Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Role Models... Queer leaders!
Having a role model, or someone you can look up to is probably one of the most important aspects to growing up and understanding a bigger sense of this big ol world. It helps to give you a sense of knowing that you can become something, and that your life can truly be amazing.
Growing up as a queer, gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual kid is tough. Its tough to understand what the hell is going on in your own head, let alone in your own body, and its a whole lot tougher when you think you are the only one feeling the way you do. Feeling awkward, scared, like a disappointment, 'wrong' and praying to God every night and day to make you 'normal' makes it freaking tough people.
And having a role model(s) to look up to can so easily help ease that burden.
I grew up as a confused gay boy in a traditional South African family, where religion played a heavy formative role on my life and my parent's conservative attitudes shaped me into the person that I am today. I clearly remember growing up feeling 'different' and knowing that I was not how I was supposed to be, according to my society, in terms of what we considered 'normal'. I would of course come to realise later in life, that what was considered 'normal' was pretty much a very isolated and small world, and that I was indeed actually pretty fucking normal and that I was exactly who I was meant to be.
I did however, grow up without any real gay role models. I did not have anyone specific enough for me to look up to, and understand that it was ok to be a gay man, and that life went on, and it was fabulous. I did in some ways have a family member who was also gay and I would later on in my teens realise would play a role in being a role model, but that experience was also fraught with issues.
As I have grown into an adult gay man, who pretty much leads a pretty fabulous life, filled with much love, happiness, and laughter, I now realise that it is so fundamentally important that young LGBT youth get a message of hope and happiness! It is something that has been consuming my mind, heart and soul and my need to be a role model grows every day.
A while back in the US, a number of young gay teens killed themselves. Bullying, harassment, homophobia and hatred led them to taking their own lives. It was and is a sad indictment on modern society and culture to know that these beautiful young gay men thought it better to put a gun to their heads, a rope around their necks, or a mouthful of pills to end it all.
The It Gets Better campaign www.itgetsbetter.org was created by Dan Savage and Terry Miller following these sad events to help create role models and a message of hope to any confused, scared LGBT youth out there, to know that it would indeed get better. I am intensely passionate and proud of this campaign and will be blogging on it more in the weeks to come.
Other stories and messages out there also inspire me and there are some very special individuals out there whose messages and stories serve as inspiration for all, and who deserve to be called role models.
One such message and individual is from a US politician named Joel Burns.
Please watch the below video which explains his message and story.
I would like to be a voice like this.
I would like to be a role model.
I will save a life! Will you also make a difference?
I want the tragic loss of Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Justin Aaberg, Seth Walsh and so many others to never happen again. Life is beautiful and worth living. And we need to make that message LOUD and CLEAR.