Women’s Rights and Bullying

I am so ridiculously pissed today it’s not even funny.  I was pissed yesterday, too.  I spent all day yesterday reading articles ranging from women’s health rights and the rights of people in the LGBT community.

And it pissed me off.  Big time.

For the record, I was specifically reading about abortion rights for women.  Personally, I am pro-life.  I have also come to a place where I am having difficulty deciding where life begins.  I don’t believe that life begins at conception for the simple fact that prior to having an actual heartbeat, all that occupies a womb is a blob of cells.  Then again, even with a heartbeat, does said fetus have a consciousness that defines it as a human being?  Even THEN! Can a fetus, under 24 weeks be viable for life outside the womb?  I had a friend who delivered her son at 22 weeks.  He died.  He was not viable the doctor said.  She several years later discovered she had an incompetent cervix and without medical aid would NEVER be able to carry a child to term.  When she became pregnant, she was hospitalized at 22 weeks, AGAIN, because her body tried to birth her unborn child, who would by medical standards, not survive.  Her doctors managed to prolong labor as long as they could and literally at 24 weeks, my god-daughter was born, and could only survive with extreme medical help.  She spent the first 4 months of her tiny life in an incubator with her eyes taped shut because she was too small and the stimulus of everyday life was too much.  She would have had heart failure had she not had excellent doctors and an excellent NICU.

Another friend became pregnant and discovered at 12 weeks that her unborn had died at 10 weeks.  They left the fetal remnant in her body.  Which I will tell you can make you sick enough to die.  She finally had to go in to an abortion clinic to have it taken care of… to save her life and her ability to bear children in the future should she so choose.  She was insulted and yelled at by people protesting her need because they didn’t care to know that her child was already dead.

Politically I am pro-choice.  Because it is not my job to tell another woman what medical services she needs.  I don’t know why she needs that service.  I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t have the ability to care for a child.  I don’t know if she’s already miscarried and needs help to complete the process.  I don’t know if she has a life-threatening condition that requires the service.  The fact of the matter is: I don’t know those thousands of women seeking an abortion or their reasons for it.  I don’t know their stories.  And unless they want to share with me, it’s none of my fucking business.

It is NOT A MAN’S business either.  It is NOT A MAN who is not a licensed medical doctor’s right to dictate what medical service a woman needs and why.  It is ESPECIALLY NOT THE RIGHT of the government to decide for a woman what is “best for her” because she’s a woman and in their eyes is incapable of making a difficult, painful decision based on logic.  Because after all, we women are only overly emotional beings incapable of logical reasoning.  Fuck that.

The Republican nominees for the republican candidate for the office of US president are foul men who have nothing better to offer in their bid for candidacy than to say that women have no right to choose.  Because according to them, “Life begins at conception.”  I would like to ask them to support the millions of babies being born to women who had their right to choose taken away.  You men are now required to financially support each and every child born in the United States.  Because YOU said it was wrong and that we can’t choose what to do with OUR bodies.  I bet they change their tune should that actually happen.  But it won’t and if they manage to make abortion illegal in this country, women will just return to the back alleys and coat-hangers that were responsible for the inadvertant deaths and sterilization of thousands of women due to unsafe and unsterile conditions.  Thank you so much for bringing women back to the 1800’s.  Next you’ll try to take away our right to vote… like THAT will ever happen, right?  By all that is good and right in this world I hope that these lawmakers and political “leaders” don’t get their way.

Another thing that bothered and upset me yesterday was on the rights of transsexuals.  Women who for all right’s and purposes were born men.  And men who were born women.  They have never felt comfortable in the skin they were born in, and do what they can to change that.  And yet, they are not seen as TRUE men and women, because they were not born that way.  I read about a major pagan event where transwomen were excluded because they weren’t REAL WOMEN born with a womb and ovaries.  That transmen are not REAL MEN because they weren’t born with a penis and 2 testicles.

It bothers me.  I mean, it REALLY, REALLY bothers me.  Who am I to judge another person on their gender.  I’ve met a transman, and he is awesome!  He has a really quirky sense of humor and always had the ability to laugh off the bullies, but deep down, I’m sure he must have hurt.  He NEVER identified as female, even when he was still physically female.  Alway, always he was a man.  He liked girls, but he was not a lesbian, because in his mind he was male.  Does that make sense?  He was lucky though, his parents were incredibly supportive of him and his needs and moved heaven and earth to help him become who he wanted to be.  A lot of transpeople don’t have that.  They are bullied, harassed, assaulted, and brutally MURDERED simply because they identified as being a different gender than they were born with.

It makes me question what it REALLY is that makes a man a man, and a woman a woman.  Is a man just a penis and testicles? Is a woman nothing more than her womb and ovaries?  One of my children had a medical problem, that if years ago had been properly treated, would have been correctable.  Instead, we went years without knowing until finally he had a doctor say, “Hey… there’s something not quite right here, and I think you should see a specialist.” And we did, to learn that he needed surgery.  I had many questions for this specialist doctor, who I learned was greatly respected and skilled in his area of expertise.  I wanted to know everything about the surgery and why, and what were the longterm repercussions of this surgery.  And you know what I learned?  My son would be fine, a healthy young man with no problems.  Unfortunately, after his surgery an adult male made a comment that made my son feel less than male.  A neighbor kid recently invited him to watch his basketball game, and while finding a seat, my son tripped.  The neighbor kid’s mother then made a loud, public comment that humiliated, shamed and hurt my child.  He came home in tears and wanted to know why he wasn’t more “normal”.  I’m sorry, but there is NOTHING wrong with my child.  Nothing at all.  But this woman became angry and insulted when I called her out on her actions.  I then made it clear that her children were no longer welcome in my home or mine welcome in hers.  It made me sad and I feel like I punished the children for the crimes of the parent… but I have to think of my son’s health, safety and happiness before hers.

What makes a man a man?  What makes a woman a woman?  I would think it’s more to do with how a person identifies themself that makes them male or female.  I can see where a pre-op transperson could possibly make another person “physically born to the gender” uncomfortable at first… but the exclusion of that person solely on the fact that they are not “REAL” men or “REAL” women.  Fuck that.  Seriously, fuck that.  All are REAL.  I’ve even read about people who were born with the physical traits and sex organs of BOTH genders.  Where does that person fit?  Is he or she not a REAL person? With thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams? 

Yet they are bullied, harassed, assaulted and murdered simply because mainstream society believes them to be fake.  I call bullshit.

I have so many friends, from so many walks of life, that I can’t afford to be bigoted.  If I was, I wouldn’t have half as many friends as I do.  People who are gay, lesbian, straight, bi, trans, pagan, Christian, muslim, black, white, Filipino, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, and Native American… people from all walks of life ALL of whom I love.  They are NOT fake people.  They are REAL and have thought, feelings, hopes, dreams and desires.  All are VALID.  I don’t judge a person based on gender, race, religious preference, sexual preference or age.  If I make a decision about a person it is on the merits of their personality.  And I recognize that I’m not going to like and love everyone on earth, and not every one will even like or love me.  That’s okay.  But make sure you make that call on the merits of my personality, not my gender.  Not my faith.  Not the color of my skin.  Not even my hair color or eye color.

Speaking of hair color.  Two of my three children have red hair.  A few kids in our neighborhood have red hair, a friend’s daughter has red hair, and a friend’s son has red hair.  We joke that there was something in the water the year’s they were all born because of all the red-heads we have.  But I keep hearing things.  Terrible things.  About bullying.

Bullying is WRONG.  On all levels it’s wrong.  My oldest and I watched “Glee” the other night and they featured an episode where a gay teen, who for all appearances is the “all-American teen football player.  Masculine, powerful.” And then they find out he’s gay.  Suddenly he’s no longer a person.  He’s a thing that needs to be wiped out.  He is physically bullied and assaulted, and then attacked via social networking.  He attempted suicide.  Thankfully in the episode, his father found him in time and he survived.  But there are thousands who DON’T survive.  Tempest Smith, a 12-year-old girl who happened to be Wiccan killed herself in 2001.  She was bullied, harassed and assaulted because she was different.  And decided that life wasn’t worth living any more.  When the school officials discovered her reasons, they did nothing to change things.  They didn’t teach the children to be careful with their words.  They didn’t teach the children that bullying is wrong.  They did nothing.  And a life was lost.

All across the world, someone commits suicide because they feel like it’s the only way out.  If you read this and are considering suicide, I implore you, please don’t.  Because I don’t know you, but I think you are worth it.  Your life is worth it.

When I was 17 I tried to kill myself.  I failed and lived.  I’m glad I failed.  I’m glad that I lived and can be here now to share my thoughts and feelings.  I was bullied.  I was different so people hated me.  A boy walked up to me and told me to DIE when I was a sophomore because I was UGLY and NO ONE wanted me around, so why didn’t I just GO AWAY AND DIE.  It hurt me so deeply, that he would say such a horrific thing to me.  And I believed him for a time.  I thought I was ugly and worthless and it took me a long, long time before I realized that I AM beautiful in my own way.  I am WORTH it.  Anyone who says otherwise can go to hell.  I still hurt from time to time, and my life is far from perfect and I still deal with an occasional bout of suicidal thinking.  But I got help and I have a support system in place for those moments where it all feels like it’s too much.

I implore you, if you have suicidal thoughts, please, PLEASE get help.  You are WORTH IT as well.

My friend’s 11-year-old son came home from school the other day wanting to die.  The children at his school said that because he had red hair he had no soul.  WHAT THE FUCK?!  Since when does hair color decide who has a soul or not? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THOSE CHILDREN!?  I tell you now, that boy is one of the funniest, smartest and all around good kids that I honestly like having around.  He and my son get along so well that they truly are two peas in a pod.  And when he comes to visit us, he and my son and the other neighborhood kids all play together and get into all kinds of fun mischief.  At my house of course, lol.  My house is a safe house.  At my house I don’t allow bullying.  We have a neighbor kid who is autistic.  The other boys (my son included) would make fun of him, and one day I caught them.  I sat each and every one of those boys down and told them they had NO RIGHT to tease the boy for something he had no control over.  That in truth, there was nothing wrong with that boy.  He was just different and we needed to have extra patience with him, because sometimes he has a harder time with things.  That being said, this boy is WICKED SMART and is probably a mechanical and mathematical genius.  I’ve seen him do complex math problems without a calculator in minutes.  My house is a safe house, and those who are here abide by my rules.  My rules are that no one teases or bullies another for any reason.  If they decide that they don’t want to play with a particular person for a day, they can tell that person calmly and politely “I just don’t want to play with you today, because I have other friends, too.”  And the other child must accept that.

My friend’s son wanted to DIE at 11 years old because someone, some IDIOT child told him he had no soul.  That other child is WRONG.  And bullying must be stopped.  We as a collective must stand up and make our homes and neighborhoods safe places.  Where kids can be kids and not feel the need to exclude someone because they are different.  Guess what? We are ALL DIFFERENT. To believe otherwise makes a person stupid and ignorant.

No one should feel that they are unwanted and unloved.  Something that brought me to tears during that “Glee” episode is towards the end, another gay student visited the one who had attempted suicide and told him about one day, he would come home to a loving partner, and a wonderful child.  And asked him how it made him feel.  The other boy said “I’m happy.”

We are all humans.  We are all people.  And we ALL WANT THE SAME THINGS: to be loved and to be accepted.

I am tired of hearing stories of discrimination.  I am tired of hearing stories about people’s rights being denied.  I am TIRED of hearing stories about bullies and children committing suicide.  I want to hear happy stories.  I want to hear stories about others standing up against those things and joining hands with those who are different from them, because we’re not really so different after all.  I want to hear stories like my lesbian friend and her longtime girlfriend getting engaged and LEGALLY married.  I want to see that day.  I want to hear about that day and take joy in it.  I want my children to see that day and be happy as well.

My son recently had an argument with a kid at his school.  This other kid said that gay marriage was evil and that if allowed, then OMG! The whole world would suddenly be gay.  And my son (Goddess bless him!) told the other boy that that was the stupidest most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard.  This other boy said, “You don’t think there’s anything wrong with gay marriage?” My son once again said “No I don’t.  I like girls, but I don’t care if another guy likes a guy.  It’s okay.”  My son is 11.  Wiser and more touching words could not be spoken.

I’m sorry, this has just gone on and on.  I apologize if I’ve offended anyone, but in truth, I could no longer sit and say nothing.  If my words can reach just ONE person and make their life better because of them, than it is worth everything in the world.  Hate mail will be deleted, just so you all know.

Be at peace,

~ Ravenna

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