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View Diary: "Just as basketball doesn’t define who I am, neither does being gay." (5 comments)

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  •  The young people of whom you write are not (1+ / 0-)
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    struggling "because of their sexuality." They are struggling because some/many people have no respect for their privacy and presume to pass judgement when they have no business doing so.
    The melting pot is one of the ironies of U.S. culture. People are supposed to fit in, to adjust themselves to be like everyone else. Public education has been geared to "making good Americans." That's not a prescription for diversity.
    An additional irony is that new arrivals, whose speech identifies them as having alien roots, actually get a pass. The system bends over backwards to accommodate them while natives, especially those with regional linguistic ticks, are supposed to be able to accommodate and subordinate themselves. Resistance, for whatever reason, is frowned upon, especially intellectual interests. The culture of obedience trumps all. Athletic talent is an "out," but only because the obedience to the coach is presumed to trump intellectual (self-directed) pursuits.

    In the culture of obedience, independence is only an aspiration. I'm reminded of the conservative ideologue announcing that the God-given rights are reserved for judgement day. In the interim, obedience to the rule of law is in order.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:39:53 AM PDT

    •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

      Certainly homophobia and transphobia make things tougher for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or otherwise non-gender-conforming kids.

      However, there is a difference between malevolence and blindness. All upbringing implicitly assumes that the outcome will be of a certain sort. Every adolescent struggles to handle their sexuality to a certain extent but society provides models for heterosexual children simply because most children do in fact grow up to be heterosexual.

      I can tell you from my own experience that my own sexual orientation was not a problem for me as a kid because I was picked on because of it. I was picked on, but for reasons only obliquely related to the fact that I was gay. I was very introverted, not sexually adventurous and certainly not outspoken about sex (for any number of reasons). The real issue was that I assumed I would grow up, marry a woman, and have a kid or two. In a certain sense I was actually pretty oblivious to the conflict between the attractions I was experiencing and my view of adulthood as I presumed it would be for me.

      •  It's my sense that all kids get picked on (0+ / 0-)

        in school because the adults put up with it. There's a tendency for people who suffer abuse (almost everyone), to console themselves with the notion that "what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger," and then they use that rationalization to "torture" someone else. That's how abusive behavior gets transmitted from generation. Perhaps the unacknowledged social hierarchies in the U.S. promotes a certain disregard for common courtesies.
        Since I grew up as a wandering immigrant and only ever attended public school for one hellish month, I can't speak from my own experience. I do know as a parent of three, who did attend public schools in New York, New Hampshire, California and Florida that they were harassed (mostly because they were studious and unathletic) and as a parent I was never able to figure out what to do about the harassment and teasing. One encounter with the parents of a youth whom I observed pelting the children with stones and pine cones was most unsatisfactory. The father was team doctor for the University football team and absolutely positive that his son would do nothing untoward. The boy eventually graduated from harassing the neighborhood children to burgling the houses until he was eventually arrested for murder and sent off to prison. Which leads me to suggest that perhaps an early intervention might have been in order.
        If we want to prevent murder, we might start with preventing abuse, a lesser included offense. Instead, the law considers physical assault that causes no permanent or visible injury as "simple" and a misdemeanor that has to be witnessed by an agent of law enforcement to be even charged. It would not be necessary to classify abuse by the characteristics of the victim (spouse, elder, child, LGBT, race), if physical violence were considered a more serious infraction, period. I can recall a PAL boxing instructor who wasn't going to be charged with beating up on his girlfriend 'cause he was doing such a fine job with the youth, teaching them how to defend themselves. I didn't buy it and threatened to go public if it didn't get handled more appropriately. So it did. Cops beating up on spouses and children is a recurring problem. Sometimes it gets excused as "letting off steam" or getting rid of frustration. What it evidences is poor supervision and support on the job.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:24:15 PM PDT

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