Joe Dombrowski teaches fourth grade at Oakland Elementary in Royal Oak, Michigan. He is also gay. He has fun with his kids including an April Fool’s Day spelling bee in which he tossed out made-up words, such as “blorskee” (“I lost my blorskee at a carnival.”), and the names of drag queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (the hyphens better be in the right places).
Dombrowski created a video of the prank spelling bee, which went viral. It also landed him a spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
But it is an aspect of his everyday teaching that caught my attention. And it has to do with him being gay. Because his students can see he is being authentic to himself he has a much stronger voice in saying it is OK for them to be themselves.
C.J. describes himself as a boy who likes girl stuff. He is now 10. His mother Lori describes her son as “gender creative.” She has been writing a personal blog Raising My Rainbow about the joys and difficulties of parenting a child like C.J. I’ve been reading it for a few years now. Lori and her husband Matt sound like fantastic parents.
Recently the family vacationed with friends at a resort hotel. They had a spectacular time. That got C.J. thinking:
I decided that when I grow up I’m going to make my own hotel resort. It will be mostly for drag queens, gender nonconforming people and transgender people. A lot of transgender and gender nonconforming people like me don’t feel comfortable going everywhere. At my hotel resort everybody will always feel comfortable and welcome no matter what.C.J. fills in the details of what his resort will be like. And it sounds fabulous! It also sounds comfortable and safe. But when C.J. wrote his description he couldn't think of an appropriate name, so asked readers for suggestions. They responded with over 100 suggestions. He chose Pride Palace.
The number one rule at my hotel resort is “you can never judge anyone for the color of their skin or the gender they are or the people they love.”
I want everybody to feel luxurious while they are at my hotel resort. I want them to feel like a prince, princess, king or queen. Whichever one they want to feel like, it’s their choice.