Friday, September 17, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... Supporting Our Youth

Joseph Couture is a Canadian based Author and Freelance Journalist. Joseph's blogsite can be found here: [ Link ]

By Joseph Couture (London, Ontario) SEPT 17 | It is truly hard to comprehend how much damage homophobia in our society does to an individual.  But if you want to see just the tip of the iceberg, you need look no further than the effects it is having on our young people.
Not long ago I was out at the local gay bar and I commented to an acquaintance about the obvious fact that so many of the youth were on drugs.  They were tweaked out on any number of the latest designer drugs that are so popular today. By the end of the night, those who weren’t puking in the bathroom were crawling out of the place with the rest of their friends and heading to some after hours coke party. 
What is equally apparent and ten times more insidious is the fact that many individuals who visit gay sex clubs are doing so under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The consequence of this is that they often exercise poor judgement in terms of their safer sex practises or even their choice of partners.
A friend of mine, also an activist said to me recently, “For a lot of these guys, the only way they can allow themselves to have gay sex is if they are so drugged out they free themselves of all inhibitions.”  He then added that, “As a further consequence of that they drop their sensibilities when it comes to using condoms and end up throwing all caution and good judgement out the window.”
I've seen it too.  The men who will only show up at a gay bar or bathhouse when they are stoned or drunk because their fear and guilt eats away at them most of the time and then they end up doing things they regret even more.  This only feeds their shame and guilt and leads to a downward spiral.
It certainly looks like this is all a function of the hateful messages that these kids receive at a young age.  They grow up believing they are someone damaged, diseased or disgraceful.  The only way they can cope is to medicate the pain with numbing drugs and alcohol.  But it is merely a temporary measure that really only makes things worse in the long run.
I think part of what needs to be done is that gay leaders and activists need to redouble their efforts at getting positive messages to young persons.  In our push for gay marriage and the right to serve in the military, we sometimes forget that there are other equally important issues facing our community.
However, to be fair, work aimed at young people is amongst the most difficult and controversial.  Activists who try to help kids are inevitably accused of trying to poison their minds and recruiting them to a gay lifestyle by conservative zealots.  Ironically, those who claim to want to protect the young from such “harmful” messages about homosexuality are actually the ones doing the harm.
While perhaps the most difficult, it is also the most important work that needs to be done.  Because if we lose these kids to the toxins of hate at a young age, they are lost forever and it is they who will suffer.  We can’t turn our backs on them. Not when they need us most.


Trab said...

Good points, but where do you aim your help? The young kids? If you have a garden full of nice young shoots, and there is an infestation in the garden, do you give more fertilizers, or do you do some pest control?

The problem stems from the religious nutjobs, and is fostered by their ignorance. However, the blame doesn't stop there, because their ignorance is deliberately caused by sanctimonious preaching by Big Religion, which encourages nothing remotely resembling 'thinking', requiring only blind following in order to 'be saved'.

As long as religion gets advantages like special rights, tax free status, and even tacit protection from criminal acts, the rest of us are disadvantaged to the point of near helplessness.

Desmond Rutherford said...

It's worse, we teeter on the brink of being enslaved by the pharisees. We must stand firm against religious bigotry wherever it raises its ugly head.