When I was in high school, and I began taking baby steps in the direction of becoming a knowledgeable Queer person. I was the one person in school that followed every state’s marriage laws and became angry because I could not get married in every single spot in America.
It’s funny now (but actually really not funny) because marriage is still something very close to my heart and personal values. I have wanted to get married for as long as I could remember. As I continue to learn more about what marriage actually means in terms of traditions, and the horrible misogynistic symbols that are in traditional marriages, I feel like it is necessary to drop the want to have that traditional marriage. But wearing a big dress and having a ceremony committing myself to the one I love has always been a dream…a personal dream.
However, it should not, by any means, be the most important Queer issue in the world. It was not until I got to college that I realized how irrelevant Queer marriages would be if Queer people were not even alive to experience marriage.
LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%). (Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless, June 2009)
It was shocking to me the first time I encountered statistics like these, but it was not necessarily surprising. The horrible part is that I know many people including myself and some of my closest friends who could have fallen into this statistic. There is a pressure to be “normal” in adolescence, and brave Queer youth don’t fit into a norm. Not fitting into what is socialized norms can create so much crap, especially with youth.
Bullying is more alive in our society because of the pressures of fitting in society. This is NOT okay. This bullying can lead to mental health issues among these youth and can lead to irreversible consequences.
One of the most important things I have learned in college is the Cycle of Socialization. The Cycle describes how individuals are born into the world having labels put on them already, and how people learn and teach these norms in an infinite circle. First, when you are born, a color is attached to your gentiles and then BOOM! You are set for the rest of your life to have certain expectations in society. These stereotypes are taught to you by people you love and care for most, and then reinforced by closer, but outside sources like school. Then, you grow up, potentially have children or teach youth and then the cycle continues. Then, there is a path that discourses from that cycle, which is what I am aiming to do.
I have a personal dream (other than marriage) to help teach this cycle of socialization and encourage more people to take the path that breaks the cycle.