Imagine a world where homosexuality is both natural and normal and heterosexuality is perceived and treated as a sinful aberration.
The award winning short film Love Is All You Need? powerfully depicts this world where “gay” is “straight” and “straight” is “gay” and a sexual relationship between a man and a woman is a cultural, social and religious taboo.
The film is told from the perspective of the heroic protagonist; young Ashley Curtis who is raised in the “picture perfect” middle class white American family: two moms, two grandparents, two uncles and a little brother. She lives in a society where “playing house” means two moms or two dads and their children, Romeo and Julio was written by Shakespeare for his secret female lover and anyone who is attracted to the opposite sex is labelled as a “disgusting breeder.” At the wedding of her two uncles Ashley is attracted to a young male flower boy and realises that she is not like the rest of her family. Her open heterosexuality subjects her to physical, verbal and emotionally abuse and the only hope she is given is to pray that this is “just a phase”.
The first time I watched the film, I couldn’t help but focus on how this film portrayed an alternative world where homosexuality was the norm. But as the film drew me in, I forgot this and my attention was centred on the extreme isolation and abuse Ashley was subjected to because she dared to be different. She is beaten up, becomes a victim of cyber-bullying and branded a “Hetero” with black marker pen because she has an innocent crush on a boy. I felt sympathetic to Ashley not because I am also heterosexual but because I admired her courageous and tenacity in the face of extreme abuse, bullying and love with boundaries.
As I was thinking about writing this blog, I knew I wanted to include not just my own experience but if/how the video touched people who are gay. I reached out to two people and they both thought the video was very powerful and a convincing depiction of what it’s like to be a homosexual in today’s world; the video brought back their own personal stories and experiences. It beautifully captures how your parents, teachers, friends and media are key influencers on whether you decide to come out about your sexuality as well as common misconceptions that homosexuality is just a “phase” that can be easily “corrected” if you just get yourself a girlfriend/boyfriend. On one hand the video is hopeful because we are making progress as a society but on the other hand it shows how important this issues is and how far we have to go. Take the recent news of Sir Gerald Howarth’s challenge to David Cameron to scrap the gay marriage bill and the death of Lucy Meadows, a transgender teacher who committed suicide following harassment by the media and other sources after she returned to school from winter break as a female. Let us willingly share this video, let us talk about it so that one day stories like this become historical fiction.
“Raise your hand!” It’s what we all have to do in order to grow our careers, gain new opportunities, and take on different experiences. Sometimes opportunities come to us without us doing anything, but most of the time, opportunities come across our plate because in someway or another, we raised our hands. We may have had a conversation about what we wanted to do with a mentor, or taken a class that seemed interesting, or directly said, ‘hey, I’m interested.’ Regardless, if we don’t raise our hands then we certainly won’t ever get selected for a new project, new job, or any new opportunities for growth. Read More »
“…when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people;
…when you go forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”
its ideas transcend the turbulent times in which it was written. Civil rights historian Diane McWhorter notes that the original conflict “was between not good and evil, but good and normal.” The brute racism that strikes us today as mass social insanity Read More »
Having worked together with different generations, it’s obvious there are different styles of working and approaching situations. We heard a stat that by 2020, 50% of all US workers will be Millennials. Even for us it’s hard to believe that it is only 7 years away. What we wanted to explore today is with all these people coming into the workforce how can our managers / mentors in Cisco prepare themselves for these people. Read More »
A Cisco colleague came to me recently and asked if she could talk to me about her daughter. Having no children myself, I wasn’t sure how I could help. She confided to me that she suspects her 13 year old may be lesbian, and that she had real worries about obstacles that her daughter may face. Read More »