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On Being a Lesbian Role Model

30 Jul Posted by in • Robin Lowey | Comments Off on On Being a Lesbian Role Model
On Being a Lesbian Role Model

By Robin Lowey

When I first agreed to go into the classroom as a volunteer speaker for Marin’s LGBT Center, I was terrified. What in the world did I have to say that would make a difference to these kids? I stood up there for the first time and looked into the faces of 20 teenage kids from Bolinas-Stinson school. Many of them I recognized, either from surfing at the nearby beach or from coaching soccer. They stared back at me with blank expressions as I told them about my life.

Soon, the kids were laughing at my ridiculous stories and when they began to relax, so did I. They seemed to relate to me—after all, I had grown up in Marin much like they had and I wasn’t much different from their parents, so what was the big deal anyway? Being an out lesbian in my community has been an adventure.

After growing up in Marin, I returned ‘out and proud’ after college and moved into a house with some old high school friends. I was soon to find myself being called “dyke” while walking down the street with my new girlfriend. So I moved to San Francisco for 20 years to surround myself with a queer community. It was a great place for my partner and I to enjoy our young adulthood and eventually raise kids. When they got a little older, we decided to bring them back “home” to enjoy a more rural experience. I soon discovered that Marin could still use some education around LGBT issues—awareness for starters. For a while, I wasn’t ready to step up and do much about it besides being an out parent, coach, and community member.

When we first arrived in Marin my older son was just starting middle school and he came home his first day in shock at how many times he heard ‘You Fag!’ on the playground. This didn’t happen at his school in San Francisco! Even as the new kid he refused to hear it and created a little bubble of friends that didn’t speak that way. He even went on to write his college essay about how he dealt with the unacceptability of gay slurs within the school system. He inspired me! And with all the recent gay teen suicides, I began to feel like maybe I could do more. Maybe kids who were questioning their sexual preference could relate to me. I wondered how I might have felt if someone like me had come into my classroom when I was in high school. It might have made me feel like I wasn’t the only lesbian in the world.

So, after the break-up of my long-term relationship, I was suddenly ready to some try new things that I hadn’t done before. Going into the classroom really scared me, but it was a challenge I was ready to face. Stepping out of my comfort zone has led me to do things I never dreamed possible—like writing and distributing my new book Game Changers – Lesbians You Should Know About to all San Francisco Bay Area High Schools.

The best moment ever was when they asked me to go into my younger son’s high school class, so I asked him if he was OK with that. His response was this: “Yes Mommy, those kids need to hear you”. Check out this cute video that some of my son’s classmates made for a class project.

Robin Lowey

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