If you buy gay-interest magazines, surf gay news sites, or are part of any of the gay community websites then you’ve probably heard everything you want to hear about ‘gay rights’, ‘queer politics’ and the ‘pink pound’. Truth is, you may well be sick of being spoken down to by the older queer leaders of our so-called community; does anyone have anything of substance to say anymore?
Homophobia, ignorant parents, disgusted friends, hate crimes, HIV, fashion, sex and bed-hopping dating; we’ve heard it all before, and everyone knows that the latest generations of LGBT+ people are bored of the same old messages, while older people are just busy getting on with life, without buying into all the latest social trends and must-have bedroom accoutrements.
I won’t be able to even mention Self-Injury Awareness Day without many of you clicking away, thoughts of Emo and Goth kids leading you to dismiss self-injury as a melodramatic phase of wannabe new-romantics. Kids who haven’t read Silvia Plath but intuitively understand pathos and want the chemical romance of it all.
Well hold that mouse hand, and take time to accept that there’s a preponderance of self-injurious behaviour among gay people, to such an extent that it outstrips emo culture.
So why is it we’re keen to dismiss self-injury, but we’ll jump up and down and wave our rainbow flags at the mention of homophobia?
The fact is, it can be pretty shitty growing up with no local role-models, and only Shameless on television to show you what gay boys do. GaydarGirls have even fewer models; where has Rhona Cameron gone and did we ever like her anyway? Bring back Sandy Toksvig is what I say…
On top of all the usual pressures, money, grants, social pressure, the drugs, the alcohol, the violence, crime and complete misunderstanding of the educational system, you half-fancy your best mate and people are wondering why you never get off with anyone at parties. If you are bi, people assume you just can’t make up your mind or are trying to fit in everywhere, when in fact you don’t fit in anywhere and both your male and female mates are scared you might fancy them. Is it any wonder that self-injury is something that gay people learn to rely on in times of worry and self-doubt?
Self-Injury Awareness Day is on the 1st of March, and I’m not asking you to care; I’m just saying that if you know someone who might be relying on self-injury, please take them seriously as people; they’re coping as best they can. Let them know they’re not alone, and that there are organisations that can help and inspire.
You could send them to LifeSIGNS for instance; not many people know this, but LifeSIGNS has been gay run since its founding in 2002.
Wedge and Jules,
The LifeSIGNS Voluntary Organisation
Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support
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