Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover) controversial video, ‘This Is America’ explores conflicts such as gun violence and racism. Throughout the video, black people are being shot, mimicking massacres that has happened in the past. They are also being chased. At one point in the video, the camera quickly glides past some people with their pones out, which is supposed to represent how humans often film police officers shooting or choking black people in the past. Glover’s character appears to represent how white American culture oppresses black people. Some people think that this video is overkill, however I think it is a good representation of America and how black people are treated. This video really shows the reality that black people face.
Uncomfortable, For Now.
**I posted this blog on March 23rd, and accidentally deleted it while editing** Repost**
March 23rd, 2018
I hate where I live.
Yesterday, as a group, we were told that we would be on lockdown. For three weeks. Three weeks trapped in the house, being punished for the actions of the other women I live with. I feel angry, so incredibly angry. And I want to scream and be juvenile; I feel the strong urge to act out, show them how stupid and senseless this is. But I am trying so very hard to resist this urge. I am reminding myself that what is most important, is my daughter, and her wellbeing. I am going to remind myself that she will not realize how unhappy I am unless I show her. But I am struggling.
I live in a shelter, and I am constantly being judged based on the assumption that I have wound up here by some wrong-doing I have committed. In reality, I came here as a result of domestic violence.
I lived in my own apartment, paid my bills, and had a savings account. And then my relationship changed. Or maybe it didn’t really change, maybe I just woke up one day. My awakening happened so gradually that I rejected each sign that I should leave. And when I tried to look at it, it was only for a moment.
Slowly, the savings account disappeared. My belongings were taken or broken. I was convinced that my friends and family were horrible and no good for me. And I was no good, too. I was promiscuous, crazy, a druggie. I flirted with everyone I spoke with. Said too much, was so embarrassing and stupid. Dramatic. I was so lucky to be loved by him and would never be loved by anyone else. I was so hard to love, I wasn’t too likeable. He was special for putting up with me. And sometimes, I was a good mom, I tried my best, even though I was usually still bad. I was good company sometimes. I believed it all, and never questioned it.
He handed me a mask, and I taped it to my face without any thought. At some point, I forgot it was just a mask. Then I realized I was unhappy, and as I realized one thing was off, it all suddenly came slamming down in front of me.
And then something scary happened. It wasn’t the first time. But it pushed me out, I had been looking for a good excuse to leave anyways, but this was a reason to run. And so I did.
I looked back a lot at first. And now, months later, I feel happy. I’m feel proud. I am beginning to feel like myself again. I still see him, talk to him, I still think of him as my friend, sometimes I think maybe I love him. Sometimes I hate him, so much. But things feel weirdly normal, and I am ok.
I cannot wait to leave this place, this dark angry place. This shelter is hard to be at. But I remember that nothing lasts forever.
I remember staying up late at night, crying, laying next my sleeping baby because I felt so trapped. And I wanted to escape, and get out but I didn’t know how and I didn’t even know if I had the right to feel that way. And then, slowly but suddenly, I did. I set my intention, and I left. And I know that nothing lasts forever, and that is especially true for things that are painful and uncomfortable.
Life is not supposed to be good always.
And it is not bad always, and it won’t be. One day soon, Willow and I will wake up in our own bed, in our own home and we will be happy and comfortable and at peace.
(My beautiful Bear a few months ago around Christmas)
Transgender Awareness Month and True Colors
Here are some events coming up that might interest you if you are in the Hartford or Fairfield County area:
Transgender Day of Remembrance: This honors the lives of our transgender brothers and sisters who have been lost to murder or suicide. 2016 has especially been a very tragic year, with record numbers of transgender victims of murder. This is a must for me, but of course if you are interested in going to the event, it will be held at Triangle Community Center (618 West Ave, Norwalk) this Sunday, November 20th. You will need to RSVP so feel free to do so here: http://www.ctpridecenter.org/tdor_2016.
Also, in Hartford, True Colors will be having a very important community discussion about advocating for yourself and others, in the new regime. The event is on Rainbow Friday, November 25th. RSVP to Melissa@ourtruecolors.org or join the the group any Friday night for free activities at 30 Arbor Street, Suite 201A, Hartford, CT beginning at 6:30.
The Prevalence of Violence and Mental Illness Among LGBT Youth
A recent study by the federal government’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that LGBT Youth on average are more vulnerable to mental illness and violence. Surveys are not 100% accurate but the reality that lies behind these numbers are not surprising.
According to the data, more than 40 percent of these students reported that they had seriously considered suicide, and 29 percent had made attempts to do so in the year before they took the survey. It also shows that LGBT youth are using drugs at a larger rate than their straight peers.
Moreover, the report also implies that in schools and public spaces there is a deafening silence surrounding adolescent sexuality and gay-related victimization that acts as a barrier, preventing these youth from accessing treatment or getting help. Some cases may go untreated and in other cases there is a misunderstanding of the circumstances of mental illness among LGBT youth.
These numbers are basic indicators of some of the everyday events that ensues in the life of an LGBT youth. Being bullied, abused and assaulted at a young age; figuring out your identity; coming to the reality that you have to live with who you are; having to come out to family and friends; coming out and not being accepted; being kicked out of your home; going homeless; the uphill battle to finding a community; finding support and getting to a safe space.
Quite frankly, as a youth there are a plethora of challenges that comes with growing up but its even harder figuring out your sexuality and your identity. You find yourself in an abyss of misery, trying to figure out your place in society and legitimizing who you are.
Social norms have a way of dictating that you are not normal, you have to fight to get married, to get an education and to simply be recognized with basic human rights. And on the far side, as a youth growing up LGBT, you are looking at this as a test that you don’t want to face or at least a reality that you hope will change. But, in your own world, in your home, there is just no sympathy, no guidance and no set path that will help you to live through the daunting effects of trauma and irrecoverable rejection.
One important message from the report comes from the University of Pittsburgh school of Medicine, Dr. Miller, she said that self acceptance can begin at home. What if home was the place to have healthy relationships with relatives and where LGBT youth are able to talk about their sexuality and identity? And what if school was just another place to make friends and make the most of your academic experience without intimidation or fear. What if they didn’t have to come out?
Poor mental health is not human culture and it is definitely not LGBT culture – its the reality forced upon many to believe that they cannot seek help because they should be afraid to speak about who they are or what they are going through. Its the stigma that implies that you are weak or soft if you fall victim to mental illness. And its the reality that manifest itself in societies where LGBT youth are deprived of their basic human rights and dignity.
LGBT youth are vulnerable, they are at risk of violence and victimization, they are homeless, they are suicidal… this is not meant to be a distraction, these heartbreaking numbers are a call for Help!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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