Being True

December 6, 2010 at 4:30 am Leave a comment

In the past few days a growing number of people on Facebook have been changing their profile images to a comic character from their childhood. It is an act of solidarity with those children who have been neglected, traumatized or abused and continue to suffer needlessly. Among those children are those who have had to face the realization that parental love is not always unconditional. Those of us who have queer narratives of coming out to our families are at a higher vulnerability for family rejection than our straight brothers and sisters. It’s unfortunate but true. And so, many of us reach out and find ourselves communities, often online, where we are with kindred spirits, where we learn that we are not alone. Others aren’t so lucky.

In the intimate realm of family dynamics, we may discover that the very people who should protect us, our parents, are our greatest threat. But just because we know who is abusing us – and that person has authority over us – we shouldn’t assume that we deserve to be treated badly. The internet can be a blank slate where we each have a chance to leave our mark, our legacy, whether through vlogs, blogs, podcasts or any one of the many other online tools of expression out there. Hello World. I am here. I am human; see me roar. The internet is one giant wall of graffiti and we are its vagrants. Some of what we write may be ugly and misspelled. But the world deserves to see. If your family cannot be there for you, reach out to a teacher, counsellor or peer, but make sure you don’t shut down. Isolation won’t solve anything. You deserve better.

If you don’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of. I used to think that was true. But I don’t anymore. Some truths aren’t accepted even if they aren’t technically wrong. And the consequences can be devastating. Sometimes simply being true to who you are is threat enough to those too cowardly to allow you your difference. To those families out there who have ever slammed a door shut on their child for being gay, lesbian, trans or simply different, I say this: shame on you. Shame on you for denying your child the happiness that he or she deserves. To those parents who have raised a hand to their child (straight or gay), or who have expressed their rage toward a spouse and made their children witness this I say: shame on you!

Having a child is a privilege, not a right. What you do with that privilege will affect that child and probably that child’s child if they choose to have one and are able to do so. As adults, we have a responsibility to our young. We are there to nurture and guide them and, above all, to create a space for them to be all that they can be. If you aren’t in a position to provide them with the support they need, get the help you need so that you can be there for them. They need you.

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Entry filed under: Mental Health, Sexuality, Social Change, Transgender. Tags: .

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