Monday, 27 April 2015

What's more astounding than the fact that a well known societal figue has come out as transgender?

The fact that so many people can be so blatantly against it.

I suppose I shouldn't be too shocked that, after stating that "for all intents and purposes, I am a woman" in an interview with Diane Sawyer last night, Bruce Jenner is facing quite a large amount of criticism. He told Sawyer that he had "always been confused" about his sexuality, he revealed that throughout his marriages, each of his wives was well aware of his confusion and his feelings. However he stated that he could no longer hide his true identity and that this would be the last interview as "Bruce," having not yet revealed his feminine name Jenner chose to simply refer to his future self as "her" and "she." Jenner spoke out on behalf of an entire community when he said that he felt as though when God created him he said: "hey, let's give him the soul of a female and see how he deals with that..." and "...So, here I am. Stuck — and I hate the word — a girl stuck in a guy’s body. I hate that terminology, I’m me. I’m a person and this is who I am… My brain is much more female than it is male. It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”

I've known many gay, lesbian, bi and trans people throughout the past couple of years, in a time where I'm proud of my generation for beginning to accept the differences in sexuality that the generations before us could not. However I'm still confused, disappointed and frankly disgusted by the lack of support and acceptance of other sexualities and personal identities throughout this society. A couple of weeks back I met a girl who was told that it was "really cool" that she was a lesbian, to which she replied with: "Don't say that, I'm not something cool or novel. I have gay friends who get treated like dirt for being gay, but I'm treated like some magical being for being a fucking lesbian. It's the same premise, I'm a female who likes people of the same gender." And today I read a statement that stated very simply that Bruce Jenner "deserved the fucking death penalty" for his decision. This is an argument I have had with people of my age for a long time, why is lesbian porn and lesbians and two females hooking up with each other so appealing, but two men who are in love and actually want to be together (and even females for that matter - it's a common occurrence that people are happy to watch the lesbian porn but are not supportive of the actual love)is appalling? Why is it okay for drag queens to be on display as a form of drunken entertainment at pubs and clubs, but a persons honest feelings and what is going to make them happy is a disgusting abomination?

I think the hardest thing for me throughout the past twenty-four hours is that I still find it so unbelievably hard to understand how people in this day and age can still be so closed-minded. I'm not suggesting that people need to fully accept and appreciate the idea of other sexualities, I've grown up in a catholic home and understand that full acceptance and support is not always and option, despite how ideal it may be. But even my old-fashioned, tradional-valued, church every week grandparents who came from a generation in which homosexuality was not even an option can accept that the times have changed, and people's mental well-being is more important than a "social-norm." I remember growing up and hearing the way my grandparents talked and being absolutely terrified that one day I may realise that I was a lesbian, and that they would hate me. Do you want your children to be brought up terrified that you're going to hate them because instead of being little Jimmy they want to be little Jenny?

Sexuality isn't a choice. People don't wake up and thing "today I'm going to be a homosexual," or "today I want to have a sex-change." Bruce Jenner has been battling with these emotions and struggles since the 80's. Hearing people refer to this as a mental illness is appalling and hurtful. Making a decision which is going to make himself happy is not a mental illness. It is a sign of strength and courage. And I have never felt more support for a person I haven't met in my life. I will defend Jenner's decision and sexuality until the day I die, because I cannot fathom why a person is unable to accept such a menial issue in a world that is riddled with many, really and actually abhorrent occurrences other than the decision of an individual to change their sex from male to female.

Friday, 20 February 2015

When a wild ex appears.

We've all (probably) experienced it at some point or another. You're minding your own business, doing your thing, and suddenly there he/she is.

I'm not talking about that pleasant we-still-talk break up. I'm talking about the breakup that doesn't leave you two friends, whether it was a bad breakup or you just stopped talking because it became too awkward. I'm talking about when you see this person you'd rather stick pins in your eyes than deal with the potentially awkward interaction that is about to begin. What's even worse than this person being in the same room as you? Well, I'm going to go with when they put their things down and sit next to you.

So what would I do in this situation? I'd like to say that I came out with some witty, sarcastic comment. Or even did something that made me seem like a *cool* person. But instead I squeaked back a "hello" and sat in silence for the rest of my three hour class on Ancient History.

I'm not the smoothest person, not by a long shot. I can't seduce boys with a mysterious smile or answer questions in a nonchalant manner. I am dorky, I am awkward, I am endlessly passionate. This means that when someone from my past just pops up, I'm going to have one of two reactions:


What's worse is that despite the appearance of said ghost of boyfriends past making me want to run to the nearest pub for a wine (or forty) that's not always possible, especially when I'm in class.

And so, using my ability to be a mature (kind-of) adult (sort-of) I sat through that lesson, and all the lessons following, to a point where I can comfortably (I suppose) converse with him. Maturely. Matter of factly. In a no-I'm-not-a-bitch-way.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Finishing school isn't as great as you first thought it would be, but it also isn't as bad as adults make it out to be...

Yeah, sure: no more pencils, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks. I wasn't necessarily the best student, but golly do I miss school after just over a month.

Not going to school quickly becomes boring, you realise that maybe you don't have as much in common with your 'besties' as you once thought you did. Your friends were your friends because you saw them 7 days a week for, more often than not, at least the past five years. You find time to think about things you forgot about, that one person from that insignificant time in your life that you now feel incredibly hurt and betrayed by, how disgusting it is that your workplace throws out so much food on a regular basis, suddenly you feel a huge responsibility to volunteer in foreign orphanages, and realise just how desperate tinder boys are (oh wait... we already knew that one.)

On top of all this, the past year has already tested you and challenged everything you were brought up to believe. You've been so stressed that you were ready to commit yourself at some point over the year and if you haven't already, you're about to realise that you don't actually turn into a different person at the age of 18. It's pretty boring really, you can now legally do most of the things you've probably already done. You still have to check with your Mum that it's okay if you go out, you still get told to clean your room on a regular basis.

School provided a routine that you no-longer have, leaving opened up a world of opportunities. You can now (for the next three months or so) agree to social activities without worrying how much you are jeapordising your grades. If you're anything like me, you went to schoolies to "let off some steam" from the year. Perhaps you also were able to fit eleven people into a four person cabin, perhaps you made friends with a local dog. In the past month or two since you finished school and embarked upon a journey of existential crisis' you have also made some of the most amazing, life long memories. You've probably met some super cool people, and also become more confident in the friendships that you have made.

Let me warn you now, working 36 hours a week will not be an exemption from house-work. Your family ARE going to complain about you 'never being home' and being 'disconnected'. You're still going to contemplate running away because being an adult doesn't actually mean freedom, it simply means a different type of freedom from what you had before. People aren't going to grow up over night, graduating high school doesn't mean that everybody matures. That certificate is not going to present people with new attitudes, new mindsets.

If anything, it's going to become much harder for you to find a job. Oh - you're 18 now? - it's too expensive to hire you, we picked the 15 year old instead. On the other hand, if you already have a job you've just scored a pay rise for doing absolutely nothing, kudos.
Do not let this leave you feeling disenchanted for the end of your school years though. I'm barely 18 yet I can already see the world of opportunities awaiting me. University, the chance at a job that I love, passions, the foundations of beautiful friendships and the creation of many memories. A chance to start over.

Monday, 15 December 2014

At some point today every single Australian will stop at the sight of the footage from 2.20 am

Today is a day that a somber mood has set in, and can be felt nation wide. My thoughts and the thoughts of billions of people lay with a number of people. My thoughts are with those taken hostage, the families of those taken hostage, every Australian, police officers, paramedics, trauma team members involved and the Muslim community of Australia. 

Not only is today a heart wrenching, terrifying day for Australians but also those who wish to live their lives in Australia peacefully whilst maintaining their Islamic faith. 

It is important to remember in this time what our culture is best known for: our mate-ship. Never have I been prouder to be Australian than the times that we band together, in a direct show of this is the still-trending hashtag "#illridewithyou".

It is easy enough to succumb to the fear that terrorists wish to strike into each and every member of a community, but it is important to remember the unity that gets us through even the toughest of times. 

We have shown unity to support countless other countries through their own horrific tragedies, unity that continues to astound other countries. It's time that we take that ability and unite to support our own people and return our country to it's safe, peaceful self. 

I urge that, despite unclear headlines and fear induced misconceptions, we use this unity to also ensure that the peaceful and law abiding Muslim citizens of our country also feel safe at their home, the place that was once their safe haven from wars and tragedies. The place that they could escape their fear, and constant violence. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Why media blackouts are becoming an increasingly terrifying problem.

In the past few months, one only has to log onto twitter to see that things are not right in the world. War, religious and racial attacks are spread far and wide and are not just limited to the stereo-typical war torn countries. One American incident in particular has everybody on the internet talking. I've specified the internet for one reason: the attempt at a media blackout surrounding the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is becoming more effective by the second. You can read more about that here.

A media blackout is essentially the government control of any material that gets aired about a certain topic, this is most prevalent in mass media coverage and is more often than not enforced by the government. Media blackouts can be beneficial. But more often than not are used as a control mechanism to promote propaganda and prevent bad publicity.

I say that media blackouts can be a good thing because in certain circumstances they are. For example, in times of war where it becomes imperative that the enemy remains as uninformed of useful intelligence as possible. Media blackouts were used during the droppings of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Persian Gulf War which saw a lack of correspondence from Iraq. Successful media blackouts have also taken place in recent history, such as the 2005 transit strike in NYC, allowing effective contract negotiation addressing the dispute. Or, if that doesn't seem like a legitimate justification of black outs, the media blackout of the 2008 abduction of Melissa Fung, a Canadian Journalist, to assure her safe return. A further list of media blackouts can be found here.

Media blackouts can, however, also cause mass ignorance about what's really going on in the world.

"But why does this affect me? I live in Australia, not in America or the Middle-East where these issues are actually happening."

Well, buttercup, let me explain it for you real quick. The media blackout over the police shooting of Michael Brown is, potentially, covering up the continuing racial bias which sees colour effect the worth of a human's life. I use the word potentially for one reason. The media blackout means that nobody can actually confirm or deny the motive for the shooting, or if Mr Brown was actually a dangerous individual at all. It can be assumed from witness reports that he was innocent or it can be assumed that he was a criminal and the officer was acting purely in self defense. It all depends on which accounts you choose to believe.

The truth is that we may never know the truth about what happened. We may never know the whole truth about anything that's going on in this world because governments are quick to censor this information, and this information could be what prepares us for a third world war.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Drop the questions and step away from the teenager.

It has finally sunk in that after next week, I will be completely done with high school. Forever. And it's absolutely terrifying because I've never really thought about life after high school. I have two exams. I have formal and then nothing. It's an endless abyss.

I always imagined that finishing school would be the start of my happiness, but after Wednesday (our last official day at school as a collective group of year 12's) I'm not so sure that I wanted this time in my life to come around so quickly. Turning 18 and finishing school means that I, essentially, am responsible for every aspect of my life. A couple of weeks ago I had to ask to go to the toilet and after this week I'm expected to study, get a degree, have a family, vote for people that I want to run the country... I'm not ready for that, let alone to be separated from the most out-going people I've ever met in my life. My year level has definitely been a bit of a nightmare for both teachers and students. But they were entertaining. I've always known that after 2 months of Summer I'll be going back to school, in a uniform. I knew what to expect. But I don't know what's going to happen when I fall into the abyss after this week.

I mean: What do you mean that there is a life after year twelve and I will be expected to live it? Can I spend all day every day in bed? Is it now okay for me to eat nutella from the jar? How many cups of coffee does an "adult" person drink a day? Is 10 too many? Should I cut down? What about work? I can stay at KFC and only work 30 hours a week right? How do I go about catching up with friends? How often should I talk to them? I'm assuming that every day could get excessive but leaving it for months on end could be offensive. Is it still okay to binge-watch TV shows? How acceptable is it to be more emotionally invested in a fictional character (Damon Salvatore) than people in real life? Because I'm not ready to give any of them up, especially not him.

I can't even do adult things, I can't drive with more than one person between 16 and 21 in the car and I can't drive between 12 and 5 a.m. I can't vote. I've never even been to the doctors by myself. I'm still terrified of the dentist and I'm too lazy to deal with housework. I buy food because it's easier than cooking and I can't actually portion out food, I've been cooking for my family for months and I either have way too much or way too little. Furthermore, the most success I've ever had in my life is winning the mayoral make a book competition in year 2 and getting to the A-list on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood a month ago. I can't save enough money to buy a pair of socks, let alone money to budget with, buy a house with, create a future for myself with.

I'm getting ahead of myself, right? Wrong. I'm already being asked what my plans for the future are... how many kids I want, what job I want, where I'd like to go when I move out. Please, people. You're scaring the child. Drop the questions and step away from the teenager.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Mia Freedman's on-point apology.

If you aren't aware of what has happened in the past 24 hours, the quickest explanation I can give you is that Mia Freedman made a comment on the Project that was badly worded and taken out of context. Was it a mistake? Sure. Should she have thought about what she was going to say before saying it? Probably. Does is deserve constant abuse and eternal damnation to the fiery pits of hell or whatever afterworld you believe in for the wicked? Certainly not.

Mia is the founder, publisher and editorial director at mammamia, ivillage and theglow and is a passionate advocate for equal rights right accross the board. In her statement, available here, she states that

We have a proud and fierce reputation for advocating for marriage equality and we are champions of the LGBTQI community. It’s something I’ve fought passionately for my whole life.

Freedman mentions her shock, and outrage, upon first reading the headlines at the idea that anybody could possibly relate gay people and paedophiles and then realised that the person who had said these things was her. But, instead of the misconstrued comments being the worst part of this whole fiasco, things got worse as angry members of the public who had (and had not) seen the Project took to social media such as twitter to fire at her, causing her to delete her twitter app as the abuse became too much to bare. I don't know how many ways that I can say this, I'm sure there are hundreds, but some would be much more aggressive than others. It is wrong. It is so wrong to lash out at a person for one badly formed sentence, one headline that you read, one badly informed news article.

Readers of the site have been saying they would never go back and despite her apology many are refusing to accept it, instead opting to see it as a form of 'grovelling'. I have only one question for those of you out there who have said or thought any of these things about Freedman since her apology, and obvious realisation at what she had said:

Can you honestly tell me that you have never said anything that has come out wrong or been taken the wrong way or twisted?

Nope, didn't think so. People make mistakes, and this was a mistake. Such a passionate advocate for equal rights would never have made any intentionally malicious comments towards the LGBTQI community. Never.