Thursday, October 21, 2010

It Gets Better

I'll begin by saying, that I've done a little bit of redecorating of the blog. I've reorganized the location of the blog archive, list of followers, etc. But the most significant change is a links section. To the right, below the list of blogs I follow, you will find a list of recommended links. It is small for now, but will of course grow as I have time to add things, and find new links. They will be about anything I feel strongly about, be it social justice or spirituality. Listed alphabetically, the beginning list is as follows:

- The Ancient Order of Druids of America = a Druidry organization providing resources and knowledge in Revival Druidry, which I plan to pursue more once I'm finished with my secular academic pursuits

- LEARN Horse Rescue = a local horse rescue that assists neglected horses

- The Gnostic Druid Fellowship = a Gnostic Druid organization with membership in both the AODA and the Universal Gnostic Church

- The Trevor Project = a resource for youth and young adults who struggle with depression and suicide, geared particularly towards GLBT youth and those who are perceived as such

-Unitarian Universalist Church of the Younger Fellowship = online fellowship for UU young adults ages 18-35

Last night, I attended a workshop centering around Social Work and Spirituality. It addressed the fact that the NASW does not officially have services to assist with spiritual struggles in the sense that they have assistance for substance abuse, mental illness, etc. Yet spiritual beliefs are often a major component of the client's life, and often is a running thread to both the client's strengths and weaknesses. So what is a social worker to do then? It was a great workshop, held by the local Unity minister (Unity is an interesting New Thought belief in itself, which I will likely devote an entry to in the future).

On a final note, there is the current "activist fad". Remember a couple of years ago, when everybody was talking about Darfur? Particularly on social networking sites like Facebook. Likely, the problems in Darfur have made little progress, yet when is the last time it has been discussed? That's the sad consequence of social justice projects becoming mainstream, I guess - eventually, interest dies out, just like with every fad.

However, the current one is one that has affected me in ways that I don't recall having been affected since I became interested in the environmental movement. The environmental movement seems to be doing well becoming more mainstream, while keeping in touch with the original grassroots goals. Hopefully this one will as well.

The fad that I speak of is The Trevor Project. In the last couple of months, there have been a string of well-publicized adolescent suicides due to being bullied for being gay, or even just being "perceived" as gay, due to somehow being different from most other heterosexuals. And that's not even considering the number of bullying-related suicides that likely happen that don't get publicized. Due to this, yesterday was a day designated to raising awareness of bullying and those who struggle with suicidal ideations because of it, particularly within the GLBT community. Supporters were encouraged to wear purple, or change their facebook profile picture to a provided "It Gets Better" logo.

I've been there. I know what it's like to go to sleep, hoping you don't wake up because you just don't want to deal with it. I'm straight(although I'll admit I've had my periods of questioning), but due to being smaller, more underweight, and much less athletic than other boys my age, I was one of those that was at times "perceived to be gay". I was very shy, and through one circumstance or another, most, if not all, of my closest friends would be females. One of my earliest elementary school memories was being in kindergarten, on the school bus, and a 5th grader calling me a "fag". By late middle/early high school, people generally finally started leaving me alone, and I was fortunate in that I was never physically attacked or threatened. But words were plentiful. There was another time an older kid on a bus showed me a picture of a naked baby and asked if I liked it. Or the time, my freshman year of college, I returned from visiting my (at that time primarily female) group of friends and someone had drawn a large penis on the markerboard outside my dorm room(if I recall right, "fag" was written next to it as well). So being persecuted for being "different" and struggling with major self-esteem issues because of it really hits home with me, I guess. I will close with a very powerful video by a Texas senator at his local council meeting. Watch it, and show your support for him, and encourage your own local politicians to be as empathetic as this guy. Then, tell others about it, raise awareness about resourcing to stop bullying. It starts with us, the adults. One at a time, we can make it better.

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