I don’t know how well this blog is going to go, I always drink a cup of tea while I write and unfortunately throw the majority of said cup of tea over myself before writing began. So I am writing with a now soggy lap, and very little tea. In addition to this, this blog isn’t about my depression, it is in fact about something I believe in quite strongly which is how society should be much more open with people about certain aspects of society. The video that inspired me to write this is the video “Children react to gay marriage”, but I want to take it further than gay marriage.
I have included the link to the video at the bottom of the blog and you may want to watch it first, but it is not essential
The general idea of the video is that children are shown 2 clips, one of a man proposing to a man and one of a women proposing to a women and then questioned about it. The children are generally positive and pro gay marriage. There are two that are especially interesting, one is a young boy who is strongly against gay marriage and one is a young girl who has never heard of the concept of homosexuality before. The young boy is very against the concept and says “Gay is wrong” but when asked why he thinks this, he can’t answer. The young girl is interesting because of how quickly she changes from being surprised by the idea, to completely accepting of it. This captures the main point I want to convey in this blog, that stigma is not a naturally occurring phenomena, it is instead something man made. The reason I say all of this is that I believe children shouldn’t be kept in the dark about homosexuality or other issues. If a child is old enough to be taught about the concept of love (just to clarify I mean pure, child friendly love, not sex) they should not only be taught about love between opposite genders but also love between the same gender. At the end of the day, the emotion felt between a same sex couple, is the same emotion that is felt between a couple of the opposite sex and by making children aware of the love between heterosexuals at a different time than making them aware of the love between homosexuals, we encourage the belief that they are different from each other, which just isn’t true, love is love.
In addition to this I believe making children aware of homosexuality from a younger age may have a knock on effect that makes the process of “coming out” easier for them. The reason I say this is because I believe that if homosexuality is shown to be a viable and accepted concept, then when the time comes for a person to come to terms with their sexuality, it may be easier for them to accept if they have always been told that there is nothing wrong with it. I’m not suggesting that coming out will be made easy by this, it is still a confusing and scary time, but if we try to remove any slight suggestion from the persons mind that homosexuality is wrong, then it should make it slightly less scary, and in my mind the easiest way to do this is to make children aware of the concept. Just think of it this way, if a gay couple attended a party with young children, they and the other guests will usually refer to them as just “friends”, but if an opposite sex couple was at the same party they would be described as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”. The problem with this is that when those children grow up and realise that the people described as “friends” where in fact a couple, they will naturally wonder why they felt it had be hidden and it is possible that they will reach the conclusion it was hidden because it must be wrong. I believe in this situation it should never have been hidden, if they were open and the young children where told that they were a couple, it would give them the idea that it’s not something that needs be hidden and is something that is/should be accepted.
Finally I just wanted to go on a slight tangent. I wanted to talk about P!nk’s music video for the song “Perfect”. This isn’t about homosexuality, but this video received a lot of controversy because it depicted a girl self harming. I want to clarify now that I am not suggesting children be shown images of self harm at all. What I am suggesting is that it should not be tabboo. Unfortunately self-harm happens, and it is something which very few people actually seek help for. It is hard to say why people don’t, as there can be a multitude of reasons, however one of them is sometimes that people think it is wrong and are ashamed. This thought process is a very damaging way for sufferers to think as it hinders them getting help, and I’m not saying showing images of self harm helps because I am aware it may act as a trigger, what I am saying is that hiding it and saying it is inappropriate definitely suggests that it is wrong and give support to the incorrect view that people should be ashamed of it. At the end of the day, self harm is a coping mechanism. It is a damaging coping mechanism, and something people can rarely get over on their own, which is why it is so important to create the image that it is something that can be discussed without shame. However this must be done without trivialising the issue. In contrast to this Urban Outfitters have released a shirt that says “eat less” on it and one that says “depression”. I need to clarify that this is not a case of bringing issues such as depression and eating disorders into main stream culture and showing it as acceptable, its a case of trivialising the matter and is insensitive to sufferers of either condition as it implies it is not a big issue. I want to draw attention to the hypocrisy, P!nks video showed self harm as an issue, it told the story of a girl struggling and shows her overcoming it, and this was deemed inappropriate by some. However urban outfitters shirts that trivialise mental health issues are deemed acceptable. In my mind the only difference between these two is that one offers a understanding view and hope and the other offers neither, but it’s the latter that is accepted.
Thank you for reading 🙂 I hope this made sense. Steven