Date: Thu, 07 Aug 1997 21:12:15 -0700
To: Jonathan M. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Richard Geib (email@example.com)
Subject: Re: Some Thoughts on Your Pages
I have visited your pages several times now, spending a good deal of time exploring and reading. The site is impressive, thoughtful, provocative, entertaining, and educational; and I dare say there are many other appropriate adjectives I might use as I explore more of its nooks and crannies. I found it while surfing education sites, as I am a teacher also. I am a youngish teacher as well (33) who, like you, came to teaching after exploring a different work path first (architecture) and who brought along some high ideals regarding the importance of learning, so I immediately felt a reason to keep reading. I can wholeheartedly relate to your various frustrations within a large school district, but I am fortunate to teach in a school in San Francisco that is not plagued by the poverty, violence, or desperation of the one where you worked in LA. You are to be commended for having the guts to attempt that, regardless of how it all worked out.
I wanted to write about this quote that I read on your FAQ page:
"Q: Do you have anything against homosexuals?
A: I am not particularly "for" or "against" them. I guess I find the general theme vaguely distasteful - I am not sure exactly what I think about that subject which seems to occupy so much of our popular imagination nowadays (ie. gays in the military, gay marriage, etc)."
I happen to be gay, a homosexual, and I just wanted to encourage you to think of "that subject" not as a subject or a "theme" but as real people in the world out here. I know you don't know me, but I know from your page that you are a humanist and you respect individuals. It is possible to move beyond vague distaste or discomfort about homosexual sex practices which one does not wish to engage in to appreciate the people who do for who and what they are. I'm not assuming that you don't already think this, but you wrote you weren't sure what you think, so I felt something of an invitation to respond about that. I apologize if this message offends you.
Your site is really terrific. I will continue to visit it and look forward to reading about what kind of teaching situation you land in next, if that is even still what you intend to do. (Hope so, you sound great at it.)
Best of luck with everything,
Thank you for the nice words about my webpage! I wrote them for persons such as yourself who were going to hang around some and really check things out (and simply click off somewhere else). Come back and visit any time - there are lots of nooks and crannies that you may find worth your time. I personally like to get to a complex site with lots of content and depth.
I am glad you have a good teaching assignment going up in SF. I have come to the conclusion that although young people are often alike everywhere, different teaching conditions can make the job a lot of fun or hell on earth. I presently am teaching in a prep school where I get paid more than when I was in the ghetto, have only four classes of 20 students each, etc etc etc. Basically, I am able to teach now where in the past I was not. Thank you for your concern, and yes things are much better now with the job.
Don't worry about offending me about the homosexual bit. Maybe I need to clarify how I feel on my FAQ. I have never condescended to look upon homosexuals as either good or bad inherently (as do the pro-gay and anti-gay lobbies respectively) but to look at the whole person since sexuality is only a part of what makes a person unique. However, I frankly do not understand the man-man sexual attraction and I doubt I will ever see two men walking down the street and not feel uncomfortable. Now I fully understand that this is my own deal and the vast majority of homosexuals could care less about how I view what they do behind closed doors. Yet it leads me to regard the homosexual relationship as much less than ideal, even as I fully realize there are long term love relationships which are as beautiful as any straight ones. I get the feeling God made man to be with woman and vice versa, and that the homosexual way indicates that somehow and somewhere something went wrong.
For whatever it is worth, I have had close friends who were gay and their lifestyle was not much of a problem between us. They were individuals who conducted their lives with honor in the same way my good heterosexual friends do. In other words, they did not live the party lifestyle of a different partner every night and dancing and drugs till dawn as did some of their friends. Yet my own personality (worldview? emotions?) utterly fails to understand why some men feel the same way for men as I feel towards women. And sex acts that homosexuals do which I don't even want to do with women are unpleasant even to contemplate. That is honestly how I feel, although it is not something which occupies much of my imagination or drives me to distraction. With my father, for example, I spend the majority of my time telling him to get over his strong dislike for homosexuality. "They are people too," I tell him when he starts ranting and raving, "and get audited by the IRS just like you and me."
Well, thank you for your comments again. I am constantly reminded how I rarely fail to like other teachers I run across compared to certain other professions. We seem a reasonable and mostly tolerant bunch, and I have as yet to get a stupid, simplistic, rude or ignorant e-mail from a teacher. And trust me, I get a lot of those! Unfortunately but predictably, the majority of those e-mails come from our clients: teenagers.
Jonathan, I hope this e-mail finds you well both in your professional and personal lives.
Very Truly Yours,