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By Esther Kingston-Mann

This selection of essays written via non-traditional college on non-traditional scholars records a posh and demanding strategy of pedagogical transformation.

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Or I might ask, Why do people object to out gays in the military? Because they will upset the other soldiers! Why will the straight soldiers be upset? Because they don’t like gay people! Or I might query, Why is it wrong to have sex with someone of the same sex? Because it’s unnatural! Why is it unnatural? Because a penis fits into a vagina! Well, can’t a penis go into an anus or a mouth or a hand? ) But that wouldn’t be natural! While the circularity of such arguments might make one reach for a dose of Dramamine, to dismiss them is a major pedagogical mistake.

I could name many similar instances in which my being available as an out teacher made a constructive impact on the lives of lesbian and gay students—Judy, a Jewish lesbian who studied with me for years, who sought a spiritual path different than but respectful of that of her Hassidic father (who in the end was able to celebrate at Judy’s wedding, which I also attended); John, a closeted gay man, who hated straight people because of the antigay slurs he was never spared from hearing; Meg, a lesbian who was trying to reclaim her sexuality and live with her rage after a gang rape; Billy, an openly gay man with AIDs who, in addition to facing his own physical decline, had to decide whether to assist with the suicide of a dying friend.

These fears 22 Kathleen M. Sands were with me all the time, like a low-grade fever, as they are for all lesbians and gay men, all bisexuals and transgendered people. B. ” We learn to bear up under it, to compose ourselves with a modicum of serenity while poised at each moment to duck a psychic or physical blow. In my case, that stress had a special inflection, knowing the venom reserved by the righteous for perverts who pretend to some kind of religious or moral authority. I am enough of a religious person to have a slightly inflated sense of honor and dignity, such that I am wounded by the self-image I see in the ugly mirror of other people’s condemnation.

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