I don't even know where to start. It's been a crazy week. I guess the beginning's a nice place?
This week was Rainbow Week at my school, a celebration of LGBTQ+ folks from all across the board, all sexualities and gender identities. All week we had a new activity/announcement each day. For the five-minute warning song, we played songs by LGBTQ+ artists, and read a celebrity bio on the announcements as well. The schedule was as follows (format: activity, song, bio):
- Monday: T.E.A.C.H. Workshop, We Didn't Do It by Tegan and Sara (openly gay), Neil Patrick Harris
- Tuesday: Opening of gender neutral washroom, Cover Girl by Ru Paul (drag queen), Adam Lambert
- Wednesday: Day of Pink, She Keeps Me Warm by Mary Lambert (openly gay), Laverne Cox and Carmen Carerra
- Thursday: NOH8 photoshoot, Smile by Angel Haze (openly pansexual), Ellen Degeneres and Ellen Page
- Friday: National Day of Silence, Amelia by Tonight Alive (lead singer Jenna McDougall openly bisexual), no bio
Each will be explained beneath the cut.
MONDAY: T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia) is a branch of Planned Parenthood Toronto who does homophobia workshops in schools, colleges/universities and workplaces. They did a really great job! There was this one kid who just kept digging himself into a hole every time he opened his mouth, and oh god our GSA teacher adviser is a fucking mess. Let's call him Mr. Doe from now on, shall we? Mr. Doe also kept digging himself into a hole every time he opened his mouth. He just didn't fucking get it. That workshop did nothing for him. He's one of those people who thinks that just because he's an adult and because his son is gay he doesn't need to learn any more, especially not from those younger than him. There will be a LOT more about Mr. Doe as this post goes on. Be prepared. This guy's ignorant as fuck.
TUESDAY: Tuesday was one of the most exciting days because it was the day we launched our gender neutral bathroom, which was open Tuesday to Friday as a trial run. A gender neutral bathroom is a bathroom for anyone who does not feel comfortable using strictly "Boys" or "Girls" bathrooms because of their gender identity or gender expression (the gender neutral bathroom has nothing to do with sexuality). It can be used by a transitioning person whose safety would be compromised by using either "Boys" or "Girls" bathrooms, but also by people who do not identify as male or female therefore do not feel comfortable using strictly "Boys" or "Girls" bathrooms. Think of gender as a spectrum, rather than a dichotomy. There are the extremes of boy and girl, but there are a lot of identities in between that would require a gender neutral bathroom to feel comfortable. For example, Rose is genderfluid and prefers they/them pronouns (I will be referring to them as such from hereon out). Rose's gender fluctuates from day to day. Sometimes they have girl days, sometimes they have boy days, some days they feel like both genders or none at all. This makes them uncomfortable in both "Boys" and "Girls" bathrooms. This is where the gender neutral bathroom comes in.
There was a lot of confusion about it at first (people kept calling it co-ed which is ridiculous because it implies the gender binary) but as the week went on things died down and it was ignored by all except those who needed to use it. Unfortunately, there were a couple of incidents of bigotry. One that angered me the most was a group of grade ten guys gathered in front of the bathroom were saying, "Oh yeah, we'll just go in there and jack each other off like a bunch of faggots." This was right as one of my friends (who actually needs to use the gender neutral bathroom and will be referred to as Alice) was heading into the washroom. Luckily, she told a nearby teacher, and that teacher got pissed as fuck at the group of boys.
WEDNESDAY: Day of Pink is a day where students where pink to support people who have been bullied for expressing themselves outside of gender norms. The day was uneventful. I wore my Nicki Minaj lipstick to school and not many people wore pink. There was an Art Gallery after school, which was fantastic. I put my art ISU in the show, and people really liked it! My english teacher was there with her daughter, and her daughter said my piece was her favorite. What a sweetie! That's Wednesday, nothing much then.
There was another incident of gender neutral bigotry though from, of course, Mr. Doe. What with all of the confusion, Rose wanted to put an announcement up to clarify the washroom's purpose. Mr. Doe, being the dick that he is, thought the announcement was too "restricting". It was not restricting at all. It was giving the exact same explanation I gave before, and it clarified that the gender neutral bathroom was not a meetup place or a place to goof around. That's all it said. And Mr. Doe kept going on and on about how if we say that then people will start thinking anyone who goes in there is gay and when Rose and I said "No, not really." he replied "Well that's how people are thinking of it." (what a stupid fuck, Rose and I are actual students who have been hearing what actual students think of it, that's not how people are thinking of it). So the announcement never went out and there were continued misconceptions of the bathroom for the rest of the week. Thanks, jackass.
THURSDAY: NOH8 is a popular campaign online, so you've most likely seen one of these pictures already: a person takes a picture with duct tape over their mouth and NOH8 written on one of their cheeks. It's a campaign meant to say "We have been silenced, but we will be silenced no more." We did a photoshoot during both lunches. The photographers were friends of Rose and I, so it was great fun to chill and a fair number of people came in to take pictures.
FRIDAY: Day of Silence is an event where students pledge to stay silent for the day to honor those who need to be silent about who they are for their safety, and those who have taken their lives because of it. The day was going great; until I actually read the stickers they gave out. Each person participating received a sticker stating why we have Day of Silence. The first sentence stated that it was for the bullying of "lesbian, gay, biseual and transgender people and their allies in school."
And. Their. Allies.
Day of Silence is NOT for allies. Allies may be made fun of in some circles, but never bullied to the point of contemplating suicide or dropping out of school. Day of Silence is not for allies. Day of Silence is for people who are bullied or need to be silent because of their sexuality or gender identity. Is 'ally' a sexuality or gender identity? NO. It's not. Allies are not oppressed.
I noticed this at lunch, and the moment I did, I pointed it out to my friends, Alice, Usagi and Francis (Usagi loves bunnies and Francis is really loud). We'd all been participating in day of Silence until that point, but the moment I pointed it out, we all got pissed as fuck and refused to participate with that on the labels. It was Alice who first said "That's it, I'm done. I can't do this." Usagi followed in suite as well as Francis and I. We all crossed out the "and their allies" on our stickers, but ended up just taking them off. When Rose entered the cafeteria, we showed them the writing, and they ended up talking as well. They were thoroughly disappointed in the stickers.
We ended up creating a group of us to go and talk to Mr. Doe fifteen minutes before the end of the day. Alice had gone to talk to him immediately after we noticed the line, but he basically just went "Allies are oppressed", told her to rewrite it if she wanted to, and sent her on her way. The group was myself, Rose, Alice, Usagi, Misa (hint: I went to Fan Expo with her, she's Rose's ex) and another friend of ours active in advocating for LGBTQ+ people (Francis had already gone home for the day). Long story short, Mr. Doe agreed that it needed to be changed, but he was all smiles and laughs, so I'm pretty sure he didn't understand that we were actually angry about this. Well, we tried. That guys is such a fucking ignorant asshole, I swear. How could he not tell we were angry? Every time Usagi spoke she sounded like she wanted to explode, Alice had the look of a serial killer on her face the entire time, and both Rose and I were speaking with a lot of force and everyone was being wholeheartedly serious. Ugh, whatever.
SATURDAY: Saturday was not a Rainbow Week day, but it was my family birthday party. It was kind of nice. Rose wasn't able to make it because of an all-day training session for a conference they're helping run, but yeah, nice day. I got May Death Never Stop You, My Chemical Romance's greatest hits CD, and The Sims 3 University (which is installed but I haven't had time to fully try it out yet), among a few other things, but mostly money.
SUNDAY: Today. Rose came over and had dinner with my family. We spent the day chilling in my room and talking about life things and it was really, really nice. I had a really great day today. Yeah, for sure. Two more days until out one year anniversary! Wow. Holy shit. One year already. Time fucking flies, eh?
So yeah, I'm seventeen now and I don't feel any different. Well, I do feel a little more pressure to get a driver's licence and pick out post-secondary options, but other than that, shit still feels the same.
That's it really? I should have titled this post "Rainbow Week and Other News", but it's become a tradition of sorts for me to title birthday posts the age that I'm turning.
So long for now, folks.
P.S. This post is super long and I'm super tired so it has not yet been edited for grammar and spelling. I will come back to it ASAP, but for now, I'm going to bed.