Treatment and the Day of Silence

I am not talking about medical treatment today. I am talking about the treatment that humans offer one another. This is the main reason I do not allow myself to cuss. I want to stop myself from hurting someone without thinking, and that is the most common use for curse words.

I have written a bit about my bullying experiences before, but today I want to talk with you about the Day of Silence and why I am taking part. I keep trying to fit all of this information on a double sided business card. I am preparing, my white board is ready, I am considering which form of tape to put over my lips. I am taping them closed on Friday, so that I do not accidentally babble. It happens. I think I am quiet and I have been talking for an hour about nonsense.

The Day of Silence, in my eyes, is an opportunity to educate those who have various privileges on the oppression that they do not see. I am an advocate for so many and I am advocating with my silence for any without a voice. The main focus is GBLT relations, but, I am adding to my silence the silence of those with a disability that takes their voice, those who are not heard when they speak out about abuse, and those who are not seen. I am taking part in the day of silence, and I call for you to do the same.

We who can speak out, especially with grace and eloquence, have a duty to protect those who have no voice. The world exists today where people who are marginalized are still being punished. A young man hung himself due to bullying. I do not use the word excessive before bullying as many do, because any bullying is excessive. If you excuse smaller amounts of bullying with that one word, you excuse it all.

If you read most of the blogs in my Blogroll, then you are most likely already aware of the Day of Silence. You are likely aware of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoove hanging himself at the age of 11. You might have seen his picture. If not. look into the face of battered innocence.

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoove age 11. He is wearing a football uniform, holding a helmet and smiling.

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoove age 11. He is wearing a football uniform, holding a helmet and smiling.

The antibullying action taken to protect this child was to force him to eat lunch with his abuser. That is as effective as the silence I faced when I was Burned at the Stake. His family is supporting the Day of Silence, as he was going to turn 12 this Friday. The Day of Silence is April 17th.

I look back at my life and see how close I came to suicide as well. I wanted to die so often, but I wasn’t able to make myself or someone stopped me. No one considered the ramifications for this boy. His death is criminal. Suicide? In a way it is murder. Every child who ridiculed him is guilty. They may be children but I honestly hope that they feel the guilt, that it eats at them enough to prevent the next act of bullying. I doubt it. The excuse that Children Are Cruel is not acceptable. No, children are not cruel. They are innocent. They are taught cruelty by the adults in their lives.

We are responsible. If you would not ordinarily take part in a protest, consider it as a way to honor every child who has been bullied because of skin color, hair color, eye color, behavioral difference, able bodied differences, or even for a difference that cannot be listed here. If you were bullied. Take part. If you bullied someone when you were a child. Take part.

This is a call to action. After I get my business cards ready, I will post the file here so you can download and print the minifliers. You can also find information on the day of silence website, they have resources and tools.

This is a way to advocate for yourself, for your children, for the children of the future, and for who you used to be. Stand up, stay silence, and be proud of it. If you are against the human rights of others, you probably aren’t reading this blog.

The Day of Silence Website: http://www.dayofsilence.org/

One persons Courage…

You hear about it in the news, inspirational articles, and in the whispers of people discussing someone’s life. Sometimes you hear it to your face. “You are so courageous.” I have been facing my fears lately and there has been some courage yet, most of what people tell me is courage is merely a will to live. Is the Will to Live what makes us couragous? Does this invalidate courage?

When I hear about someone being courageous, brave, or something along that line the picture in my mind is a bit gender normative and sexist. It’s a brave soldier in a black and white movie with bombs exploding behind him rescuing the little woman and running away from gunfire without breaking a sweat. I am well aware this is a very skewed image that remains in my mind. I use this image to invalidate my own experience often.

How can I be courageous? I just didn’t give up. I didn’t notice it until tonight. Giving the speech about my Thirty Seconds, I was reminded it is courageous to save a life. I found myself afraid of those words. Why fear courage? I think it is the responsibility to be something more than human that the media shows us courage is. Batman is couragous. He’s a super hero. I am just a small and broken woman at the end of her endurance trying to make it through every day.

I am trying to teach myself what courage can be, beyond the black and white John Wayne dreams. I am trying to teach myself that courage is simply living. Transgendered people who have the courage to go through the change, to live in the sex that fits their minds and not their bodies are courageous because it is their will to live. They can die for being who they are.

How terrifying it must be to have to pee in public. How terrifying it must be to go clothes shopping, to go out and feel that fear… what if someone figures out who they are and in their ridiculous hatred they attack? That is courage. It is also horribly sad that we live in a world where it is not a hate crime to attack a trans individual. I didn’t know that until recently, I thought that it was a hate crime. It should be. Living without a legal saftey net, living without basic human respect, and living without the ability to be accepted by any other minority (except for some of us who actually do care) takes courage. There are trans persons who are unable to live as they wish, because it is too dangerous.

It takes courage to live at all. It takes courage for the college student to go to her late night class, because she hears all the warnings about rape. It takes courage for the woman who was date raped to speak up, risking victim blaming and slut shaming. It takes courage for the teen mother to take pride in being a mother, bucking against the stereotypes about teen mothers. It takes courage for the disabled man to go up a flight of stairs on his hands and knees to see if his able bodied friends and family are alright after hearing a gunshot. He couldn’t escape if there was a killer. That is courage.

To revile the word courage is to revile the act of living. It takes courage for our students to go to school. We live in a world where the terror of school shootings is very real, where the hate that a disabled student feels can destroy their minds and their souls. We live in a world where there is no safe haven. It takes courage to raise a child with disabilities and to love them. It takes courage to admit that you are disabled.

It takes courage to say that you do not want to see a movie because it is full of sexism. It takes courage to be a Womanist. It takes courage to be a Feminist. It takes courage to be an advocate. It takes courage to write. It takes courage to cry. It takes courage to go out, knowing discrimination is waiting for you. It takes courage to date a person who is of another color. It takes courage to love someone who is of the same sex.

In a world as full of toxic messages, it is cowardly to defame courage. To hold the power to inspire one person is enough to change the world. To inspire countless thousands? That is a gift unparalleled. Forgive me for feeling that I was unworthy of the word courage.

I have been courageous. I am courageous to write about my time as a Victim. I am courageous to have ideas and to share them. I am courageous to start a business during a Depression.

You are courageous too. I am sure you can list ways you are courageous. I would like the comments on this post to be dedicated to your courage. What have you done that is courageous today?

Today my act of courage is to start planning the wedding ceremony for two young women in love. My acts of courage in life will include officiating their wedding ceremony. I do this with pride, and to honor their love and the courage it takes to stand up and proudly say, “I am Gay, I am Pagan, and I am in Love!”

Thank you for your life. Thank you for your courage.

Racism and Comics

I see it everywhere now, White Privilege. Comic books are extremely guilty of demonizing women and people of color. The Golden Age of Comics, overlapping the Second World War, had a bevy of white heroes. I cannot name any non white heroes off the top of my head, and the only female for those early years is of course the example of perfection and bondage, Wonder Woman.

I picked up a title without seeing the cover, I do this often, and I thought I had picked up another chapter of the Captain Marvel series with DC comics. Instead, I had picked up the Blue Marvel with Marvel comics. This short series deals with Jim Crow laws, racism, and the fears of white people. It does not justify for them, and although there are serious flaws, denials of privilege are actually addressed.

The Legend of the Blue Marvel introduces a super hero who uses Anti-Matter as the base of his power source, he is shadowed with a white man who was his friend, and becomes insane after gaining the same power, he wants equality so badly and cannot handle or cope with the challenges he sees his friend face. He decides genocide is the answer.

Genocide and Eugenics are a common theme in Marvel comics, the Xmen race allegory is even used just as that, with a pointed tip stabbing into the reader’s mind. The art is also beautiful. The Demonization of characters is given with an almost heavy hand to the white people, yet only as much as was with in the realm of reality. The Government commits shadowy acts, crimes against the Blue Marvel, out of fear of his skin color.

The comic spans time from the Sixties up until our current time, it references cultural change, and leaves a gaping awareness too in the change that is still needed. I was surprised with this title, and finished the five chapter series rapidly. The ending too leaves room for the Blue Marvel to either obtain his own Book or to return.

Rarely are guest characters in comics so well rounded, so human, and yet so superbly granted power. The most powerful man in the Marvel Verse is a man who was not born white. I see this as a huge change. Comic books are almost 100 years old, and although they have been wonderful additions to my life courtesy of my Sensei, there has been a lack in them.

I noticed it as a child, and even asked my Sensei why the men who looked kind of like him were always scary in the stories. He explained to me the concept of hate in a new way. “Sometimes, Little Lotus, people are afraid of difference. Difference is not bad, and hating it is. You must fight against being taught that I am bad because my eyes do not appear the same as yours. The world is a very bad place, but it is harder for those not born with white skin.”

Years later, I still grapple with the concepts that he taught me. I found out his name today. My mother was hospitalized for Pnumonia, and she will be fine, but going to visit her we began to talk. None of the topics were light, however, I learned that my Sensei’s name was Ben Chang. A part of me mourns that his name is Americanized, yet, I also understand the quest for acceptance in a country that is boiling with racism.

Comic books, just as the real world, have a long way to go. Change always needed, yet, now they are trying. The writers of The Blue Marvel Miniseries, Kevin Grevioux, has written many things I have read. I enjoyed Underworld, which too inspected race relations. He is an actor, and has even worked as a stunt man. I would expect that his personal relationship with prejudice, something he was born into by not being given white privilege, has inspired some of his amazing writing.

I am not certain how old the comic is, my copy has no dates on it, but it is also altered to help me surmount my visual disability. I will write more about that soon. Find a copy. I hope that the people at Marvel Comics put this out as a Trade Paperback soon. This creation is one of the best that has come under their umbrella since the inception of the company. Who knows, maybe they will  steal some of my loyalty from DC if they keep learning, educating, and of course the undeniable quality.

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