Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Nadine Wallace - An Insight to Anothers Life

Nadine Wallace is a very insightful person, but I would bet she would disagree. Her presentation was a journey through her own life, and her struggles as a lesbian trying to accept herself, but her message is applicable regardless of the person. Obviously the lens was through LGBTQ, but it has an overall message of knowing who you are. What I found most interesting was her inclusion of the internal monologue she has with her self, her internalized homophobia. Essentially this internalized homophobia is her wanting to be like other people, not to be different as that can make life hard or make you feel isolated, and all of this come from within. That is not an easy thing to deal with. It can restrict from being happy in who you are. This is something I think everyone can identify with. Some people hate how they look, or feel that what they are worthless, all on the inside without even being bullied. They are their own bully. She has really vocalized an aspect of herself in a particular situation, being gay but not wanting to be, and has connected us to the pain it can cause when society has a norm that should not be strayed from. I found this particularly connecting, I could have never imagined what it would be like to struggle with sexuality, just like I can never truly equate some pain to that of child birth. It is something I have not (and in the case of child birth, will not) experienced, but now I can understand. At some point in everyone's life you question yourself, I know I can be particularly hard on my self and I very rarely talk it out, I always internalize. I can become my own worst enemy, and this I think is part of what she dealt with. She has really helped me, and hopefully others, connect a little more to the issue of sexuality, and more broadly see other peoples struggle with more empathy than before.

She also mentioned, albeit briefly, the idea of heterosexism. The idea that we all think in a way that pertains to the social norm of a couple as a man and a women, if someone is to mention their partner, you are likely to assume the opposite sex (in a relationship context, not a business context). I had never heard this term before but I have definitely noticed the affects. I have always tried to keep an open mind, and never assume and I learned at a young age that sometimes life can be drastically different, even within a family. This became something I carried over into life, I try not to use my life as the structure for the norm. I find it is better to listen and learn than to talk and be heard. As for heterosexism, I can absolutely see the negative impact this can have. People with no goals of an open mind will instantly react to something that goes against their ways. If a person mentions partner and means same sex, that challenges them, and they are unlikely to rise to it. This is obviously the current hang up with LGBTQ rights in North America. A major part of her presentation was the problem with having one ideal, a heterocentric mind set. It prevents people from being accepted. The ideal should be people-centric, focused on the individual and their choice. This would be a boon for all people, not just those of the LGBTQ community. We all benefit when each is accepted.

Lastly I would just like to thank her for her work in schools, and for parading the cause of all peoples happiness. Her ideas on a safe school climate, though initially for LGBTQ, are easily spread to all students who need a safe refuge and understanding. She was even a part of the kids help phone, which is available for all people looking to talk. I couldn't begin to try and understand how many people have been helped. I always appreciate when someone takes a specific experience (her life) and applies it to help as many people as possible.