It’s finally spring…

There’s so much to post about. Some good… some bad… and they’re all tangled together. I find that life is like spring. Some days are grey, cold, and absolutely horrid. The wind throws water, almost too cold to be considered rain, into my face and hiding under the covers seems like a viable alternative. While other days are so amazingly perfect I want to hold them against my heart forever.

I’ve taken some baby steps in the past few days. Filing my income tax, making a doctor’s appointment for Jeremy and dentist appointments for both of us, and we had an appointment to get zir onto long term disability now that zie’s aging out of children’s programs. I don’t mention zir autism much on this blog but it is a big part of our every day life.

Jeremy’s still struggling at school and missing more days than zie attends. The GSA was one of the few safe places for zir at school except the teacher who runs the program found zir too talkative and has asked that zie only attends with zir EAs, the same ones who argued that zir gender was a personal choice. I was going to argue with the school except zir counsellor has signed zir up for a small teen trans group which should start soon. Besides, zir teachers are likely going to be on strike in two more days. Jeremy’s hoping they’ll strike forever.

Spring has truly started here. The grass was completely brown last week and now it’s almost completely green, while fat buds sit on branches… seemingly seconds away from popping. Jeremy and I went for a walk in our local green space a few days ago. The trail was beyond damp…

April puddles

I’m thinking we’d have needed hip waders for the valley portion of the walk. We ended our walk a bit early, when the trail began to look more like a lake, and we were still in the highest parts of the park. Despite the sogginess it was so nice to spend some outdoors time with Jeremy. Bonus is the weather’s amazing again today and we have a Scentsy party to attend this afternoon plus the party is right beside a gorgeous walking trail! I bought some scented wax a couple of months ago and Jeremy promptly stole all of my Dulce de Leche wax for zirself. I told Jeremy zie could pick some for zirself today.

We’re going to a barbecue at my parents’ house tomorrow. Karen and her kids have been on vacation for a month so it’ll be a mini reunion. My Mom called to chat and invited us a few days ago then she brought up Jeremy’s pronouns. She explained that she feels bad but just can’t bring herself to use them, maybe she’s too old. We had a long and very positive conversation in which she mentioned Jeremy never seemed to notice that she always uses he and him. I explained that zie’d talked to me about the pronouns before and explained that zie knows she loves zir and was trying the best she could. The conversation ended with her trying out zir pronouns. I got off the phone and gave Jeremy a high five. Zie was thrilled! I don’t know if she’ll ever use the pronouns in general conversation but I’m proud of her anyways.

The person filling out Jeremy’s intake paperwork for disability had a long list of questions to read. One of the questions had to do with home and if there were any concerns about the youth facing a lack of support and needing to leave. The worker shook his head and stopped reading the question while saying, “Nope. No concerns there.”

And now it’s time to wake Jeremy up and head out into the sunshine. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

A mish-mash of information…

I’ve been meaning to write a post since Tuesday but I’ve been getting up at 4:45am all week and am exhausted by the time I get home. After dinner’s normally my prime writing time, except this week I’ve been left feeling like I *almost* have the mental capacity to count to potato.

One thing I have been working on is a resources page and I’ve finally finished today (I’ve been working on it since Monday). I was going to add a link here but really all you need to do is look up. The tab is beside my about section or in the menu section if you’re on your phone.

There was some tentative good news this week in Canada. Bill 10 in Alberta, which regards Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) in school, was put on hold before the third reading. A friend of mine who lives in Alberta wrote an amazing post on this here.

I’ve got this whole weekend off. First thing I’m going to do is sleep in, which considering I’ll be in bed by 8pm again tonight means I’ll probably be up around the same time as the sun rises tomorrow. The good part is that gives me the chance to get to the mall right when it opens and hopefully before the hoards descend. The best part is there’s a good chance Jeremy will still be asleep when I leave so I can pick up the last of zir stocking stuffers.

I hope the resources I found are helpful. Go… browse… enjoy… there are comics at the end 🙂

So… the meeting…

Well it happened.

The meeting was in a crowded room with five other adults, so I was already feeling overwhelmed when I walked in. There was a brief introduction where I was introduced to everyone in the room… and promptly lost all their names. I was seated beside a vice principal and then there was the head of special education and Jeremy’s teacher (who I already knew) and another vice principal and someone else who took copious notes. I can’t remember her title at all.

I was immediately informed by the first VP that everyone in the meeting was there to support and help Jeremy and that the best way to do so was to make all the decisions first and then tell “him” what we’d decided. I argued vehemently that zie should be involved in the decision making and was overruled.

My first concern was the issue that had been brought up on Friday regarding distractions. Everyone agreed that a stress ball would be fine for Jeremy to use and that even a spinning ring would work. Apparently the issue with having a bag on the floor was that a teacher tripped on a bag last year and fell, which meant she was off work for quite a while. However, they didn’t tell Jeremy this, choosing to detail how students might be carrying weapons or dealing drugs instead. Which at least explains why zie started ranting about how the school should have metal detectors.

This is when I lost it and flipped a proverbial table. They wanted to know if I thought having zir bag of electronics on a nearby table, visible but out of reach, would be an acceptable option. I said that would be best directed to Jeremy and got told no, the adults needed to make these decisions; I needed to decide for “him”. I said that Jeremy was sitting directly outside the meeting room and it would take me maybe 20 seconds, if that, to go ask zir. They didn’t feel that was appropriate. I, once again, explained that it didn’t matter what I thought was a valid option, this plan was being put in place to make Jeremy feel more safe. If zie didn’t think it would work then it wasn’t going to be a help and we’d need to think of something else.

That was when the phone rang and the first VP needed to take a call.

I stood up. “While she’s busy, I’m going to quickly ask Jeremy if this will work for zir.”

I reached for the door just in time to hear someone bark, “No! Michelle, you need to sit back down right now.”

Excuse me? I spun around, swept the room with one glance then said, “No” before walking out. Jeremy was standing talking to an adult. I’d caught zir just as zie was leaving for zir student ID photo. Zie said the bag being visible was fine. I walked back in and said so to the group.

Then came gender. Kind of. I brought it up three times only to be redirected to gadgets, a topic I figured we’d already beaten to death. Nothing new was being discussed, everyone was simply rehashing how obsessive Jeremy was with them and how zie perseverates on them and won’t stop talking or fidgeting with them. Except there wasn’t any resolution to their issues, it was venting and nothing else. I was getting overwhelmed by the negativity. Finally I dragged them onto the gender topic and… nothing.

This is what it says on the school board website…

pronouns

According to the people at the meeting, those three pronouns are the only ones they can use in the school. Jeremy can’t be addressed as zie/zir because “they” is the only pronoun listed other than he or she. But “he” could go by “she” if “he” wanted; totally ignoring the whole “this list is illustrative but not exhaustive” sentence.

When I tried to bring up other information in the guidelines, I got informed by the second VP that she’d help design the pamphlet and was well aware of what it meant and what they were required to do by law. That it would get too confusing if they had to address every trans student in the whole school by their preferred pronouns, making it sound like there were at least five in each class and they all wanted different pronouns. She hastily assured me this school is the most welcoming school in the area and she knew this as a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t have a rainbow card to pull but I do have another child, who attended a different high school. Her school had rainbow “positive space” signs everywhere plus Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) notices about every 10 feet down each hallway. My coworker Brian had similar stories about his former high school. In contrast, this is the only notice either Jeremy or I have seen at zir school…

GSA

It took us a while to find it, that one lonely little 8.5 by 11 inch sheet on a noticeboard halfway down a hallway. We’d been looking for something bigger, with an actual pride flag. Last year it took us half a year to find the GSA, only to discover no one attends. Jeremy hasn’t asked to join this year. I tried to mention Emma’s school and got cut off and informed the topic had changed.

And so it continued with me referring to Jeremy as zie and zir while everyone else said he and him. At one point the second VP drew boxes on her paper and nudged the lady beside her with a smile, drawing her attention to the paper. My heart sank. Were they really gossiping about myself or my child during the meeting? But no. She’d drawn a box around Jeremy’s name and another box around the word “they” then pointed to both. She was simply reminding the other woman about pronouns. That was one of the only bright spots of the meeting.

They have a work placement set up for Jeremy at the local board office; I believe emptying wastebaskets and taking out recycling. No one in the meeting felt zie’d be there for long. They don’t have any classes available outside the small class setting right now, so Jeremy can’t take any classes that might help with job skills. And there’s no math this semester; instead zir teacher is going to teach simple machines. Her reason? Because she’d been thinking of zir. She cut out zir favourite subject, the one zie argued and pleaded to take more of, in order to teach the class about pulleys and levers. I’m not arguing about the curruculum, simple machines sound very interesting. What irritates me is the claim that she did it for Jeremy. I assured zir we’d work on math at home. If anyone’s got any amazing math websites, please feel free to share them. Goodness knows this is not a subject I can teach.

Two people expressed concern that Jeremy’s gender identity would be a “distraction” because “he” will keep arguing with them when they use the wrong pronoun. I asked if zie’d argued with them over being called “he” before and got told no. They decided zie could keep a tally of their mistakes and bring them up at the end of the class so it wouldn’t be a distraction. They didn’t want “him” bringing it up in the middle of class because an explanation would be too long.

“You don’t need to explain anything,” I pointed out. “All you need to do is say I’m sorry.”

“That would take too long and would be distracting,” she insisted.

“Simply saying I’m sorry would be a distraction?” I asked, in a tone I’ve used on my own kids countless times. Apparently grown adults squirm at that tone too.

“Yes,” she replied. I simply gave her the look.

They wanted to wrap the meeting up right then without bringing Jeremy in because nothing got really decided and maybe we should schedule…

“Jeremy’s been sitting outside waiting this whole time,” I pointed out. “Zie was told fifteen minutes ago that zie’d be allowed inside in five minutes. Plus I had this day off already but I cannot guarantee I’ll have the next day off. Zie needs to come in and hear what’s been discussed.”

They let zir in.

So that’s it. Jeremy’s still being addressed as both he and him while they insist zie can only be referred to as they. The one subject that Jeremy enjoyed will not be back until after Christmas. There are no classes aimed at helping zir find a job zie’d enjoy and they’ve already figured zie’ll tank zir placement. They won’t allow zir a placement outside the school board because zie’s not a good ambassador. They don’t discuss hair colour or nail length at all with Jeremy but when they do, it’s out of a place of genuine concern for “his” wellbeing. They’ve never discussed boys and girls being opposites in the class but, if they did, it would have been an example given by other students and they couldn’t correct them because some of the students are not that bright and it would crush them to have their example corrected. Which isn’t what happened at all but…

I now have a better understanding of Jeremy’s anger issues. And, seriously, if they’re expecting zir to do a tally for every time they misgender zir, I’m going to need to buy zir a bigger backpack and one hell of a large notebook.

An update of sorts on the Gay-Straight Alliance

I finally got a call back from the teacher running the GSA at Colin’s school. It was an interesting call.

The call started with a brief introduction, saying she’d gotten an email with my query, followed by an aggressive sounding, “Why were you calling about the GSA?”

I was surprised to say the least. First off, I’d called her last week and left a detailed voice message explaining exactly why I’d called. When I didn’t hear back from her, I contacted one of my former high school teachers (now retired) and got a number for the school board to see if they could give me any information on the GSA or at least let me know if it even existed in his school. And I told them exactly why I was calling. But, hey, explaining everything for the third time isn’t that hard.

The GSA at Colin’s school meets every Thursday at lunch time, not Monday as we were told originally. Not only that but there’s a poster with all the information (and even a rainbow) on the bulletin board.

Colin looked up from his decorating show at that. “Wait. We have a bulletin board?” he asked incredulously. “Where?”

That I didn’t know. It was also on the announcements, which according to Colin, are played between first and second period when everyone’s in the hall. This makes no sense whatsoever but explains why he keeps complaining he can’t hear them.

She could definitely understand why the secretaries didn’t know where or when the GSA meets because there are a lot of school activities.  And, to be fair, Colin says he ran into similar issues when he tried to find out where the robotics club was meeting. I’d like to think they’d be able to provide some sort of help, even if it’s just saying who would be best to call for more information. The vice principal put me on hold for less than a minute and was able to come back with the name of the teacher running the program. Why couldn’t the secretary have done the same for us?

Then the teacher admitted that there are currently NO STUDENTS ATTENDING. Yes, it is that well advertised. Somehow I’m not surprised. When I commented that maybe Colin wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find the group, I got told, once again, that there’s a poster on the bulletin board.

Kait’s school has posters pretty much everywhere. You can’t walk more than 10ft down a hallway without seeing a sign advertising for the GSA. I have never seen a GSA poster in Colin’s school. For that matter, I don’t know where the bulletin board is either. Maybe I’ll send Colin on a scavenger hunt for it when his school reopens  next week.

I’m glad I found out about the drop in group because so far the GSA sounds like a total bust.

A random weekend post

A picture showed up on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday. To be fair, it was titled “graphic”, however that’s meaningless when the picture shows up at the same time. It was graphic, it was horrifying, it was heartbreaking, and it happened in Uganda. That’s all you really need to know.

I got up from my chair and walked into the living room.

“Colin? I really need a hug,” I whispered. He got up and I fell, sobbing, into his arms.

“Mom? Were you reading the news again? I thought you said you weren’t going to read the news anymore,” he chided gently as he patted my back.

“I… didn’t…” I managed to say before bursting into fresh tears. “It… showed… up… on my… news… feed.”

I told him about the picture as my tears slowed. He sighed then shook his head.

“I don’t get it,” he replied as he headed toward the kitchen. “It’s like they think gays have some built in nuclear device and we’re gonna blow up or something.”

“Colin, don’t explode. Okay?” I joked. It was pretty feeble.

He turned and smiled. “I won’t”.

The truth is I really don’t read the news anymore. I’ve read too many horror stories and just can’t handle them. My news gets filtered through my Facebook news feed by liberal friends who tend to post positive news or political issues that can be worked on. This usually works well, except when something truly heartbreaking blindsides me.

Once I got my face dried off, we headed out. Our first stop was a favourite store called Bouclair. My grandmother loved it decades ago when it was a fabric shop but these days it’s a decorating store. Both Colin and I love it. We started out in the lighting aisle, drooling over the ceiling lights, then moved onto bedroom decor to get ideas for Colin’s room.

The first aisle was bubblegum pink with lots of glitter. Colin just sighed and moved to the next aisle, which was blue with lots of sports. He rolled his eyes.

“It’s very gendered,” I commented. He nodded and sighed again. I glanced beside me and kept on walking. Somehow I couldn’t see Colin wanting ceramic soccer ball decorations or a tennis shoe piggy bank.

Colin is a big Doctor Who fan and we did find a bright red London canvas, complete with the British flag, a red telephone box, and a double decker bus. Colin insisted it needed a blue police box but, well, wishing didn’t make one appear. He did like it the way it was, and it was on clearance to boot.

Today we had a family dinner, which means going to visit family. Colin was his usual ‘around the family’ self for most of the visit. He was cheerful enough but quiet and his hands stayed firmly tucked under his arms. He hung out with his young cousins for a while but didn’t leave the table with them after dinner, which was unusual.

Then he began to talk about something that interested him and Colin’s ‘at home’ self appeared. One hand drooped while the other gestured wildly and, if I was writing down what he said, half his words would be in italics. The same relative who made the lisping comment back in December was sitting beside Colin. I sat and watched as the relative listened to Colin talk, replied to what was said, then patted Colin on the shoulder. Then I breathed a sigh of relief. The visit went very well.

And, while I have yet to hear anything about the GSA in Colin’s school, I did find out about a drop in program for LGBTQ teens in our area that meets every Thursday. Colin has already agreed to go. Hopefully I’ll have a positive update on Friday.

The importance of gay-straight alliances

“Mom? I don’t feel well. Can I stay home?”

I looked at Colin with some concern. I had to head out the door in literally one minute and this was the first time he’d mentioned being sick. He didn’t look sick though. His forehead was cool, his cheeks a normal tone, his eyes clear and bright (well, bright for 6:30am).

“What’s wrong?” I asked. He thought for a moment.

“It feels like there’s a black hole inside my nose.”

I stared at him in amazement then started to laugh. A black hole? Really? I’ll give him credit for imagination but… no. Thankfully he was smiling as I got ready to leave.

“Mom, that would mean time’s going more slowly around my nose so it’s not aging as fast. I’m going to have a really young nose,” he cheerfully exclaimed.

He seemed fine when I called from work to say goodbye and cheerful when I got home. However, one of the first things he asked was if he could stay home tomorrow because it’s only a half day for most of the school so they’ll be doing nothing much all afternoon. He’s already missing Friday though because he’s refusing to go on the field trip (again) and his school’s off for three days next week.

I know he’s not happy at school, he tells me this repeatedly, and I know he doesn’t really have any friends either. He panics when he doesn’t have anything to listen to for his bus ride. He needs something to block out the kids on the bus. But, he needs an education too.

I turned him down then quickly checked the phone for messages. There weren’t any. I left a message this morning for the teacher who’s supposed to be running the gay-straight alliance and asked for a call back. Nothing so far. Maybe tomorrow? Considering the luck we’ve had so far, I’m figuring it’s a 50/50 chance I’ve even got the right name. At this point I’m not entirely sure if I’m trying to get Colin into a school run program or break into a top secret military organization. The secrecy level seems equally high.

However, when the GSA is running and able to be found, it’s a great organization. A friend of mine shared a link with me today and it’s a brand new article too. It’s well worth reading. The GSA can and does make a huge difference (when it can be found).

Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce risk for all students

Musings on sexuality

What I remember the most was how dark the room was; that and the giggles of my sisters and their friend. I can’t remember who picked the game. I’d hoped for Barbies, we could sit for hours sorting through all the different clothes. I even had a Barbie with me just in case. Instead, a new game was suggested.

“Let’s turn out the light and we’ll all take our pants and underwear off. Then we have to try and touch each other’s privates.”

This wasn’t something I wanted to do at all. I wasn’t curious. I just wanted to hide, and I did just that, I crawled to the farthest corner of the room and curled in a ball and waited for the lights to go back on. Then it got worse.

“How come I haven’t heard Michelle? Nobody move. Michelle, you have to touch someone now.”

I was still holding my Barbie. My heart pounded as I reached forward, hoping they wouldn’t tell the difference between my finger and a Barbie foot. Seconds later there was a yelp, followed by a giggle and “Yep, she did it too”. Then I retreated back to my corner until the lights came back on. People talk about experimenting when they were younger. This was as close to experimenting as I ever got.

Years later I found myself staring at my mother in blank astonishment. I’d been teased and bullied for years but suddenly a new word was being thrown in my direction. Homo. My mother stammered through her explanation while I listened in bewilderment. People honestly fell in love with someone of their own sex? I had no idea. I’ve always had a good imagination but this was something I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. The name didn’t stick and the kids soon moved on to other forms of bullying and harassment.

During one of my first classes in high school, the teacher announced that any gay students could feel free to talk to him in private if they needed an ear and he wouldn’t tell anyone. He’d done so plenty of times before. The room erupted with kids either laughing or wanting to know exactly who he’d talked to. Once again, I listened in astonishment. While I couldn’t understand why people fell in love with someone of the same sex, I also couldn’t fathom why anyone else would dislike them for it or tease them about it. It didn’t seem like it was anyone else’s business for one thing and love didn’t seem like a reason to tease anyone, not that teasing or bullying seemed to make much sense to begin with.

My thoughts on sexuality were black and white. You were either straight and liked the opposite sex or you were gay and liked the same sex, there was no in-between. Of course, this was the ’80’s and I was hardly alone in this thinking. Heck, I’d hardly be alone in that thinking these days.

Eventually I grew up, got married, and had two children. My ex-husband was taking a college course and he loved to quote his teacher, including all the jokes his teacher made. We were visiting friends one afternoon and my ex-husband decided to share the latest joke.

“You know, I get that people can be gay or straight. What I don’t get is bisexuals. They’re just being greedy and need to pick a side.”

Absolute complete and utter silence. I looked at our two male friends and wished I was anywhere but there. This wasn’t a “joke” I liked to begin with and it seemed horribly inappropriate to bring up here. The silence lasted for a few more heartbeats then one friend piped up.

“I’m bisexual,” he announced quietly.

My ex-husband made a few stammered excuses and the conversation moved on, although obviously it was one I haven’t forgotten.

My thoughts on sexuality had transformed to include bisexuals but I still was thinking fairly black and white. People were either 100% straight, 100% gay or right in the middle, liking both genders equally.

Along the way I got connected to the internet and began chatting on parenting forums. That was when I got another surprise. There were several posts about famous female actors and I was astonished by the number of woman who identified as straight but would sleep with those actors if they had the chance. That’s when I started to realize sexuality had a lot more shades of grey than my current thinking allowed.

By this time, Jeremy was an adorable blond haired, blue eyed preschooler who had a habit of climbing onto the laps of close family friends, patting their cheek and saying, “I wuv you. When I gwow up, I’m gonna mawwy you.” I think he proposed to all my friends, regardless of gender. They all thought he was sweet. I thought he was sweet too but, at the same time, something nagged quietly in the back of my brain.

That quiet voice was what prompted me to join with several members of our church in support of a teenage boy who wanted to bring his boyfriend to the school prom… and to bring four year old Jeremy with me. There’s pictures of us in an album somewhere. Jeremy’s clutching a big rainbow sucker someone gave him, looking curiously around while I’m holding him alongside the other church members in front of a rainbow flag. I’d explained to him why were were there, neglecting to mention my extreme dislike of crowds. I’d never have gone if it wasn’t for him.

I’m pretty quiet on my own but, for Jeremy I’ll move mountains.

And an update of sorts about the GSA at Jeremy’s school. I got a call from the vice principal about rough housing on the school bus today and took the opportunity to ask if the GSA had restarted. Only to find out it had never stopped at all. She had no idea why Jeremy and I were told “I don’t know” when we contacted the office or why I’d eventually been told it was on hold due to the lack of a teacher to sponsor it. Jeremy’s supposed to hear back from the teacher by the beginning of next week. At least I have a name now, so if I haven’t heard anything by Wednesday, I’ll be using my whole 15 minute lunch to contact her.

Edited to add: I just showed this entry to a friend of mine and zie shared a link with me, which I’m now sharing with you: How to Explain to Someone that Bisexuality (or Pansexuality) is Real.

Jeremy and Jaffa Cakes (among other topics)

I took Jeremy out for dinner yesterday evening. Before we got to the restaurant, we stopped off at a little British shop that Jeremy desperately wanted to visit. There’s a show on YouTube called the Yogscast and one of the people eats Jaffa Cakes all the time. Jeremy, of course, had to have them and the only place around here that sells them is this British shop. I got him two boxes last night and they were gone by the time we got home. Every time I looked over, he had a cookie in his hand and was mumbling, “Sorry Mom, I couldn’t help myself”. I guess it wasn’t a surprise when I asked for a blog topic and his first response was to say, “Talk about Jaffa Cakes”.

I didn’t think I could write an entire blog post on these cookies/biscuits so asked for alternative ideas. Jeremy looked at me blankly and I laughed and told him he wasn’t being much of a help. Couldn’t he give me any ideas or maybe some advice to share? He thought for a moment.

“Umm, you could say to let people come out when they chose.”

I blinked. “I did let you come out on your own.”

He shook his head. “Mom,” he retorted. “You chased me around the living room threatening to tickle me.”

I had to admit I had, but… “You came out before that,” I replied. “This summer, on the balcony.”

Jeremy looked surprised, apparently he didn’t remember this, then he grinned. “I never came out at all. You put words in my mouth. I never said anything.”

I just shook my head. “I told a friend of mine that your closet has a revolving door. You’re in then you’re out then, whoops, you’re back in again.”

Jeremy didn’t refute this at all. His grin widened. “That makes me kind of like Superman,” he commented, waving his (thankfully empty) spoon for emphasis. I got the idea of what he was talking about. Superman needed to duck away to change, although I was pretty sure he used a phone booth and not a closet. I was also pretty sure Jeremy didn’t want a lesson on comics.

“Except for the lack of super strength, flying ability, spandex tights, alien ancestry, or job at a newspaper,” I pointed out instead, deliberately skipping mentioning Lois Lane. “And you don’t even have glasses.”

I had a bite of my own meal then added, “You know, I think I read somewhere that the Green Lantern’s gay.” So much for avoiding comic lessons.

Jeremy nodded. “I thought so, he looks gay,” he replied.

It was my turn to be surprised. I’ve never seen the cartoon (maybe movie?) and have no idea what this character even looks like. “Why do you say that?” I asked. Jeremy shrugged.

“I dunno. Just the way he talks and acts,” he said after a moment. “Him and Robin too.”

I didn’t need to ask if Jeremy thought he acted or sounded gay. A few weeks ago I wasn’t sure but we’d had a conversation earlier where I admitted that I thought one of my young coworkers might think Jeremy’s gay.

Of course Jeremy’s first question was, “Why?”

I thought for a moment. “Well, I told him about your issues trying to find the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at your school,” I replied.

He eyed me skeptically. “That’s it?”

I must admit, that was a good point. Straight people join the group as well, hence the S in the acronym. “I talk about you at work,” I finally said. “I talk about the things you say and how you act.”

Jeremy nodded. “That would do it,” he mused.

As for the issues with the GSA in his school. This is a group that’s run in most high schools in our area. This fall I hoped Jeremy would join the GSA at his school. I asked his teacher and was informed that they met on Mondays at lunch time. Every Monday I’d ask Jeremy how GSA went. Every Monday I’d get a sheepish look, a shrug, and an “I forgot.”

A month went by and he still hadn’t gone. I had the next Monday off work and finally snapped that if he didn’t go to this meeting, I was going to school and walking him to the next one. I hoped he wouldn’t call my bluff, I already had plans for that Monday. Instead he glared at me.

“Mom! I don’t want to go to that stupid group,” he yelled, his fists tightly clenched by his side. “I want to hang out with my friends at lunch, not get stuck with those people.”

“What are you scared of?” I yelled back, just as angrily. “That you’re going to meet kids just like you?”

He stared at me white faced then turned and stormed from the room without another word. His bedroom door slammed shut moments later. Not my best parenting moment, that’s for sure.

The next day he came up to me and quietly asked what people do in the GSA. I asked a couple of young friends (including my young coworker) then explained that they support each other and work at organizing school activities to make everyone feel more welcome in the school. He nodded but didn’t say anything else.

Several weeks went by and I didn’t mention the GSA once, to Jeremy at least. He’d commented before that he never heard any announcements for the group so he didn’t even know where to go. I did call the school and ask one of the secretaries if she knew where and when the GSA met.

“I don’t know. Bye,” came the immediate reply. Seconds later I was listening to the dial tone. I didn’t bother saying anything to Jeremy. There didn’t seem to be much point.

He came home from school one day and tossed down his backpack. “Mom,” he said quietly. “I can’t find the GSA at all. I never hear any announcements and I’ve been listening. Plus one of my friends and I walked around the school on Monday and we couldn’t see anyone meeting anywhere. And I went to the office today and asked about the GSA. The secretary said she didn’t know anything then she got up and walked away. Turned her back to me and started talking to the other secretaries.”

I wrote a note to his teacher asking about the group and saying Jeremy couldn’t find it. The next day I got the message that the group was discontinued for now because of the lack of a teacher to sponsor it. But the group would hopefully start up again in the new year. I guess we’ll find out more soon.