One Way to Change a Mind

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 by Mary

So, here's what put these two shows on my list of Favorite Degrassi Eps Ever.

I love when Degrassi shows us not just a candy-coated version of high school foibles, but the ugliness that happens when people make mistakes because they just don't know any better yet.

"if there's one thing we can't count on Degrassi for it's showing us the good AND the bad." - GOODOLDDAYS

Totally, GoodOldDays.

So, the backlash against Dave -- the LGBT club petition, the disciplinary actions, Zane's lecture, the discomfort of his closest friends, and the angry glares he got from a trans-tolerant student body at Degrassi -- it's all understandable. When people say cruel, insensitive, harmful, and intolerant things, it pisses us off. And we say things like "I wanted to punch him" and "I hope Sadie and his friends completely dump him."

Adam gets through to Dave in Degrassi detention.
Adam gets through to Dave in Degrassi detention.

But did anyone else think it was interesting that the thing that actually made Dave think was a frank explanation from Adam of what was at stake (civil rights) and what it's like to be him (frickin' not easy). In that conversation, Adam took Dave seriously, and tried his best to connect with him on a human level -- he didn't just write him off. And that's what made Dave step out of his defensiveness for a minute so he could really consider his actions... the scorn of his community didn't have quite the same effect -- it made him feel cornered and persecuted. Is it fair that Adam had to be preternaturally mature and able to handle this so calmly in order to get through to Dave? No. But it was so much better for the outcome that he was. And would all of the Daves of this world sit there and listen to Adam's sensitivity training? No. But that's why I give Dave credit for being a decent and open-minded human being (if slow on the open-mindedness uptake).

Remember: Dave doesn't watch Degrassi like the rest of us. He didn't know anything about what being transgender means (just like a lot of us didn't before we met Adam.) And if Sadie and his friends completely dumped him... there's a good chance some other students at Degrassi would have been more than happy to give Dave the pats on the back he wanted, and they would have formed an insular and potentially dangerous little crew of haters. (I don't know where Owen's at with his various phobias these days but... he's certainly a candidate.) And since the basis of their friendship would have been hate, it would have festered and festered... this is how you end up with, say, white power crews. You know?

Anyway. Big fat kudos to Adam for being the bigger man, and to Dave for catching up eventually. Big fat kudos to anyone out there who tries to educate those around them. And major sympathy to Adam for having to figure this stuff out on his own:

"Honestly...adam has NO help in all this as to how he should approach anything. he's lost. ... i think adam needs to hear some advice from someone who knows about transgender difficulties...and dave needs to grow up!" - BETHANY65

Seriously... I wish Adam could talk to TeenNick user RILEY:
"When I was watching Adam go into the bathroom I was cringing so hard! As an ftm myself I saw two things he did wrong going in there and I knew it wasn't going to end well. One he was making small talk which isn't the worst thing but then looking at Dave while he was doing his business was breaking the code of the mens room. I was sitting in bed waving my hands at the computer screen when Adam did this "like what are you thinking???" Although I see where Dave's coming from, he had no right to publicly humiliate Adam on the damn radio. That's probably the last thing Adam needs is to be openly singled out for being transgender and for making a mistake."

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