Southern. Gay. Teacher., by Randy Fair
The South as a region has proven to be resistant to the idea of LGBTQ teachers. Some Southerners, including prominent politicians, have gone as far as asserting that it should be against the law for LGBTQ people to teach. This memoir chronicles the changes that Randy Fair witnessed in his over forty years of experience, both as a teacher and student, in the school systems of the South.
Fair explores his experiences of overcoming his homophobic, conservative, and chaotic upbringing through the help of his teachers. He also tracks his own evolution as a gay teacher. From threats by administrators, distrust from homophobic students, and challenges by students, both gay and straight, who desperately needed more openness surrounding the issues of concern for LGBTQ people, Fair examines the difficulties he faced as a gay teacher in the South.
Fair’s teaching experiences also bring up issues of concern for both current and prospective teachers. Which parts of a teacher’s life are public and which are private? What right does a teacher have to engage in politics and activism? How much of a teacher’s beliefs are consciously or subconsciously embedded in the curriculum and the classroom experience? Through the examination of Fair’s thirty years as a teacher, readers can examine more deeply the many roles and identities that a teacher must constantly confront.