It was the second day of class, and I walked into the large lecture-style room, passively looking at the faces of those who would soon be my fellow colleagues. We’d share every class together, and we’d get to know each other slowly, but surely, over the course of the next year.
Our assignment that day was to bring an artifact that makes us “American.” It was all a part of a series of lessons, meant to help us understand social justice education, the biases we bring to our classroom, and the potential effects of those biases.
That day, I brought a picture of me kissing another man on the cheek.
“This is what it means to me to be American,” I said. “I’m gay, and being American to me, means that I have the freedom to love who I want.”
And like that, I had come out to my colleagues. It was actually rather easy, but I knew it wouldn’t always be that easy. In fact, the teacher of the class helped me to see that over the course of our time together. We pondered over the potential school districts and areas I could teach in, and we simply talked about the challenges that I would potentially face.
I spent the first couple years of teaching in fear of those, and even the better part of the last year or so wondering about the repercussions from speaking my mind in my last school district. But today, as my voice is heard to a broader audience on the Huffington Post, I feel so proud, so inspired, and so grateful for those of you that have encouraged me over the past two and a half years to speak loudly.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your readership. I’m forever indebted and eternally grateful.