Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mississippi dreamin'

I see in the news from my home state that Mississippi is making itself notorious again. At least, the school board in Itawamba County is. It seems that they have canceled the senior prom because a lesbian student wanted to attend with her girlfriend and she wanted to wear a tuxedo. This was just too much for the sensibilities of these sensitive souls who were apparently afraid their their own kids might catch "the gay" from attending a social event with a lesbian couple. So they canceled the event and expressed the hope that some "private group" might sponsor a prom for the kids. What they didn't say but probably meant was that the "private group" should sponsor a prom for the straight kids.

It's hard to believe that in the year 2010, the sexual orientation of a teenage girl is enough to cause grown-up people to behave this way. Why do they feel so threatened by this? What are so they afraid of? Do they really think that the homosexual couple is so powerful and attractive that they are going to subvert the straight kids to their way of loving?

They would probably say that homosexuality is a sin and they don't want the supposedly morally pure straight students to be exposed to it. But if they are Christians, as I'm certain they would profess to be, and if they are really confident of the rightness of their convictions, shouldn't they be concerned also for these socalled sinners? Shouldn't they want to expose them to "normalcy" so that perhaps it will rub off on them or they will be converted and thus saved from a life of sin? Moreover, do they really think that we live in a segregated society where gay people are not a part of every group and every activity, where they are not a part of the tapestry of our everyday lives, even in Mississippi? I would venture to say there might even be some gay people who are members of boards of education in Mississppi. Possibly even in Itawamba County.

Homosexuals do not choose to be homosexual any more than heterosexuals choose to be heterosexual. They are born that way. It is not a disease and cannot - nor does it need to be - cured. It is not a sin. It is just another way of being human. It could have been a valuable lesson for the students of that Itawamba high school to learn that not every human being has to believe and act and look exactly as they do, but that that makes them no less human and no less worthy of respect. The board of education could have stood up and acted like responsible adults and taught them that lesson. Instead, they chose to continue to live in a dream world where uniformity of opinion and belief and life style is all that matters.

So what have the kids of Itawamba County and of Mississippi learned from this? "Don't be different and, if you are different, don't tell! And, for gods' sake, don't stand up for your rights!"

What they have probably learned is that their society approves of and rewards the cowardly conformist. What a lesson for high school seniors to take with them into the world.

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