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AIRED: July 11, 2018 | 0:03:57

this homophobic slur is being thrown around in the hallway I must say when I

first came in I felt like there was a lot of moments that I would be in home

"oh it's so gay" and that's one comment that grinds my gears and so I personally

would challenge our students and say "hey you know what's gay? I am!" and then they

always look at me like like I just you know said the worst thing in the world

so I was a lesbian and so brutal was the violence against

LGBT people so resolute was homophobia in Jamaica that I don't think it dawned

on me that I was gay until I was about maybe I think maybe 17 or 18 and then I

didn't quite say it out loud until I was about 20 even though it might have a

grain of truth it does frustrate me will equate religion to homophobia a very

deeply religious person and you know like people just write it off and

they're like oh it's all homophobia anyway like read the text like get to

know the text understand the tithe people were living in and understand the

context in which they were speaking and then maybe you can judge a little better

instead of just writing it all off it's just like oh it's all just homophobic

my mother says something to me which is actually at the core of all of my

plays which is that she mentioned the most earnest and loving of waste there

are millions of people in this world who don't even know you and once you did and

so those words for my mom has always carried me and it reminded me that I

have to survive that I have to exist it's interesting because in some ways

it's easy to draw a narrative this is okay because I was in the Muslim

community I had to silence this queer side of me but when you have like public

pressure especially community that's under a lot of threat and is is feeling

watched all the time there is more more pressure internally to sort of

conform or to pick your battles you know it's sort of like well we can't fight

this right now because we have all this other stuff to worry about we have

surveillance to worry about we have war to worry about I think we are sort of

inherently afraid of things that don't look like us and that's where homophobia stems from

I always use those opportunities to teach them

An ally for me is that person who understands the privilege that they may have in spaces

to actually step in. Be the person who say excuse me that's actually not OK by

an interrupted moment and boys like why that's wrong and what's the damage that

is being done. Find your community I know that's like such a privileged thing to

say because a lot of trans kids aren't able to come out and and that's so hard

but there are people out in the world who want to accept you I had this one

teacher who I think it was this week or last week for the first time ever he

included a transgender athlete in the lesson like the lesson was focused on that transgender athlete.

but if you say nothing you're producing that same oppressive moment.

but yeah the alternative is not to call the cops because cops are gonna

put us behind jails that the alternative is how do we really have this

conversations real conversations where our community members as to why we need

to be in this together it's for someone to step in and say wait how can I

support this person how can I remove it's not being silent when these things

are happening if you can find your community hold on to those communities

and become a community for somebody else. One, it'll spark conversation

Two. it'll normalize the fact that there are gay people in this classroom there

are lesbian people in this classroom we tend to internalize other people's

behaviors and a lot of the work around homophobia revolves around parsing out

what's their craft and what can you work on essentially


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