Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Warm Bodies

Background information: In May I turned 18. I was expecting to move to Billings, Montana for school in August, however my plans for college fell apart and I remained in my home town. I started working as a cashier at the local WalMart a few days later.

With my newest job, I've seen people I know who love me, and people I know who hate me. I've seen people who I've had classes with but never spoken to, and people I've heard about but never met. Sometimes I talk to those people, other times I don't. However, I've experienced something I hadn't experienced before with either my time at the library or my job at the roller rink. I'm just a warm body that's helping someone. I make no physical impact on their life and they make none on mine. How often do you catch your cashier's name? When I shop at the store down the road I know all the cashiers. But it's because I've been shopping there for years and have had a chance to learn them all. Heck even then, when one quit at that store and became my manager at the roller rink I had no clue who she was, I just recognized her. We don't realize that the people who help us, weather it be cashiers, store aids, police officer, DMV employees, ect. aren't acknowledged. Sure we might say their name once during an interaction because it's on their name tag, but other wise we hardly acknowledge their existence. We treat people who help us as warm bodies, but we never really treat them properly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grief

This week is national grief awareness week. This is a difficult week for many youth to deal with. There are hundreds and thousands of teenagers who have lost someone important to them. It's important for us to recognize that grief is one of the worst feelings a teen can deal with. Personally I lost my best friend to suicide two years ago. I know that grief is difficult, but I also know that it happens. Understand that grief is common, and everyone deals with it in their own way. This week at my high school, we started the week by rambling about something to do with makeup and the fact that we shouldn't wear it. Then the marching band preformed part of their marching shows ballad to raise awareness of grief. Tomorrow, in honor of grief awareness, the school encourages their students to wear blue.
Back to grief though, grief is a terrible stressor in any teenagers life. It does not matter who it was that the student is grieving for. Every person deals with grief in their own way, and unfortunately because of that, it is sometimes difficult to help. If a friend is suffering try to help them out.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Social Experiments Guys Vs. Girls: Makeup

In my school, I am known as a very anti-makeup person. This month is No Makeup November. Perfect for a person like me who hates wearing makeup unless it's for shows or whatever else. Well today I decided that I wanted to wear makeup to see what people's reactions were. It was still very light with a champagne colour eyeshadow and a pale pink lipstick. My friend who until it warms up again has been giving me rides to school noticed because he said my lips became extremely shiny. At school my ex-girlfriend instantly noticed and said it made my eyes pop out more. When I was outside talking with my friends the girls all mentioned that it looked lovely. A guy friend of mine came up and gave me a hug. He turned to leave before quickly turning around and whispering that I was wearing makeup. I left for my collage course where no one said anything. When I returned to the school my friend in charge of our Gay Straight Alliance mentioned it. At my friends locker where he and I were talking he did a double take on first glance at me. At lunch, a guy who has seen me in my show make up before, noticed and was quite surprised. After lunch no one really important existed until my final class of the day. I'm sitting in the band room with people who have seen my entire face painted with blues and purples for marching band and no one pays any attention. After class I'm talking to a friend and it took him five minutes to realize that I was wearing makeup and the only reason he figured it out was another girl in the color guard mentioned that it looked lovely. My former female boss noticed while my former male boss did not.
Observations from to day says that females notice things quicker than guys do. That may be an awkward statement but it's true. All together I talked with nearly 300 people today and it took the girls less than a minute and the guys slightly longer than the girls to realize that I was wearing makeup.
Sure I despise makeup with a passion because it ruins your natural beauty, but that doesn't mean that in small amounts it isn't worth wearing. Now while that may be true also realize that makeup is not only hiding your natural beauty, but it also is hiding the truth of who you are.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Religion Vs. Anything That Saved Someone's Live

I was scrolling through Facebook and found a Harry Potter hate page. For those of you who don't know, a few years back when I was contemplating suicide, Harry Potter gave me the little bit of hope that I needed to continue on. Now you have to understand, I am alright with hate pages because it's a part of your freedom of speech, but this was an extreme page. The page was sitting there saying that all the actors, J.K. Rowling, and all the themes in the book were sexual and because of this the books should be banned. (Note that several of the people posting also said to ban: Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Wreck-It-Ralph, Percy Jackson, and Frozen.)
They started insulting people who say Harry Potter saved their lives. Look I'm alright with you saying that Satan wrote Harry Potter. Hell I'm even alright with you saying that Harry Potter should be banned, but this is my answer to you insulting us by saying that it wasn't possible for Harry Potter to save our lives

This was my comment to them:
Harry Potter saved my life in several ways, and I want to explain that to you. Harry Potter helped me through coming out, losing my best friend, being bullied, and dealing with being raped by my step-father when I was 7. Harry Potter helped me get through a very deep place depression wise and was part of the reason that I did not commit suicide myself. Now, as an author of an LGBT friendly book, I can only thank J.K. Rowling for helping me find a place to continue my life and spread hope to others in our day in age. Harry Potter has been in my life since I was 4 years old and it will always be in my life after what it’s done for me. You may not approve of Luna Lovegood, but she inspires children from around the world to be unique and original. You may not like Draco Malfoy, but eventually he proves that family is the most important thing to him. You may not agree with any of this, but this is why I have to argue with you. Harry Potter has good meanings for anybody who is just searching for a last little bit of hope to continue their lives. You say Harry Potter doesn’t save lives, well I disagree because it sure as hell saved mine. Oh and just so you know, you can blame my CHRISTIAN family who allowed me to be raped for my homosexuality. Have a nice day.

As I said, I'm quite fine with hate pages but now you're destroying the hope for other people.
Another thing about this page that quite bugged me was they started burning the books, and yet they'll allow 7 year olds to read 50 Shades of Grey. 50 SHADES OF GREY guys. This child is only 7 YEARS OLD AND IS ALLOWED TO READ 50 SHADES OF GREY, but is not allowed to read Harry Potter.

Porn or a form of hope? Sure your religion may say that it's immoral to read things like Harry Potter, but stop saying that the book is all about sex and drugs when your allowing your children to read 50 Shades of Grey.

Their Facebook page for all you interested: https://www.facebook.com/Harrypottermorelikeharrynotter?ref=br_tf

What About Us? (Prosecution of Homosexuals Durint the Holocaust) (A Creative Non-Fiction Essay)


My uncle Heinrich always told me that before 1933 being gay in was better than it was shortly during World War II. In the year 1933 Hitler came to power. Before that, my uncle had lived in Berlin, and worked for the Menschenrecht which translated means Human Rights (Setterington). Berlin was nicknamed the homosexual capital of the world then, and had hundreds of gay clubs and bars (Oswald). Even then, paragraph 175 existed, but wasn’t enforced. Schwanenburg was my uncle’s favorite bar. He used to go nightly to meet up with friends, and hook up with others. My uncle was a part of Anders als die Andern, when it became the first gay film. Of course, this had happened before Hitler came to power (Setterington).

When Hitler came into power, he blamed the Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals for the loss of World War I. Well, technically, Hitler blamed anyone who wasn’t of his Aryan race. The issue was, even if a homosexual was of the Aryan race they were still blamed for the loss of the previous war. My uncle says that that theory was proven because he was technically of the Aryan race. To make it easier to arrest homosexuals, the Nazi’s decided to edit Paragraph 175. They modified it to make sure that homosexual males or females could not find loop holes. Paragraph 175 then read: A man who commits a sex act with another man or allows himself to be used by another man for a sexual act shall be imprisoned. When a party is not twenty-one years of age when the act happens, the court may refrain from punishment. When the Nazi’s modified Paragraph 175, they also modified Paragraph 174, and 176. When the concentration camps were built and put to use, the people who were arrested, and placed in a camp, because of any of those three paragraphs, were branded with a pink triangle (Safier).

Starting then, Hitler started to close all the gay bars and clubs. He shut down the papers and took control. When he did that, the drag kings and queens started to be more careful about what they did and when they did it. Whenever someone would shout “The police are coming” every one of the kings and queens would hike up their skirts and flee. Being gay had started to become more complicated for my uncle and his other friends. (Setteringron)

In 1937, Hitler officially started arresting Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and anyone else that wasn’t a part of his Aryan race. It took six years before my uncle was caught kissing another man in an alley behind what used to be a printing press for Menschenrecht. Both he and the other man were arrested. If my uncle hadn’t been caught with the man, he would have been fine. He and his friend Giselle had married to avoid getting arrested. Even if Giselle were caught with her partner, she would more than likely not be arrested because lesbians were not prosecuted often (“Lesbians and the Third Reich”).

At first they held my uncle in a prison. They gave him a jail sentence that should have lasted for ten years. While in jail they exposed the homosexuals to inhumane treatment, hard labor torture, executed, or experimented on. My uncle thought he had no chance of surviving through his jail sentence ("Holocaust Memorial Day Trust"). A year after he was put into jail they decided to transfer him over to Buchenwald. He was one of the 169 people in the camp for sexuality (Grau).

While he was held in Buchenwald, many of the homosexual males in the camp were offered freedom if they went to fight for Germany. Some agreed, and were sent out on suicide missions (Olson). My uncle lost many friends in camps alone that he was distraught. When he was placed in the camp they branded him by a pink triangle. They made him work hard, and gave him little food. They called him by 1899.

While in the camps, my uncle went under pain and torture. One time because he had his hands under the blanket when he was asleep one night, he had water dumped on him. Since he was homosexual he couldn’t wear any clothes, except a shirt to bed, and since he was with others branded by the pink triangle he wasn’t allowed to have his hands under the blankets or he would be punished. One time, he told me that he was hung from a tree by his arms because he could not carry a brick (Oswald).

If I thought what happened to the Jews was bad, having someone in my family who experienced the events was even worse. One day he came to me and he said “Janson, I want you to remember that when I was your age, I saw men and women alike go through the most excruciating forms of torture known to man. You live in a better era to be yourself even though you’re gay. You’ll never have issues with surviving. You’ll never be forced into a concentration camp like I was. You’ll live happily. Don’t forget what I say because it could be the most important speech you need to learn over the years.”

Homosexual men had to work in the quarry. Before 1938 they could have worked anywhere. Most prisoners that worked in the quarry had a chance of being switched to a normal block, although it seems that homosexuals were not offered that arrangement (Grau).

Vaernet and the Nazis’ experimented on homosexual men to see what made them homosexual. In 1944 a few campers branded with the pink triangle that were taken in for experimentation. All together fifteen campers had been experimented on. In one experiment Vaernet made an incision in the groin and implanted hormones. Later the people who had that experiment done on them were asked questions. If they answered correctly they were determined to be cured. What happened to these men who had this experiment done to them was unknown (Grau).

Another experiment that they did, was they had girls from other concentration camps come, and they set up a brothel. They had ten girls in the brothel. It became required, for the homosexual males to go use the brothel service at least once a week. While any of the campers used the brothel, the SS would watch the men have sex with the women in the brothel through holes that they drilled into the walls (Heger).

In 1945, the war ended. The concentration camps were discovered, and everyone who was still alive was near death. For many of the homosexual prisoners the end of the war was not the end of their punishment. If the men had already finished out their prison sentences, then they were released. If they had not finished their sentence they were put into jail to finish out their sentence. The allies England, United States, Russia, and Canada all thought that this was best since homosexuality was also at the time out lawed in those countries (Setterington).

Two years after my uncle had been released he had once again been imprisoned. At that time he lived in West Germany where Paragraph 175 was still enforced. During a twenty year time span, over 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality. Any of those that were arrested that had been in concentration camps were treated even more harshly since they were repeat offenders (Setterington).

Looking back at it now, it seems unsettling that such events took place. My uncle died when he was 86. That year, the German government decided that it was time to give the gays their recognition (Setterington). My uncle claimed his compensation and soon died. He left his partner Tomas, of twenty-five years, alone when he died. My uncle had been happy. He had left his past behind him, but still had rough patches when he’d wake up screaming from the memories of what happened to him and his friends. That never changed the way he felt though.

My uncle died many years ago, and now memorials are in place to allow us to remember those that died in the Holocaust. Now memorials for the gays that died as well as the gypsies, and Jews shine light on what happened. Now everyone is being recognized, and there is more freedom. All together 50,000 gays arrested, but only somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 of the gays were put into concentration camps ("Gay Holocaust Memorial Honors Pain, Sacrifice"). Now the Human Rights Campaign is going in full force, and all we want to be able to be like everyone else. It doesn’t matter now if we’re gay, straight, transgender, or known as any of those. It doesn’t matter that we’re not yet at a point in time where we can all feel free to marry whoever we want to, it mainly matters that we’re traveling down the road to our freedom. That is what matters now. Sure thousands of homosexual men died during the holocaust, but that’s not what matters. We to be free and known. It has been long enough for us to decide that it is finally time to say that look we may have been prosecuted over sixty years ago, and we weren’t acknowledged for it, but it is time for our stories to be known.

Heinrich died in 2001 of a heart attack. Tomas went on to live for about five more years before also dying. Janson fights, for freedom even today by traveling the world, and attending rallies making Heinrich’s story known. While freedom is not yet won, we keep on fighting hoping for something better.

* Please note that this is a story. While the facts about what happened, and how it happened are all true the characters Janson and his uncle Heinrich are both fictional characters. In reality Heinrich was not branded with 1899 and while the name was a common name in Germany during this time he was not meant to be a real person.*

Works Cited

"Gay Holocaust Memorial Honors Pain, Sacrifice." Tell Me More 26 June 2008. Student Resources in Context. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Grau, Günter, Claudia Schoppmann, and Patrick Camiller. Hidden Holocaust?: Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany, 1933-45. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1995. Print.

Heger, Heinz. The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True, Life- and Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1994. Print.

"Holocaust Memorial Day Trust." Gay People. Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, 2005. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"Lesbians and the Third Reich." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Olson, Elizabeth. "Gay Focus at Holocaust Museum." New York Times 4 Jan. 2003: B7. Student Resources in Context. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Oswald, Lewis. "Before It All." Homocaust: Remembering the Gay Victims of the Holocaust. Www.LewisOswald.com, 2004. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Oswald, Lewis. "The Camps." Homocaust: Remembering the Gay Victims of the Holocaust. Www.LewisOswald.com, 2004. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.

Safier, Scott. "Paragraph 175 and Other Sexual Deviance Laws." Pink Triangle Pages. Scott Safier, 1992. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Setterington, Ken. Branded by the Pink Triangle. Toronto, ON: Second Story, 2013. Print.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Small Lesson That I think Is Important For Everyone To Know

I'm watching Foster's, and if you haven't ever seen the show I highly recommend it. Now, in the theme song, there's two lines: It's not where you come from. It's where your going.

It's not where you come from.
If you are someone who is an out cast weather it be because of your sexual preference, gender identity, skin colour, or place of birth then this line is mostly meant for you. It's not where you come from in any meaning. You could be anyone from anywhere and it's just fine. You're who you want to be so stay that way.

It's where your going.
No matter where you came from, you could be going in any direction. Weather it's saving the world, curing cancer, or writing the next best selling novel you are perfect the way you are.

So, no it doesn't matter where you came from and what your past is like, it's what your plan for the feature is. Find something that's important to you and go with it. You can only be yourself when you're happy.