Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Inferior, Not Indifferent

There's been a string of gay teenagers committing suicide lately. Which makes me really troubled.

The truth is that gay teenagers feel an isolation that perhaps not a lot of people can imagine. They can't come out to their parents in fear of being thrown out of the house; they can't talk to their friends because they're afraid that they would be humiliated and their sexuality revealed to everybody else.

Those crippling feelings of isolation that I used to feel back in high school... I've kind of blotted it out of my mind. And I'm afraid I will forget how hard it was. I've been enjoying the joy of living an open and "out" life. I've been more confident than ever and mostly happier. But I'm in a privileged position as well. I have understanding parents - perhaps more understanding than many can hope for. I'm lucky enough to have an amazing friend who accompanied me to two Pride Parades, despite not being LGBT, and who constantly gives me me courage to speak up. I'm lucky enough to have a friend fun and accepting enough to accompany me to a gay club.

Living this life, and constantly feeling myself growing farther and farther away from that hole (no, not that kind of hole) I was stuck in during high school, it's very easy for me to become blasé about the lives of other people. But I can't forget... I can't forget that there are people out there who are still in need.

I know a lot of people who volunteer for LGBT initiatives. I can only hope to be as brave as them one day. Right now... I know myself to be arrogant and selfish. I'm afraid of being reminded of the feelings I had in high school and I do everything I can to avoid them. And no matter what, I'm still pretty introverted. Though I have forced myself to talk to more people last year, I can't really seem to break out of my shell. When I'm surrounded by a lot of people I tend to just withdraw. But then again: these aren't excuses for inactivity or indifference. We can't give up. Not now when we've come so far.

In my History of Sexuality class, I read a paper arguing that sexual behaviour is akin to class and race and other social ways of organizing power in our society. In times of social crisis, people at the bottom of the sexual ladder are often scapegoated; this may include: gays or lesbians with more than one sexual partner, transsexuals, transvestites, fetishists, sadomasochists, people in the sex work industry, "those whose eroticism transgresses generational boundaries" (my textbook's words), etc. They receive less institutional support and economic sanctions, and less protection by the law. Moreover they may be thought of by the medical/psychiatric community as being "insane" or "criminal" or somehow emotionally or morally inferior.

I don't know how our world got so warped this way and how people can allow their penchant for hate and control to classify people in this way. There is simply one principle that you need to understand: what works for you does NOT necessarily work for others. Just because you feel like you have to be monogamous, does not mean that this is the best option for everybody. Just because you don't like being tied up/don't like being peed on/having your feet licked/having sex in leather etc., doesn't mean nobody does. Why must some people mistake their sexual preferences for universal laws that apply to all of mankind, throughout all cultures, throughout all the ages?

I've been thinking. In my last post, I said that I felt like I couldn't pursue public initiatives. But I can write well. I can fight for change, in my own way.
I will use my writing and push for social change.
I will help increase LGBTQ visibility as best as I can, and reach out to youths and adults through my writing.
I will fight against sexual discrimination of all forms.
And that's why... that's why I have to leave the sciences.