My sister Dorian loved women. I remember when she once slept with a guy to see what it was like and came back vastly disappointed.
She loved the old iconic movie actresses like Anne Bancroft and Sophia Lauren. She once told me she would watch Anne Bancroft sit on a toilet for 8 hours--she was that enthralled by her.
When I started teaching, I remember debating what to do when kids used the term "gay" or "homo" as a slur in my room. I wondered if I should just shut it down, or make it personal. Most of my kids understood having a sibling and a large part of my classes were looking for an example of how to deal with homophobic rage from me.
My technique was simple. I would simply ask them to stop and never use those types of words of hate in my room (or "my house"). I wasn't angry; I was sympathetic and would make the situation with the words about me--not them and whatever personal drama was unfolding. I would explain that those words were a personal affront to me because my sister was gay and I really love my sister (she was super cool) and that anything said against gay people was a slight against her and my family. Nothing personal, but in this room, my sister and my love for her and my family trump all. I can remember saying to a kid in a very soft super-serious voice:
"Please don't disrespect my family in front of me."
I miss those moments.
Today at physical therapy, I had a chance to live one again.
Somehow the topic of the movie The Graduate came up. The men next to me were talking about what a great film it was. They knew Dustin Hoffman, but couldn't remember the woman.
I pipped up and said, "Anne Bancroft--my sister was totally in love with that woman her whole life."
The whole place went silent and there were only four of us. True, my therapist is devout and the two dudes had just wrapped up their in-depth discussion of Nebraska football. I may have misread the situation. And honestly, no one asked me. I get that. They were probably more shocked I was participating in the conversation.
But still, it felt so good to say her name and bring back the old "my sister is gay and just so freakin' cool" spine that lives deep inside me.
Dorian, I always got your back and I miss you so much.
P.S. If you are a friend of mine and know that I'm now writing smut, I got a new publication starting today :-) and I'm trying out Vella for the first time. Just so exciting!
I'm a technology curriculum facilitator, and I'm excited about integrating technology in the classroom.