because I'm growing too flustered to continue and partly because I think it speaks for itself. Sexual orientation crushing dreams is where I draw the line.
I've now decided to take you and introduce you to the bright side of things, the good news. Martin Luther King Jr is a name that I'm sure that everyone reading this article is familiar with. I won't use my time to get into a biography on the man's life and actions, that was a problem to be solved by a hero in last month's edition so this actually fits in quite nicely with the flow of this magazine. Well Martin Luther King Jr was involved in a most obviously well known part of history called the March on Washington. If we can look past the entire March on Washington for just one moment and focus on one person involved, I can stress a rather convincing point towards my side of supporting gay rights. One man's name, a name that is probably overshadowed by Mr. King's name, is Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin was the chief organizer of that very March on Washington. Mr. Bayard Rustin was not heterosexual. The chief organizer of Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington was not just a gay, but he was an open gay. He admitted it and he carried around with him like a badge of pride plastered on his jacket pocket. See how little sense this is making? A gay person cannot serve as one person to guard his country but he can single handedly organize the largest civil rights display in world history?
If popular culture is what rules us today, then I am officially extending my hand and my voice and more so telling them to take something into consideration rather than requesting it. Look at a gay person eye-to-eye. He or she won't be Cyclops; the person won't laser a hole right through the center of your forehead. I'm not trying to extend a pity wish; this comes from my heart. Give gay rights the chance it so rarely receives and so truly deserves. Look a man in past his sexual orientation because it is so down right foolish to judge based on sexuality. Look into the soul of a man or a woman and realize that they are no different than anybody else whatsoever, no matter how badly you want to think that they are. It's time to make the previous thoughts of popular culture ancient history and it's time to make everyone's seventy years full of pride in seeing a man as a man and a woman as a woman.
Martin Luther King Jr on his March on Washington had a dream that all would be treated equal. I too have a similar dream regarding gay rights, so if the late Martin Luther King Jr is watching us from up above, let's have him tune in for a moment and let him realize what he's done for us. He took the African-American population so far to lead up to what we have today, and I dream for the same kind of pioneer to headline supporting not only gay rights, but also all rights that have ever been betrayed due to haste or spite. All I dream for is a world that we can only seem to make come to life in our own imaginations. A life of not total peace, as there will be always one person who protests everything, but just a life of equality and even opportunities. It seems what Martin Luther King Jr and his predecessors accomplished for one race; we lack that same accomplishment for other groups of people. Seems to me like we've a lot more work to catch up on to fill in all our major cracks and faults. I never said the work would be easy; I'm just going to go down as saying that it would be well worth it.
I've kept you for most long enough by now, I believe! I promised a different, interesting viewpoint to the concept of gay rights and, as an adolescent journalist, I feel I have accomplished my goal. Now that you've reached this barrier in the universe, I must contemplate to myself whether or not you should be let by to continue. Will you pass through the rest of the universe as a heterosexist or will you appreciate every walk of life for who they are and see gay rights as just a common sense cause to support? My article will not strike everyone directly in the heart about gay rights; I know that for a fact. Yet if one person can sit their hind parts down on a comfortable computer chair and take some time out of their twenty four hour day and just give this some thought, maybe not change their viewpoint, just give it some thought, I've made a difference. I need more help to make a difference. Appreciate people for who they are and make friends based on personality and nothing else. It's not too much of a dream world to judge based on personality, it's just how things were meant to be. I'm Mike and it was my place to get involved in this simply because so few people have. Continue your journey, but remember that now you have a new lease on people. You now no longer have to fear about not making it through because you are now prepared. Enjoy!
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