The Year of the Gentleman

I don't often get incredibly personal on here in my writing, but that changes this evening with this post.

One thing that some might not know about me unless you know-know me or have seriously spent some time poking around and Googling me is that I'm gay.  It's become such a part of my life by now that I don't even really think all that much about it.  But for the first few years of my professional life (and there for awhile in college) it was central to my very existence.

In college I had a scholarship known as Teaching Fellows - you study to become a teacher and agree to teach for four years at a public school in North Carolina and poof! the General Assembly agrees to pay for your schooling.  I had a bad experience with Teaching Fellows overall and as such I do not recommend it to anyone (and I think encouraging 17/18 year olds to sign away eight years of their life when they have no idea what they are getting themselves into is a crime but that's another post for another day).

Anyways, when I finally came to terms with who I was I decided that there was no earthly way that I was going to be one of those closeted teachers who is the seemingly perpetual bachelor.  I thought I was done for in the education world - until Pat Dalton introduced me to Friends School.  At CFS being gay was not a stigma but a wonderful part of who I was that should be celebrated.  This incredibly amazing atmosphere did not just exist for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons - it lived in the school's mission and philosophy - an utmost respect for the integrity and uniqueness of the individual.

I had a mini-dilemma with regards to my obligation to teach in a public school and my dream of teaching at CFS.  If you've read my bio at all you'll know which way that turned out.

When I was at CFS, one of the ways I was called upon as a gay man was to lead seminars and roundtable discussions for both middle and upper school students.  In these sessions I would briefly tell my story (I had gotten it down to something like 10 minutes) and then let the questions that the students had drive the remainder of our time together.  Every time I was part of these sessions the questions changed and reflected nature of the group as a whole.  But there was one question that was always asked: "How did you know you were gay?" or, more likely, "When did you know that you were gay?"

Any and every child/student that ever attended a session with me would be able to answer that question easily: Anthony.

Which brings me to the real meat of this post - The Year of the Gentleman.  It's the name of a blog/book/life project that Anthony (one of my old friends from high school and my first love) has just begun.  I'm not really sure why I felt compelled to share this - it just seemed appropriate to do so.  Not to mention the fact that I'm a bit jealous of his endeavor.  It just sounds cool - The Year of the Gentleman.

I honestly don't remember if and when the last time I actually spoke to Anthony.  I've kept up on his comings and goings as all of us do via Facebook since that's what we're expected to do but really I only have bits and pieces.  He has - from what I can piece together from the past few years - had quite an adventurous life since we were passing notes to each other in the high school hallway.  He's traveled, lived in Japan, and is to be married later this year.  And then he began this project - the Year of the Gentleman.

As I read his first posts - there are only two thus far - something resonated with me.  Maybe part of why I needed to reflect about his project was because in his words I could almost feel how old we are... and I don't mean to exaggerate... but relatively... if that makes sense.  Regardless, he's got some truth to share, something authentic.

Wanted to pass this along so more will follow along on his journey.  I truly hope he is successful, although defining success (I think) will remain evasive for the time being.

Best wishes and best of luck, Anthony.  I can't wait to see how it goes.

Check it out: http://theyearofthegentleman.blogspot.com/

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