______, fine by me

In a few hours I’m going to be wearing a shirt that says on the front, “‘________’, fine by me”.  We’ve been giving out these shirts as a part of Ally Week and Campus Week of Dialogue at RIT.  It’s a week filled with programs geared toward educating students about the LGBT community and being an ally to this and other cultures in our world.

When we’ve given these shirts to some people, they’ll take one of our magic markers and write on the blank line whatever they feel is fine by them and I’ve been struggling with what the heck to put on there.  I’ve seen witty statements, different cultural groups, different sexual orientations, and some other random words but nothing screamed, “Jeff Spain!”

So I got to thinking about who I was.  Yea, I’m about to get all introspective but I have a point, promise.  I am a single, hopefully funny, late night, procrastinating, divorced, straight, techie, star watching, catholic, fast driving, khaki wearing, red faced, allergic, huggable, nice, singing at the top of my lungs, could ramble on forever, person.  There are many more words that I could list, including the not good ones, and even more that people could add after getting to know me.

And that’s my point.  Get to know me.  The words will come and go, they’ll change, some will mean more than others, but the labels shouldn’t get in the way.  Whoever I am should be fine with you.

That right there gave me, “Whoever you are, fine by me”.

I wrote in my 25 random things that I’m a believer in equality for all. It shouldn’t have taken this much time in our world to truly come to understand and apply that statement for all.

(Side semi related note that you can feel free to ask me about in person- Now how can a go to church every Sunday catholic school all his life boy say that?  I could write about it at length in another post but I think this clip from probably my favorite television show of all time, The West Wing, sums it up:

Whatever your background or experience, you have an opportunity.  No matter your beliefs or what people tell you to believe, you have an opportunity.  An opportunity to put aside preconceived notions or stereotypes and say, “Hey, whoever you are, fine with me.  Rock on.  How bout a drink, or a smile, or a story, or a question?”  It’s an opportunity for conversation.  It’s an opportunity to, in that dialogue, be an ally of support.  An ally that is not looking to hate but support.  An ally that is not looking to impose, but encourage.  And an ally that is looking to be open, not narrow.

Thanks to those who are or will be an ally for all.

Thanks for reading…


2 Responses to “______, fine by me”

  1. Sara (Bleiberg) Klein Says:

    OMG Jeff. I heart you. I have always hearted you, but even more so now after reading your wonderful blog. When will I ever see you again?

  2. Chris Manion Says:

    West Wing lover here, too. Oh, how I miss that show. The writing was superb, the editing tight as a windshield on an airplane and just as fast-paced. Great clip. You can take a piece of anything, isolate it, and never understand the whole or how it relates to the whole. Any one piece of your life or mine, isolated and held up as The Truth, would be less than, not equal to all that we are and are becoming. Thanks for the memory. Love you, big guy!

    P.S. you are most definitely worth knowing.

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