Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly.
I'm 40 now, and in a whole lot of ways, I felt older at 16 than I feel now. Some days, I am truly gobsmacked that I survived at all, let alone with my heart and mind intact and rich.
A lot of why I survived is about having gotten support.
"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince
High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy ridicule. Here, overweight boys have “due dates”, homely girls are proposed marriage by homecoming kings, underwear waistbands are wedgied into easy carrying handles for Special Ed students, and exchange students, (regardless of country of origin) are addressed in mock Chinese. In this swarming mosh pit of ha!rassment, powered by sweaty insecurity and raw, smelly fear, homophobia stands as the indisputable height of hilarity. At least that’s how I remember it.
We're just getting caught up with the myriad of fantastic blog entries that are part of the blog carnival that's been going on over the last three weeks as an effort to help cultivate support for Scarleteen. We've been reprinting some entries here at our blog, and will keep up with that, but here are a handful we can link right to for you to take a look at:
From Cory Silverberg at About.Com:
This guest post is from Anita Wagner at Practical Polyamory, and is part of the month-long blogathon to help raise funds for Scarleteen!
I grew up in an area that is pretty much to this day an exceedingly conservative part of the United States. When I came of age, good parents zealously guarded their daughters' virtue by attempting to control the what, where, when, and most importantly, who, of their daughters' social lives. Sex ed, after a fashion, was taught in health and hygiene class in about the 7th grade, but this was largely limited to "the birds and the bees," i.e. reproductive system ed geared toward gender, with boys and girls taking separate classes. Certainly there was no mention of sexual anatomy or sexually transmitted infections, and information about birth control would be unthinkable, including how to use a condom.
This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon.
Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.
This guest post from Arvan at SexGenderBody is part of a blog carnival to raise awareness and funding for Scarleteen.
In terms of group politics - there are large groups of people who are fighting to prevent you from learning any facts about sex. Facts that can effect your health, income, present, future, career, happiness, ability to have or enjoy sex, choice of sex partners and even the ability to have sex.
People get elected by using sex to scare voters - queer sex, teen sex, unmarried sex, kinky sex, fun sex, sex of any kind. Cultural practices and commonly held beliefs about sex punish or shame people for even discussing sex, much less teaching it to a classroom.
This a guest post from Shay at The S Spot for the Scarleteen Blogathon
I remember one time when I picked up my younger brother from school, I asked him about his day and he told me that there had been an assembly about sex ed. I asked him if he had learned anything interesting and if he had any questions about anything they talked about (figuring that he might be more comfortable talking to me, his older sibling rather than a “real” adult like mom or dad). He did have a few comments about funny things the teachers had said and how uncomfortable many of them had looked. Then he said, “I didn’t know that condoms don’t protect you from infections or AIDS”.
I was flabbergasted.
(It's much more fun if you do your best Mary Catherine Gallagher moves when you say it.)
Today we're starting our yearly fundraising appeal -- the shiny marketing term for "beg for cash" -- for Scarleteen with some righteous month-long festivities and extras.