Marie Talks: That Class I Did Not Need

One day in grade nine I thought missing one day of a class wouldn’t hurt. It wasn’t a particularly important class, an elective if I remember correctly, and I would rather spend the time goofing off with my friends. It was a fun time we sat around talking and laughing, then when next block came around off I went to my next class. It seemed harmless at the time but then the opportunity came around again and it was easier to say yes and not attend my class. It became easier and easier to justify not going to class. I already had a reason whether it was that I was already ahead in that class, it wasn’t a important class like math or English, or even that I wasn’t missing enough and I could do the work at home.

Grade nine I missed a couple classes, not enough to put me behind though, and I still passed my classes. It wasn’t until grade ten that things started slipping, when cutting class was nothing to bat an eye about and had dodging school officials down to a science. I did not see the big deal, I could make it up next class.. which I didn’t always end up attending. By the end of the year I had failed a good chunk of my classes, and had to retake them the following year.

 All summer I told myself that I would get my act together and actually attend my classes and put the effort in. However that quickly changed and by November I was easily averaging the same amount of time skipping as I did actually attending my classes. By the end of that year I was probably leaning towards having actually skipped more classes then I had attended, and was no where near actually catching up. 

The following year I attended barely any classes and ended up being expelled from school in April. I had given up that year and it was painstakingly obvious. That next fall I had enrolled in a different school and although I attended more classes and was actually getting more work done, it didn’t work out for me.

Now with that being said I am not implying that if you skip class once you will automatically progress into utter failure as I did, I am stating what my choices landed me. I had a lot going on through those years and I did not handle it very well. Some people will skip a class or two here and there and will still average very high marks throughout their classes, and some will skim by. I made some bad decisions and am now living with the consequences of my actions.

To this day I am still finding things that are being affected by the decisions I made as a teen. The decision that impacts me the most is my choice to not attend and further more not complete high school. It has lowered my confidence in myself and hindered my job options just to name a few things that my decisions have lead me to. 

Before you skip class, whether for the first time or the twentieth, please remember that it does affect your schooling. You can potentially miss an important piece of information or a in class assignment, it impacts your attendance record, and skipping really does not have any positive impact in the long run.

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay You.

Marie Olsson  

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Marie Talks: The use of Gay or Lesbian as an insult

It’s been approximately five years since I have been in public school. I don’t know how much things have changed over the years, however using ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as an insult is still very much present (at least in the cyber world) I have noticed. This idea that being told you are doing something that labels you as ‘gay’ and it being used to hurt you is ten steps backward from everything society has been working towards for years.  When I was going to school I had this bully, lets call him Smith, and he would try to do or say anything that would get under my skin. One of Smith’s ‘go-to insults’ was calling me a lesbian. I didn’t understand why he thought this would hurt me, as I didn’t see what was wrong about a female liking another female. Plus, I am bisexual, I do like women and I am not ashamed of liking women. However I saw the hurt in some of my friends eyes when he would make the same comment about them.

Eventually I asked one of my friends, lets call her Beth, why being called a lesbian bothered her, and her answer made me understand why this term could hurt someone. See when someone called me a lesbian it didn’t phase me because it was true, I like women. Albeit not just women, I liked men too which made me bisexual, it didn’t have the same impact on me as it could on a straight female. Beth explained to me that the term lesbian hurt her because she felt that the term implied she was unattractive to male’s, something she’s struggled with feeling like for years. That it meant she was a person only another female could love. Being called a lesbian to her also implied that she was not feminine, and that she should be ashamed of these things.

Using the word lesbian as a way to offend a female can hurt, just like how using the term gay can hurt a male. It’s too easy to label a man as gay if he has a more feminine side, he’s a bit ‘off’ in your eyes, he’s ‘weak’, or he’s easily putt off/scared. What people seem to not care about is when using the term it doesn’t just affect the person you’re calling it, it affects the people around you too. Im not saying any form of bullying is alright but why cant you say what you mean instead of morphing a word to mean everything that is an insult, when the word does not mean any of that.

Now one thing I have always been against is anything that makes another person feel unworthy or inadequate. Whether it is to make them feel unworthy of love, attention, or the credit they are due. Or making a person feel like they don’t try hard enough, are not ‘normal’ or something is wrong with them. Which is exactly what using LGBT terms as insults does to a person, both someone whose being targeted with these labels and someone who identifies with the them, which is not cool at all.

Every time a person uses the word gay or lesbian as an insult you are telling another human that what they are is wrong, bad and something to be ashamed of. You’re promoting someone to hide who they are and to hide their feelings towards another human. You are making people feel unsafe, helping contributing to their fears and insecurities. You are not only hurting the person you are calling gay/lesbian but also a whole community of people who identify with the term.

Now not only are gay/lesbian an insult when used in an demeaning manner but so are all the other slang or identifiers. This includes words like butch, queer, and fag etc. We need to put an end to using terms to describe who you love as a way to demean and belittle others. We need to put an end to looking down on the LGBTQ2IA community and embrace them. We need to end bullying in any capacity. We need to embrace people for their differences and love (and support) each other. We need to help others feel accepted and learn to love themselves.

Gay is not an insult. We need to work together to put an end to this out dated point of view.

To finish this off I’ll add my final thought:

If being called Straight isn’t an insult, why is Gay or Lesbian? They’re all terms to describe what gender the person has romantic feelings towards. Feelings that are natural and we don’t have much control over.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Ivybelle on Bullying

“Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see It.”
-Ellen DeGeneres

“You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid. Your mom doesn’t love you. Who would like you? You’re fat and ugly! You’re worthless. Nobody will care if you die.”
Those are a few of what I was told ever since I was a kid.

I remember being in first grade and a classmate (a boy) didn’t like me very much. I never knew why but he always picked on me. I remember one day trying to look at a book that I wasn’t supposed to touch and he punched me in the chest. I also remember crying in pain and the teacher not doing much about it but he kept yelling at me. Most of the class didn’t like me to be honest. I only had 1 friend in my class but most of the girls would steal my things and the boys were always making fun of what I was eating and throwing my things. They would throw my backpack, my notebooks, my jacket, etc. At some point my backpack fell apart. When I was young, I was very shy and reserved so I didn’t really communicate with people. ASL was my first language then English and French but because my mom is deaf, she couldn’t help me pronounce words properly. For the longest time people used to make fun of me because of my accent and not knowing the difference between some words; e.g. “Fork” and “Fort”.

When I was in grade 4 I was the new girl. I moved from Ontario to Quebec at this point and I didn’t know anyone. I was the girl with the deaf mom again and I was the one who didn’t wear clothing with brands. I remember one guy and his best friend were the school meanies. They bullied a lot of people at school and ¾ of the students were scared of them. One day I played basketball and the ball ended up rolling beside him and I tried to get the ball but he kept kicking it away. I got annoyed and told him to stop it but he got pissed off and started pushing me and at some point I fell to the ground. Him and his friends started laughing at me. He called me every name in the book. “ Ugly, fat, dumb, stupid, trash, loser” among other things that is not PG rated.

I stayed at that school for 3 years. I kept telling my mom that I was getting bullied and she would tell me to tell the teachers, but they never really did anything. I was scared of going to that school. When I was 10 years old a few girls and I were talking (I thought we were friends), they were telling me how my friends are pretending to be my friends- that they told them. I argued with them for a good 30 minutes about how they are lying but I was still really hurt and I felt really alone. That’s when one of the girls said that if I was to die no one would care. I told her that she was lying but she was so convincing. After arguing for a while, she started a petition called “Who wants Ivybelle to kill herself?” Every time someone wanted me dead she would add a mark on the sheet. She came back with 4 sheets filled. I told the girl that I would commit suicide and wont show up the next morning. The next morning I didn’t show up and my mom didn’t know. However, The teacher caught her and she got in trouble. She talked to her dad and she was grounded.

In high school I bullied too. From being thrown basketballs at, to turning people against me, to telling classes my deepest secrets, to getting abused, etc. The first 4 years were hard. I didn’t fit in anywhere, I was depressed, my mom moved to BC and I stayed behind. I was sexually abused, being bullied and I was struggling in school. I started self-harming, drinking and smoking. I was being discriminated by my dad for being hearing and not deaf and on top of that he and my half-sister were bullying me. The bullying didn’t really stop until I moved to BC and went to a good high school where there was no tolerance for bullying.

Bullying is really hard to go through and see someone go through. Over the years it seems to be getting worse every year. It’s gotten so bad that 12-year-old kids are turning to serious physical abuse and even murder. When I hear/see things like that on the news, my heart breaks and I worry so much about what the future holds. Some of these situations happen at school and some out of school.. If you know anyone that is getting bullied here are some steps to help.
10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying:
Credit: http://www.nea.org/home/51629.htm
Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a concerned friend of the family, there are ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying:
1. Pay attention. There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every student may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable. Engage students on a
daily basis and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

2. Don’t ignore it. Never assume that a situation is harmless teasing. Different students have different levels of coping; what may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are there for them and will help.

3. When you see something — do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem between students. Don’t brush it off, as “kids are just being kids They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime. All questionable behaviour should be addressed immediately to keep a situation from escalating. Summon other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy.

4. Remain calm. When you intervene, refuse to argue with either student. Model the respectful behaviour you expect from the students. First make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Reassure the students involved, as well as the bystanders. Explain to them what needs to happen next — bystanders go on to their expected destination while the students involved should be taken separately to a safe place.

5. Deal with students individually. Don’t attempt to sort out the facts while everyone is present, don’t allow the students involved to talk with one another, and don’t ask bystanders to tell what they saw in front of others. Instead, talk with the individuals involved — including bystanders — on a one-on-one basis. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.

6. Don’t make the students involved apologize and/or shake hands on the spot. Label the behaviour as bullying. Explain that you take this type of behaviour very seriously and that you plan to get to the bottom of it before you determine what should be done next and any resulting consequences based on your school’s anti-bullying policy. This empowers the bullied child — and the bystanders — to feel that someone will finally listen to their concerns and be fair about outcomes.

7. Hold bystanders accountable. Bystanders provide bullies an audience, and often actually encourage bullying. Explain that this type of behaviour is wrong, will not be tolerated, and that they also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. Identify yourself as a caring adult that they can always approach if they are being bullied and/or see or suspect bullying.

8. Listen and don’t pre-judge. It is very possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may actually be a bullied student retaliating or a “bully’s” cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. Rather than make any assumptions, listen to each child with an open mind.

9. Get appropriate professional help. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Rather than make any assumptions, if you deem there are any underlying and/or unsolved issues, refer the student to a nurse, counsellor, school psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professional.

10. Become trained to handle bullying situations. If you work with students in any capacity, it is important to learn the proper ways to address bullying. Visit http://www.nea.org/bullyfree for information and resources. You can also take the pledge to stop bullying, as well as learn how to create a Bully Free program in your school and/or community.

If you are a victim of bullying, please talk to someone. I know it might be scary right now, but please hold on and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not your fault.

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay You.
Keep Fighting.
-Ivybelle-Xx

Madison Opinion on School Issues.

When it comes to school issue I think everyone has an opinion on something they want to change in the school system. I believe school need different programs for kids struggling with their school work, more programs for teen parents and the different support system they have for low income families. Those are my main concerned when it come to school systems, because those are the ones that really hit home for me.

When it comes to programs for kids who are struggling with school work especially in elementary in elementary school, because that is a really big one for me. I had a lot of trouble with school from grade 2 – grade 5 and a majority of my teachers didn’t understand what was wrong or what to do with me, because normal classes were too hard for me and no matter how hard I tried I was still doing something wrong. The best solution they thought would work was to put me into esl classes which did help but English is my only language so it ended up being too easy for me and I wasn’t learning anything, so I got place back into the normal classes again. I got picked on not just by student but also by my teachers too, I had been told so many times that I was just not trying hard enough, and you get told that enough times I ended up just giving up because I didn’t know what to do anymore. It wasn’t until grade 5 till my teacher realized that there were more struggling, so she made her own cralicume for us to work on. It was the same basic thing as the rest of the class just phrased a bit simpler, but it was easier but still challenging enough to have us a chance to learn what we were doing. After that experience is when I started gaining some self confidence in myself because she showed me that I was able to actually learn things is just processed it differently. I am more or a visual and hands on learner, so she taught me different way to succeed with my learning style. So if I could change anything I would want more of a middle grand for the ones like me who are struggling.

For everyone who doesn’t know I was a teen parent, I had just entered grade 12 when I found out. I was lucky enough since I wasn’t giving birth till closer to the end of the year so that how I got a spot in a school who offered a program for teen parents with a daycare on campus, but if I hadn’t then there was a 1 ½ year waiting list and I probably wouldn’t of been able to finished high school and wouldn’t be where I am today. To me I’m really thankful for how things worked out but how about the ones who didn’t make it in. I want more schools to help the mothers and fathers complete schools so they can better there future. I know some people will say that if more support goes up we be encouraging teen to get pregnant. But how about those people who are waiting the 1 ½ to get into those schools. And those are the people I want to help and want to give support to help and not have them wait such a long time before finishing their education.

Now when it comes to supporting for low incomes families. I am happy with what they have I just wish that they were just more well know such as if you are really struggling afford school also in different neighborhood that will help as much as you can. Or at Christmas time there are Christmas hampers that will help with presents and sometimes Christmas dinners. Like I wish these things were more well know or even more avalible to people who want I need the help. Yes, I understand the need for keeping things more quiet so some people don’t take advantage of it, but that also keeping it from the ones who actually need it.

I know some people will disagree and some will agree, if so write a comment down below I would love to here your opinion, also if you have any questions I’d love to answer them. I am really open or if you want us to talk about any other topics let us know.

-Madison Taylor

Education For Educators On Mental Health -Marie Olsson

“Kids are falling through the cracks and nobody notices it. That to me is what’s wrong with the school system.” – Melinda Gates

The educational system is rich in topics for us to learn: English, math, science, etc.; however it is lacking in the education on learning disorders and mental health for the school staff.  School can be difficult for youth as it is, which can be heightened further with undiagnosed issues or educators not understanding how they affect a student’s learning process. I believe if educators had a higher level of training in understanding how learning disabilities and (at least the most) common mental health diagnoses affect how one learns and/or focuses, along with how to spot them it could make learning easier for the youth that are struggling.

When I was in school I was going to see a therapist and I had fairly regular appointments, which unfortunately meant I had to leave early from class those days to make the appointment. The teacher I had that block was very understanding on the matter; however my vice principal was not as lenient. My vice principal one day pulled me into her office wanting to know where I went when I had to leave early, to which I responded honestly telling her I went to see a therapist and where my appointments were. From there she went on to demand to know who they were with and wanting to speak to them.  When I told her that she had no need to know that information, she threatened me with expulsion. For  her to talk with my therapist I would have to first give my therapist permission to talk with her, which I was not comfortable with. My vice principal pulled up the page of therapists who worked at the facility I was going to and was trying to figure out which one I was seeing, she went as far as to try and contact all of them, I felt like all my rights were taken from me at that moment. My parents were dragged into this mess that was created and it went from ugly to worse.

At the time I had not been officially diagnosed with anything specific besides ADHD, we were still working on diagnosing what we now know is bipolar type II but at the time had just labeled as depression. This is information I was not very willing to share with many people, nor was it of anyone else’s concern at the time, as it was not impacting my learning besides having to leave early from class. However it got me thinking that if that is how my vice principal handled my situation how would they handle another student struggling with a mental disorder. My vice principal’s blatant disrespect for the confidentiality between a therapist and client concerned me; how would they handle a similar or worse situation with another student.  Their careless, insensitive, and under educated approach to the matter could cause a lot of unneeded stress and damage to someone’s mental state.

When it comes to one’s mental health and how others actions affect the person dealing with a mental disorder it can feel like you’re running through a mine field if you are not fully aware of what repercussions your actions can bring.  Which is why I think the educators should be well educated on not only mental health but also the legal boundaries surrounding mental health. Whether or not a student wants to share that they are struggling with their mental health, the people we put in charge of their education should be fully aware of what boundaries (legal or personal) they cannot cross and fully equipped to help their student’s excel even if they are struggling with their mental health.

No one should be alone when they need someone there the most.  Sometimes having a teacher put the effort in making sure you have the tools you need to succeed makes the difference between graduating or not.

Stay Strong. Stay Brave. Keep Fighting Lovies,

Marie Olsson xx

Brian’s School Issues

School issues are becoming a big deal now a days, since there are a lot of struggles youth face from depression, to classes, and the struggle to fit into a group of new friends just to name a few things in general we all or some of us face. I’m here to tell you that it is normal to go through it. Growing up it was hard for me to fit in and make friends and be part of a ‘group’, I’ve been the type of person being alone all the time and didn’t talk to anyone at all. Everyone didn’t want to talk to me because I was the short kid with glasses and picked on because I didn’t do what everyone else was doing; I was like the goody two shoes that was made fun of. It wasn’t till I started to put myself out there and talk to people that I started to fit in; but even then I still struggled with that because I just couldn’t find the confidence to start a conversation. For a while I just stayed to myself and listened to my music everyday and I had a routine I do everyday while at school. It wasn’t until grade 10 that I started to have friends again; but I met the wrong crowd though, I thought it would be so cool to hang out with older people that smoke and skips school. I was labelled as the kid who hung out with smokers and skips but you know that was a choice I made it was my choice to hang out with those people because we all had similar views and interests and most of us went through the same life growing up.

 If you’re reading this I just want you to know that just because you smoke or skip school you’re not a bad person.  Don’t let anyone stop you from fitting into a group if you feel like you can connect to certain people even though they smoke and skip then to be honest that’s ok because it is your choice. We have all made and make bad choices in life, but don’t put yourself down just because you’re a smoker or you skip school with friend. People shouldn’t judge you for that everyone has their own crowd or group such as the drama class, dance class, the athletes, to the music class, the math class, the science class, ect… we all have different personalities and have our own views on people but if you think you are any of those groups you can fit in anywhere and don’t let anyone bring you down for that.

 I know it’s tough to find out who you are and to find which group you can fit into; but realize you can fit into anywhere and be part of a group by being yourself. You shouldn’t change so you can be liked and fit in because that’s not you if you have to act a different way. You can’t be someone you’re not just to fit into a crowd, be yourself and don’t let anyone bring you down. Stand up for yourself, you can fit in, be positive, and try to meet new people even. I think when you be yourself you can fit into any group or crowd, like yes it’s tough and hard to go up to someone you don’t even know because you don’t know who they are or what their intentions are but even a simple hi goes a long way or vice versa. I used to be shy but when I broke my shell and approached certain people it came naturally to me. Now a days I love talking to someone new and making new friends; because listening to someone new and hearing their life story it helps you to realize a lot of yourself.

– Brian O’Connor

LGBTQ2IA -Marie Olsson

LGBTQ2IA:

L: Lesbian

  • A homosexual woman.

G: Gay

  • A homosexual, especially a man.

B: Bisexual

  • A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender

T: Transgender

  • Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Q: Queer

  • Historically, this was a derogatory slang term used to identify LGBTQ+ people;
  • A term that has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality “norms

Or

Q: Questioning

  • The process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation, investigating influences that may come from their family, religious upbringing, and internal motivations

2: Two-Spirit

  • a term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders

I: Intersex

  • a person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the labels of female or male (e.g., 47,XXY phenotype, uterus, and penis)

A: Asexual

  • a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any group of people

Or

A: Ally

  • a heterosexual person who supports the LGBTQ2IA community.

I personally identify as bisexual. When I tell someone I am bisexual I often get asked a number of things:

“Which gender do you prefer?”

Do I have a preference? Yes, I do, whoever makes me happy. I like both genders fairly equally, possibly men slightly more. Yes, I flirt with women more, but I’m more likely to make a flat out advance on a male. I check out more females then males.  I’ve been with (relationship wise and sexually) more men than females.  Very few of these factors actually have much to do with my preference; the main factor is more so situations that present themselves.  There is a part of me that although I flirt with women more, I’m more shy actually voicing how I feel about her then I do men.  With men it’s easier, whether it’s because it’s seen as the social norm to be with them or due to the fact that I never am sure when it comes to women.  I am more open, at ease, and feel safer with women.

“How are you sure? / How do you know? / When did you know? / Since when were you bisexual?”

If that was something I could answer easily I wouldn’t have half the issues I do.  It took me years to realize that feeling the same towards females as I do towards men was not normal… Well not in the straight sense at least. I thought all females appreciated another female’s good looks, I mean how could you not.  Apparently that’s not normal, at least not beyond the ‘oh, she’s pretty’. As I got older the signs got a bit easier to separate from what someone who’s straight would think.  I don’t think a straight girl would think of kissing her female friend, or have fantasies about another woman. Straight woman don’t want to date another female, don’t get turned on by another girl. When I realized my thoughts towards other female were not purely platonic is when I started knowing my sexuality did not conform to the accepted outline of heterosexuality or being ‘straight’.  I knew I was not straight when my first sexual encounter was not with a male, but a female… However I still did not know what my sexuality was… at that point I had heard of being straight or gay, I did not know there was a middle ground. I was utterly confused, I knew I liked boys; but I liked girls in the exact way.  It wasn’t until I was thirteen when one of my friends used the term bisexual, and then explained it to me, that I started to question if that was the correct term for my sexual preference. So you could say I knew I was bisexual at the age of fourteen, when I had a term for it…  Or you could say I was nine, when I started wanting to kiss another girl.  I think the when part is irrelevant, just because that’s when I realized I was bisexual doesn’t mean the day before I wasn’t. I always was, I just didn’t realize the difference, nor did it really matter.

Do I ask when someone realize they are straight? No, because that’s silly… Just as ridiculous when someone asks me since when have I been bisexual…? Because as much as I dislike Lady Gaga I will say it ‘Baby I was born this way’.

“How was it coming out to your parents?”

To be completely honest I have never actually said the words ‘I am bisexual’ to my dad, I think he knows but we’ve never had a discussion concerning it. To be even more completely honest, I never actually had to say it to my mom either.  In a way I think my mom knew I ‘batted for both teams’ before I completely came to terms with it myself.  When I was fourteen I was talking about this friend I really liked and how amazing they were, not being very specific on gender but not really being blatant in hiding it either.  I was mentioning that I didn’t know how she’d take to me dating and she turned and asked me “You like Stephanie (names changed obviously) don’t you?”… Which I admitted to and then the “are you bisexual” questioned popped up.  So how I came out to my mother was a series of ‘yeses’, followed by her going “I knew it!”.  My mother was very supportive, and we both agreed she wouldn’t say a word to my dad until I told him myself.  In a way she was the first person who I actually identified as bisexual to, I mean others knew I liked girls, but I never linked myself to a term before then. If anything I am extremely happy my mom was the first one to know what I used to identify my sexual orientation, I’m even happier she completely accepts me for it.  I’m not one to hide the fact that I’m bisexual, I’m a fairly open book in general though.  Most people know I’m bisexual and if you ask I’ll probably tell.  I’m just lucky I’ve gotten very little lash back from people who found out, and those who didn’t approve were not very close to me anyways.

Or my personal favourite, any variation of “So you’re down for threesomes?”

Ok, I hate this question with a burning passion, especially when it comes from romantic partners.  Just because I like both women and men does not by any means mean I want both at the same time or within any short amount of time of each other.  It does not mean if I am with one I want to add a person of the opposite gender to the mix; it does not mean I want to share that person with another, even just sexually. Lets put it this way: I am a very jealous, shy and territorial person. If I am dating a person I am very unlikely to willingly share them with anyone else in a way that should be reserved for just us.  Whether or not I am ‘down for a threesome’ has absolutely nothing to do with my sexual identity, so for anyone who thinks they are linked please unlink them.

The first three don’t bother me as much as the fourth; however they still get annoying to hear after a while.  I am thankful that I myself haven’t really come across anyone I care about that has opposed my sexuality or thought bad about me for it.  However I have been bullied for my sexuality through the years, all through secondary school really.  It was five years of non-stop harassment and abuse.  It was slightly funny really though that the people who I cared about their opinions had no qualms with me being bisexual; but those whose I could care less about wanted to voice their concerns about it.  They voiced it very publicly, very loudly, very crudely and extremely often.  Sometimes it hurt, but not when they said it to me, but when they would drag my friends into it.  When my closest friends got harassed for my liking females.  That’s where it hurt, when it not only affected but hurt my friends.

Let’s have some fun and get into some facts and stats now shall we?

From http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444 :

“Actual or perceived sexual orientation is the number 2 reason students are bullied, according to a 2005 U.S. survey. Appearance was the number 1 reason.”

The idea of bullying someone for any reason is terrible to me to begin with; but to bully someone on what YOU THINK they are and not what they are is even worse. You cannot justify bullying for any reason, and it’s sick that sexual orientation pretty much tops the charts and that appearances are the only thing higher than it.

In Canada (2009 Canadian Climate Survey on Homophobia):

  • 59 per cent of LGBTQ high school students reported they were verbally harassed, compared to seven per cent of non-LGBTQ students..
  • 25 per cent of LGBTQ students indicated being physically harassed due to their sexual orientation, compared to eight per cent of non-LGBTQ students
  • 73 per cent of LGBTQ students reported they felt unsafe at school, compared to 20 per cent who did not.

That’s a pretty big difference just for verbal harassment alone… A 52 percent difference to be exact. I’m not all too surprised, but a little ashamed to know how bad the numbers are.  We’re talking 2009, I was 16 years old, these were my fellow peers.  I grew up bullied for my sexual orientation (which was perceived for the longest while), but I didn’t know how bad it was statistically across Canada.  I can’t find more recent data but I could only hope it has gotten better.  As for physical harassment, in my opinion 1 percent of the entire population is too much, never mind these statistics.  School should be a safe place.. not a place where youth feel unsafe.  A lot of people already have issues wanting to go to school, they should not also have the burden of having to worry about their safety as well.

In the United States (2009 survey of U.S. students in grades 6-12)

  • 85 percent of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 40 percent reported being physically harassed.
  • 19 percent reported being physically assaulted
  • Compared to Canada, fewer of the American students, 61 per cent, reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation.

Oh boy, and I thought Canada’s 59 percent was bad, 85 percent having been verbally harassed in that year?!  This is outrageous, there needs to be a major change that happens to society.  I think society needs a better awareness of the affect others actions and words have on a person.  Society doesn’t need a blanket to shelter us from the problem, Society needs a helping hand to fix the problem so no one else gets hurt. The problem is not ones sexual preference, their gender or anything about them. The problem is that society and some people in society think they have a say in another person’s life.

From: http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics :

Even more shocking are these statistics from a study that involved surveying over 3700 students from across Canada between December 2007 and June 2009:

Levels of sexual harassment are high across the board for LGBTQ students. The following groups of students reported having experienced sexual harassment in school in the last year:

  • 49% of trans students
  • 45% of students with LGBTQ parents
  • 43% of female bisexual students
  • 42% of male bisexual students
  • 40% of gay male students
  • 33% of lesbian students

This is sick, absolutely sick. I’ll be honest here, I cried reading these stats.  Two topics I am highly passionate, LGBTQ2IA and sexual harassment/assault, compiled into one list of statistics that are way too high for my liking.  I could talk about this for quite a while, however I think comparing it to these statistics: “A recent Ontario report found that the rates of sexual harassment in schools are significant, with 36% of boys and 46% of girls in Grade 9 reporting that “someone made [unwanted] sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks at me”.  By Grade 11 this rate had declined significantly for boys, but remained consistent at 46% for girls (Safe Schools Action Report on Gender-based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment & Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools 2008, p. 6)” (From: http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883 ) Takes it away from being just an issue that is so prevalent for LGBTQ youth but for everyone.  Making me question, why is our society filled with so many people who think this is alright?  So many people who think so many different things are alright; who think they have the right to pass judgement or invade the space/privacy of another person?

Actions of one person can hurt another and that should never be over looked. There should be a conscious effort to stop leaving a negative fingerprint in others’ lives.

Stay Proud xx

Marie Olsson

Resources:

http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444

http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883