I know that this post might a offend a few people out there, maybe just a little. I promise you there is no ill will in this story, just a little poke (or two) and a chuckle.
Yesterday, my son Joshua and I attended college orientation. He will be attending a state college in the fall -- not my first choice at all, but it's very inexpensive and close enough for him to commute the first year. During the morning session, we sat through several rather boring presentations (have you ever been to college orientation?) and then we went off and had lunch together, which was very nice.
The presentation following lunch was from the Student Life department. Because Joshua is attending a small regional campus of a large state university, the student life is rather, um, limited. But they had the nuts and bolts of a typical state university student life program: multicultural affairs, international affairs and GLBT affairs. Sigh. On the screen in front of us in the auditorium was an outline of topics the speaker planned to discuss, mainly the three items I just mentioned. I wasn't certain if Joshua new what GLBT was, but I decided to let it all play out instead of whispering to him while the speaker gave her talk.
After 20 minutes of discussion about events scheduled to specifically celebrate Black Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans, I really wanted to raise my hand and ask when they plan to celebrate White Americans (because apparently there is no culture in being White, right?), of which all the present students were but two -- about 96 percent of the room. But I didn't because my son would likely have crawled under the chair. Then we listened to 15 minutes of plans to welcome international students and make them feel at home -- of which there was one in the room (it's a small commuter campus, how many international students do you think they generally get?).
(I wondered how much the speaker actually gets out of her office and mingles with the student body.)
As I listened to the speaker, I continually pondered if Joshua had noticed "GLBT" as a topic on the outline and if he knew what it was. We are fairly open in our house about such issues, but we generally do not use the labels that the G, L, B, and T stand for. Finally she got around to GLBT and when she read all the words out loud I realized Joshua had not decoded it, and was rather shocked that she was speaking of such a topic in mixed company (as in, we did not know each other). He leaned over and said, "Sheesh mom, I didn't know that's what those initials stood for." I whispered back, "I guess some people feel open enough to live the lifestyle, but not actually spell it out." He chuckled to himself and being the typical teenage boy (who mostly thinks about his next meal) said, "I thought it sounded like a sandwich they sell in the cafeteria." And then we both laughed out loud leaving those sitting around us to think we were being extremely rude.
And forever more when we are faced with the initials "GLBT," we will think about Guacamole, Lettuce, Bacon and Tomato Sandwiches. Yum.