It was the Worst of Times
Every semester, I get a wee bit scared when I have to review the chapter on sexual orientation. It's like, well, I can't think of a good analogy. You know that no matter how unpredictable or scary a rollercoaster ride is, it will likely end (eventually) and you will still be alive. Maybe it's like parenthood? (I don't know, I'm just guessing) When it's over, you could be the proud parent of the genius who invented the AIDS vaccine, or you could be the woman at the trial of the century who leaves and enters the courtroom with an acrylic cardigan covering your head to protect your identity from the media and so the gals at the lunch meat counter don't recognize you.
Anyway. Typically, I will ask the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender student organization to send in a panel of students to speak to my class. If it's uncomfortable for my students, it's the longest hour and fifteen minutes of the semester for me. I just keep waiting, watching, wondering if I should have packed a weapon, called for backup, whatever. Will I be on the news tonight?
Last semester, I had the teeniest, tiniest, cutest little Jesus gal student you ever did see. Seriously. She reminded me of Stacy Q. She might have been five feet tall. I don't think she weighed more than 80 pounds. And probably 5 of those were hair. She was an art major, so I mistakenly gave her credit for being open-minded. I should have guessed that things were headed down a dangerous path when she informed me (the first night of class) that she would be at least 20 minutes late to every class because she had to commute from work. It wasn't the distance, or the traffic, or anything like that; she had to stop at her parents' house on the way to campus so she could eat a nice hot meal. I had already informed the class that because of the unusual time of our class (dinner time, basically), they were all welcome to bring food to enjoy in class. They were welcome to bring fruit, granola bars, whatever. I did advise against pepperoni pizzas and open-face roast beef sandwiches, however. Stacy Q.-Jesus-girl didn't want to do this. Whatever. So, she's a PITA from the get-go.
The night of the LGBT panel, she approaches me after class in tears and asks if she can talk with me "in private." I guessed she was going to come out to me, and boy, was I wrong! She wanted to tell me that it was very difficult for her not to leave the class (I guess she wanted an award? Other than the PITA, I mean) because she is a Christian. And she does not believe in THAT. And then she started openly weeping and said, "I know that you probably believe that gay people are born that way, but I know that Jesus would not do that to anyone. How could Jesus create people that are made wrong and know that by making them that way he will subject them to a life of suffering? I refuse to believe that Jesus would do that, so that's how I know these people choose this. Usually because something bad happened to them in childhood."
Um, I'm sorry. What? Seriously. What the fuck are you talking about? Where does this girl live? Geographically, metaphorically, the whole thing. Under a rock? In a brown paper bag? In a world with no televisions, movie theatres, newspapers, Internet, radio or magazines? Hey, maybe it's just me bein' crazy, but aren't, I don't know, BABIES born with Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida and all kinds of other birth defects we rarely hear about like all the damn time? Wouldn't these children and their families typically suffer? I just don't get it. I guess she lives in a world where nobody is born with any problems or "defects" (I'm not comparing homosexuality to a birth defect, by the way - hence, the quotation marks) that would cause any suffering. How nice for her. And also, when can I move there?