112 Round Up

Yes, I’m still talking about Louisiana HB 112, and I will be for a while (Look, I’ve even given this bill its own little Category because I talk about it so much).We can revel in May 12th’s victory for a little while longer, but we have to remember that a bill has to go through quite an adventure before it becomes a law. Brush up on this journey here, and think back to your School House Rock days:

(yeah, this is a local bill so it won’t get to Capitol Hill. But, I just couldn’t pass up this reference.)

There are plenty of upcoming dates in this bill’s future, so stay attentive. I’ll post them here as soon as I receive them.

That being said, I’ve come across quite a few articles about HB 112 that I’ll share with you!

Check out this story by NBC 33. The reporter speaking in the video reduced the 12 characteristics to “race, color, and sexual orientation” with no mention of the other 9. Why?! Sure, we here at Girl Get Out like to focus on the “gayness” of this bill, because we’re gay. Am I being a sell out if I tell you to remember that it’s probably going to work in our favor if the non-gay world remembers that it’s inclusive of other characteristics too, because some people have a heart when it comes to other religions and other ancestries, mental and physical disabilities, etc…but that heart disappears when it comes to other sexual preferences.  Those people may not vote in the bill’s favor if sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are the main characteristics being thrown around by the media. Are you following me here? I know, I’m being slightly hypocritical, but, um, whatever, on to the next one…

Next up: Our girl Alyson made a nice little video using some footage she shot during the House of Education committee meeting that we can’t stop talking about. Click here to watch le video. She also wrote a quick personal narrative explaining how this bill affects her:

Ten to fifteen years from now, gay and lesbian Americans will just be beginning to realize how significant the suicides of September 2010 were on our collective psyche. I was living in Austin at the time and was heavily affected by the suicides, which corresponded with a heightened effort to pass DADT as DOMA and ENDA policies continued.

I immediately felt a responsibility to these kids, my heart connected to theirs as if we’d known each other our whole lives. The suicides made me remember.

As “out” LGBTQ people, we have yet another closet to climb out of. How many of us have considered suicide? How many of us have planned to kill ourselves, either quickly with self-violence or slowly with drugs and alcohol? I was connected to these students; at one point in our lives we had a depression or rage so strong we considered voluntarily leaving this world and we felt we couldn’t share these thoughts with anyone.

I had lived four years pretending I’d never known those thoughts for fear of being considered mentally ill by my own community.

I wanted to bleed; I wanted to see my red blood emptying out of me. I was drunk and barely in control of myself. I did not care. Nothing was making any sense. Thoughts and images of slashing myself open ran through my head.

Now almost a year later, I filmed the House Committee meeting on HB 112, an all-inclusive anti-bullying bill in Louisiana. Ironically enough, on that same day mental health awareness groups were present to raise awareness on mental illness. I was really happy to see them out in full force, wearing orange and green shirts.

Many of the participants who came to the Capitol to raise awareness for mental illness were present during the passage of HB 112 from the education committee. My own experience of that day was surreal.

As I laid down to go to bed that night, I felt the same sensations of warmth on my wrist and images I  had during drunken hours in my apartment where I was considering tearing into myself. I’ve come out since then, but to think that I have not been permanently affected by those past events would be another form of denial. I cannot imagine kids coming to terms with their sexuality in middle and high school. They need our protection, and they need us to remember.

You can share any thoughts, stories, or experiences you’ve had concerning this bill as well (like I said, we’ll be talking about it for a while). Email girlgetout@gmail.com.

AND! This isn’t directly related to HB 112, but if you happen to be in middle school or high school, first of all, I’m sorry I curse so much on this blog. Secondly,  GLSEN (gay, lesbian, straight education network) needs you to fill out this survey to help ensure that you stay protected in-school.

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