|by John Lindner
Revised March 2005
I'm John Lindner. I live in Northern California. I'm 42 years old. I'm an elementary school teacher by profession (currently in third grade) and was recently elected to my local school board, becoming one of four openly-gay elected officials in my county.
I now live in San Jose, California with my husband, Mark.
I was part of GLAAD/San Francisco Bay Area's South Bay Chapter. I learned a bit about media monitoring, and we did some good things regarding getting a local hate radio duo to tone down the worst of their morning rants regarding women, minorities, and GB folks (LT folk didn't really enter into their routine). GLAAD/South Bay also organized to get the San Jose Mercury News to include committment ceremonies on their wedding page (which they will now routinely do). I continued some of that work on the San Jose Peninsula PFLAG chapter's Marriage Committee.
One of the best things that came out of my GLAAD involvement was connecting with Jessea Greenman and what has become the PERSON Project, which focuses on promoting educational equity for LGBT youth.
Since then, I've continued as an active part of the PFLAG-Talk and Schools e-mail lists. I also lurk about a few lists from NGLTF, Dignity/USA and the Call to Action (CTA) [a group promoting reform within the Roman Catholic Church]. I spend far too much time online. :-)
In between, I've been learning a bit about web weaving (a form of this introduction is now on my web page).
Religiously, I'm a former Roman Catholic on the road to formally becoming Episcopalian. With a recent letter from the Vatican it's hard hearing the Church you love and which nurtured your spirituality and religious faith refer to you and your life partner as "evil" and to suggest that barring me from working with children can be considered a form of "just" discrimination.
I attended Catholic schools from first grade through high school, although some like to say the last four years at a Jesuit college prep weren't really Catholic, given the liberal bent of "the Society". I would say a lot of the inspiriation for my activism has a base in Ignatian spirituality, especially as that spirituality relates to service and being one "for others".
In high school and college, I taught Sunday school, first to preschoolers, then to grade school age kids (first and fifth graders). I regularly attended the local Newman Center, which is also a parish in the Diocese of Oakland. I was active in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
After college, I worked in Sacramento and San Jose through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Southwest. I managed an emergency food locker in Sacramento and worked with emotionally disturbed children in the Santa Clara Valley, where I've lived since 1985.
After I left JVC, went back to school for my teaching credential, and began teaching, I was also gradually beginning to come out to myself (say, in my mid-20's). Looking back, I can now see gobs of indicators that I was gay and was just ignoring the potential for it. Ain't hindsight wonderful? :)
I found it a continuing challenging being gay and Catholic (or even just a well-educated, thoughtful person and Catholic, given recent writings and censorial actions from the Vatican). People in both groups could be very unhappy and unsympathetic towards other parts of my life. It was especially challenging from the gay side, because I do not accept attempts at equating privacy rights and choice regarding abortion with alleged rights to euthanasia/self-deliverance/"right" to die.
I'm really conflicted at times about this, and one of the things I appreciate about the pflag-talk list is its take that pro-choice v. pro-life discussions are not allowed. I don't know that discussing this on the bridges mailing list would be helpful either, but if anyone'd care to privately email me regarding this, do feel free.
The dichotomy on these issues is energizing, as well as challenging. I think the perspectives will be useful to the bridges activity.
Link your home page to PFLAG-Talk and TGS-PFLAG http://www.critpath.org/pflag-talk/
"Never be bullied into
silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's
definition of your life, but define yourself."
Revised March 28, 2005
text © 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2004 John Lindner