Catholic, representation, bullying, out, curriculum
Ernst: This has all been very good. So there was always that energy of the good has always led the way, and there was never any fear at all ever, of where we lived , where, you know where the kids went to school and because it always felt so great and so real and so meant to be. That, I think is what has directed the things in our life, and hopefully in our children’s lives.
Michael: Sometimes I wonder what our experience would have been like had our kids gone to a Catholic school.
Tara: Did you go to a Catholic school?
Michael: I did. We both grew up Catholic and went to a Catholic school so we were well versed in that whole thing. And of course the last thing we wanted to do was put our children in a Catholic school. But, you know it’s a publicly funded system. I wonder if the experiences of, you know, gay kids and gay parents even in Catholic schools would be the same. I’d like to see that study.
Ernst: The only thing we had to worry about was Michael’s mother would secretly take our kids into the bedroom and put holy water on their heads. They’d come out later and say, “Papa my head’s wet.” “Nona what you doing?” “I’m saving them.”
Tara: What do you think about your own growing up and being a teenager in a Catholic School did you have a sense that you were going to be gay in a Catholic school , was there any kind of support? Was there any representation of gay, queer, lesbian?
Michael: There was none. No encouragement of. I knew I was gay when I was in grade 5. Before, it was always a sort of a question of okay, when will I be ready. I knew I wasn’t ready in high school. And I think I had a great time in high school in many ways. I did relatively well and I had many friends and I did well in high school. I was fine not being out in high school. But, my Catholic school was a rough place to be. If you are out I can’t even imagine. I couldn’t imagine being out in high school.
Ernst: And I was definitely bullied. and it was all part of it. I played baseball for eight years and I was a pretty good ball player. But every time, I came up to bat, the other team would chant “woman” and all of that and I was you know nine years old, ten years old you know and it’s just part of it. For me, it made me stronger and it actually felt in an odd way it made me feel freer because I knew at an early age that I would never be who all these people around me wanted me to be. And yet I still felt like I was a good person. So not having the responsibility of being who your parents want you to be and carry that and all these other people made me who I am today.