Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bleeding Heart

Man, I really am a bleeding heart liberal. Reading more of Maya Keyes' personal blog has really gotten to me. I'm really not that concerned about Maya herself, it's clear she is strong enough to get through all this. But others may not be so strong:

Shymmer is, to begin with, one of my best friends on earth.  He is, as his boyfriend Shiva puts it, "one of those kids with starlight in his eyes - the world still surprises him, in the good ways."  His first street name was Funshine, after the Care Bear; because he's one of those people who is always trying to make everyone around him happy, no matter what hell he's going through at the moment.
And he has been through a lot of it.
Shymmer was kicked out of his house a few years ago, the summer after his junior year in high school, because he is gay and his parents are conservative.  Sounds familiar?
But unlike me, Shymmer's parents aren't famous, and he didn't have a huge online community supporting him.  So Shymmer, for the past few years, has been actually out on the streets.  He did manage to finish high school (like me also, he was Ivy-League accepted, but never made it to college - he was in my graduating year, 2003) but since then has been wandering.  Any of you who deal with street kids at all will know at least somewhat what the streets can do to people - after a couple years it has certainly taken its toll on Shymm.  He went from a bright cheerful kid with a potentially bright future to something of a wreck, having been beaten, raped, and otherwise abused during his time on the streets more than I like to think about.  He ended up here where I am - in Chicago - on heroin and selling himself, until Shiva brought him back to DC and he cleaned up.  But even off heroin and with Skyzombie's roof over his head, all the abuse is hard to get rid of, and emotionally he's just not been in a good place.

And there are so many more kids like him - For years a good number of my friends have been street kids I've known so many gay kids out on the streets who end up dead or on the streets forever.  (I wrote a post about something like this over the summer...) They've been in situations like mine but didn't have thousands of people watching and ready to help them stand on their feet again.

So all this support I'm getting is overwhelming but... I haven't done anything to deserve this.  It's not right that anyone should be in this situation, no; but I'm not the only one, there are thousands more and what help are they getting?

I suppose that more than anything this has just reminded me even more why Bria and I for so long have wanted to start a GLBT youth center; a place where queer homeless kids especially can find support - run by people who actually know what it's like to be in their position...

But, again, thank you all. You all are amazing.  Just don't forget all the others out there like me...

Shymmer, who'd been staying with Skyzombie, had been doing really, really, really not well.  Somehow its always more depressing when Shymmer, our own little Funshine Bear, is doing badly - Shymmer depressed is such a drastic contrast to Shymmer in his usual bouncy cheerful let's-go-make-the-world-sparkly natural state that when he gets in really bad condition it's frightening.  But as Sky mentioned in his last post, Shymmer's been depressed, cutting, not eating again...   the day before yesterday (I think. I'm losing track of days) Sky was going to take him down to the hospital because he'd starved himself back to an unhealthily low weight and we all (Shymmer included) thought that a stay in a psyche ward for a while would be preferable to starving himself to death.  So they agreed that after Skyzombie finished teaching his last class of the day they'd take him in - except then, as I just found out, when Sky got back to his house Shymmer was gone.  Either he or one of his alters decided that hospitalization wasn't gonna work for them, I guess, and it appears that he just took off and hit the streets again. So now we have one missing anorexic queer... everybody, please keep our Anjul in your prayers. He needs them, badly.
Thankfully, just tonight she posts "they found shymmer." By the time I got around to looking at tonight's post, reading backward through the past several, I found I really cared. She also made the following post a Kos
-I have been out to my parents for a while now, yes. While this caused a lot of tension and has often brought up the POSSIBILITY of this whole me-getting-cut-off business, the final straw in all this was not simply that I am queer but that I am queer and an activist. i.e., it was bad enough that I'm queer but so long as I was quiet about it that was okay.

-To whoever was going on about maybe this is because I'm a slacker who won't go to school or get a job: I had a job. That I was just fired from. By my dad. So it is true that I don't have a job - NOW.
And I am going to be going to Brown University in the fall, once I figure out how to finance that.

-It feels strangest of all to me that this is suddenly a big deal, because over the years I've had three good friends and known any number [of more] street kids who were, just like me, cut off by their families after coming out. Anyone who read my blog over a LONG period of time would know that for years now, long before anyone on the internet knew who I was, I have wanted to start a youth center to help GLBT kids and GLBT street kids, especially. At first I was really upset that this whole deal about me is becoming gossip again, but I just pray that it will make more people take notice of the THOUSANDS more like me who find themselves in this situation EVERY DAY.
In the long run, the number one thing we can do to help kids like this is create a society where parents don't feel the need to push these kids away. There will always be bad parents, of course, this problem does not need to be so common. This goal is not incompatible with Christianity, but it is incompatible with fundamentalism. How do we reject fundamentalism without causing the fundamentalists to feel persecuted? I'm not sure. That persecution complex always seems to be their greatest strength. I'm sure the solution involves love and providing an alternative story, say one centered around the teachings of Jesus instead of Deuteronomy. You'll notice from her writing Maya is an extremely faithful Christian.