Back in the turbulent 1960’s my high school held what was then called Club Night – an open house where all the school’s clubs (Spanish, French, Math, History, and so on) hosted receptions in classrooms to recruit members.
When I got home that night my mother asked, Well, which did you go to? I told her History, English, Science and added, Oh, yes, and I went to one more, I think it was called the Lesbian Club.
She smiled. No dear, that’s the Thespian Club.
Times have changed.
According to this morning’s newspaper, over in Chapel Hill, they just had a “Club Day” sponsored by one club all by itself – The Queer Straight Alliance. (I’m not kidding; I didn’t make that up. That’s the name of an official club at East Chapel Hill High School.)
The purpose, I gather, of Queer Straight Alliance Day was to enlighten students. And nobody enjoys getting enlightened quite as much as a teenager. Back in the 60’s, when my generation was getting enlightened, we didn’t have any doubt the sexual revolution beat the American Revolution hands down.
Now, before I trudge deeper into this minefield, let me say I’m all for principals giving any student who bullies a gay student (or anyone else) a lesson in the importance of manners.
But, I guess, when it comes to enlightening high school students about the virtues of ‘gayness’ I’m feeling about like my mother did after Woodstock and the summer of love. (And, I’m pretty sure, nothing I can write or say will slow down this latest outbreak of enlightenment; after all, sex, is a pretty powerful motivator and people interested in it – in whatever manifestation – don’t seem to ever give up.)
But, you have to admit, all this does raise some interesting questions about tolerance.
The pro gay activists say, Well, surely, you don’t mind us living our lives as we want – after all, you’re free to do that. And, besides, if you don’t agree with us – well, you don’t have to join our club.
Which sounds reasonable. You go your way, I’ll go mine.
Except, while old foggies like me don’t want anyone practicing hate crimes on gays, we’re not real comfortable with folks standing up and saying gay is great – particularly in high schools.
And when folks start hollering at us about being ‘intolerant’ and bigoted we just naturally wonder if, well maybe, it isn’t possible to be both against gay-marriage and enlightened.
Or if, maybe, the Queer Straight Alliance’s definition of tolerance isn’t respecting people with different religious faiths – say like Catholics or Episcopalians. That, in fact what they call tolerance is the same thing we had in mind back in the 1960’s when it came to sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll – which was, Let us do just what we want.
Back then we were telling ourselves we were all for enlightenment but what we were really all for – and in hot-pursuit of – was license. So, I’m wondering if those folks over in Chapel Hill are really ennobling young minds? Or if their motives are, say, no more pure than ours were 40 years ago? I don’t know.
But anyway, at least now, I know the difference…between the Lesbian Club and the Thespian Club.
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