When I was in year eleven, my maths teacher made some truly disturbing and Islamophobic comments. He taught the class how to prepare a molotov cocktail for when “Muslims invaded Australia.” Then he told us that he was prepared and willing to kill one or two dozen Muslims before they managed to kill them.
Obviously I complained to our co ordinator. My maths teacher started ignoring me and my questions in class.
Approximately two months later, he told the class that homosexuality is wrong. He also told us that, while he found the idea of two men kissing disgusting, he liked to watch women kiss.
I didn’t have the courage to complain to the the co ordinator. I was out to a select group of friends, but I didn’t want my sexuality to be a source gossip in the V.C.E room. So I just decided that rather than risk having him as a teacher, I would drop maths for year twelve.
My sexuality affected my school experience in a very tangible way. I don’t know a single queer identified person who escaped the education system unscathed. Increased awareness of the experiences of LGBT youth is vital. Which is why, in theory, events such as Wear Purple day are important.
Aisling at Dreamling wrote an awesome entry explaining why she thinks that wearing purple to raise awareness of the bullying and harrassment of LGBT youth is a good idea. I’m not opposed to wearing the colour purple – I’m wearing a purple t-shirt to work and belly dancing class.
However, I want to know where are these allies when something needs to be done? Why didn’t anyone in my maths class say, “That was inappropriate”? Why haven’t my straight Australian friends been sending letters to their MPs demanding equal marriage rights? Why weren’t my straight Australian friends at same sex marriage support rallies? Why weren’t my straight Canadian friends at Pride? Why do I still need to explain to my straight Canadian friends why saying “That’s so gay” is offensive? Why do I still need to explain to my straight Canadian friends that asking how I have sex is offensive?
To be an angry fucking queer, I want to know what these purple wearing fuckers are doing for the rest of the year.
If you are combining wearing the colour purple with every day acts of activism, then I am super stoked and I want to be your best friend. However, I’m worried that people are going to participate in wear purple day, forget all about the tragic circumstances which lead to it and ignore the every day acts of activism that are so important to making the world safe for young LGBT people.