in which i reveal way too much/try to make a point

Here at the Useless Critic, I think our unacknowledged philosophy is not to take things so seriously. Posts are lighthearted, for the most part. And they should be. Life can't be spent being heavyhanded about everything. And this is, after all, the internet. Which, to some degree, is still a big playground for people that refuse to grow up. (I guess I am grouping myself with them).

However, I've been sort of toying with the idea of posting about the recent string of adolescent suicides in America (see here if you are unfamiliar), which are the result of bullying. Bullying is one of those trademarks of growing up anywhere, America or otherwise; it's bound to happen. No matter what. It's happened for generations. And I know it will never be eradicated, as much as it should be. People are people; they feed off the weaker ones and never seem to totally change.

But fuck the toying with. I am posting this, even though I do feel vulnerable to some extent and a little out of step with the regular ebb-and-flow. I am doing this because I hate seeing what's happening to children. I read this article at work the other day, during one of my breaks, and cried. How can you not? Seriously- I remember going to high school and I remember kids being JUST like this. The smallest thing they will fault you for. And some people are just not strong enough for that kind of treatment. No one- absolutely no one- deserves to be put through a day after day cycle of physical/mental harassment. Especially not children, Jesus Christ. By other children! I know they're at that stage where the development of right/wrong is not fully realized, but if you are only years or even months away from graduating and entering the adult world, you should behave like a civilized, thoughtful adult.

Even adults don't act like that, though.

Anyway, the chief deciding factor in a lot of these so-uncalled-for deaths is the fact that the target of the bullying was gay, and bullied just for that reason. Or they were perceived to be gay or something to that effect. This is heartbreaking. This really is. Like, every time I think we as a society are moving one step in the right direction, I see or hear things like this and realize that no, no. We're not. I have (oh I have, believe me) put a lot of thought into why people care so much who someone sleeps with or is attracted to. I see the religious reasons; I understand the "it's not natural" motivation. Homosexuality does, however, occur in nature. Animals partake in it, so on. Yes, it's an union that is void of offspring- but how can one possibly put value on a relationship only if children come out of it? Aren't there plenty of heterosexual couples that opt out of children or cannot conceive (which is another sad topic in it's own right, lots of those people that can't have kids would make much better parents than those who can).

To me, love is love. Simple. The undeniable fact that people go through hell because they cannot help who they love (and excuse me, to use myself as an example, I really can't, I have tried and failed a number of times) is sickening. I don't see homophobia going away any time in the near future- there will be people that do not, will never understand- and I see it is as something that people like myself have to endure, sadly. Just as there will always be racists or people that hate fat people or other petty-minded souls. I recently overheard, at a Tim Horton's while I was trying to apply for jobs online, a woman talk about how she and her church participated in gay conversions. She proudly stated to the man she was talking to that "we hate the sin, not the sinner!"

Bitch please. Love is not a sin. Get your head out of your self-righteous ass /topic. See, as long as we have this attitude in society, homophobia will exist. This probably scares me a little more than the crazies at the Westboro Baptist Church that go around protesting at soldier's funerals that these soldiers are burning in hell because AMERICA TAKES IN THE GAY AND GOD HATES TEH GAY AND FIRE AND BRIMSTONE AND OMFGZ JESUS IS COMING AND HE HAS AN ELEPHANT GUN etc. Actually, those people are just scary. End of story.

This woman, though. She seemed so nice. So approachable.

Well, after a fair amount of tangenting, back to square one. American culture, at least, has homophobia kind of built into the system. Is it the remnants of our puritan society? Maybe! Even comedian/personal hero Sarah Silverman had an amazingly good point in a video she made about homophobia and the several boys that have killed themselves. When you say it's not right for a gay person to enter the military because they are gay (regardless if they are putting their life on the line just like a straight person, so regardless of that, you know, they are gay it doesn't matter) or saying nope, you can't have a marriage, you have to settle for this civil union thing because eww well you are gay and we can't have you ruining our institution! (even if, you know, say I don't want to get married in your church and would kind of just like the same rights as everybody else?) see. that's like- polite homophobia. separate will never be equal. Gay kids grow up hearing this, or worse things, and they feel smaller. Lesser. Like they aren't right, they aren't fundamentally right, will never be right.

(this is where a girl on my facebook went insane and spewed this line of baffling, stupid hate- like, I kid you not- 'COS THEY AIN'T. DAT IS WHY THEY KILLED THEMSELVES. THEY KNEW THEY WAS WRONG. like, seriously? seriously? do we even have to go through the suicide-is-never-acceptable-for-anyone speech, you weird bitch? also: buy a dictionary. READ IT.)

see that is how I felt for such a long time. and I still feel it, to a degree. so I can sort of relate- sort of, I never had to worry about my roommate posting a video of me making out with another girl on the internet (and wow in regard to that roommate- I don't care if your roommate is making out with a sea turtle, that is just something you don't ever do. such a violation of privacy, needed privacy. I hope he gets jailtime.) That because I was not straight I was not right. I was not normal; I was a lesser human being. I imagine how these kids felt? Which is another reason it breaks my heart. A lot of gay or bisexual people face this, I would presume. Judging from Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign, Tim Gunn felt that way, among other celebrities. So I can presume.

And it does get better- I will say, for all the times in this past year I have come close to suicide or even again attempted it (I am being honest) being gay (more or less) was never a reason. School, work, friends, failed relationships. But not who I was, no. It took me a while to get comfortable with myself and now I am, in that extension. It wasn't easy- I forced myself into relationships or situations I didn't feel okay with to begin with; I made up lies; I used to pray growing up I would be made "right" or some nonsense. And for a while, I was fervently religious. so you can imagine. (Even this year, I have a need to be clear with you all so I'm not hiding anything, I did have some difficulty here- I broke some guy's heart because of this. In my defense, this past year has just been so weird for me. But I didn't want to say "yes, I'm gay. I'm attracted to women, I want to be in a relationship with a woman and not you, I apologize" to him because I've never said that to anyone, ever. In my defense, he was too persistent and didn't take hints. After a hurtful experience, I sought affection from anyone, because I am like one of those aliens in Independence Day.)

Following my heart though, there is something different about when a girl I like smiles me. something - word of the hour!- right; something clicks on inside of me and says "YES."

So, in conclusion of that rambling: it fucks with you. Being faced with institutionalized hate (it is what it is) makes you question yourself and in some cases, will drive you to suicide. I came to the conclusion homosexuality was not a sinful activity when I took a step back and took a critical look at what I was believing and saw a lot of falsehoods and hypocrisy. God is love, that is what I believe.

I also believe in not being a jerk to people (see: high school bullies, people posting videos of their roommates on the internet, people who go to funerals and laugh at the girl in the casket) and torturing them to the point where they see suicide as an acceptable option. It NEVER is.

High school wasn't as bad for me as middle school. I will tell you how bad my memories of middle school are. I sat alone at lunch for a month I think? Two months? I had these popular girls used to come to my table (they are all on welfare and have kids now, oddly) and ask me if I was going to take them out on dates. I was so confused! I was 12 and didn't have much of a sexuality at the time. Plus, I just wanted to be accepted. Which I wasn't, God no. I was smart, awkward, a tomboy and fat. I was forced to do people's homework under fear of harassment. I was poked constantly so I would talk. I had people call my house and yell "dyke!" and hang up. I had that written on my locker and I didn't understand what it said. I had no friends; I had people spread rumors about me, ostracize me, throw things at me. I had no friends- I remember hearing "ugly" and "fat" a lot. I remember not being able to look in mirrors because I learned to hate myself then. It amazes me I didn't kill myself then, but my first suicide attempt was at this time. A child in sixth grade shouldn't ever have such thoughts. I don't say that as a way of feeling bad about myself- I'm being objective. A CHILD should never want to kill her or himself. But guess what? It's happened. It's happening. If that does not make you sick to your stomach, I have no idea where you are coming from in life. But you know, I met a great girl that took me under her wing. She sat with me; she became my friend until high school. This girl saved my life, you know. I just needed someone to be nice to me and tell me something nice about myself that I wasn't able to see.

I wish these children had the same kind of luck. Maybe it would have changed things? Maybe if someone had just shown some compassion or stood up for them or became their friend, then maybe they'd still be here today.

I think people bully because it's a sense of power. And also, because they find it amusing. Other people are like "oh, LOLZ you are just so FUNNY" and egg them on. Because, to some degree, everybody wants to be adored, they keep going. And then the cycle does not stop.

The articles I linked to illustrate there's a number of reasons (or sometimes, scarily, even no reasons) someone can be picked on. Homosexuality (or, again, perceived homosexuality) is a big, big one. And because of all the unjust stigma attached to that, it makes people all the more vulnerable and prone to these kind of actions. I remember the people at my high school that got the most shit were the openly gay ones. There is one boy in particular I recall. And you know, sometimes I joined in. It's that group mentality. It sickens me, now still- the people I hurt in the past or the people I hurt everyday and think nothing of it. Bullying does not end with high school or college. It continues; it calms down but it continues. People think it's fun or sexy. It's not. It's poisonous, in any form. It just hurts people.

I don't know if anything I'm typing right now remotely matters. What matters though is that people just try to be a little nicer to each other. People try and not to hold against a person what they cannot control.

That is all I'm asking, in lieu of everything. Just try and be kinder. It makes all the difference sometimes; you have no idea where a person is coming from. You don't know what they're going through, what personal struggles might be leading them. And you NEVER know if someone says on their, say, Facebook status they are jumping off a bridge, that they will actually go and jump off said bridge. Watch what you say; watch what you do. Look beyond yourself and actually pay attention to others. So few people do that anymore.

Bullying has effects that stick with the bullied for the rest of their life. For a long time, I only saw myself as that tormented twelve year old girl at heart. I can say this has changed, but only within the past two years.

I could be very- hmm, idealistic- and say that I wish, also, people would just realize love is love and homophobia would subside. I also read about a ghastly hate crime New York City against a few gay men that, again, made me sick to my stomach. This is why I lose hope in the world so often.

But then it can be such a loving place. I just wish these children had the chance to learn this.

Comments

  1. I have also heard people say : we support Gay people because we "hate the sin, not the sinner."

    But you are right, love is not a sin. It is not destructive, nor does it bring any harm.

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  2. thank you for reading Al <3

    if you want to call me tonight do it. after 7 I am not doing anything.

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  3. i dont know. i grew up with a bunch of kids who couldnt give two shits about whats in the bible and still thought "fag" was the ultimatle insult. i think the image of the archetypal societal role for a male and fear of being associated with things that seem non- masculine is a pretty big driving force too.

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  4. yeah, anything that's less than manly. the one boy at Mentor wasn't gay again- he was just a very unorthodox male. that sort of gender grouping exists with girls, too.

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  5. thanks for sharing. I think american school system would have killed me :/

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  6. how sweet ♥ you can have my back whenever you want, I have a lot of vertebras

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  7. thank you for sharing this :)

    <3

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  8. <3 you all, thanks for making this not as bad as I thought.

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