Putting the Hate on the Other Foot: A Deeper Look into the Homosexual Experience
Changing the Perspective
Scrolling down my Facebook feed, I came across a post that I was not expecting to see on an early Thursday morning. Having been fleshed out by the countless adorably dressed baby and 'Get Free Stuff' posts, I was curious to see why this post stood out from the rest. This post was a video entitled "Love is All You Need". At first, I assumed this to be a romantic proposal video that would lead to tears of jealousy to fall from my face. After clicking on the link, I soon realized that this video was far from my assumption but that tears would indeed be an end result.
"Love is All You Need" by Kim Rocco Shields is a short film which focuses on societal role reversal; marking Homosexuality as the norm and Heterosexuality as a sin. This film focuses on the highly controversial issue of human and equal rights in the LGBTQ Community and also raises awareness to the obstacles that this community faces. "Love is All You Need" completely switches the gender norms of having a two-parent household, extra-curricular activities, fashion choices, and occupations. What is important about this short film is that it is primarily centered around a child and their experiences. Homosexuality, like Heterosexuality, is explored greatly in grade school when hormones start to kick in. The downfall of that is homosexual behaviors in children are not accepted like heterosexual behaviors, causing them to be made fun of and treated as outcasts.
I began watching "Love is All You Need" and no more than five minutes into it, I began to cry. The main character, Ashley, realized her attraction to a male character and immediately felt dirty. Having been raised in a strictly catholic household, Ashley was taught to only have romantic feelings for other women. Throughout the short film, Ashley gets ridiculed for her romantic feelings for a male classmate by schoolmates and her family, which results in a tragic ending.
Please watch the 20-minute film "Love is All You Need" below and take in to account how you would feel if the tables were turned.
It only takes one experience to turn sympathy into empathy.
Love is All You Need
Did "Love is All You Need" Give You A Better Understanding of What the Homosexual Community Experiences?
Our Sad Reality
Alexander Betts Jr., a 16 year old California teen who attempted suicide on July 27th, 2013 and died in the hospital shortly after, was outed by his classmates. Alexander was made fun of not only for being gay, but for having a cleft lip and for being mixed-raced. As if the trauma of losing a child to bullying wasn't harsh enough Alexander's mother, Sheryl Moore, attempted to donate her son's organs as he requested six-months prior to his death. Ms. Moore was shocked to learn in the Summer of 2014 that her son's eyes were rejected because they came from a 'gay boy'. “My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn't understand why my son’s eyes couldn't be donated just because he was gay (The Washington Post).” The Food and Drug Administration’s guidance for donor eligibility states that "men who have had sex with men in the past five years should be ruled as ineligible for donating certain tissues, labeling their behavior a risk factor.” The "risk factor" that is being referred to stems from the start of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1970s. Though research has shown us that gay men are not responsible for the AIDS outbreak across the world, stigmas such as those remain perceptible.
Alexander's tragic story is not unlike many others.
Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year old self-proclaimed activist for anti-bullying made the below video as part of the It Gets Better project, a campaign that was started in September 2010 by Dan Savage and Terry Miller. The It Gets Better project was created to provide hope and support to bullied teenagers across the world. As you will hear Jamey say in his video, “All you have to do is hold your head up and you’ll go far...Just love yourself and you’re set… It gets better.”
Unfortunately, the struggles of having to experience gay bashing and bullying on a recurring basis became unbearable for Jamey, who was found dead by his sister in September 2011, less than a year after posting his video. Jamey received a monstrous amount of backlash after posting his It Gets Better video. Comments such as, "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it : ) It would make everyone WAY more happier! " were left on Jamey's social media profiles.
For a child who felt so passionately about fighting the hatred to succumb to nasty taunts from his peers shows us that we are only human; we all have our limits."Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break," stated Dan Savage, co-founder of It Gets Better.
Alexander and Jamey are just two of way too many cases of homosexual youth suicide. A reported 1 in 5 homosexual youth commit suicide due to bullying. Sadly, that rate is becoming higher as intolerance continues to grow.
It Gets Better, I Promise!
3 Ways to Stay in the Loop with Your Child's Internet Life
- Keep computers in the living room.
- Go over your child’s friends and/or followers list on social media. Ask them what their relationship with each person is. Reassure them that they are not in trouble.
- Have a clear, supportive discussion about Cyber-Bullying.
To prevent your child from being cyber-bullied or from cyber-bullying, keep the lines of communication open. You'll never know if you never ask.
Is Empathy Obtainable?
A question I continue to ask myself when I hear about human beings not following the 'Golden Rule' of treating others how you wish to be treated is, "Do these people just not care about anyone else but themselves?" Piaget forewarned us that children of a certain age would experience Egocentrism; but at what age does that phase end? If ignorance stems from fear, how do we rid ourselves of fear? What are we even afraid of?
To prevent the skyrocketing rate of children getting bullied to grow any higher, we must start putting ourselves in the shoes of others. This is not to say that homosexual children are the only children getting bullied in school or at home. We must pay attention to all of the signs in all children to hopefully prevent them from taking their own lives or others'.
This issue is way too broad to be discussed in a single article, so I prompt you all to continue the discussion with your friends and families.
September 8-13 is World Bullying & Suicide Prevention Week!
September 8th-13th is World Bullying & Suicide Prevention week, which was created to promote awareness for mental health. To celebrate or show support for the cause, wear purple throughout the week. The Purple Ribbon shows support for the LGBTQ Community, prevention of hate-crime, bullying and suicide prevention. September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day, which is a single day within the week that is centered around remembering those who have taken their lives and to continue to promote awareness. Over 3,000 people nationwide commit suicide on a daily basis. Let's spread the word and do our best, as one society, to bring that number down.
On September 10th of every year, show support to your fellow man. Let's move towards a brighter, happier future...together.
Place yourself in someone else's shoes.