Don’t tell the kids

Hi,

While reading the news this morning, I stumbled upon the story around Hungarian government’s anti LGBTQ stance. I’m not going to pick up on that because, well, either we’ll agree it’s not a good thing and get cross, or we’ll not agree and still get cross. 🙂

What piqued my interest was the reported comment from Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister of Luxembourg) and is out as a gay man, “I did not become gay because of something I saw on TV.”

In my personal experience of being the T in the LGBTQ+ community – oh, and I do mean trans, and not “twit” or other insults 😉 – as a child, I knew something was up long before I knew what the words were. Of the boys of my own age, rough & tumble was not me and competitive games left me cold. If that’s a T thing or an outsider thing, I don’t know. I do know that back then the firm social rules of Boys Do X and Girls Do Y felt weird to me.

While it’s difficult to look back that far, those cough cough forty plus years ago cough, what I do know is I learned how to hide who I was and I would keep an eye for signs that there might be anyone else like me. I mean, there must be right? 🙂

As i got older, stayed up late, and watched programmes such as Channel Four’s Out on Tuesday or BBC Two documentaries, I saw quite a bit of LGBTQ+ information. I watched it because very occasionally, someone who didn’t quite fit the gender binary would pop up. Caroline Cossey, for example, or drag performers who seemed to be full time and doing okay. For a time as a kid, I wondered if drag might be the way out for me, but there was no place in a rural backwater that that was going to happen.

The way out isn’t always obvious

If the argument that teens are affected by what they watch is true (hint: it isn’t 😛) then given how much LGBTQ information I watched, why am I heterosexual? Sure, I wondered if I had a ‘flexible approach’ 🙂 to clothing choices, might this mean I might grow to like men? In honesty, I’ve never seen a guy I’ve fancied. Yes, some men are handsome, but I’m not attracted to them romantically or otherwise. So, I’m taking that as a no. 🙂

To throw in a happy memory, the 90s TV show Hodson Confidential – an after hours show which discussed sexuality and other matters – ran a programme about, what we called back in the day, TV or TS people. Yes, language and understanding has moved on 😁 That episode wasn’t exploitive (at least so my memory recalls) and hearing the stories from people like me, well, a felt less alone and less weird. It’s fine, make your own jokes here 😉

Given my diet of late night TV, LGBTQ+ programmes, heavy metal, and role-playing games, can we conclude that the moral panics of ‘turning kids gay’ – or in the case of metal and RPGs, into Satanists 🙄 – is, frankly, bollocks?

I started off feeling that something was off in terms of my gender and regardless of what I read it watched, those feelings did not go away. If anything, not finding the information to help me understand made me look harder. The lack of self acceptance may well have played a part in my brush with depression as a late teen.

What, other than moral panics are usually twaddle, can we conclude from all of this? I feel education is key here. It’s absolutely not about teaching kids to stay on the straight and narrow because some of us are already aware that that is not us. What I think we need are positive role models and education that it’s okay to be who we are. Information to help us understand and learn to accept and be okay about who we are. I know that’s trite, but it’s true. Self acceptance is probably the best thing you can give anyone.

If anyone thinks that can control what teens are reading and watching: firstly, did you forget your childhood? 🙂 Secondly, the Internet is in their hands and even without it, people talk to each other. It’s not about controlling what they see, but giving people honest, evidence based information to make informed choices about who they want to be. Trans folk are not going away. If we managed to survive the last century with all the bigotry and violence, what chance do you think you have to stop us now?

Please, don’t be on the wrong side of history: love you kids without any ifs ♥️

L x

PS: if anyone wants me, I’ll be playing my LPs backwards and trying to summon the Destroyer of Worlds. 😉 TTFN, and oh, roll for initiative! 🎲

6 Comments

  1. I’m with you Lynn, not wanting to play competitive games, the rough and tumble, not conforming to the social norms of the day made me an outcast as well. Not to mention the constant vigilance needed incase I just happened to look too closely at women’s clothing, or a ‘ladies shop’ (Lingerie shop now days) or happened to show the slightest sign of not being ‘macho boy’. In my day there was nothing for a young boy like me, I had no chance of looking at the telly late at night, not that there was that much then anyway, and of course no internet. That being said I had the urges and feelings, the world told me I shouldn’t have, I didn’t get them from watching telly, or the radio, or from people surrounding me, it came from within.

    You are absolutely right, education is the answer, people I have met when I have been out have all reacted positively, ok we have been careful where we have been, but that applies to anyone, male, female or anything else, but the reaction has been good. If the majority of the population could see the positive side and stop fearing what they don’t understand we would all be a lot better off. I see my crossdressing as a positive thin, it would seem the majority of people we have encountered are of a similar opinion, now all we have to do is convince the remaining 99.9% of the population!………………xx

    1. Thanks for sharing some of your history, Andrea. I hope you managed to get through most of that without too much hassle. The past has not always been kind to anyone who wasn’t a white straight, cisgender, man.

      I think my teens coincided with the AIDS epidemic and the rise of rights for gay people (even if we’ve still some way to go). What it was like further in the past, I couldn’t say, but some of our older members at Chams did explain how word of mouth provided safe places. I think the latter included Casa Suzanna in the States where trans folk would meet at from prying eyes and be able to be themselves.

  2. You are what you are, don’t let others no matter who they are decide for you.

    Its your life, enjoy it

    1. Thanks, Anon. I think it can take time for someone to find who they are and getting through the nose that’s out there isn’t always easy.

      A few years back I read about the phrase ‘internalised transphobia’ in which, if I’ve understood it correctly, we take on the negative narrative that this is wrong, we’re pervs, deluded, etc. The catch is, of you’ve been swimming through that, it can take a while to wash it off – not to torture the metaphor too much 🙂

  3. A good post. Although there’s more scope these days for misinformation and malign posting thanks to the online world, there’s also a much better chance of kids finding their own tribe and supporters much quicker than we could. I’ve had the impression for some time that our younger generation is way less uptight and cruel and more humane than past generations. Sue x

    1. Quite possibly, Sue, yes and I think we can hope that people are more relaxed about difference. On listening to my children share their experiences and on reflecting on outreach work done with those who work with teens, it does seem the next generate are much more open about sexuality and gender. I know a number of kids are ‘out’ at our youngest’s school and while Wee Man has now left, some of his peer group have been out for a good two years. Something that seemed unheard of back when I was a kid.

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