D&DLGBT

, , , , , | Related | September 4, 2019

(I play Dungeons & Dragons with my friends every week. Tonight, we’re meeting at my house. The group consists of four boys and me, a lesbian. I am out to my friends but not to my mom. After the game is over and the boys are gone, my mom comes in to talk to me.)

Mom: “Your friends are really nice.”

Me: “Yeah, they’re cool.”

Mom: “Why aren’t you dating one of them?”

Me: “Uh…”

Mom: “What about [Friend #1]? He’s so charming.”

Me: “He’s also four years younger than me.”

Mom: “So? He’s mature for his age.”

Me: “I’m 23. I’m not dating a 19-year-old. Also, I just don’t like him that way.”

Mom: “What about the others?”

Me: “[Friend #2] is gay, [Friend #3] is engaged, and [Friend #4] is dating my best friend.”

(She continued to make those comments every time this group of boys came over. A few months later, I actually did come out to her and she was not as warm about it as I’d hoped. I started dating a girl who was 20 years old and my mom frequently made comments about how she was too young for me. This happened over six months ago and she still tries to set me up with my guy friends.)

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School Can’t Prepare You For This Kind Of Life

, , , , | Learning | August 28, 2019

(I work at an elementary school. I am talking to one of my students at recess and the conversation turns to the local hockey team.)

Student: “My grandma’s boyfriend used to play for [Local Hockey Team].” 

Me: “Really? That’s so cool!”

Student: “Yeah, except now he plays for [Different Team]. Well, he’s not really her boyfriend. They’re dating, but they’re not official. They’re waiting until he leaves his wife. He doesn’t want to divorce her yet because they have two daughters and he wants to wait until they’re eighteen. If he breaks up with her now then she’ll go crazy and blame it on him. So they’re not official yet.”

Me: “Um… That’s nice.”

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When In Doubt, Be Kind

, , , , , , | Learning | August 18, 2019

I work at a public elementary school in an area characterized by opioid addiction and homelessness. I am working closely with one particular student who I know is experiencing homelessness. He lives alone with his mother, who is neglectful and borderline abusive. Whenever he says something about it I send in a report, but there’s nothing I can do beyond that. The school social worker visits their home regularly and is working with his mother on being more present, but I don’t know if that helped at all.

Additionally, though he doesn’t have an official diagnosis, he shows many characteristics of autism and is frequently bullied by his classmates. We have been working together all school year on social-emotional health, finding ways to control his temper and articulate his emotional needs. He has been making incredible progress all year.

For one of our sessions, I decide to play a text-based computer game with him that simulates living in poverty. You have to balance work, rent, health emergencies, and other situations on a very limited budget. In the game, you have a child, and various scenarios regarding your child appear throughout the game; for example, your child is in a play, and you have to choose between going to the play and accepting an extra shift at work for some bonus money.

My student chooses the options that would best benefit the child, every. Single. Time. Even if it costs more money than he can realistically afford, he is so invested that he wants his imaginary child to have the best life possible. When we finish the game, he turns to me and says, “I’m a good dad.”

I still get choked up thinking about this child who had every reason to be angry at the world, but still chose kindness every. Single. Time.

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Falling Into Place

, , , , , | Romantic | August 16, 2019

(My grandparents are riding their bicycles and the path goes over a stream. My grandma’s front wheel catches on a rut and she goes over the handlebars. She ends up rolling down the embankment of the stream, and if it wasn’t for the help of an elderly couple nearby, she would have rolled into the water. As soon as they make sure my grandma is safe, the man turns to his wife and says:)

Man: “See, [Wife]? Women are still falling for me.”

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The Greatest Anthem Is The One Sung Together

, , , , , , | Hopeless | July 18, 2019

For the past ten months, I have participated in a volunteer program at an educational non-profit. At the end of our term of service, we have a graduation ceremony with our families, alumni, sponsors, and several high-profile government figures including the mayor and a senator. Two of our members are going to sing the national anthem before the ceremony begins. They sound amazing during rehearsal, but of course, that changes when the theater is full of people.

They start out really strong, but about halfway through, one of the members loses her pitch. The other keeps going and she tries to regain her footing, but it’s obvious that she’s getting flustered.

A few people let out supportive cheers. Then suddenly, someone in the audience begins to sing along. Soon, everyone else in the theater joins in singing the national anthem, and the member finishes the song on a perfect note.

Everyone in the room bursts into applause. Many of my fellow members are crying or holding back tears because we are so moved. 

It had been a lengthy and difficult year of service which tested many of us in ways we’d never imagined, and it can feel incredibly draining to work so hard for the betterment of your community when you can’t necessarily see the results of all your work. But seeing how all these strangers came together to lift up one of our volunteers, even in a small way, reminded us of what an amazing community we belong to.

 

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