LGBT youth

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I remember once upon a time as I was realizing I was not a member of the heterosexual majority. There was a brief window in time when I was in a period of self discovery where I was an LGBT youth attending university. I had an intro English class about long stories. A girl my age named Meg sat next to me one lecture. She sported a bald head, bright eyes and seemed intensely curious about life. After class she invited me to hang out with her. She led me past the room of the university’s newspaper and into a room that was decked out in rainbows and had bulletin boards plastered with notices and sheets depicting human rights and gay friendly messages. I immediately went quiet and withdrew into myself like a turtle from harm. I had lost the ability to speak.  Who did she think I was? Gay? I was not gay! I told her I had to leave and never looked back.

I had felt bad about what I had done. But I had felt homophobia that had come from within. I was not afraid of gay men but when a gay woman had approached me, I had fled because I knew that on some level I was different too. I was not ready to accept that yet. Apparently I had a lot of internal homophobia that I had to peel away in the next few years.

Recently I started volunteering my time with a local LGBT youth group. One of my exes friends asked if I would be interested. I said I’d love to help out if I could. I have volunteered two nights so far (missed others due to illness) and I enjoy it. Most nights there is a topic that we discuss. The coordinator sometimes brings speakers or activities to the youth group.

Last night there was a large turn out of a dozen youth ages 14-20 who showed up. It was amazing to see how many youth had reached a place of acceptance of themselves and others at such young ages despite the possible pressures from family, peers and society.  We spoke about homophobia, growing up, the impact of words (such as dyke, queer and the contexts behind them.)

It made me smile. It gives me hope. The future is brighter with these new generations who will hopefully bring more acceptance into society.

Family woes

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In the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to catch up on bills that I have wracked up in my absence of the trip to Mexico with my girlfriend. I apologize for my lack of attention to this blog. I have also been facing some family woes. I’m not sure if this is because my family still feels ashamed of me for being gay, and they’re trying to be ok with it or they’re just very flawed and not able to open up to how others feel.

Image(PhotoCredit: Everyday feminism)

 

As soon as we touched down from Mexico, my mom decided to publicly out my girlfriend on Facebook. My girlfriend was out to her close friends and a few family members, but by my mother publicly stating, “Hope you had fun in Mexico with YOUR girlfriend” (yes the ‘your’ was capitalized in the post), it was blatantly stated that my girlfriend had a girlfriend she was dating. My girlfriend had wanted to save the news for conversations in person where it was her news to tell, not for someone to tell it for her on a public platform like Facebook.

Outing is the way that some people feel it is their news to tell if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer etc. Of course it does not only apply to sexual orientations, it can apply to any number of things such as announcing big news, or conflicts with others. For this topic I will refer to Outing as the Outing of one’s sexual orientation or having a same sex partner. If you’ve ever been outed you will likely know how horrible it feels when you aren’t ready for the present people or person being told to hear the news. Being outed is a violation of trust, it’s a violation of boundaries, and it hurts. Now some people may say that they didn’t out someone they had cruel intentions; some people don’t have cruel intentions and it comes out in conversation. Those cases are when you approach the person relaying the news, tell them how you feel and ask that they respect your wish to remain silent about their news.

Then there are cases where the person attempting to out someone means to cruelly get to someone by relaying the news that the person discussed was not ready to discuss. That was the case for my mother publicly outing my girlfriend. And it hurt a lot. I knew right away that that was her intention. My girlfriend didn’t see it that way at first and so she wasn’t sure what had happened until one of her family members left her a voice mail who appeared hurt at having not been told in person. Having lived with my manipulative mother most of my life, I have known that’s what she intended to do-cause a ruckus and somehow hurt my girlfriend and I.

My girlfriend has done nothing wrong. In fact she has brought a gift for my parents each time she has visited. My mom snubs her, and tries to talk over her in an attempt to speak with me. When I call her on her rude behaviour (via Facebook), because I just cannot handle her childish behaviour in my face. I always get a sob story from her, told that I am ungrateful, or told that my girlfriend is going to ruin my life. I have tried explaining and sharing all the wonderful things that have happened in my life since being with my girlfriend but my mother eisn’t having any of it. And who knows what my mom tells my dad about us because he’s always on her side even when I am simply trying to stick up for myself and my girlfriend.

My parents have not liked my girlfriend from the start. I don’t know if it’s because she has kids, or if it’s because I’m so serious about this relationship that I moved in with her and the kids. I shouldn’t pretend to know the reasoning. Some of it might be because I hardly visit her and dad anymore-but to be honest my visits with my parents were getting fewer and farther between visits. My girlfriend is cut off in conversation in front of others. My mother is incredibly rude to her face. And I can’t deal with having my self esteem hacked at with a blunt machete that leaves rusted wounds that only time away from them will scar and heal slightly before the next visit and then do it all over again. My life has been like this even before I met my girlfriend. It’s only now that I realize what I have to do.

I have been working myself up in an attempt to write a letter about my feelings, how violated, and hurt I’ve felt. The letter will include how I hope to be treated from now on. It will also include how I hope we can learn how to communicate without abuse, go to counseling together etc. And it will give an ultimatum. Thoughts about writing an ultimatum has left me a mess the past few weeks. I go from feeling fine, to crying and leaving the room, wanting to be alone and sometimes lashing out at my girlfriend for something she doesn’t deserve. I don’t know how else to do this but try to salvage some sort of a healthy relationship, healthier boundaries and if they aren’t up for it, sever the ties. It hurts. I know what I have to do. But doing it is the hardest part. I love my parents, but I need to love myself and those in my life more in order to be toxic free. I need to love myself and my girlfriend more in order to be happy and more at peace.