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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Being sucked into the trenches against my better judgment

I have been trying to keep my head down, as I said, to try to avoid the host of triggeriness. My own experiences with youth bullying, harassment and suicide risk/attempts make it damn hard for me to come near this topic without hurting for it. Some of them I’ve related here – and doing so was damn hard. Most of them I have not. Most of them I will not or, probably more accurately, cannot.

Alas, short of completely ignoring my RSS and the internet in general for a week or so, there’s also no way I can avoid it. My RSS is already heavily sub-divided into sites that I consider safe spaces and sites that are prone to spork me or outright trigger me – but even the safest of safe spaces have triggered me to hell and back.

So it hasn’t been a great few days, not even close. It certainly didn’t make the bday more fun. I’m edgy and poked and sporked and being ambushed by nasty!bad!wrong! memories I have spent no small amount of time and effort pushing back into the “leave the fuck alone” recesses of my mind in a very non-=healthy but functional manner.

And now here I am again. And rational brain is yelling at me to stop. Don’t do this. Don’t climb back into this, close my eyes, hum a tune, wait until it goes away. Become a hermit, stop reading the RSS, ignore what I’ve read – do not go there. Write some fluff, rant about the computer virus, angst about the bday and getting older. Something, anything but don’t jump into this pit there are spikes at the bottom. BIG SHARP spikes with like, barbs and shit on them.

But common sense brain that probably knows me better than rational brain (and knows I don’t listen to rational brain as much as I should) and knows that if I have a Thought it will worry around in my brain over and over, replaying itself and all its lovely triggers until I get it the hell out of my head – hells, that’s part of the reason I do LJ, to get stuff out of my head and on the page, as it were.

There should really be a word for “doing shit you know you’ll regret doing and you know it’s going to hurt and leave you a bit of a mess but you’re going to do it anyway”. It’d be really useful when voting. And for describing what I am doing here. So if I post today and again disappear into the ether it’s because I’ve gone to bad places again.

One topic I am seeing come up time and again – and so far I’ve seen this said predominantly by, if not exclusively by straight people – in reference to the current attention of the anti-GBLTQ bullying leading to suicide issue is complaining about all this focus on LGBTQ people and we should be talking about bullying in general – and chiding and tutting at GBLTQ people for focusing on our community.

Ok. Is bullying and youth suicide a major and universal problem? Yes.

But here’;s the thing – there are a lot of major and universal problems that either hit marginalised groups harder and/or have specific issues related to them for those marginalised groups that aren’t applicable to all/most people who don’t share that marginalisation.

This is true of a plethora of issues. When we talk about poverty, healthcare, immigration, education, unemployment, working hours, housing – hells just about ANYTHING – there are going to be specific issues within that or related to that that raise problems that are unique or different for a marginalised group – be that race, gender, religion, disabled, non-neuro-typical, or any other marginalisation. There are issues that affect every group and the mainstream but to cover for the marginalised need a different or expanded awareness and insight to adequately cover them

And with LGBTQ people there are certainly issues with bullying and youth suicide that are either specific to or more common to our marginalisation than there is in the mainstream. Just as other marginalised groups will have their own specific issues within this and other topics.

There are states, counties, councils, LEAs and schools that have laws/rules/policies that make it impossible for teachers or other youth workers to combat anti-GBLTQ bullying or even mention being GBLTQ in a way that even remotely promotes a positive view. Even if inclined to help, these people are banned from helping.

Trying to change these rules always brings a wave of protest form the usual suspects. Trying to raise awareness brings a similar wave of fist shaking and rage-throthing and Helen Lovejoy-esque “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” The stereotype of us being child predators makes it incredibly hard for us to reach out to or support our youth.

The fact that our young rarely share the same marginalisation as their parents limits what limited support net or understanding they can have access to. Parents are, in fact, sometimes part of the problem

Many people have called for more counsellors in schools – and I approve. But the LGBTQ community also has had a lot of problem with messed up mental-health professionals. Even now, mainstream news channels will interview Ex-gay “therapists” as experts, not as fringe extremists.

The closet puts its own added pressure on preventing a bullied LGBTQ kid from being able to seek help or accept help when offered – or to go to places or find information that could help them.

These are just some of the many issues relating to bullying and suicide for GBLTQ youth. They’re not all exclusive to our communities, certainly not, nor are they the only issues or perhaps even the largest issues – but the point is there are issues in relation to bullying and youth suicide that have, at least, a greater emphasis for anti-GBLTQ bullying than they do elsewhere

Now, if you’re saying “we should expand the conversation, I’m going to talk about bullying in general” and someone else says “I’m going to talk about how bullying affects other marginalised groups” and more call for more awareness and more reporting and more attention to these as well, then more power to you! Write and speak and shout and add to it and call for more attention – we need it and then some.

But if you’re saying “all this focus on GBLTQs is wrong, they SHOULD be talking about this” or scolding GBLTQ people for not looking at the “bigger picture” or insisting that homophobia, transphobia or GBLTQness isn’t the issue, or trying to deny or silence or push down all the GBLTQ people who are telling their stories and drawing attention to these issues and this major problem – then I’m far less than impressed.

This issue has been ignored for so long. Stats from the UK, from Canada, from the US (and these are just the ones I’ve seen) show the vast majority – VAST majority, we’re talking 70-90% of GBLTQ youth – are harassed because they are GBLTQ when they are young. Our suicide rate is over 4 times the suicide rate of straight, cis youth. The much reported loss of 5 young people in one month is actually under-reporting – others doing some cursory research up that number to 9. 9 that are known about

It isn’t a new issue, it’s just a long ignored issue. And seeing lots of people saying “you shouldn’t be talking about that!” well, it impresses me not.

Now I’m going to get a big drink and I don’t give a damn how early in the day it is. I may spend the next few days plugged into Civ 5