We NEED to ask Questions. We are REQUIRED to seek answers.

I sometimes volunteer.  The work involves talking to youth who seek help.  We’ve all been young before… we know that when we are children everything seems so much more serious.   We are all so much more dramatic.  Like Romeo and Juliet… they couldn’t be together in life.. so instead of just moving on and finding another to love they killed themselves.

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But what these youth are feeling.. it isn’t silly to them.. and some of it isn’t silly to us.  Some youth have experienced abuse, others have thoughts of killing themselves, and still others are dealing with unrequited love.  All of these things are equally serious, and they deserve attention.

Yesterday I talked to a girl about her sexuality.  AFTER I watched the season finale to MTV’s Faking It.  When I watched the show, I was irritated.  I thought:  just another show where lesbians again look like they go back to men like feelings for women aren’t real.

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However, I reflected how representation has been much better lately than in earlier media.  Then I talked to the young lady, and remembered that young people don’t know what they want out of life.  It’s okay for them to question whom they are attracted to, and as humans we are built to find answers to our questions.  The young lady needed my support.  She needed to hear that there is nothing wrong with the fact that she is questioning herself because of sudden feelings for the fairer sex.  She needed to hear that it is okay to take her time to figure it out.

Then I thought… why is it okay for people to say this to straight girls as if because she is coming over to the rainbow side it’s okay that she is figuring things out??  Why can’t Amy, who has declared herself gay for Karma, take the time to figure herself out as well?  Why is it that when a lesbian has sex with a guy she’s a traitor or automatically straight or considered so much of an abomination that Skittles doesn’t have a flavor for her?

Of course, we don’t know what sex with Liam means yet… but they both were quite clear about their feelings for Karma… so I predict regret and shame and awkwardness in Season 2.

But, my own initial reactions are representative of lots of people.  I’ve read some hateful comments about the finale on the internets.  Lesbians are bitter and angry about Amy’s drunken sex-capade with Liam.  Yet, there are some of us who tried to convince ourselves and others of straight-ness by having sex with guys or relationships with men.  It’s part of humanity to discover who we are.  To convince ourselves that we aren’t gay first, and then become okay with it.  It’s part of our journey to grow into who we are meant to be.  Why shouldn’t television, which sometimes aim to represent real life, display the same journey in life?

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I personally did not need the aid of other people to figure myself out.  Once I knew I was gay, that was that and I hid it as long as possible on my own.  But I have been involved with both straight girls and bisexual women.. the terminating result made me bitter for a long time so I understand where the stereotypes come from as well as the angry reaction from lesbians who cling to the stereotypes.

However… reflection tells me that humans will always question themselves (their sexuality, clothes, career choice, etc.), and we learn from a young age that we should find answers.  It’d be best to do so without hurting others, I think.  But some people need to leave a tornado in their wake.

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Some people need chaos in order to avoid it the next time.  And people who are dealing with feelings of homosexuality are the same as people who are dealing with feelings of heterosexuality who are the same as people who are dealing with feelings for both who are the same as people who are dealing with feelings for absolutely no one…

And a tornado is exactly what Amy and Liam have just created.  I don’t care that Karma is a unsavory person, and I don’t care how much she hurt Amy, and I don’t care how badly acted drunk Liam and Amy are.. you don’t claim you love someone and then do what they have done.  I’m not a fan of what happened in the season finale..  Amy can sex her feelings away with some other guy, not the one your best friend is in love with.  This makes Amy worse than Karma somehow… because while Karma was flaunting her feels for Liam in Amy’s face, Karma was also unaware of Amy’s feels for her.  Amy is completely aware of how Karma feels for Liam.

I shake my head at this despicable ending.  Not because Amy needs to reassert her heterosexuality after being hurt in her vulnerable homosexual skin… and not because Liam has fallen for a girl in a committed relationship… but because these two lashed out in the worst way possible.

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The Kitty was not Alone

As an undergrad English major at a small liberal arts college, there weren’t very many choices for classes.  I do not like Nonfiction.  I had no other choice but to take a Nonfiction class in order to graduate in time.  I was surprised.  While I did not like all the books we read (like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver), I did fall in love with other books (like A Private History of Awe by Scott Russell Sanders ).  Maybe it was the topic, or maybe it was the delivery.  Who knows.  Since I graduated, I decided to stay away from Nonfiction unless the topic is interesting to me.  I read a biography of Charles Schultz because I like the peanuts cartoon.  I read The Ramen King and I because the book was free… and turned out to be funny.  And recently, I read

kit

 I won’t lie to you.  I learned about the book from the AE site… sometimes it’s useful for more than lesbian pop culture information.  Here’s a link to another review: http://www.afterellen.com/kitty-genoveses-secret-lesbian-history/03/2014/ .

The book is about a murder that shook the country.  After reading the review at AE, I decided I would order the book.  I felt compelled to read the book, to find out more.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it was the fact that Kitty Genovese was an Italian American girl just like me.  Maybe because she grew up just outside of Manhattan just like me.  Maybe because it turns out she was gay just like me.  Maybe because she experienced my greatest fear.  This connection I felt with someone dead over 40 years compelled me to buy the book and learn what happened to someone as awesome as myself.

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In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I never even heard of the murder or the case involved afterward.  In the account, Cook describes how the Genovese murder impacted the nation and how it is still taught in social psychology classes.  But I never took a social psychology class.  I never learned why my grandparents never trusted the cops.  I never learned how 9-1-1 in New York is only as old as my mother.  I never learned how neighborhood watch groups came to be.  I never learned.  But Cook does a good job of opening eyes.

He sets the scene.  Cook describes what it was like in the ’60s.  The important events and people in that decade which began to change our nation (Martin Luther King Jr., JFK, the Beatles, the Stonewall Riots, etc).  I didn’t care about this stuff when I took a 1960s class, and I don’t really care now.  But Cook delivered it in such a way that these things mattered.  Not because they are just facts from a textbook.  They are events and people that influenced a person… Kitty… and other human beings.

Cook uncovers details which were apparently hidden back in the ’60s, such as Kitty being in love with a woman.  He uncovers the fact that reports were exaggerated in newspapers.  The witnesses are numbered 38.  That number is still held today in texts.  The reason this murder is important is because the 38 witnesses did absolutely NOTHING to help Kitty.  At least that’s what the reports say.  Cook tells a different story.  One where Kitty did not die alone and she did not die without help.

But… if those reports weren’t embellished a little, would her murder have changed the country?  City streets wouldn’t be as lit as they are now.  People wouldn’t be held accountable for not helping out their fellow neighbor.  9-1-1 would not exist in the New York Area.  And so many people would not be aware of the dangers outside, even in a place you may feel super safe.

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Everyone has the same fear; something lurking in the shadows is going to jump out at you and you will die a violent lonely death.  I think it is magnified even more for women because rape is already a constant fear.  But no matter, what would you have done if you were Kitty?  She fought off her assailant and tried to escape and yelled for help.  Who would be this brave?  I’m not sure how I would react if I were Kitty.  And I hope I never find out.

Winston Moseley.  The murderer.  The serial rapist.  Cook gives a description of what life was like for him… almost making him someone we could sympathize with… but I cannot sympathize with someone who harms others.  I’m not that righteous.   He attacked Kitty because he was on a hunt that night, and she happened to be the only woman out at 3 a.m.  She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  That is unfortunate, because Kitty was someone that touched the lives she encountered.

But if that was true, how could her neighbors not run out and chase Moseley away?  I just don’t understand.  I asked my brother what he would do.  He said he would not endanger himself.  Okay, that’s something I could understand a little bit… if the person being attacked is a stranger. But what about calling the cops?  They don’t get to the scene quickly… I know that personally.  But it’s something you can do.  If someone was being attacked outside my window, I would hope that I would call the cops first.  Then grab my pepper-spray and a weapon and chase the goomba away.

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I would hope.

I don’t know what I would do, though.  None of us do.  Not until something happens.  The few times I’ve encountered a scary situation I start to shake.  I do what I need to, but I shake.  What if that is enough, next time, to put my actions at a stand still?

What would you do (or hope you would do) in Kitty’s position or in the neighbors’ position?