Friday, April 15, 2005

L'Affaire Stephens

Is it just me, or is there something absurd about a huge scandal erupting over whether or not a high school basketball coach is a lesbian? What next, interior decorators suspected of being gay? I always assumed that, in this stereotype-fueled world we live in, female high school gym teachers were assumed lesbian unless proven otherwise, and that no one really had a problem with this (except, perhaps, straight female gym teachers, who might have a hard time getting a date). Assuming it was her sexual orientation that got her fired, I'm in disbelief at how homophobic a town could be, if so many of its residents give a crap whether the high school gym teacher has a boyfriend. The thing with the Dreyfus Affair was that Dreyfus was, as a army officer, in a role that was atypical for well-off French Jewish men, so much of the controversy was over the idea that Dreyfus was overstepping his bounds. But if a gym teacher is fired for being a lesbian, then what do the open-minded people of Bloomburg, Texas, want to do with their lesbians? That may sound ridiculous, but what I'm getting at is, if minorities are considered unacceptable even when acting in the most predictable, stereotype-fulfilling way, then things are really a mess. If people get worked up when a star football player comes out, then that's part homophobia, part honest confusion over the ways of the world. But if a lesbian can't be a gym teacher, it's pretty safe to say she won't be allowed to do much of anything, other than try very hard to like boys, if she wishes to stay in town. Bad news indeed.

8 comments:

Petey said...

"Assuming it was her sexual orientation that got her fired, I'm in disbelief at how homophobic a town could be"

Disbelief? Really? You've obviously been spending too much time in cosmopolitan cities and Chicago.

Much of this country is an odd and spooky place. Dreyfus-era France is an oasis of enlightenment compared to modern-day Texas.

"But if a gym teacher is fired for being a lesbian, then what do the open-minded people of Bloomburg, Texas, want to do with their lesbians?"

Ideally they want to pretend they don't exist. But failing that, they'll settle for keeping them very deeply in the closet.

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I believe the jokes conflating this post and the "Woman Date" post can basically write themselves.

0 said...

Next thing you know, some revisionist historian will claim Liberace was queer.

JoeBob in Arkansas said...

Liberace was gay? Well, shit. Down come those posters.

Paul McDonald said...

Nice comments, keep posting!

Anonymous said...

More irony: Gay men and lesbians can't serve (as such) in the U.S. Armed Forces. Like the lesbian gym teacher, exemplary female (and male) soldiers have been discharged. Many crucially needed interpreters of Arabic and other languages have been fired. With recruitment down, with the situation in Iraq, with the threat of terrorism, with the dawn of the 21st century, can this policy of exclusion hold up? --JM

resigned idealist said...

They want their lesbians to live on a corner, house filled with cats so they can be easily identified by the local kids as something to stay away from and to throw rocks at.

Amanda Parrish said...

P.S.

The University of Chicago burned down.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Bloomburg, Texas and not all people there are bigots and homophobes. Remember-many people supported the coach and in fact, the school board member who caused all of this was voted off the board in a resounding defeat. For myself, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU and an attorney in Galveston, Texas. Don't stereotype all people from Bloomburg with a broad brush. That is the same thing the administration of the school did to Ms. Stephens and Ms. Dunlap.