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One Halloween, Jen and I decided to dress in matching gorilla costumes, complete with gorilla gloves and masks. I was slightly taller, and one year younger, so we decided to switch classes. I would go to her “Career and Life Management” (C.A.L.M) class, and she would sit in on my computer class. The idea was silly to the point of being a bit absurd, and so were we. Perfect. 

So many of my other dear friends were in Jen’s CALM class. By Junior High, I was enjoying being friends with lots of people in grades above me, but in a rural school, truth was, we all grew up together. There were few people in my school who I didn’t consider my friend. This type of attitude served me well throughout my entire life, and our dear family friend, Carol would say, “It’s easier to be friends than enemies.” My mom would share Carol’s wisdom with me over and over to deal with the complexities of female friendship. Girly politics start early in life. 

Not halfway into my CALM class, Jen, with her mask and gorilla hands off was standing at the door with Mr. Lekas. She took off her gorilla mitts off to type,we didn’t factor in as an essential part of computer class. Her white hands gave us away! Later Mr. Lekas’ wife, Gail explained to my mom that her husband had been playing zookeeper.

There are many nuances to friendships, but having fun is absolutely essential. Belonging and feeling like you fit is so essential to mental health. This time in my life I was secure and happy, and naively unaware of the bigger world.

PROMPT: Do you have positive experiences with female friendships from childhood? How has that shaped you? The way you parent (if you are one)?

Can you send love to someone from the past? How would you do that to reconnect and show love for what they’ve done for you in your life?

 

She Was, Sabrina’s first book of poems about her phenomenal influences is available for $20 and $5 shipping

in support of CASASC

SPEAK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT CONSENT AND BOUNDARIES.

Join facebook.com/surrenderliving for more information on Women’s Circles every Friday, 7pm on zoom

Tuesday, May 25 Write a Tribute Poem Workshop – $35 to register

 

Below is my appeal to the RDPS Board to have Pride Week. I submitted it as an Aunty at large. To send your letter of support for Pride Week, please email info@rdpsd.ab.ca before March 10.

Feb. 26/2021

 

To the hardworking board of Red Deer Public Schools,

My name is Sabrina Samuel, and I joined the Central Alberta Pride Society last year at this time as a reaction to the City of Red Deer’s vote against banning a proven form of child abuse: Gay Conversion Therapy. My heart broke as I drew nearer to people exposed to all forms, from extreme physical torture, to psychological abuses to “ungay” them as children. 

My beloved second grade teacher, Audrey Lang had a gay child that changed my life. She was a singer by the name of k.d. Lang. The first form of activism and advocacy I saw was her stand as a young vegetarian in the heart of cattle country saying “meat stinks”. 

This caused our welcome sign proclaiming, “Consort: Home of k.d. Lang”  to be defaced with the words “Eat Beef Dyke” sprayed across it. I felt so alone in my feelings about that as a child. Some village women went and washed it off, and the press came. 

I learned what standing up entailed, even when it meant standing against the environment in which you were raised. 

As newcomers to Canada, my father wanted me to stay away from that controversy, although all I wanted was to join in to correct the injustice. Unfortunately, several people with less power than you as board members felt the way my father did. He couldn’t get involved, and feared his child and family may be hurt in the crossfire.  

The ethnic diversity of young students is also another case for Pride, rather than diversity days. Children like me coming from countries with oppressive regimes towards women and sexual minorities need to be educated on sexual and gender diversity in Canada. Other intersecting identities fall under the Progressive Pride flag with brown and black stripes for BIPOC people.  

I believe strongly in the power of formalized education as a means of gaining greater understanding, so the board allowed me to start working on a committee to achieve that end. It has been an illuminating personal experience sitting with some of the most incredible activists, artists, educators and citizens from the region who amplify and expound on growing up gay in an ultra-conservative backdrop.

Of everyone I chatted to, I would say the expertise of Dr. Kristopher Wells – whose work you are all familiar with developing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy – was the most compelling argument for Pride Week. Diversity Week is the least effective way to promote Diversity and Inclusion. 

I hope you reconsider your position, and take into account your own policies backing what was a quite simple request. Please find a little less wordy explanation of my position below. 

 

Pride Week 

 

Pride Week is for the meek,

not eating lunch alone

 

The rainbow burst

With the last, first 

The unicorn ice cream cone

 

Pride stops suicide and helps our self esteem

It shows us the realization, 

Of the Pink Shirt Day Dream

 

Pride is unity, strength and celebration

what joy to the hurt it could bring 

 

So let’s Enjoy Pride at school

and

let the little k.d.’s sing

 

Respectfully,

Aunty Sabby