March 25, 2009

Long Time No See!

Long time, no see, blogosphere!

This week, my project has been getting ready for Shatter the Silence, a gay prom my church is hosting as a sort of after-party to the upcoming Day of Silence on April 17th. It's terribly exciting, since my county, being vaguely Southern, has never had a gay prom before - hopefully attendance will be high!

In other news, I visited the National Holocaust Museum with my GEMS class the other day.

Isn't that a happy start to a story?

I went into it sort of hoping that the museum would mention the gay victims of the Holocaust. (It did - briefly, but the museum made a point to include exhibits about every persecuted group, which I thought was really cool.)

The problem, though, was that as my class unloaded from the bus and lined up to enter the museum, I realized how much I didn't want anyone to know I was looking for information about the gay victims. I felt like it would be disrespectful, somehow, for me to bring it up; I expected looks like, "Really? You're going to go off about your stupid gay things, even at the Holocaust Museum? It's not that important."

Which is stupid. Of course it's important. EVERY victim was important, and the Holocaust is certainly a big enough tragedy that we can pay attention to all the different groups involved. If I were Polish or Roma, would I feel less awkward looking for the Polish or Roma victims? (implying that ethnicity is a more valid reason for identifying with a group than sexual orientation?) What if I were disabled, would I feel strange lingering at the exhibit on eugenics?

I ended up wandering the museum by myself anyway, so no one noticed me take extra time to pause and pay my respects to the gay victims. But the fact that I felt so strange about it definitely made me stop and think; I'm still not sure I understand quite why I was so embarrassed that I kept it to myself, even in the discussions in class afterwards.

The next week in that same class, I got to draw the gender-sex-sexuality spectrums on the board and explain the differences to my classmates, whose brains promptly exploded, mostly because they couldn't differentiate between the "male" and "female" symbols. The discussion of sexual ethics turned into "Sexuality and Gender Terminology 101."

This made me feel better.

EDIT: In random googling, I came across a Holocaust Museum website dedicated to the Nazi persecution of gays. It has lots more information than the museum did, and while I don't feel like reading the depressing stuff right now, I'm posting this link for anyone interested!

No comments: