Julie at RevGals asks, NaBloPoMo Day 25: How do you crush a stereotype of your gender/sexual expression/race/denomination/nationality?
I don’t know that I crush any of them; I live a traditional life. But I think I’ve occasionally given a student reason to think differently about things, to maybe question a closely-held position, like this one:
I was a substitute, in between classes and eating my lunch in the campus’ Bistro. It was a High school campus and two female students were having a serious conversation. One had just been kicked out of her parent’s home after coming out as a Lesbian, and her friend was listening compassionately as she raged and cried. I couldn’t help eavesdropping, especially after hearing her parents had taken the religious tack with her, called her “abomination,” told her she’d burn in hell, was an embarrassment to them, and was unwelcome in their home until she “came to her senses” and stopped her sinful ways.
“If that’s Christianity, I am done with Jesus!” She was so hurt and angry, and hearing her say this made me hurt and angry, too. I could no more imagine kicking my child out of the house due to her sexuality than I could imagine setting myself on fire, and the thought that her parents’ actions might have the double-whammy affect of driving her away from God propelled me out of my seat and from minding my own business. On my way out I walked over and said, “It’s none of my business, but I am a Christian and I think you are exactly as God intended you to be. I and lots of Christians I know understand it is not a choice, you are a child of God, and you are very welcome in our churches. Try not to hold the misguided actions of people against Jesus.”
She seemed relieved, and thanked me. She needn’t have thanked me for poking my nose in, and I hope she gave Jesus a second chance. I’ll never know, but the best I could do at the time was be different than what she expected of a Christian.
I guess that is the way I crush (or more likely, dent) stereotypes is by being different than the expectation, especially if the expectation is hatred, bigotry, and/or a willful lack of understanding. One day the Principal of this very campus said to me after a particularly awful experience with a parent and child, “This is why it’s so important we show our kids another way – they don’t always get that at home.” In the face of being labeled a dumb blonde, I’ll show you how smart I am; call me a weak woman, and I’ll work three times as hard as you; take God away from your child, and I will love her just as she is.
It’s also possible I just enjoy being contrary.