“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ~ Albert Einstein
This year, for the first time it seems, a class of American high school seniors has voted a gay couple “Cutest Couple” for their graduation year book. This is a milestone. But what really has me totally gobsmacked is that high school was my high school.
I attended school there over 30 years ago. It was mostly blue collar kids, and the children of NYC police and firefighters. Sure there were the kids whose parents worked for IBM or were professionals, but the emphasis was on football and other sports. Yes, we had decent academics, but I do know a number of us from the more “artsy” side of the spectrum were uneasy.
I remember feeling physically threatened by bullies and occasionally being shoved, spit at, robbed and subjected to the other tortures teens inflict on other teens. I know young men beat up for being “fags,” some of whom were actually hets, but didn’t conform to the macho stereotypes held up as “correct,” In a word, except for some good friends and a few excellent teachers, I hated being there for four years.
So I know exactly how far this one school, this one community, has come in acceptance. This wasn’t an artsy enclave of alternate lifestyle parents. This wasn’t a former hippie refuge where people held the values of the 60s long after Reaganomics took root. This was a stereotypical sports-loving, conformity driven high school in a mostly conservative New York City suburb.
When I read it on Facebook (lots of proud Carmel High alum on there right now), I actually cried a little.
Change is possible. Change is happening. These young people have shown their elders that the old ways of thinking are fading, and that’s not a bad thing. Thank you, Carmel High School Class of 2013. You’ve already made a huge mark. Now keep on going.