As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a United States citizen, I am well acquainted with the various acts of oppression and attacks we face as an overall community in this country. It is never easy for any person to deal with any kind of oppression, regardless of the circumstances, but it is very evident that there are some demographics of people who face much more severe forms of oppression than others. There are various different countries and cultures that heavily demonize and oppress queer people, and in that respect I am considerably lucky.
Ellen Page and her best friend Ian Daniel, set out to investigate queer culture across the globe, visiting countries like Japan, Brazil, and Jamaica. In this documentary series, they explore how queerness is treated in each country, analyzing both the celebration of LGBT pride and the unfortunate discrimination many queer people face.
In their most recent episode, the duo travelled to Jamaica, a country that actively condemns homosexuality. On a daily basis, queer people are kicked out of their homes, shunned by their communities, verbally and physically attacked, and even killed. Ellen and Ian interviewed a small group of LGBT individuals who blatantly reveal the harsh reality of what it means to be a queer person in Jamaica. The group goes on to discuss how they were all abandoned by their families because of who they are and currently remain homeless, poor, and constantly aware of the threat of danger they face every day. It was heartbreaking to hear about the conditions in which LGBT Jamaicans live and how members of their own community continually attack and demonize them. However, the reasoning or justification of this aggressive homophobia seems to stem partly from religion.The episode examines the influence the church has on homophobia, and how scripture guides mainstream principles throughout the country. Various interviewees claimed that homosexuality is both a mental disorder and a sin. It is not accepted, or tolerated at any level. Gay Jamaicans do not have the same freedoms that many other LGBT individuals have across the globe. This is not to say that there is no hope. The queer people interviewed were very positive about the future, although the main goal of many is to simply stay alive.
Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, it is important for anyone to become aware of the various adversities LGBT people face all over the world. We are all humans, after all, and we should be informed of the injustices that many of our fellow humans face. Even simply being informed is a step in the right direction, and I encourage everyone to at least watch one episode. I have thoroughly enjoyed the show thus far and look forward to hearing about how queer culture is treated and maintained in the various other countries Ellen and Ian visit.
And sometimes it still hurts.
Sometimes I still feel the lingering sting of it all,
a memory long gone, slowly fading, but still within sight.
And sometimes I have nightmares about you
that give me shivers and cold sweats,
the image of your screaming face still imprinted in my mind.
But you were poison oak and my skin was much too fragile
to make it out unscathed.
And sometimes I can still feel the bruises you left behind,
jamming my fingers into them,
as they weep like tiny stab wounds.
And I am left here,
still trying to wipe your name from my tongue,
and oh how bitter it tastes.
I am a feminist in the truest form. I am relatively independent, and I fully support equality between men and women. Yes, I said equality. Despite the fact that women are superior to men in the sense that they can hold a full-time job, raise kids, clean the house, and cook for their families, I don’t necessarily think it’s right to act in such a way(all the time). I came across a blog post a little while ago in which a self-proclaimed feminist thought it was insulting for a man to hold a door open for her. She was offended because she thought that she was thoroughly capable of holding the door open for herself. This blew my mind. Men do not have to hold the door open for women. They do it out of respect, not to assume their “dominant position” of male authority. Women are perfectly capable of doing this for themselves, but that is besides the point. This was just one among many other things she was upset about.
I honestly believe so many “feminists” are missing the point. Men are nice to other men, men are nice to women, women are nice to other women, and even sometimes women are nice to men. That’s all it is. People like to be nice to each other sometimes, even if they don’t know each other. We live in such a socially deficient world, you’d think having a man hold the door open for you would be a refreshing surprise. If you think such a simple act is another way to make women feel inferior, then you have already proven yourself to be inferior all on your own.
I’m a feminist, though, right?
Sleeping with a bunch of men and dating with a “men’s mentality” doesn’t make you a feminist. Always acting offended when someone of the opposite sex tries to help you is not being a feminist. Degrading other women for choosing to take their husband’s last names and for choosing to live the domestic lifestyle is not being a feminist. It just makes you a jerk. Sorry. Haven’t you ever heard of being the better example?
The whole point of feminism is to rise above and join the pursuit of equality. However, that does not require you to parade around NYC with your top off and your boobs swaying in the wind. How is that having respect for your body? We live in a world in which breasts are over sexualised. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. And besides, that doesn’t help the cause. Men do not take you seriously that way. And isn’t the point to be taken seriously? We’ve been beating this around the bush for so long now. Everyone talks about feminism and equality, but nothing actually happens. I’m sure everyone has heard about women being allowed to hold authoritative positions in the military. While that is a great step in the right direction, women are still being raped and molested in the military. In this country. They actually have to fear sexual violation while they are serving their country. That is not okay. Rape is not okay. So while you’re going about your “feminist”ways, worrying about all the evil men, who try to do favors for you, just know that there are women out their who are actually being violated and stripped of their rights to feel safe and secure.
There is a phrase that is so common and so often said, that it is sometimes hard to understand the actual meaning. You may have read it in your high school yearbook or have heard it said from parting friends, but the phrase remains the same, “Never change.” I have always wondered why people say this, why they ask you to never change when such a task is highly impossible. Change is and will always be inevitable. It is a part of our human nature. If we didn’t change, there would be something wrong with us. See, every moment of our lives is new; it is something that we have never experienced before. While some situations may be shockingly similar, no two moments can ever actually be the same. We are constantly evolving, physically and mentally. Our opinion on something one week can be very different the next week. We fall in and out of love. We change careers and majors. We focus all our time and effort on certain things only to give it all up for one person. The wonderful thing about humans is that we are so highly unpredictable. We change all the time. That is what makes us who we are. We are versatile, developing creatures. It is only at death that we ever stop. Even then we change to a point; we decompose and decay. We change.
So when someone tells you to never change, I can only assume that in that particular moment, they are so fond of who you are that they will always remember you as they last saw you. Their image of you will never change.