Hello dear reader(s),
I initially decided to write this post to share this piece I wrote and which I am sharing with students (high school) where I am teaching in order to explain my participation in the Day of Silence (Día de Silencio). Today is the last day of school before Spring break and so the Day of Silence is being honored today in our school instead of on the 15th so that it can be observed on a school day and the issue of bullying and violence against LGBTQA+ individuals and communities can be addressed. For more info on the Day of Silence beyond the wikipedia article, see The Truth about the GLSEN Day of Silence. Below I share my personal reasons for participating and, since it is Spring break starting tomorrow, I am also sharing a couple other updates.
Observing the Day of Silence
April 8, 2016 I am participating in the Day of Silence because patriarchal violence has a direct negative effect on my own body, mind and soul as well as on my direct family and friends and those all around me, every day. I am personally negatively affected by patriarchal violence because I was assigned a very narrow set of accepted behaviors at birth according to my sexual organs and a group of people’s ideas about what that means for what I can and can’t do, how I can and cannot express myself, and who I should or shouldn’t be. It turns out that I do not fit very well the box of hyper masculine behavior assigned to the binary identity of boy/man associated with my genitalia. Although I do not fit the expected norms of my assigned gender identity, I have been fortunate enough to not experience much direct physical violence to my body, probably because I “pass” as a cis-gendered white male. Yet I have many biological and chosen family members who have suffered much more direct physical violence because of patriarchy. The most dramatic and powerful examples are the deaths of my father and aunt. My father fatally shot himself in the head at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school. I believe he did it because he was not meeting the standard of everything he was taught he was supposed to be as a successful “Man” according to the patriarchal standards of the USA. My aunt was murdered by the mayor of Sultan while she (the mayor) was driving drunk and my aunt was crossing the street. My aunt was physically in the place she was because she had been driven out of several homes by patriarchal men who were extremely physically abusive to her. I see them both as victims of patriarchal violence. These are just two personal examples I could share in these few words. There are millions more. This violence and suffering from these personal stories is also connected to the macro level violence of war and planetary destruction (i.e. the murder of Mother Earth). We all need the earth to live, we all come from mothers and we all have people who suffer from patriarchal violence in our lives who we care about. This is why I am participating in the Day of Silence. This is why I believe that regardless of one’s political or religious views regarding gender norms and sexuality, it is crucial to put an immediate end to patriarchal violence. Thanks for reading. —Cody Lestelle
[click here for a .pdf of the above that can be used as half-sheets for sharing]
If the word patriarchy is unfamiliar to you or not something you often use in your daily vocabulary I recommend the following zine version of some of bell hooks’ writing on understanding patriarchy (Print or Read).
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Update
I was accepted! I have also submitted my statement of intention to register and if everything can be worked out, I will be starting my PhD program on Oahu in August. Yet there are some really exciting family oriented changes happening in my life right now and financial barriers that make starting grad school program a rather daunting prospect. So I am in a very exciting place of major life changes now and the results have yet to be written. We shall see…
Playing to Live 2.0 coming soon!
Since I will not be working full time teaching over Spring break, I am hoping to finish version 2.0 of Playing to Live. So, if you have any input on version 1.0 that you would like included in the conversation of version 2.0, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with whatever you have to share and please include whatever name or pseudonym (if any) you would like included in the acknowledgements section of version 2.0.