Monday, 29 June 2009

Skool Rulz

Are you out there?

I want to get this space talking! If you work with young people or have an interest in this, get in touch, A bit about me: I have two jobs at the moment, one working with L.G.B.T.Q young people and the other supporting kids in a mainstream school. Working in a school (as I have done lots in the past) I know the script. Schools prepare young people to be future citizens, thats their role, they gear towards the mainstream. There is a tremendous push for conformity.

Good: respect for authority/obedience to those with more power than you, don't focus on what you enjoy, focus on what will make you 'successful', i.e: owning a large house, marriage, kids, a car, several holidays a year and always wanting bigger, better, more. Does this make you happy? or always hungry, paranoid and insecure? I don't know, i've always follwed my own path and although it doesn't feature any of the above, it makes me happy. Bad: To challenge authority, to follow your own path, to be your own judge/boss, to go for what makes you happy even though you may veer from the 'right path'. What is the risk of this for the future of the workforce? For the future of the economy, for the future of the family?

Goths, moshers, Girls who like girls, Boys who like boys, gender blenders, tomboys, sissy's, rebelious kids, What if they don't grow out of it? One by one, these kids learn the message that these factors dont equate to success in society, one must grow up and grow into the future workforce. Young people are shaped and spun by the education sytem, disipline and praise the tools of the master, until they leave schools as 'young women' and 'young men', all ready for the next stop on the conveyor belt.......

But what of the great people in history, did they obey authority even when they knew that authority was wrong? What if Rosa Parks had kept quite when she was denied a seat on the bus that day due to the colour of her skin, what if Harvey Milk had accepted the view that he did not deserve to live due to his homosexuality, what if the suffragetes had accepted that they were inferior due to their sex, ...... What if these people (and so many others) had followed the rules and not acted? Where would we be now?

What do schools really teach us?

''Don't follow anyone who is not going anywhere'' (anywhere that you want to be)

Ms Fitz is everywhere!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

When a soap with teen appeal has a gay storyline, what is the fall out for the queer kids in school?

Being a (privately) queer youth worker in a predominatly Muslim school, Im am aware that there are Queer young people in school who are forced so far into the closet that I doubt they themselves are even aware of their (homo)sexuality (or transgender). The only way to survive school when queer is to keep your head down and try your hardest to 'pass' until that amazing day when you can walk out those doors forever. I know this is a common experience of many Queer young people in various types of schools, but in faith schools this is magnified. Given this, with Eastenders choosing to feature a gay muslim character despite complaints from the muslim community, is this a good thing? is it a bad thing? Is it good as it gives visibility to gay Muslim people and refuses to play along with the fallacy that there are no gay muslims? Does it encourage people to assess their own stereotypes and promote equality? Does it encourage poeple to search their faith for themselves, rather than have it scewed upon interpretation by others? Or is it all together too dangerous a topic to explore? With queer muslim people facing the threat of torture and mass family/social rejection upon discoverery of their homosexuality? And with homosexuality being a huge taboo in schools and particulary faith schools, what is the impact for Queer young people in the schools? When young people talk about the storylines and share their shock and opinions (almost always homophobic as schools perpetuate homophobia and very rarely confront it)who is there to support the queer kids who are propelled into this new visibility? I suspect that they are forced to join in the kicking of the characters to save their own skins, and at what cost? Internalising homophobia and self-hatred in the process, isololation can and often does lead to self-violence, mental health problems and frequently, suicide. The question is how can soaps sensitely tackle gay storylines, exploding oppressive stereotypes and putting gay lives out there, without putting the lives of queer kids in school at risk in the process?

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Are there any other Queer and/or Feminist Youth workers out there??? if so, get in touch :)
So what will it be?


Hello and welcome to Ms Fitz's place, come in and have a cuppa....