Monday, March 07, 2016

Ignorant Prejudice even in Dunedin

There have been articles in our local paper about increasing acceptance of different sexualities in our local schools even Catholic schools. However it has brought at least one neanderthal out of the woodwork.

I was too busy becoming a citizen last Wednesday to read our local paper but have discovered an opinion piece written by a man who describes himself as a retired teacher and I am very glad he is retired. Thankfully all the replies have been dismissive of him.
His opinion is disgraceful and ignorant. I can only post a few bits.

"I think the ODT ought to be more careful about publicising the lifestyle choices of seriously confused young people, and the views of older people who would exploit them Adolescence and the courtship/dating time of life are always confusing.

They're confusing even if you're normal: if, for instance, you know that you're a boy, and that you find girls attractive and disturbing.

You have to meet girls, figure out which particular girls you're most compatible with, get to know them, find out if they like you, deal with the mind-altering effects of being in love, negotiate tactfully how far to go with them sexually (in accordance with your value system, if any), and decide together whether you want to get married.
Imagine how much more confusing and difficult to be told at a tender age - implicitly or explicitly - that your nervous interest in the opposite sex may indicate not that you're attracted to them but that you're attracted sexually to your own sex - and that that's OK!

And perhaps now to be told furthermore - by a school teacher or counsellor - that despite anatomical evidence, you may not "really'' be a boy (or a girl) after all.

That you can make up your own mind!

And that you should try everything before deciding!

Now, I think that this whole business of sexual "orientation'' and gender "identity'' is a) nonsense, and b) dangerous nonsense.

Human sexual preferences are obviously not carved in stone (or our DNA): why otherwise are we seeing now such an historically unprecedented increase in non--normative sexual behaviours?

These matters are obviously very malleable.
In the past they have been supported by convention and religion (pretty much every religion) and common sense.

I went to school with two chaps who were, in the view of the rest of us (it was a boys' school), somewhat effeminate.

On reflection, they were bullied - though only slightly (nothing physical, and we didn't have cellphones).

Neither of them in later years pursued homosexual lifestyles, nor sought gender re-assignment.

Not only were those "options'' not then acceptable, they were, more importantly, not then fashionable.

Indeed, most people were hardly aware of them.

That's not a bad thing.

We don't have to be aware of everything.

If you're going to choose, why not choose some thing easy and conventional, that is sanctioned by history, that is more psychically challenging and interesting than hooking up with your own gender, and will likely produce a family without technological intervention?

The LGB label gets extended every couple of weeks (LGBT, LGBTI, LGBTQ, LGBTIQ) as people develop new modes of sensual experimentation."

My online reply has not been printed, possibly too late. I have thought of sending it to the print version but it is probably too long and I cannot see how to reduce it.

Thankfully I was too busy becoming a Kiwi citizen to read the ODT the day this article was printed. As a gay man I have found nothing but acceptance since moving to live in Dunedin but know there are pockets of prejudice everywhere. Unfortunately such prejudice in the parliament of my birth country, Australia means it is falling way behind NZ in social development.
I am also a retired teacher, now over 70 and am well aware of the harm done by the attitudes when I was growing up. Effeminacy (what a horrible word) is not necessarily an indicator of one's sexuality  I learnt to hide that just for self preservation. At school I had no idea of what my feelings for other boys meant and it was not until I studied psychology at university that I discovered it to my horror. Choice did not come into it. As a law abiding, church going young man I would have done anything to choose otherwise.
Psychiatric treatment (now discredited) was useless. Fortunately I was able to break my engagement which had been encouraged by the psychiatrists but I have met many men my age who married. The luckier ones divorced, others agreed with their spouses to live an outwardly "normal" married life while having same-sex relationships and some sneaked out whenever possible to meet men. I am sure there are some who just live a conflicted life hiding their innermost feelings. Thankfully in today's society young men (and women) can follow their natural feelings in an open and less conflicted way.
I certainly took many girls out and apparently some saw me as a"catch" and obviously was very attracted in ways other than sexual to my ex-fiancee. Even today most of my friends are women.  However it was not until I had my first serious long term gay relationship (in my late 30's) that I realised what had been missing. That inner buzz and feeling that you do not want to let the other person out of your sight.   While wistful, I rejoice that young gay people can experience that today without the dread of social opprobrium.
I have only met a few transexual persons (and Mr Hardesty it is not the same as homosexual, your ignorance is abysmal). I do not really understand but from my own experience I want to see them receive the same acceptance and assistance that young GLB people now largely do. While confusing to us oldies, I understand the need for adding to the alphabet of people who do not conform to what use to be seen as 'Normal". In fact it is people with views like Mr Hardesty who are now abnormal.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Journey is Complete

Last Wednesday, March 2nd, I joined about 70 others at the Dunedin Town Hall and became a New Zealand (Aotearoa) citizen.
I find I first mentioned moving to New Zealand on this blog in 2006 shortly after my mother died.
The first major comment was just after my first visit to Dunedin in November that year.

However it had been in my mind for many years and I first visited and fell in love with the country in December 1966. Obviously no blog references at that time but I did write a detailed diary of that trip.
Between (now) amusing description of my first real plane flight (I did have a brief flight from Canberra to Sydney as a small boy) I wrote:
"New Zealand came into sight. Land of long white cloud was true. We could see right across to the other side. We came down over fields - very green with hedges."

I never dreamt  (then just 22) that, towards the end of my life, I would retire to live in New Zealand and eventually become a citizen.

My move here in January 2010 is well documented in this blog.

I am very proud to be a Kiwi.