I have written a lot about being sexually abused when I was a kid. When I started writing about it, it was hard and I didn't sleep, and my wife and therapist were frankly doing the sort of check-ins that happen right before you land in a nervous hospital. Those writings exist in the world already, and this isn't about that, exactly, though the history is relevant.
In case you didn't know, Anthony Rapp spoke out about Kevin Spacey sexually assaulting him many years ago when Rapp was a teenager. Kevin Spacey responded by paying for an expensive PR firm to write an apology (for being drunk, for Rapp's feelings, for a thing he didn't remember). The internet responded exactly as you'd expect it to. Smarter, more eloquent people have already talked about how important it is to note that not all gay people are child molesters. This seems so obvious to me, sitting in the office of a house I share with my legally wedded wife, in the safe comfort of our affirming community and allies.
But maybe it's not obvious. There are still people in my hometown who cannot (or will not) make this distinction. A friend, a kind and cuddly dude I'm lucky to know, mentioned that he doesn't have a relationship with his sister because her husband doesn't want him around their kids. Think about that on a personal level. Someone you know and love and spent a great deal of time growing up with marries a mouth-breathing homophobe and it affects your relationship. Maybe you don't talk as often. And then she has a baby. A tiny human who shares your DNA. Someone you get to watch grow up and experience all of the joy and wonder (and yeah, sadness and cruelty, but maybe you can be a cushion for that) the world has to offer. And this asshole prevents you from seeing your newest relative. Not only that, but rather than stand up to him, your sister cosigns, either directly or indirectly. How do you explain a whole relative they have no concept or knowledge of to your kid years later when they're looking at family photos. And what if ... God forbid, that kid grows up to be queer.
(Ultimately, this isn't my family or my story, and this is speculation on my part, but it's a familiar enough restrain in the Bible belt that I can make some educated guesses.)
This is a stigma that still exists. In spite of gay marriage, and all the pop culture we've given you people, it still needs to be said that gay people are not predators. Gay people get abused and molested as well. The rate of reporting is sometimes lower because, as Rapp said in his statement, the conversation about abuse is often an inquiry into the victim's sexuality. To me, a gay woman and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this is not dissimilar from blaming a woman for her rape because she was dressed provocatively. It's bullshit. Beyond that, I think that predators often seek out victims who seem vulnerable or will keep their secret. And abuse is as often about power and access as it is about anything else.
There's a really interesting (and well researched) article about molestation and homosexuality here if you wanna read it. Obvious content/trigger warning for rape/homophobia.
Here are some very specific statistics about queer people and sexual abuse from the CDC.
So what do we do now? As a community, I see us holding space for one another. It's important and healing to take good self care as we care for other queer/trans/gender nonconforming people who are feeling triggered or tender. I see you and I support you.
Straight allies: what you can do is talk to your conservative friends and family members. Challenge them to consider where their beliefs came from, where the validity has ever been proven, and how it could a/effect the (especially silent) people in their lives. We've been doing this emotional labor for years. We're still doing it. But we're tired af and it would be nice to have a little help around here.
Sooooo. Hi. Hello. My wordpress domain name expired and I thought since I'm a fancy MFA student now I should have a place to put the feelings I wanna share with the rest of the world. This is it! (On the other hand: Don't get too excited, this is it.) Thanks/sorry.
Here's a picture of Holtzmann, because tomorrow is Halloween.