May 31 – 1: Brittney Griner

I just read this ESPN article on Brittney Griner. It makes me happy for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m always glad to learn about celebrities who I feel like I can really respect. Especially working with middle school students, it’s clear to me that celebrities can have a huge effect on shaping our culture. My students are constantly talking about what’s going on with their favorites celebrities, and I cannot begin to keep up with their demand for biographies of Justin Bieber, or Katy Perry, or One Direction, or whoever the Next Big Thing might be. So it’s always exciting to me when I find a new celebrity whose biography I’ll hopefully be able to pick up and wholeheartedly recommend to my students.

And secondly, I’m glad to be living in a time when it seems like huge steps are being made in our society towards treating all people equally. We  still have a lot of work to do in a lot of areas, but it seems like we’re headed in the right direction, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ issues. I was super excited when Jason Collins came out – having an openly gay athlete playing on a major sports team is huge. And even though I was disappointed that it didn’t go far enough, I was still happy to hear that the Boy Scouts have ended their ban on openly gay scouts. Not to mention the strides being taken across the country towards legalizing gay marriage. And now Nike is sponsoring an openly gay athlete, and allowing her the freedom to stay true to herself by wearing their clothes branded as menswear. Which is awesome.