I’ve lived as an openly gay man for many years. I have, however, demarcated my private life and professional life in terms of being a teacher. I never mix the two. Believe it or not, in almost 10 years, the question of my being gay has never come up in the classroom. In fact, students have delighted in the rumor that one of my married female colleagues and I are involved in a scandalous affair.
It’s middle school.
An internal shift to my steadfast approach began -regarding being ‘out’ to students- when almost overnight it seemed LGBT teens began killing themselves. I sought information from organizations like THE TREVOR PROJECT and IT GETS BETTER. I’d be devastated if one of my gay or lesbian students felt they had no option other than taking their life. Especially if I had remained silent. I have researched and incorporated a version of this struggle into my graduate work while also beginning to develop an Internet presence to support my research/thesis/manuscript. I’ve also tried to add an extension of my personality, who I am, to it. If one checks out my YouTube Channel he or she will see reading excerpts from my thesis, my 43rd birthday spent skydiving over Key West, and an Evansville gay pride drag queen singing, “What have you done today to make yourself proud?”
What I want my students to know is that life did GET BETTER for me once I found a community that reflected my passions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. It has grown extensively over the years. It started with a kernel of friends in Vincennes and then sprouted into the gay community of Evansville, Indianapolis, and Louisville. From there it grew to include Miami Beach, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale. Today I’ve maintained my community in each and added New York City, Southampton, and Provincetown. I love them all!
Having said this, I awakened this morning to an email alert regarding a comment posted on a parody video of CALL ME, MAYBE my friends and I shot during GAY DAYS – 2012 in Orlando:
“Hey mr redmond! looking good, ill be seeing u in english this year right?”
It seems the cat is out of the bag. I’ve been waiting. What will the 2012-2013 school year bring? Will a transformed scandalous rumor usurp the one regarding my alleged affair with Mrs. X?
I readily admit, I’m a little anxious.