Friday, October 08, 2010

Parents Dealing with School Bullies

With the recent media attention on the numerous tragic suicides related to school bullies, I have found parents, gay and straight, are more on edge about the affects of bullies on their children. I think this is a good thing because I want to live in a society where no one tolerates bullying on any level. A complete societal shift is the only way we will end this epidemic (think of the societal shift about smoking and how this has drastically decreased the number of smokers).

My 5 year old was recently the victim of a 7 year old bully who was physically harming her on the playground after school. Fortunately, I had witnessed these attacks, so I was able to get the school involved in stopping the behavior. It has stopped, and I think the school handled it well. Hopefully this will continue so my daughter can feel and be safe at her school.

I was talking to a parent about his 7 year old son who was getting bullied by a child in his class. In his case, the bully was physically harming the boy. When the parent talked with the school, the school reacted by sending the bully home and calling in his parents. Again, I am glad the school reacted to protect the child who was being bullied.

The other parent and I began talking about our situations and about what if the school had not reacted appropriately? This parent's approach was this: if it happens again, he will demand to sit in the class with his son. If he sees the bully hitting his son again, he will call the police on his own and have the child arrested for assault.

What do you think--would this work? Assuming the school let the parent into the classroom, would the police arrest a 7 year old for assault? Is this an effective way of dealing with a bully?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Teaching the word "Gay"

I am probably way behind on this question, but I am going to put it out there anyway. I have a 5 1/2 year old daughter who doesn't know what the word "gay" or "lesbian" means, which is kind of ridiculous since mommy works for the Gay Community. I don't know why or even how we have avoided the subject for this long, but somehow we have reached this point and she doesn't know, and I am thinking I should probably tell her. Especially since this is Gay Pride weekend and she is bound to pick up on the word this year.

She has been to every Atlanta Gay Pride since she was born, and really has never questioned anything about it. She loves the idea of being in a parade, seeing lots of her friends, and the general festival-like atmosphere. I have a feeling this is the year she might notice a few new things, like the men who will undoubtedly be wearing chaps with their butts hanging out, or perhaps the topless women.

Around our house we have talked about different kinds of families, and she knows she is part of a two-mommy family. She is very happy child, and I dread the day she learns that there are people who hate our family without even knowing us. I imagine she will start figuring this out sooner rather than later, especially if she learns about the word "gay."

Now she might pay attention to the media and adult conversations she overhears when people are speaking about gay issues (right now I think it just sound like adult babble talk). I guess it is as good as any time to help her embrace the positive meaning that goes with the word "gay" before she starts hearing the negative on the playground.

Gay Pride will have a much bigger meaning for us this year. This will be the year that Maggie will learn she is part of the Gay Community. I don't expect her to put much thought into it, but it will give her some context as to who we are and what mommy does for a living.

We'll see how it goes!

Happy Pride!

Yes, it is still weird to have Pride in October. This is our second year celebrating Atlanta Pride in October. At least this year it is a little earlier in the month, and we are likely to have gorgeous weather this weekend. I love not having it in the hot month of June, but last year it was raining and cold (a terrible combination for me).

I don't know if it is because I am a mother, but I keep getting distracted by Halloween and other Fall Festivities and have to remind myself it is Pride weekend. I really need to remember because there is so much to do!

This is one of those weekends I give up the entire weekend to the cause--the MEGA Family Project. I probably won't see my daughter for more than an hour this weekend. My feet will hurt, I won't get to go to the bathroom enough, or have a decent meal, but I will get to meet so many amazing people that I would not otherwise know. I will hear amazing stories of LGBT families living in rural areas trying to make it work. Lots of people will share with me their dreams of adding children to their family through whatever means they dream up. So many families come to Pride with this being their only touch to the community for the entire year.

Though I am not looking forward to being on my feet the entire weekend (thankfully we aren't doing the Friday night Pride anymore), I am very excited to meet so many wonderful people in our community.

Happy Pride everyone. Come by and see us at the MEGA Booth in Section B-21.