Wednesday, March 24, 2010

DEMON, THY NAME IS HOMOPHOBIA

 I was born to parents who had a set idea of what they wanted in a child. I wasn’t it and this I knew from as early as I can recall.
My first years are dark and mysterious. I just remember an all encompassing darkness. I knew there was something wrong with me. I didn’t know what. I felt my parents shame and especially my father’s disgust.
We had a pet rabbit. One day, my father dragged me and my two brothers out into the garden to view this dead rabbit. It’s eyes were white with some gunge. He told us it was out fault it was dead. I was about 6 and my brothers about 3 and 9.  I knew guilt and shame from a very early age.
I know I craved attention back then. I was afraid. I wanted to be held and soothed. I don’t know exactly what I was afraid of. I loved school, it got me away from my parents. However, one term I turned up at school to find my teacher was a man. My world was destroyed. Gone was my haven.
I do not know why I was so afraid of men. In answer to a question put to me as an adult, I said I had been sexually active as long as I could recall. Yes even at 5 years of age. I didn’t know that I wasn’t and i had been abused. I do not recall much at all about this age. I know I had a best friend. I know I saw him killed in a racist incident. I was told, so I don’t know if it is true, that there was confusion as to who had been killed, me or him. I don’t recall him at all. I don’t recall his death that I witness. I do recall the newspaper’s front page headline: THE BOY WHO DIED OF HATE and his photograph. I am told I never spoke of him and denied even knowing him. When shown the paper and asked who it was, I relied ‘me’. Strangely I do re call that.
I first tried ending my life then. I was 7 thereabouts.
As I got older, I began to understand that what was wrong with me was that I liked girls and I liked girl things. I liked a doll called Tressy whose hair grew. I was fascinated by that. I also loved long hair and would want to brush it.
I still had boy best friends. I was still young enough to get away with not being a proper boy. As I grew older, it became increasingly obvious to me that I was not acceptable. My fathers violence toward me grew. His disgust of me was palpable.
As I got to 11 – 12, I became less and less acceptable to other boys and men. I became very lonely and I was bullied.
I had been accosted by a man in the jungle (I lived in Singapore at the time) and he sexually abused me. I was terrified into silence. I stopped drinking milk as it made me gag.
I kept my silence until something happened to the neighbour’s daughter. I then spoke up.My mother slapped me and told me I was bad and that it was my fault the girl had been attacked.
I had Action Man dolls. I removed all their uniforms and had them replaced with ‘flower power’ clothing, made by the girl next door. My father was a soldier in bomb disposal. I used to hope he wouldn’t come home and my sense of guilt and shame grew.
During this period his violence toward me became dangerous. It is only luck that I am still alive.
The bullying at school became worse the older I got and less like the boy everyone thought I ought to be. I had been very good at needlework and such but of course I stopped doing all that. I tried to be a boy the way they wanted me to be. I failed. I was not tough. At least not in the way they wanted me to be. I know now that I was indeed very tough for how else did I survive?
Religion played a big part in my life too and I grew to to be terribly afraid of God and Hell. I knew I was going to Hell. I knew that the nuns and priests were referring to me when they spoke of the abomination.
I was called pansy and queer and poof. I didn’t know why. I didn’t know I was homosexual. I thought I was called these names because of what those men did to me and because they agreed with my father that I was to be despised.
This is difficult to write, not because I am still suffering or caused pain by it. I am not. I am free of it. No. It’s difficult to write about because so much was going on it isn’t easy to write it in a way that makes sense.
When we first arrived in Australia, within weeks, I had been befriended by a paedophile teacher. He made porn films and photographs of me. In his house he showed them to me and once his son was there and I felt so ashamed. I felt great guilt. I thought it wrong that his son should be involved, Me? Oh I deserved it so I didn’t feel bad for me. It was my fault.
It was also the reason I thought I was bullied and called names. I thought I was the dirty old man in the raincoat I heard people warning children about. I just thought someone had told the children I was having sex with the teacher. I really had no idea. Despite all that was in my life, I was naive.
By 14 I was cutting myself. I didn’t get into it seriously but enough fro the scars to still be visible. I had been using food-specifically starch and sugar-since I was about seven to numb myself. Bingeing was a way of life. I felt bad, I ate. I did not know my feelings nor did I understand them. I know I was scared and I know I hated myself.
Religious fundamentalist had me in their clutches too and their abuse of me just compounded everything else. They told me I was not acceptable to God and unless I repented I would suffer in  Hell for eternity. Again I just thought they knew about what I did with those men. They didn’t of course. They just saw me, a boy who wasn’t a boy in the way they thought was acceptable. They recognized I was homosexual event though I did not.
I didn’t know I was until I was 16. Then it dawned on me. I never hid it. I suffered further abuse.
In my 17th year I started to have contact with psychiatric services. I was suffering from anorexia/bulimia, I was suffering from OCD. I didn’t want to live.
What followed  was two years spent in mental hospitals, being further abused, not being helped, being the victim of homophobia. You see every single shrink and the nursing staff, because of their homophobia, thought my problem was my sexuality! None of them recognized my PTSD. None recognized I was an abuse victim. They couldn’t see it because they saw only a miserable pathetic homosexual who need to either stop being homosexual or to accept. Those who tried to get me to accept it and thought there was nothing wrong with it, were just as homophobic as those who thought I ought to be str8.
The hospitals were hotbeds of abuse. Of course they were.Some staff were nice but in effectual.Others were bullies. Suicide was common place. I saw people being held down and punched and kicked by staff and drugged. I had it happen to me, being  held down while largactil (chlorpromazine) was injected into my arse.
I managed to escape all this physically  but not mentally. I was still lost and very disturbed and was still abusing myself. People say not all abuse victims grow up to be abusers. I thought this was true as I did not sexually molest children. Now I know it isn’t true. I did grow up to be an abuser. I abused me. I have  never met another abuse victim who did not abuse themselves.
I tried and tried and tried to get help. All I kept getting was homophobia. I was also looking for help for the wrong thing. I wanted help to become a good person. I didn’t talk about the abuse because until I was in my 30’s, I didn't  know it was abuse. I thought I was deserving of all I received. After all I was not acceptable to my own parents and their abuse of me just proved I was despicable.
I did, in my late 20’s tell the local vicar and his wife about the teacher who made porn from abusing me. They held a special, healing service for me. When I arrived for this, they all sat there and prayed for ME to be forgiven. I walked out and that was the last I ever had to do with religionists.
At the very root of all the evil I have experienced in life has been the insidiousness of homophobia. There will be people reading this whose own homophobia will be not be recognized by themselves. They will think I am homosexual because I was abused. They will think my ‘feminine’ interests are because I am homosexual. They will ignore the fact the my partner was 1. not abused and 2. is as masculine as they come. Homosexuality has nothing to do with any of that. It just is and some of us are feminine some of us ultra masculine and most of us are just ordinary and you cannot ell us apart from str8’s.! The same feminine/masculine is seen in heterosexual men.
There will also be those reading this who believe I am evil am destined for Hell. I know I am not today. I have been to HELL. A Hell created by the demon of homophobia.
Homophobia resulted in me not getting medical treatment needed. For physical reasons. My present health problems were long ignored because it was put down to stress and depression caused by me being homosexual!!!!!
Homophobia destroyed my family. I have none. I have two homosexual brothers. Homophobia has ad a far worse effect upon them than me. They colluded in my abuse, in my being the scapegoat. They kept quiet or flatly denied the abuse from our parents. I didn’t even know they were homosexual until well into my 20’s. When I was receiving all the flack at home because I was out, my elder brother was living with another man and he kept quiet and let me continue to suffer alone. My younger brother was a religious fundamentalist who continually told me I was evil and possessed my demons. He drove me batty.Literally.I had a breakdown and was convinced I was possessed by demons. I hallucinated. I recall the terror vividly today.
Perhaps my anti religious stance is more clearly understood. I think such ideas are evil and result in suffering for millions. It isn’t harmless. (BTW, how can one repent something that isn’t wrong?) Such dishonesty is at the very root of all this. People say they are against us because their religion tells them to be. It is in fact they who are responsible for holding such prejudice and they choose their religion accordingly. If their religion didn't fit with their mind set, they’d reject it. They believe evil ideas because they don’t see the devil in the detail. They choose their religion according to custom and according to what is already inside them, not the other way around.
Last year, it was reported in the news that a 10 year old had hung himself to end his misery. He has been an effeminate boy and was mercilessly bullied. His school did not protect him and the religionists blamed him for being queer. He was TEN YEARS OLD. He was hounded for being himself, for not being boy enough. He HUNG himself. Have you seen what this mode of dying does a person? I was so distressed. I know he was me. I knew I could have gone his way.
I am very very fortunate. I survived to live a good life. I don’t just exist, I LIVE. I love my life. I love myself and I love others.
The people around me were very fond of saying that people were possessed by demons. The demon of this and of that. Of anything they didn’t like. If such things are real, then I would suggest it is very clear that millions, religious or not, are possessed by the Demon of Homophobia.
I have only here, with my words, scratched the surface of the evil caused by homophobia. I have left much out for want of time and space and concentration. No point really.
I will say this one last thing. The survivors of the Holocaust were compensated. Not that there could be any, really. Homosexuals were not because we deserved it. When I was taught of the Holocaust not just at school but because I knew survivors when I was growing up, and saw what horrors did to people, I NEVER KNEW that gypsies, the disabled and homosexuals were also sent to the death camps. Homosexuals wore a pink star hence the colour being associated with us now. Sadly, those that survived the camps or are descendents hold their own bigotry.
Homophobia is still acceptable worldwide.
Am I angry? You bet! Do I hate? No. I know what hatred does. Do I fear? Yes I do. I fear the religious fundamentalists having their way. And those of the far right and far left. If they the upper hand in terms of government, my life will be over as will the lives of my fellow homosexual men and women. Worse, no child will be safe again and no child will ever be able to be themselves. No child will ever be able to just be and no child will ever be free of abuse from adults.
The fundamentalists, and the religious apologists who pretend they are ‘tolerant’, will create HELL right here on earth.

Ironically, I turned out more a man than my father (and others) ever was.
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