Friday, December 3, 2010

It Gets Better: Belmont Honors Christ's Birth By Booting Expecting Family into the Cold

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 7:10 AM

W.W.J.D.? In the gospel according to Belmont University, he would kick a family expecting a child out into the cold, just in time for Christmas. The words "no room at the inn" come to mind. Happy birthday, Jesus.

That's right: Belmont is asking us to believe that Coach Lisa Howe, part of a same-sex couple with a child on the way, would willingly leave her coaching job in this economy for no reason.

Except that sources on her team report "the coach said she was given the choice to resign or be terminated because she had revealed her sexuality by telling the team about the pregnancy."

Of course, Belmont is free to fire people for being gay. Tennesseans don't have protections from being fired for sexual orientation under the Tennessee Human Rights Act.

But here's the thing that really sticks in my craw. On the one hand, if you believe the players quoted in Coach Howe's defense — who bravely stuck their necks waaay out — the university intends to discriminate against gay people. But on the other, they want to force her to resign so that they can deny they fired her for being gay.

If being gay is really unacceptable, Belmont, why even try to gloss over that that's why you got rid of Coach Howe?

If you're not doing anything to be ashamed about — kicking a parent-to-be to the curb (and right before Christmas!) for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance — why hide it?

Unless you do know it's wrong.

Just as a side note, I don't know how many young people actually read Pith, but I want to say that I know that stories like this (or what happened to Akasha Adonis this past week) can make it seem like the whole "It Gets Better" movement is a joke — that you're never going to be able to do regular stuff like go shopping with your Mom (or get a job you love and fall in love and have a baby) without your gender identity or sexual orientation always being an issue that gets you hurt.

And, frankly, in a state like Tennessee, that may be true, at least for the foreseeable future.

But that still doesn't mean that you don't deserve better and that we don't need you here to help make it better. It's true — maybe here in Tennessee we need a "It Doesn't Always Get Better But the Misfits Band Together and Find Ways to Cope" project. But we do band together and find ways to cope, the people who are misfits for all kinds of reasons.

So, if you can't quite believe that things get better, especially in the face of news like this, know, at least, that you are not alone.

And neither is Lisa Howe — as Belmont is about to discover.

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