We are now facing the end of June, 2018 – and the end of another wonderful month of GLBTQ Nude Pride. Reflection means many things to almost every person, it even has multiple definitions for every one of us. The image above depicts three different men holding a mirror. However, upon close inspection, only one image is reflected on the mirror itself. Yet that image isn’t one of the men above. So the question then becomes: Who’s image is it? And that answer we may never know.
The university where I teach shares its campus with two other educational institutions. One is the Kendall Green Demonstrative Elementary School (KGDES) and the other is the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD). We all share the same campus but all have separate administrations. Among the faculty, we are all colleagues although many of those at my university consider themselves academically “above” those educators at the other two.
A female colleague (Ruby) of mine works as the librarian at MSSD. We met at the mandatory all-faculty convocation in September about five years ago and have been professional acquaintances ever since. I am, evidently, the only same gender loving (gay) bare practitioner (naturist/nudist) that Ruby knows. She is constantly asking for my opinion on issues and I respectfully share my thoughts.
Ruby emailed me just before our May term ended and requested that I stop into her MSSD library to view her June GLBTQ Pride Month display. She was excited about finally getting administration approval for installing a pride month exhibit and was anxious to have my feedback. I promised to stop in later that week, the final day of my May term. The day before my own summer holiday began.
I have no idea as to why I even thought I would have the motivation to share my reaction to Ruby’s exhibit for pride month on that day. I know from experience that on the last day of class, once I’m finished, all I want to do is to march off campus and into the subway as soon as possible. I don’t have the patience to deal with any distraction aside from getting my buttocks home and out of my clothes.
However, a promise is a promise and I’ve had more than my share of broken promises in my life to even think of disappointing Ruby. I found myself in her library at the appointed time and she enthusiastically walked me through her display of the Stonewall riots, the Gay Liberation Front demonstrations, the Harvey Milk elections and the onset of the AIDS crisis. We then proceeded through the ACT-UP demonstrations, the Bill Clinton election and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gay military fiasco. We finally made it to the Marriage Equality victory. By this time, I was ready to kiss her autographed photo of President Obama and sign every word of the Hallelujah Chorus in both American and Greek sign languages!
I was very impressed with what Ruby had accomplished. It was obvious that she had committed both time, research and personal effort in creating an informed and visually attractive and interesting interactive presentation for all her students. I was more than impressed and in no way hesitated to let her know this. She had done a remarkable job.
Then I looked down at the display table in front of me. A particular item caught my attention. It was a paper bookmark that Ruby had obviously created that offered the titles of 8 GLBTQ romance novels for adolescents. All eight of the hardcover books were featured as part of the display. I know how recent budget reductions had affected Ruby’s ability to stay current with volumes for the library. Yet, she had found the money to order the books listed below.
- Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe
- Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
- Everything Leads To Your Number
- Simon vs.The Homosapiens Agenda
- The Gentlemans Guide To Vice and Virtue
- Leah on the OffBeat
- Openly Straight
In retrospect, the hour that I spent perusing Ruby’s interpretation of GLBTQ culture and history was very refreshing and rewarding. It was worth every minute that I had to endure in clothing and priceless when watching the pride in Ruby’s eyes.
Sometimes, seeing our own history through the eyes of another can be a source of hope and strength.