youth issues

All posts in the youth issues category

Gay in School

Published May 4, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Gay in School

This episode of Insight explored the topic of “more and more kids are coming out in their teens. What does it mean for students, parents and teachers?”  There is the usual gaggle of passionate, naive and ignorant people expressing simplistic views on a complex topic. I avoid these types of shows because I become so frustrated when people attempt to argue a point often lost in the pain of their own story. Alternately, you have those less enlightened among us argue from a position informed by dogma over reason.

The topics

Homophobia (working definition only) – is more about society ensuring people comply with Heteronormativity as the default. It violently dehumanizes, alienates and marginalizes any who offer a threat to the norm through their thoughts and actions. The most obvious targets are the LGBT communities and we do take this issue personally, because homophobia questions our very existence and is a physical danger. Therefore, for the LGBT communities homophobia is about survival and not some academic argument around inequality. However, it is this very point that limits our ability to engage in any debate to address this without becoming somewhat emotionally overwhelmed and defensive.

In this context, homophobia is about ensuring compliance from all teens to the rules of Heteronormativity. It is a whole of community issue not one solely for the LGBT communities to address. The reasoning behind this position is the institutionalisation of homophobia, even in the face of recent progressive reforms. We as a society discriminate against the other because they are not the same, in doing so deny the diverse nature of humanity.

 Bullying – is often a manifestation of homophobia in addressing the later the former would readily be resolved. If we accepted social diversity or that people interact in a myriad of legitimate ways then there would be no need for a moral policeman like bullying to enforce compliance to a narrow set of dysfunctional cultural conventions.

Identity – Personal conception and expression – the psychological & social   

Sex (biological) , gender (social) , sexual orientation identity , Sexual orientation

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex

The issue here seems to be more about how the existences of people, who do not confirm with cultural convention, challenge the status quo. It seems throughout the ages the LGBT communities find themselves fighting everyday to challenge the ignorance of Heteronormativity .  Heterosexism a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favour of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships, which in affect institutionalises homophobia legitimises violence and marginalises the other. How to challenge this situation question the norm, challenge the status quo and reject sameness.

diversity is the reality of the human condition

Coming out can be an event or process for the individual in disclosing aspects of their identity, like all of life’s developmental milestones it comes with its challenges. There is no arbitrary age when somebody becomes aware of sexual orientation rather it is all normal until somebody tells him or her differently.  We know about the social sanctions, which enforces a level of compliance with societal norms. Sometimes we feel compelled to comply, reject and ignore with each decision adding an additional layer of guilt around not being normal.. What we ask of the people who love us is unconditional support if we choose to come out.

Health clinic a matter of dollars, kids and community reponsibility

Published August 11, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

Hidden Voices the manipulation of healthcare

The programme Hidden Voices had little to do with articulating the experiences across communities of people living with mental illness. It seems the voice of  Mackay Division of General practice voice was obviously not that hidden. Today,  YIRS closed its free (Medicare bulkbilled) health clinic, staffed by local general practitioners, members of the aforementioned organisation.

The question here is

  • How do politics, power relationships and ideologies seek to shape the healthcare system?
  • What is the role of professional/industrial organisations and lobby groups influence policy and service provision?

Hidden Voices, exemplified one mode of political manipulation through the use of the media and the self-serving political agenda of some. Here with the closure of this clinic are the medical fraternity trying to apply a further political lever for the capitalist cause. Professionals across the community volunteer including me (10+hrs a week a total of 65hrs this month), is it another example of capitalist imperative trumping community responsibility for some.

What about primary health care?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Manic Monday

Published August 11, 2010 by Michael C Leeson

I watched a 4Corner’s programme titled Hidden Voices last night, which looked at issues faced by people living with mental disorders in regional Australia in particular around service gaps.  The topic of mental health holds some personal and professional interest, and I found aspects of this programme at some levels misleading.

For example

  • In highlighting the Mackay Division of General practice as somehow the principal provider of quality mental health services in this region seemed questionable or even self-serving on the part of participants.
  • The Division is a an industry lobbyist for General Practitioner & service provider in its own right.
  • In a population of 140, 000, 70% of whom experience some form of mental disorder these stats seem inflated
  • Healthcare in Australia has a tradition of private & public provision, with extensive public funding of both equally.
  • This programme sort to further a false dichotomy around the difference in the  quality of services between public and private providers
  • When professionals often work in both sectors simultaneous for multiple organisations, does this mean their quality of service differs depending on who pays.

It was simply a polished example of squeaky wheel politics in advancing the political agenda of the Division of General Practice during an election year. The programme was heavy on criticism and light on solutions, in seeking it seems to make further demands on public funding of private sector health.

The solution

Mackay Regional Mental Health Network

Self described as a partnership of government, non-government and private mental health service providers, consumers and carers who work in collaboration to improve mental health outcomes for people living with mental illness and their carers across the Mackay region.

This may be the mechanism required to

  • Give political impetus to bring about a change process
  • Build strategic partnerships across whole of community and government
  • Identify and  articulate service gaps
  • develop strategies to address service gaps
  • Advocate for resources

What is stopping them, may be you need to look at who is sitting at the table

Social Inclustion: A Queer Australian Issue

Published August 23, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

After reading a blog entry by the Rainbow Reporter where he gives some commentary on LGBT issues, and the Rudd Government’s Social Inclusion Agenda especially on his disappointment concerning this matter. Before proceeding this Government is a classic 3rd way Labor centralist regime in the Australian Liberal Democratic tradition with a work is welfare mentality.  Their Social Inclusion Agenda reflects that position, it is heavy on rhetoric funnelled towards maintaining the workforce. Further to this, it seems there is some consideration of issues affecting indigenous peoples and people from non-English speaking background.  However based on the record of accomplishment of previous administrations although overall it is about economic disadvantage and how Government and its’ collaborates can better address related issues i.e. poverty, housing, health and education/training.

How does this relate to the LGBTI issues specifically Government seems silent? The author does highlight three points that really need further consideration in his commentary.

  • Apparent limited availability of Australian social research on Qmunity issues
  • A need for better Qmunity consultation and increased representation
  • There is a need for greater consideration of Issues faced by Qmunity youth

I do not agree with the casual racial analysis of the taskforces membership by the author however I do agree that there are significant issues still to be addressed.

Coming Out Early: the Fight to Help LGBT Youth

Published August 7, 2009 by Michael C Leeson

Coming out early: the fight to help LGBT youth | Feature Story on 365gay.com

The story speaks to a real crisis in the US for teens who identify as LGBT, this situation may simply reflect the inadequate welfare supports systems. However, I am interested in the experiences of Australian teens who identify, please read the story.

It would not be drawing a long bow in stating that for any person, adolescences is a time of transition from childhood towards adulthood in most societies. During which we grow in all dimensions of which we are, subsequently emerging into adulthood as a butterfly.  However, it is also a time of much personal angst and self-doubt, if not parented appropriately could cause considerable psychological emotional and social damage whose affects may last a lifetime.  Then if we consider kids, who identify as Same Sex Attraction Transgender and/or Intersex the level of confusion seems to go up a level.

This entry looks at

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench upheld the decision of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission tribunal in Nichols v. M.J. & Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, 2009 SKQB 299.

Society and kids

In this self-obsessed world somehow we freely abdicate our responsibility for raising kids to experts, denounce under resourced parents or even blame the child. Kids are no longer adults on trainer wheels but an accumulation of social problems solved through clinical, criminal justice and/or interventions. Some pop psychologist labelled them as aliens, dangerous and a threat hence becoming The Other. Unless it is your child then this false crisis becomes a reality a strange mix of soap opera, hormones and duelling egos. However, there is nothing new here in this conflict of cultures mostly it seems promoted by music bands and tee shirt venders to promote merchandise sales. While some developmental experts (i.e.  Erik Erikson William Damon) argues the conflict between parent/authority & adolescent is a health part of the young person’s transition. What is really happening parents feed on a diet of the alien in their midst, kids told that it is all about challenging what is and some ask why it is so and then both being punished for not being normal.

Rainbow Nation kids

Hey, Mum & Dad meet my boyfriend, what did you say Jason.

What would your response be if your son or daughter identified as Same Sex Attraction, or there was some conflict between their biological and gender identity?

The real issues faced by young people who identify are the same as those faced by all kids.  However, there are additional issues what may be youthful experimentation may turn into something more critical

I.e.