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Tuesday, June 21

the really, really important issues

There is war, poverty, pollution, and all kinds of terrible, important controversies out there, but I want to redirect your attention to exactly where it belongs: Me.

My students are confounded by the prospect that someone can discuss issues facing gays and lesbians and not be one herself. It doesn't matter that I am not or if I am, but one student was really, really worried about it.

Last night I was discussing the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution and its implications for gay/lesbian/same sex partners and marriage. I was discussing how if a couple is married in VT/MA that couple is married in all 50 states. I had discussed earlier how Lawrence v. Texas came down on the side of privacy in the bedroom and that the government should not be interested in what consenting adults do in their beds.

One student said, well doesn't that mean that two men could marry and then have wives, too? And I said no, that would be bigamy. Why would they want to have a wife? I am married to my husband and I can't be married to another person at the same time.

My student looked me in the eye before every other student in the room and asked me, "Are you a lesbian?"

I said, "What?"

He said, "Are you a lesbian?"

I said, "That would come as some surprise to my husband. Hey, who I sleep with is none of your business."

He said, "Well, my English is poor."

I continued my class. I am a professional. We wrapped it up. They have a test tomorrow night.

I have never been so stunned in my life. Just because I explained the controversy surrounding gay/lesbian marriage and I didn't advocated the stoning of sodomites, this young man assumes he can ask me if I am a lesbian.

I enjoyed my C.J. Craig moment when like the gaggle of the press corps on The West Wing asked her if she was a lesbian and she said, "It is none of your business." But I am rattled because I am human and I suppose he meant that as an insult. As if it is an insult to be a lesbian.

My hair is short, I mean Annette Benning short. I wear mannish clothes and lots of very nice jewelry. Did this student think that only nubile, long haired, dress wearing, women with a baby at her breast aren't lesbians? I mean I know lesbians who look like June Cleaver and ones that look like Barbi Dolls.

I mean WTF? I don't care if people have carnal knowledge of a Xerox machine. Why would my student ask me something like that? How could what I do in my bedroom be his business? How? What just happened to me? Why am I just dumbstruck?

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