- Julian Domain's diary :: ::
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
“This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.Actually, it’s time for the Obama administration and our national LGBT advocacy organizations to actively push for the passage of the Student Nondiscrimination Act (SNDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA).
“This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”
Just stop it. You aren't convincing anyone or winning anybody over. I believe sexuality is an immutable characteristic like skin color, but if you can hide in a closet to keep from suffering it's consequences, than the discrimination you suffer is nowhere near Jim Crow if for no other reason than you can't hide from it.Hide in the closet? Really? For a transsexual person, hiding in the closet is tantamount to dying, because what you are counseling is to not transition. If that were possible, there wouldn't have been the crisis point which leads to the transitioning.
I get it: You disapprove of us. You consider us to be making a choice, you disagree with what you consider to be our “lifestyles”. Some of you may listen and heed the words of people like Tony Perkins, others may be more in tune with the ideas of people like Scott Lively, who consider gay males like me to be akin to Nazis.
First of all, I want to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth than to call me or most any person like me a Nazi. I don’t want to change by force of any kind, persecute, or brainwash people who disagree with me on any political topic, even homosexuality. Moreover, I don’t know any gay man who does. Most of us know about the history of gay people being put to death in concentration camps by the Nazi regime, I don’t know any gay person, let alone, any gay man, who looks on the likes of Hitler or anyone who advocates the mindset of a Nazi with anything but disgust and horror.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
We say to lots of people who suffer routine abuse at the hands of another to "Call 911." This only works if a crime is in progress. Sometimes after the cops have shown up, and it is your word against your abuser, the cops will tell you "There is nothing we can do. Call a lawyer. This is Civil not Criminal." I know this first hand as a survivour of domestic violence.
So what is the difference? A criminal matter is when the government files a lawsuit against a private citizen and/or corporation. In a civil matter an individual files. The government, will only file charges if they can prove a crime has been committed. Visible wounds to the victim, the victim's statement, witnesses to the assault. There will then be a trial where the government prosecutes the defense and the defense is either made to pay a fine directly to the government or be incarcerated by the government.
If it is a verbal dispute between two people, hearsay, they will take a statement from both parties as substantive evidence in any future pending litigation. The party wishing to file civil charges will retain a lawyer and present evidence in support of their civil case. The case will be heard by a judge who will decide if damages should be ordered. This is a simplified explanation of the differences between criminal and civil law, yet, it should bring understanding as to why in many cases the police can do nothing to help you.
In civil cases there are steps you should take in order to build a strong case against the defendant.
1. Keep a Journal: Write down the date, time, name of the assailants, clothing they were wearing, where it took place, names of any witnesses, what was said and what physically took place.
2. Take pictures: If you sustained any injury at the time of the incident. Wait until you are safe and take pictures of your injuries. Make copies and keep the originals in a safe place.
3. Make a complaint: If you are a grade school student, talk to your Guidance Counselour, Principal or Asst. Principal. Bring copies, never the originals, of your evidence. Like any other person of authority they like to know all "i"s are dotted and "t"'s are crossed. Make sure you take notes during your meeting of whom you spoke to and the correct spelling of their names along with the date of your meeting, the time it began and the time it ended.
4. Follow Up: After you have filed your complaint with the school authorities, follow up with a written letter thanking them by name for their time, mention the meeting, what you spoke about, the evidence you presented, any promises that they made to you and the time frame they gave you for these promises. Mail it certified mail and keep the Certified Mail tracking stub originals with your other originals.
5. Go to a higher authority: If nothing happens within the time frame, send another follow up letter AND a letter to their supervisors. Mention in the 2nd follow up letter that their supervisors, Mr/Ms X, has been notified of the situation. Mention in the letter to their supervisors your previous meeting with x, y and z. Give a brief out line of the incidences, the meeting, what was said, and what was promised. Send this letter Certified Mail.
6. Call your lawyer: Give them copies of your evidence, the letters, any telephone/cell phone records proving contact with the school and the Certified Mail stubs. They will know how to press charges and the detailed evidence you have collected will help in litigation. In Civil law you have to be your own investigator unless your lawyer suggests different. Your lawyer will also let you know what is and is not submissible in court.
The timing of the news was almost uncanny, coinciding with the start of “Project Civility” at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. Long in the planning, the campaign will involve panel discussions, lectures, workshops and other events intended to raise awareness about the importance of respect, compassion and courtesy in everyday interactions.Tyler was an accomplished violinist who was attending Rutgers on a college scholarship from the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra for his musicianship and leadership. His family released a statement earlier today:
Events scheduled for this fall include a workshop for students and administrators on residential life on campus, called “Respect Resides at Rutgers,” and a panel discussion titled “Uncivil Gadgets? Changing Technologies and Civil Behavior.”
“Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words. They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all.”A memorial page for Tyler has been set up on Facebook. Nearly 6,000 people have joined the page as of 9:30 EST this evening.
“Our hearts go out to the families of these young men and we feel a deep sense of sorrow and regret for these needless tragedies,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We blame the anti-gay industry for fighting measures to end bullying in schools, and school officials who turn a blind eye to brutality. We are fed up with what amounts to anti-gay schoolyard muggings that are foolishly dismissed as ‘boys being boys’. In reality, it is ‘boys beating boys’, and these bullies receive tacit approval for their violent, homophobic behavior by teachers and certain vocal segments of society.”Through their annual “Day of Truth” campaign and TrueTolerance.org web site, Focus on the Family and the “ex-gay” group Exodus International actively and continuously obstruct anti-bullying programs in schools across the country. Instead of opposing violence, both organizations remain dedicated to pretending the problem of anti-gay bullying does not exist, or downplaying the deadly results.
“The goal of Exodus International and Focus on the Family is to purge LGBT people from society, although they disingenuously frame the issue as eliminating homosexuality, which is not possible,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “When you target homosexuality, the result is persecution and punishment of LGBT people, and in many cases it leads to gay bashing or suicides. The anti-gay industry should dismantle these despicable programs and work towards creating solutions instead of suicides.”In September, there have been three gay teen suicides as a result of school bullying:
Ok everybody, here is the deal. I cannot imagine what it’s like growing up in a close minded environment and being gay, bi or trans-gender. I don’t think any of us who aren’t can possibly imagine. The strength and character it must take to stay true to yourself in such an unforgiving microcosm are qualities that a major portion of the world lacks… Sad, but true. It’s just how it is at the moment. However, it’s that very strength and character that gives the world hope for a new way of thinking and acceptance in the future and when one of our children gives in and gives up, it is not only a tragedy but a victory for those who fear diversity. DO NOT LET THEM WIN! I know how overwhelming the feelings can get and how small the reality can feel, but the bottom line is that this is but a drop in the bucket in terms of the magnitude of life. You can get through this. High school is full of plenty of bullies and fear based hate, as is the world. With any group of people comes a percentage of people who just don’t get it and probably will never get it. That’s OK. We all deal with this to an extent. The truth is that in High School, you are kind of stuck in the group you are a part of until graduation, but trust me… You can pick and choose who you associate with and there are plenty of like-minded people in the world that are understanding, accepting and loving. Sometimes, we just have to stick it out to meet them. The hard cold reality is that once you have chosen suicide, that’s it. No going back. Sure, there is a public outcry and MAYBE the bullies feel remorse for a while, but it all dies down, life goes on, the bullies let the memory fade and get on with their lives. They learn to laugh, love, reach their goals and in many cases go on to have a full and productive life. Who loses? You do! Your family! Your friends! Other teens who need support in this area! Oh yeah… We all Lose! Now the world has one less mind that is open and different and unique and sensitive. Instead, we inherit the bullies, the fear, the set back… Our world has one less soul to help it evolve with a new level of clarity. Personally, I have seen a lot of darkness and tragedy that has felt insurmountable. The murder of my mother, my battle with drug addiction, the loss of friends and family. Utter depression and despair. Of course the thought of suicide has crossed my mind a time or two. Let me share this. THANK GOD I never took that action. The friends I have made, the experiences I have had, the laughter I have shared would have all been missed. In hindsight, some of my darkest moments now seem so small and insignificant that I am amazed I gave them so much power at the time. I am even able to laugh about it now. When I think back to the times I have considered ending it all I end up saying to myself, “What was I thinking?” To those of you contemplating such a course, please do us a favor. Seek counseling first. Find a network of people who have gone through what you are going through. Help others in even more turmoil than you. I am certain that you can find peace. As you know, our society and political climate is SO divided right now. We need your voice. The world at large needs your sheer existence in order to come to terms with itself and where we are going as a planet and species.Thank you, Dave Navarro.
|Hayley Gorenberg Deputy Legal Director|
"We must act urgently and do everything in our power
to end the prejudice and protect our youth.
Coming out for some is a one time thing. For me, an asexual, I have to "come out" at the beginning of every single relationship. Those who are Gay or Bi or Straight simply say those words with a preceding "I am" which provides anyone with the gender they are sexually attracted to and "Voila!" no problem.
All of my relationships seem to start the same. I explain that I am not sexually attracted, not interested in sex yet I do like talking to them, spending time and they pretend to listen, while interpreting what I've said to mean I simply need time to get to know them before the passion explodes. Saying "I am Asexual" only starts the crickets chirping and then explaining that no I do not self-replicate.
I never had a word that someone could look up that explains my sexual orientation until 2006. It was left up to me to try to pull the millions of little pieces which create the entire picture to explain it to others. There were so many conversation detours when I tried to explain it all that in the end I just mentally said "Oh, to hell with this! Believe what you will!" in sheer frustration.
I tried to explain that my lack of sexual interest has nothing to do with the orgasm experience and it never got any further than that. There were so many questions on how could I not want an orgasm. What sexual dysfunction did I suffer from? Did I get therapy for my sexual dysfunction? Did I stop my medication and was I at least considering surgery to fix whatever had to be wrong with me? Am I a lesbian? Am I bisexual? Did I secretly hate men?
Explaining that I have experienced orgasm by myself, yet, see no reason to repeat the experience is met with slack jawed shock. How can you not like masturbation? Everyone loves masturbation!! Well excuse me for having a "Meh" experience with myself. I never said I hated masturbation, it just does not "blow my mind" the way it does yours. I have other things I would much rather be doing. The first couple orgasms are okay and then I find myself becoming rather bored with the whole thing.
The conversation took so many twists and turns off subject since many can understand that you want to have sex and orgasm with someone of the opposite sex, or the same sex and the idea of not wanting either short circuited their synapses. I had to want someone else. If I wanted to sleep with someone else, fine, it was my fault not theirs. I would be bi or gay and it was just something they could not give me sexually. Being Asexual, on the other hand, sounded like I was sneering at their sexual technique.
How could I not enjoy it? Why would I not think of "moving on" to someone else who may be sexually compatible if they were not? I had to move on to someone more sexually compatible. I had to. They did not want to be known as the one who made a girl go entirely celibate. The idea of being so bad you "turn someone gay" no longer applies in this day and age. Everyone finally understands that there are different sexual orientations and you were simply not sexually compatible to begin with. The problem is that no one understands that Asexuality is a sexual orientation and still see it as a "medical problem that can be cured".
Eventually we would end up at the subject of my children, as their "Aha! I gotcha!" topic. If I were "Asexual" and had no sexual attraction to anyone of either gender why did I have children? You have to have sex to have children? If you have no desire to have sex that means you have no desire to have children!
Well that answer was simple. I possess a reproductive urge which is separate from my sexual orientation. Just like many ask gay men and women why they have biological children when they are gay, or why a reproductively healthy heterosexual woman will opt to adopt or use IVF. I wanted a child. I had a child. Internal fertilisation is only one way to reproduce and I direct them back to their biology classes on the subjects of internal and external fertilisation in nature.
I always saw myself being a parent. I may never have given a thought, when I was a teen, as to what I would have to do to have one yet I knew I would have children. I will confess to seriously considering being a foster or adoptive parent directly after giving birth. These were all the many detour subjects that I went, and go through, with my never ending coming out.
Sometimes having to revisit previous conversations for more clarification due to a significant lack of knowledge. When we finally got to the different types of asexuals; homo-romantic, hetero-romantic, bi-romantic, pan-romantic, aromantic etc., that sets off new rounds of questions and amazingly actually has more than a few people understanding their own sexuality better.