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Kage Alan

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The Face of Gay 11 (Rob)
9/29/2012 4:08:31 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

If you thought being an educator was dangerous these days, can you imagine the kind of mental juggling a gay educator has to do? Are they safe to be themselves?
The words humble, modest and one tough cookie come to mind about Rob. The first two have to do with his personality while the third has to do with his being a teacher. And it’s not that he’s difficult. Far from. But in order to do his job, he sets an expectation level for his students that they need to meet. I know this because I read Rob’s Facebook posts. I can also vouch for his personality because I’ve met him…twice.

He wondered why I approached him about submitting something for this and the truth is Rob is an educator. He’s someone who takes part in shaping the youth of today. He’s on the front line, somewhere I don’t have the nerve to be. Hell, I annoyed myself when I was a teenager, so I think it’s a testament that any adult chooses to be around them, let alone tries to get them to learn. Teachers have my respect and I admit that I’ve been curious about what a gay teacher might go through. I got my answer. And despite what Rob says, one does not need to be a mover and a shaker to make a difference in the world. In this case, he need only be himself.

The Face of Gay 11 (Rob)

Mr. In & Out

Hello, everyone. My name is Rob. I am neither a mover nor a shaker and was thus a little surprised when Kage asked me to write a little something for his The Face of Gay series. In all honesty, I hadn’t read any of the stories until after his request. So who the heck am I? Well…I am basically a quiet and openly Facebooking, Bejeweled Blitzing, Castle Age playing single gay Asian man who also happens to teach Spanish at a public high school in the Los Angeles area.

Let me start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I am originally from Laos and grew up in Hawaii. My high school years were spent in Fresno and my college years were lived out in Southern California. I consider myself a man who has been lucky in life but unlucky in love. Years of heartache have caused me to be indifferent about finding someone with whom to share my life and so I have been focusing primarily on work and self-improvement. I know, I know. All work and no play makes Robby a dull boy. If you want to hear the stories about my love life or are interested guess you’ll have to friend me because this entry isn’t about that ;) It’s about my professional life.

At age 21, I had my very first gay kiss. Actually it was my very first romantic kiss of any kind. Since that moment the closet door swung open and I told myself that I’d never go back in. Like every newly out gay guy in college I wore my pride necklaces to class, sat at the tables during club rush for the gay student organization, facilitated a men’s coming out group and went out dancing on the weekends whenever I could. But alas…college didn’t last forever. Graduation day came and my career choice pushed me back into the closet…sort of.

My first teaching position was a year-long stint as long-term substitute teacher at a high school in Garden Grove, CA where I taught 3 Spanish classes and 2 Drama classes. All kinds of questions filled my head when I found out about the position. I wasn’t sure how I would be treated or whether I should be out with my students. I guess my being a male Drama teacher automatically made me gay in the eyes of my students. That suited me fine. I didn’t really have to come out. Some of my students even had a nickname for me, SAM….Single Asian Man. Some of my Spanish students even started to call me that instead of Mr. In. Shortly after the school year ended I found out from one of the students that I kept in contact with that a few students came out of the closet themselves. I’d like to think the comfort that I had felt in my own skin helped to facilitate that. Guess I’ll never know.

I have moved on since my long-term subbing days. I have been at the same high school in the San Gabriel Valley for the past 10 years and have built a sort of reputation, some unintended. Mind you that I am not exactly an effeminate man nor am I masculine. I am a bit straight-laced and a little soft around the collars AND single. So when I talk about the issues of gender in the Spanish language to my students some of them open up about their siblings or aunts and uncles who refer to themselves in such ways. Since I am open to such talk in class and because I am unmarried my colleagues and some students automatically make the assumption that I’m GAY, GAY, GAY! I recall one year, a straight male student serenaded me with his guitar in the hallway after school about how his life would be better if I would give him a higher grade. That was rather funny and embarrassing at the same time. No, I didn’t change his grade :P

Another student, generally very likable but a bit on the lazy side, began calling me Mr. Out because he thought it was funny. My students generally call me Mr. In or Señor In. I actually liked it and I still use it occasionally when I introduce myself to new students each year.

Quite often I find that sometimes I don’t have to come out as gay. Sometimes the situation just presents itself. A few years ago while during his daily warm up activity a student quietly asked me if I was gay. I said yes. Apparently he and some classmates had told each other some gay jokes earlier. The next day he apologized and said that he didn’t expect me to answer, and much less with a yes, and that it was rude of him to even ask that question to a teacher. I told him that I didn’t find it rude but I was glad that he was comfortable enough to ask me that question.

For the most part I find that students tend be good kids even though they say things that they don’t mean when in the company of their peers. As a result, I find that there are times to be out to them and times when I have to keep my mouth shut. A couple of years ago, a student got frustrated and began talking about a friend of his and using words like “fag”. I ended up giving the kid detention and asked him to stay after class. He tried to argue his way out of the detention by saying that he knew the kid wasn’t gay and was letting out his frustration. I told him that the kid might not have minded, but I did. I told him that his friend might not have been gay, but that I was and there might have been other students in class who were and they should not have to hear such words. The kid went quiet and apologized. It’s been 2 years since that incident and the kid still stops by my classroom just to say hi.

So in a sense I am out of the closet at work even though I am not. I am just lucky to be working in a school where students and teachers generally feel safe and know that we are all there for the education of the students. I don’t have to yell out, “I’M HERE. I’M QUEER. GET USE TO IT!” They seem to already know and are already used to it.



The Previous 5 entries in the Face of Gay Series:

The Face of Gay 6 (Sue Brown)
The Face of Gay 7 (Danny)
The Face of Gay 8 (Scott)
The Face of Gay 9 (Katherine Trick)
The Face of Gay 10 (T.J.)

________________________

Kage Alan is The Avengers watching, John Williams listening author of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation,” “Andy Stevenson Vs. the Lord of the Loins” and the first book in a separate series, “Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell.” Has anybody else noticed the nights are getting cooler? I have. Boy, did I ever. I woke up this morning with blue kibbles & bits. Why? Because dumbass here (that would be me) left the guest bedroom window open last night. Oh, yes. Fortunately, I didn’t turn the heat on before discovering the problem. My heating-bill-that-won’t-be will thank me.


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• Out of the Mouths of the Butt Pirates: Shae Connor - Monday, April 29, 2013
• Classic Blog Post: The Direction $hit Rolls - Saturday, April 27, 2013
• What We Leave Behind II: The Postcards - Thursday, April 25, 2013
• what We Leave Behind - Monday, April 22, 2013
• The Face of Gay 31 (Sharita Lira) - Saturday, April 20, 2013
• Walkabout: Manhattan - Thursday, April 18, 2013
• Dear Self, Let’s Talk About the Last Couple of Months, Shall We? - Monday, April 15, 2013
• CBP: Cheers, Fears and the New Sedaris-Fearing-Gay-Writing Mafia - Saturday, April 13, 2013
• Men, Tetris and Living Life By the 4 ‘H’s - Thursday, April 11, 2013
• Dynasty or Dynastud: The Multiple Soul Mate Quandary - Monday, April 08, 2013
• The Face of Gay 30 (Moxie Ann Magnus) - Saturday, April 06, 2013
• So What Do You Think Happens After? - Thursday, April 04, 2013
• The Rules of Mourning (Or Lack-Thereof) - Monday, April 01, 2013
• Kage Alan & His Flying Robot! - Thursday, March 28, 2013
• Wanted: Outback Steakhouse in the Afterlife - Monday, March 25, 2013
• The Face of Gay…Er…Bi 29 (Wayne) - Saturday, March 23, 2013
• A Voice in the Present Becomes a Voice in the Past - Tuesday, March 19, 2013
• The Waiting Game - Monday, March 18, 2013
• Classic Blog Post: From Finland With Love - Saturday, March 16, 2013
• The Why Behind Why I Blog - Thursday, March 14, 2013
• The Inability To Accept Giving Up - Monday, March 11, 2013
• The Face of Gay 28 (Patricia Logan Part 2) - Saturday, March 09, 2013
• To Therapize or Not to Therapize…That Is the Question - Thursday, March 07, 2013
• Crabby Little Ol’ Moi? Intimidating? - Monday, March 04, 2013
• Classic Blog Post: The Inconvenience of Incontinence, A Signing & Reviews! - Saturday, March 02, 2013
• Validation…And My Undersexed Brother-in-Law Dates Psychos - Thursday, February 28, 2013
• Lightening The Load While Embracing the Inner Geek - Monday, February 25, 2013
• The Face of Gay 27 (Chris) - Saturday, February 23, 2013
• One Year of Being Legally Married Coming Right Up! - Thursday, February 21, 2013
• I Am Iron Man - Monday, February 18, 2013
• Classic Blog Post: Muffy The Slipper Slayer–An Evening At Kohl’s - Saturday, February 16, 2013
• Building The Perfect Beast (Part 1) - Thursday, February 14, 2013
• Not Being Able To Pick Your Family Is Such A Crock Of Bullsushi! - Monday, February 11, 2013
• The Face of Gay 26 (Monique Thompson) - Saturday, February 09, 2013
• I Have Seen The Future! Got Poop? - Friday, February 08, 2013
• My Plans For the Afterlife - Monday, February 04, 2013


Cooking 4 One by Peter Mulraney

An introduction to cooking for men who find themselves living alone...  
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