Yesterday I decided to do an in depth Google search on my name. As a pre-service teacher it is important to make sure to keep up a positive and appropriate digital identity. Through my sleuthing of my own digital identity I experienced the nostalgia of my hockey playing days, and discovering the my old school MySpace account. However, this wasn’t the only thing that I had come across. I was referenced in two articles for a tweet that was posted in April of 2014.
Some background, back in 2014 there was a issue of Peter LaBarbera, an anti-gay and pro-life supporter, coming to Regina to promote their anti-LGBTQ, and pro-life agenda. Needless to say, they were not greeted with loving support from the University of Regina, faculty and students. LaBarbera and his partner in crime (literally speaking), Bill Whatcott, were arrested on campus for trespassing. Many students were pleased to have these men removed off campus for spreading an agenda that the many in the university community did not agree with. I was one of them who tweeted in support of the Regina Police and Campus Security escorting these two off campus.
— Curtis Bourassa (@MrBourassaED) April 14, 2014
However, not everyone has the same ideals as the “liberal” community, as I am often labeled. Many pro-life, anti-gay supporters backlashed and said that their arrest was hindering on their right free speech. Some even extended their labels to the supporters of gay rights, as homofascists. I was surprised to be one of the ones labelled in a couple articles as my innocent tweet began to make international attention.
Barbwire with Matt Barber, an American news and opinion blog/newsfeed that focuses on a biblical worldview. Barbwire decided to give me a shoutout. They referred to me and many others as a homofascist. A label that is I felt was a wee-bit exaggerated. As well as a gay activist on another article on the Israel, Islam & End Times, newsfeed. However, in my eyes being labelled a gay activist is a much more appropriate than a “homofascist”.
As you can see from my tweet above I don’t feel as I didn’t deserve the attention I did from the situation as it was grouped in with the following tweets. At first I was a bit nervous of having my name labelled with these articles and being grouped with the following tweets, as they are quite aggressive. I think if we were to play “which of these things is not like the other” I hope mine would pop out.
The lessons I have learned through being a social justice educator, and a “homofacist”/gay-activist with regards to my digital identity.
- Anyone can pick up your tweets and refer to them without your permission.
- Expect backlash when supporting gay-rights, and anti-oppression.
- The amount of ignorance and inequality when it comes to privilege, and admitting the privilege that you have. As a society it is improving but we still have a way to go.
- Stand-up for what you believe in.
Overall, the posts humoured me. I did not find them overly intimidating. Being a supporter of human rights is what I feel is appropriate and important as an future educator. Our students need to feel as they belong. Some of our LGBTQ students often already feel ostracized in our schools, and community, I believe it is important to stand with them. I will continue to support all people and students regardless of who or what we identify as because we are people.