Discrimination vs. Bullying

This is the last time (hopefully) I’m going post about the Adam Goodes booing controversy. A part of the debate has been about whether it was discrimination and how it was handled by the AFL and the media. On whether the booing was based on racism is only something that Goodes himself would know. Whatever Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Rita Panahi or even Mia Freedman or Jonathan Green, it wouldn’t affect anything. I’m going to share a personal story that is not based on race, but I think relevant. When I was in high school; Year 10 and 12, I had three different people ask whethe r I was gay. I’ll never forget what I felt after each time. I felt like I was ‘kicked in the guts’. Actually, sometimes I wonder whether that would’ve been less painful. It may sound dramatic, but that’s how I felt. Was it homophobia? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure. But it hurt. Really hurt. One of the controversies has been over the then 13 – year – old girl who shouted a racial insult at Goodes and how she was treated. Again, I can see the dilemma. One of the people that made the comment about my sexuality was younger than me, probably only one of two years older than what the girl was who called out the racial slur at Goodes. I was faced with the dilemma. Yes, this girl was younger than me. That didn’t change the fact that it made me feel like total crap all over again.

Not or everyone may have felt the same way. I’ve heard on TV interview with fashion designer Alex Perry and a YouTube clip with Joan Jett; both who have had speculations and rumours about their sexuality, both seemingly unfazed. That doesn’t take away the fact that it affected me quite a bit.

What i explained here sounds minuscule compared to many other people, I get that. Also, I’m not pretending that I’m speaking on Goodes’ behalf. I can’t. I just wanted to bring my perspective and my experiences to the debate.

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More Steps Toward Equality and Acceptance for LGBTQ+

People were buzzed and excited with the SCOTUS decision to legalise same – sex marriage across the US on 22 June 2015. Symbolic celebration took over Facebook. But what now? This ruling won’t eliminate homophobia. Things like LGBT suicide, bullying and the like will need to be addressed. And what about everyone else LGBT/ non – cis – gender/ heterosexual?

  • Asexual people ACTUALLY BEING BELIEVED
  • Adexual getting ethical treatment by mental health professionals
  • Bisexual people not being portrayed like a poem fantasy in the media (I think ‘Orange is Tge New Black’ is starting to destigmatise bisexual people)
  • That people across the LGBT+ people will all be protected under anti – discrimination/equal opportunity laws from unfair dismissal
  • That LGBT+ people will no longer experience discrimination as a tenant
  • Asexual and bisexual women in particular will be able to resist sexual advances without bein violated
  • When homophobic bullying is no longer prevalent.
  • That transgender people can be referred to by their preferred gender pronouns and names as a sign of respect.

So, yeah, I think there is still a way to go. We’re making advances, hat’s for sure. Even asexuality is starting to be discussed more, and the majority of coverage  in the mediais quite positive, actually. So, I’m quietly optimistic.

Just a note: as you probably can point out, I didn’t mention pan or poly sexuals. That’s because I don’t know about their experiences. In the comments, feel free to add what you’d like to see happen and your own experiences.

No, Mamamia, Sam Frost Doesn’t “Need” to Have Sex On The Bachelorette

I read this post about former Bachelor (Australia) contestant and current “Bachelorette” Sam Frost. The columnist wrote some… ahem… delicate advice:

Two words. F*** ’em.

Just so you know, the censor was my own. Now, what Jessie Mills is going on about is the importance of chemistry and making sure it’s there before tying the knot. But seriously, as a feminist site, I hate the way that Mills has essentially pushed her views so brashly. I get that (for most people) chemistry is an important part of a relationship for most people, but it’s not Mills’ place, or anyone else to demand that Frost have sex with the men that she meets on the show. Leave that up to her and her dates/ future husband/ husband, etc.

 

I have read arguments that sex before marriage can be beneficial because you know whether you both connect together on that level. There’s no judgement here. This isn’t about whether Sam Frost has or doesn’t have sex. I couldn’t care less. What I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s up to anyone else to say whether someone should or shouldn’t (unless for legal reasons, obviously).

Feminism is all about choice, right? Well, to all the feminists out there, give people the right NOT to have sex as well as permission of those to have it if they want it. But please, don’t tell someone they “need” to have sex.

Homophobia in Australia and Not Being Straight

Last night, I cried twice. First time, I was watching the documentary “Frock and a Hard Place”. Second time was in the Q and A special hosted by Tom Ballard. Why you may ask? First, because I was so upset and shocked of the cruelty that LGBT people (particularly gay men), experienced in Australia in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Sure, things may have improved, at least legally, but, frankly, I think it’s still a blood stain on Australia, frankly.

Second time was when the episode of Q and A was on, and Lifeline was mentioned. We may have come a long way, but, truth is, identifying as anything other than cis – gender and straight can be a mind/ soul destroying experience for too many people. Frankly, I do put asexuals in this category (which was mentioned last night on Q and A – wow!). People don’t realise the damage, sometimes the irreparable damage that has been done!

 

When it comes to the issue of same – sex marriage (which some people say is inevitable now in Australia), people give the same old line “why, it only affects a small percentage of the population”. Well, as I’ve posted before, adding LGB plus asexuals who are romantically attracted to others of the same – sex, I guessed it’s probably between 2 – 3%. However, that’s not the issue… or at least it shouldn’t be. These people are still over – represented in the suicide and bullying statistics as pointed out again last night. Why do you think that Ballard quoted the Lifeline number? (For those who don’t know, or aren’t from Australia, Lifeline is a phon counselling service). It’s because for many LGBTQ+ people, realising who they are, and coming out can have major psychological implications! For too many, it’s a seriously isolating experience. It means the risk of losing friends, family and other people that we’re suppose to be able to rely on. And, I”m sorry to say this, but for those of faith, it means the risk of emotional and spritual abuse.

This is why it’s still a big deal! Homophobia and discrimination against other sexual and gender minorities (GSM), still exist, despite our advances. These issues go WAY beyond the same – sex marriage debate that has plagued Australia for the last couple of months. This is about getting to a point where it’s no longer risky to be yourself and being able to be OK with who you are!

Privilege and the LGBT

So, according to Mamamia, actress Cate Blanchett admitted to having a number of same – sex relationships off – screen in an interview for Variety magazine. Actresses like Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore have also admitted to same – sex experience.

According to imdb, she’s been married to Andrew Upton since 1997. Is it just me, or is it become fashionable for celebrities to admit that they had same – sex sexual experience, even if it was in adolescence, which is generally accepted as quite common anyway? Is it becoming a “fashion” if you will?

Yes, yes, some people do experience fluidity in their sexuality. Some people are not 100% straight or 100% gay, get it, get it. But does the overkill of media exposure of this sort end up over trivialising what many LGBT+ people go through? Does it give an impression that gay, lesbian, bisexual and even homoromantic and bi – romantic asexuals (and pan romantic and pansexuals I might add), can just “snap out” of their attractions? Do these people, who are already in privileged positions, actually (unintentially) somewhat trivialise what some LGBT+ actually go through in regards to discrimination, stigma, violence and mental illness that they often face?

 

Here’s the thing: one argument that, particularly the gay and lesbian community have made over the past 30 years is that they can’t choose, nor change, who their attracted to. Scientifically, there is still questions surrounding the exact cause of one’s sexual orientation. And now, bisexual people are trying to get across that, yes, they are attracted to both men and women, not it’s not a fad or phase, and no it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to sleep around, etcetera, etcetera.

 

Here’s one thing I’ll say about being asexual, and I’m guessing it’s similar for most LGB people: I’m not asexual because it’s hip or makes a statement. I’m asexual because I simply don’t feel physical attraction to anyone regardless of gender. I cannot just suddenly “turn” my attractions on, any more than a gay person can “turn” their innate atractions off. It is an innate part of who I am. Now, if Blanchett is or was attracted to women at some point, or she was experimenting, whatever, then that’s what it was. Fine. But can the media stop fetishising the LGBT+ community and make it sound like it’s just something cool and hip? Because it’s not. Like I said, it’s a part of who a person is.

I Don’t Think It’s Simple As ‘Want’

Bruce Jenner, stepfather of the Kardashians, has spoken to American reporter, Dianne Sawyer and has confirmed that he’s transgender. Now, before I continue, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer here:I’m cis – gender and have a lack of genuine knowledge of transgender identities and what it’s like for transgender people. So, just to be clear, I’m not an expert by any means.

One thing that has struck me is the constant use of the word ‘want’. ‘If he wants to be a woman, then that’s fine’. The thing is, I don’t think it’s just a matter of want. I could want to be a few inches taller, but it’s really not that big of deal. I could want to have toast for breakfast. No big deal. From what I can understand, gender is a lot more complicated than that.

In the interview, Jenner opened up about how he played with his sister’s clothes and wanted to wear them as a child. I’ve heard a story of Chaz Bono (born Chastity) saying that he felt profoundly different growing up, from both gay (he did identify as gay before he realised he was transgender) and straight peers. People feel it when they realise they’re different. They don’t choose ‘hey, I’m going to be a male today’. It’s something they know deep down inside, often from an early age.

Identity, I feel is largely about what is, rather than what we can choose to be. That is, I feel, particularly true with gender and sexuality. To put it bluntly, people can choose to be true to themselves, or choose to live a lie. That seems to be what it boils down to for a lot of people.

Please send your thoughts. For those who do identify as transgender, what have your experiences been like?

When Empathy Is Limited

There has been a Twitter backlash against US Cosmo after holding a ‘Hello Gorgeous/ ‘RIP beauty comparison as one of their features. Problem? The models on the ‘Hello Gorgeous’ side were all Caucasian while models who were African American were featured in the ‘RIP’ side of the feature, sparking accusations of racism, an accusations staff at the women’s magazine vehemently deny.

This got me thinking about how diversity is preached about in the media, but, frankly rarely presented.  In Australis, for example. Most media personalities are: white, able – bodied, cisgender and, frankly, straight. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. I’m not calling for anyone to be sacked because of who they are. What I’m pointing at is that most people, particularly in the media, try to advocate for minorities without having any real idea of what it’s like to be in the situation themselves. I think sometimes that can lead to a misrepresentation of people and, to kind of quote Andrew Bolt, a lot of ‘seeming rather than doing’.

 

I’ll bad perfectly honest, the reason why I’m so vocal about discrimination and prejudices toward the LGBT+ community is because I can partly ( I emphasise partly) because of my own struggles in the past about my own sexuality, the self – hatred and, for a time, a fear of a homophobic backlash from people I cared about (that was more before I identified as asexual). For a brief while in my mid high school years, it did lead to some nastiness from certain peers in my year. That lead to some years on my part of confusion, fear of losing friends (family not so much) and self – hatred. Now I know that what I’ve listed is quite tame than what a lot of  LGBT+ people go through. These are just my experiences that I believe have lead me to believe in certain things the way I do.

Can everybody empathise with a marginalised group? Yes. But I think we all have to be aware of when our genuine understanding of another person’s experiences are limited, or, frankly don’t exist at all. That’s why I find it so refreshing when I hear stories of asexual people actually being able to tell their own stories rather than have someone else telling the story, and frankly, sometimes, I believe, misrepresenting asexual people one way or another.

What are you passionate about? What life events have made you driven to that passion? ( you don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to)