I had the great pleasure recently of teaching my debut novel, THE REVELATION OF BEATRICE DARBY, in the alternative high school where I’ve taught English literature and creative writing for nine years—great pleasure and great fortune. After all, coming of age lesbian romance fiction isn’t part of most high school curriculums. So yes, I’m fortunate to work here for many reasons.
The one that stands out every June is the fact that I’m allowed to be myself among faculty, staff, and students, a luxury indeed as LGBT teachers in many parts of the country still can’t imagine what’s like to be open at work. But it wasn’t always like this. I carried a lot of left-over baggage about revealing that part of my identity when I began teaching as a second career in 2006. Bush was still president, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was alive and well, and so was the Defense of Marriage Act, so I had to be practical about it. Back in the 80s, I’d gone to heroic lengths during my four years of high school to conceal my secret identity from my classmates, well aware I’d be the target of ridicule and rejection if they’d ever found out. The idea of being the target of teenage scorn wasn’t any more appealing to me at thirty-seven than it was when they were my peers.~ read more ~