Spring break, for most students, is an enjoyable way to get away from campus and relax with their family and friends from home. However, for some students, going home is not always pleasant. Some LGBT students have to deal with hatred (homophobia, transphobia, etc) from the people that are supposed to love them unconditionally. We at PRISM know how hard this can be and we wanted to link you to some tips and resources for dealing with homophobic parents and family members.
–This article gives some tips for if you do decide to come out and you’re worried your family is going to react negatively.
First and foremost, think through your decision. If your parents are homophobic, wait to come out until you are sure of your decision. The process can be nasty, and they may say things (“We won’t have a child who isn’t straight; you’re going to hell” or “You’re a girl and you can’t change that”) that may be really upsetting. There’s also financial pressures to think about too. Once you’ve weighed your options, you may decide to come out or may decide to wait… whatever you think is best for your life is the right decision.
If you decide to come out, remember that you coming out is huge news to your parents. They’ve pictured your life a certain way, and when that picture shifts, it’s scary. Try and reassure them that you’re still their child and that will never change. And don’t attack their religion (even if it’s the basis for their homophobia/transphobia); it’ll only make them more defensive.
At the same time, be firm with them. If you aren’t, they might think you will “change” as you get older. That’s not the image you want to give them… it makes the process of acceptance much longer.
After a while, let the conversation go. It’ll give your family time to process the change.
If they do give an ultimatum (aka if they’re threatening to kick you out, stop supporting you, etc), know how you’re going to respond. That’s a question only you can answer, but it never hurts to be prepared for that kind of situation.
Here’s some more tips from lovetoknow about homophobia after you come out.
Be realistic and realize that homophobia will not disappear overnight, or in one conversation.
Remain hopeful that the homophobic attitude will change after your relative has had time to get used to the out-of-the-closet you. Some family members really aren’t homophobic deep down, they just don’t know what to say or how to say it, and comments may come out awkwardly.
Stand up for yourself and be honest. If someone says something offensive, correct him politely with a joke.
Join an online group that supports gay rights and offers friendly support and advice for people who are dealing with homophobic families. Some examples include GLAAD (Gay and Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation) and The Trevor Project.
Check out a support website with your family such as PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) for information and ways to understand each other.
Seek counseling to deal with the pain associated with not receiving unconditional love from your family. (On campus, go to the Talley Center, they’re great).
Ask extended relatives if you can stay with them if you get kicked out of your own home.
Report any type of physical abuse to local law enforcement authorities.
Do you have any tips we should add? We’re asking at the meeting tonight at 9pm, but if you can’t make it, feel free to write it in the comments.
Yesterday was the beginning of Asexual Awareness Week! This week is meant to raise awareness about asexual and aromantic spectrum identities. Here’s a brief history taken from asexualawarenessweek.com:
Asexual Awareness Week began in 2010 as a campaign targeting the LGBT community and its leadership for greater awareness. California activist Sara Beth Brooks worked with AVEN founder David Jay to plan the first year which was primarily conducted online through blogs and web visibility. In 2011, Sara Beth put out a call for people to help. Twenty people joined a committee that organized the sophomore year, which was held in more than 25 cities in five countries. The 2011 committee was disbanded after fulfilling their duties. In 2012, we tried a locally scheduled program which generated more than a dozen events. However there was a large amount of community response to not having a unifying week across the world, so in 2013, an international date of October 20-26 was set. In 2014, the week is October 26 – November 1. We are actively working to obtain our 501(c)3 non-profit status in the United States.
If you want to learn more about asexuality as a queer identity, here is a handy FAQ. I hope to add more ace and aro resources all week, so keep an eye out for that!
Because we all know what you’ll really be doing over fall break.
A lot of good media content is seemingly coming out of Canada (or maybe I’ve just been looking at Canadian media because Canadians).
The first recommendation is a webseries about queer vampire ladies (because really, you’re only sick of STRAIGHT vampires). Carmilla is a modern day adaptation of one of the first Gothic vampire novellas (predating Dracula by 26 years). The webseries follows Laura, a fun-sized bundle of energy and zeal and naïveté, as she decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her roommate and several girls in her hall while dealing with her new roommate, a brooding, cookie-stealing, mysterious-dark-red-liquid-drinking, overly philosophical pseudo-hipster going by the name Carmilla (the “going by” becomes important). Joining in on the fun of tiny queer Laura and brooding queer Carmilla are Danny, a tall queer warrior princess, Perry the hall mom, and LaFontaine the other hall mom. It’s beautiful and funny and mysterious and all the characters are just so endearing. Each episode is from 2 to 10 minutes long and there are so far only twenty. It won’t take you long. Here’s the first episode:
The second is another webseries (are we surprised here) is Féminin/Féminin, a delightfully refreshing take on the whole “twenty somethings figuring out love as it pertains to life in a big city with their friends and some beer.” Each episode focuses on the struggles of a character (or of two in a relationship) of a group of woman friends in Québec. It’s mostly in French (with a token English speaker), but don’t worry, there are subtitles. Pretend it’s studying.
The point is, you will laugh. You will relate. You will cry when you realize it’s over and you don’t know enough French to be able to figure out if they’re coming out with a second season. Here’s episode one:
“To educate everyone (for example: doctors, friends, schoolteachers, family and individuals who are exploring their gender) about gender…To be a free & widely disseminated resource that points readers towards comprehensive sources…To alleviate societal oppression & misunderstanding of gender minorities through education. “
This week on the PRISM blog I will be highlighting different LGBT resources available online for free. Because sometimes you just want to spend another exciting evening avoiding homework, but then you remember that you’re a poor college student. I’ll be posting some recommendations so that you can procrastinate in peace, and maybe even learn a thing.
Thursday-Education (free books about being queer, about gender, about safe sex, and kink)
Friday-Entertainment (but not like that….think web comics, and web series)
Saturday- Extras (i.e. anything recommended by commentors, or that I forget to post about)
After our discussion on slanguage in the GSM community on Monday (and because we’re at middle of the week, and by now we all need something fun to distract ourselves on the internet), I decided it would be fun to introduce you to a few more unusual slang terms in our community:
Beat (adj.) – extremely wonderful or great, “fabulous.” Example: “Did you see her at the club tonight? That look was beat.”
Chicken (n.) – a young homosexual male seeking older men; see also: Chicken hawk, referring to an older gay male looking for younger partners.
Horatian (n.) – from the late 19th century, term used at Oxford amongst Lord Byron and his compatriots to refer to a bisexual person; see also: “Gillette blade,” referring to a bisexual female.
Missionary Work– An attempt by a gay man or lesbian to seduce a straight person of the same sex.
Passion fruit (n.) – old Hollywood term referring to an extremely straight-acting and traditionally masculine male.
Doris Day (n.) – 90s South African slang for Gay Pride. Example: “The gays will march on Doris Day.”
Ursula (n.) – queer woman who hangs out with “bears;” also called a “Goldilocks.”
(There are more terms here and here but be careful, some of them are more sexually explicit).
Hopefully some of those made you laugh like I did. Have a great week everyone!
It ruins people’s lives–in the most perfect way possible.
Winner of the Sundance Audience Award in 2011, Circumstance is one of the most beautiful and (not coincidentally) most heartbreaking films out there. The film opens with the return of a wealthy Iranian family’s prodigal son, Mehran, while their teenage daughter, Atafeh, rebels against Sharia law with her orphaned best friend Shireen. Mehran’s descent into religious fanaticism and obsession coincides with Atafeh and Shireen’s descent into love (and therefore, their own kind of madness).
Thematically, it’s a film about family, obligation, obsession, and Iranian youth culture. It’s a coming of age story and a coming to terms story. It’s about dreaming, about realism, and about growing up. It packs a punch.
You’ll need two hours to watch it and twice that many to process.