Anyone ever tell you, you couldn’t say something because it was different or not quite understood?… then just find another way like George Takei! To protest the “Don’t say gay” bill in Tennessee, which prohibits teachers from say GAY!!!!!!!!! in elementary and middle schools, Takei is lending his name as a temporary replacement until this bill is overturned. Now, students and teachers can be proud to celebrate National Takei Pride Month and talk about it in the classroom!
This bill is not only silencing and demeaning gay and queer lifestyles, but the voices of women, straight, gay, bi, trans, neutral in an environment where most teachers are women. The supporters of this bill say they are “protecting” the children and keeping the family sacred. But instead, they are keeping people who have questions and curiosities scared. Instead of being scared, I want to get angry and I want to get angry through a creative medium.
As a woman and teacher, myself, I am continually thinking of ways to encourage a variety of voices to speak up and speak respectfully in my classrooms. This is difficult because I believe that they people with truly innovative, original and community-centered ideas have often been told that they are stupid for thinking the way they do and to shut up and get back in line. As a teacher, there is always someone telling me that I’m not focusing on the “right” things in my classroom. So what needs to happen is a continued revolution of metaphor. To use words that subverts traditional discriminatory cultural norms and empowers those with creative instincts to speak loudly and confidently. Although, George Takei’s video is rather comical, it sends an important message that WE, the public, give meaning to words. We make them angry, we make them sad, we make them hurtful. WE make them fight.