Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
“Gay Students Alliance if anyone is interested it starts next Tuesday.” It became
this enormous thing. The headmaster basically said, “Well I'll do it if the board
says it's okay.” So the kid and I met with a board member with my personal un-
derstanding … [that] Rockport supports him as long as he made a reasonable
case. So he explained the rationale for it, why it's healthy, and why it's not going
to ruin the school.
Thismeetingdidnotgoasplanned.Theoutwardpresenceofhomosexuality atRock-
port sent aftershocks that even reached beyond the immediate community, as one alum-
nus of ten years told me, “Rockport is getting soft.” Mike (AD) continued:
It became a political issue. The headmaster was saying, “Well I support it but I
need board approval” and the board would say,“We'd support it but this is really
an institutional issue we need the headmaster to say it is okay.” And in the end
no one was willing to step up and say, “Yeah sure go ahead and do it.”
In this case, not taking a stand had severe consequences. Mike (AD) recalled that that
he felt this incident contributed to Jason's attempted suicide:
In retrospect if I had to do it over again, I would have taken the heat personally
after the fact…. But instead it became an issue and I think the kid tried taking
hislife because hefelt betrayed by[Rockport]. Imean there were many other is-
sues in his life, but I think had that club been accepted, … I think he would have
still felt supported and secure here…. You know I don't think it would ruin the
school. I don't think it would have any impact on the school. I think everyone is
more afraid of what it will do than it really will do.
The boundaries of hetero-normative masculinity at Rockport were controlled in both
symbolic and physical spaces: symbolic—by devaluing homosexuality through the val-
ues conveyed in homophobic insults, physical—by disallowing the use of institution-
al property or classroom time for the purposes of opening up conversation about male
sexualities. In terms of the reproduction of privileged space, these acts of control are
most telling for what is absent; what goes left unsaid, what is made invisible, what is
left without interpretation. Homophobic slurs such as “that's gay” are so normalized by
students that the connection of “something bad” to “homosexual” is explicitly lost. Yet,
rendering homosexuality invisible in this equation still implicitly reproduces hetero-
sexual privilege by serving as a general warning about breaking “acceptable” masculine
boundaries while remaining explicitly hurtful and subordinating to those who identify
as gay or questioning. Failing to actively create spaces inside the school to have critical
Search WWH ::

Custom Search