Real Relationship Advice
Everybody can imagine when they were teens. When Hollywood makes films of adults wishing to return to that time of their lives, it seems outrageous. Why go back to a time of your life where your entire internal and external worlds were so confusing? Internally, we were going through a transformation not unlike a scary sci-fi flick. We grew more hair, our chest grew, our voices changed and the young ladies began to spontaneously bleed. Our hormones signaled the beginning of our fertility and made it difficult to think when the object of sexual desire came into view. For most teens, sexual awakening is confusing and exciting. For others, who go against the societal belief of heteronormativity, this time can be painful and frightening. We write this for those teens that never make it to see a day where it does get better.
Heteronormativity is the belief that heterosexuality is normal and anything else is aberrant. This societal attitude delineates straight as right and anything else as perverted and wrong. These feelings permeate society like a virus and to say anything contrary is to try to subvert normalcy. This is why the country does not get up in arms when a gay teen girl or boy commits suicide. Sure, it’s sad but they really never would have fit in.
Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens. Nearly 30% of all self-identified gay teens attempt suicide around the age of 15. As they begin to understand the depth of their feelings and attractions, the world sends very clear messages in the form of the media and religion that says, ‘gay is wrong’. In fact, there is a marked rise in gay teen suicide whenever a chance for gay rights is shot down. It doesn’t take a statistician to see a relationship between the normalizing of homosexuality and suicide.
Gay teens also report more depression due to constant harassment. Even teens who do not identify themselves as gay become harassed because they do not behave like ‘normal’ teen boys or girls. We learn very early in life that odd is wrong. We must obey and walk the line. Children who are artistic or think differently tend to be bullied and taunted with epithets questioning their sexuality. As if thinking differently and not being a drone was the hallmark of homosexuality. The reality is that this form of thinking is the germination of the seeds of heteronormativity sewn in our children at a very young age. Gender roles are strict. When you see a little girl rough housing with the boys, people immediately call her a tom-boy. Sure, we can think it’s a cute moniker but in reality she has learned that her behavior is not normal. If a boy cries at a game we call him sensitive. Funny, what do we call boys who play with guns or girls that play with dolls? Oh, that’s right, a boy and a girl.
For all we do to eradicate gender roles and bias, our language belies this trend and the virus of heteronormative attitudes that pervade our society runs rampant. Walk straight. Think straight. Fuck straight. This is the motto of those who seek to rid our society of anything that is not white, Christian and heterosexual. If this way of thinking were to be removed from our society with a session of ECT directed only at the fearful and bigoted, then we could accept people for who they are and see that sexuality is not a case of normal and abnormal. If we could all do this than cases like Tyler Clementi, the college student who committed suicide when his dorm-mate taped him having sex with another man, would never happen.
NOTE: Oh, and in case you were wondering, sexual perversion or paraphilia does not include gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexuals. Sexual norms in some areas of this country include sex with cousins which other parts of this country would find abnormal, incestuous and perverted. Heteronormativity has as many flaws and inconsistencies as the old, white guys who thought it up. It’s funny that we let those guys come up with our sexual attitudes since they are usually the ones who are the rapists, child abusers and addicts.