SBS 301 Cultural Diversity/Prof. Koptiuch Fall 2012 Personal Memory Ethnographies
Individuals are always experiencing new things in their life that help them to progress with the modernization of culture. This story is on one of the borderlands of sexuality in which a young boy meets a new take on the modern family. The story takes place in Phoenix, Arizona the desert state where the sun is always out. Two 8th graders at Desert Sky Middle School touch ground on their similarities and begin to form a friendship. This instance takes place around the same time when a college student named Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming for being a homosexual. It was the beginning of the LGBT acceptance stages where many were still wary.
When I was in middle school I met a boy named Jake, he and I quickly hit it off because we had the same sense of humor and both loved acting. We both viewed it as a expressive release in a mundane lifestyle that everyone felt comfortable making routine. We both felt a unique spark in ourselves that made us both feel as if the common wouldn’t work in our lifestyle.
I thought Jake and I must have had a similar upbringing until one day he asked me to hang out at his house. So my parents dropped me off at his place and that’s when I met his….moms. It turns out Jake was raised by lesbians since he was a little boy.
I decided to invite Vincent over to introduce him to my family. I was a bit hesitant at first but I felt he was close enough with me to extend this invite. I approached him and asked him, full of excitement. He happily agreed, he told me he was eager to see who produced his kooky friend. When I informed him about my two mothers he seemed to become nervous but I made sure to reassure him everything would be alright and not to worry too much.
I was surprised and a bit taken aback I didn’t know if things were the same in a household like this. I was very anxious to see the workings and how everyone acted in a situation like this. Jake’s moms were just like my parents however; they still disciplined him and gave him rules to abide by. I was expecting Jake to be unruly and talk back to his mothers but he did no such thing! He showed them the same amount of respect as I did my parents. I came to realize that it didn’t matter who the parents are in a family. They all seemed to want the best interest of their child and want them to succeed!
Vincent showed up and I answered the door with a “Welcome to my home! I could still see Vince was prudent. But when my moms greeted him people might have imagined he was just another kid of theirs. I immediately felt at ease as soon as I saw how well they hit it off!
I held myself with respect and had a welcoming attitude when I first met Jake’s mothers. I owe it to Matthew Shepard, the gay student who was murdered. Because of the fact that Jake and I were in theatre we had been introduced to a play entitled “The Laramie Project.” This play was based on the events surrounding Shepard’s death. It really hit me hard to think that individuals who were homophobic would go to such an extreme to keep a lifestyle away from them entirely. I originally thought it to be fictional, however when I found out it was based on a true story I strived to strengthen my acceptance. But I had never really caught a glimpse of the lifestyle many viewed as taboo. When Jake informed me of his living situation, I was nervous but it was partly because I was excited. I was eager to see how the household worked, if there were in actuality any differences at all from a family like mine. I knew it would be a change but I wasn’t aware of the similarities this household had with mine. There was still a father figure Jake had and a mother figure as well, it didn’t matter that they were both females. Jake didn’t yearn for the stereotypical household he felt he actually had something better, and I would agree.
I had been the topic of much ridicule growing up so I took a chance on my new friend believing him to be open minded and accepting…I was right.
Acceptance of homosexuality is becoming more common throughout society. Individuals are taking strides to abolish discrimination in general. In 2010 The Matthew Shepard Act was passed criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Diversity within sexual orientation is being commercialized even in the media. More shows are incorporating homosexuality in them in some way or form. The Shepard Act made me feel gratified because it happened after I had known Jakes mothers for a couple of years. I praised the Act because I viewed his mothers as an extension of my own family and I could rest easy knowing that they would be protected.
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