Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 | In Mick Rabin’s helter-skelter classroom, anything goes — except hate.
A dozen years after he first started teaching at Oak Park Elementary School, Rabin still gets his third graders’ attention with “weird things”: A Tabasco-sauce holster, slung on his hip. A remote control dangling from the ceiling. His endless assortment of wacky ties. His guitar-shaped tie swings as he reaches past the dry-erase board to tug at a stuffed Captain Underpants pulley, which flips the light switch at the opposite end of the room.
“If you’re strange, it doesn’t hurt,” he said.
Rabin embraces difference. Straight and married, he lobbies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids through the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, as co-chairman and treasurer of its San Diego chapter. He recently won San Diego Pride’s “Friend of the Year” award for his work. A former Eagle Scout, he turned in his badge and protested the Boy Scouts’ bottom-dollar lease of Balboa Park, citing the group’s exclusion of LGBT and atheist boys.
And the kids in his Oak Park classroom look a lot like his former classmates at nearby Jackson Elementary — a multicultural, mixed-income crowd that taught the self-described “privileged kid” just how lucky he was, and propelled him into teaching.
As somebody who isn’t personally part of the LGBT community, how did you get invested in these issues?