Categories
Gender/ sexuality

Mental health and the need for asexuality inclusion in schools

Image: iStock

Trigger warning: This post deals with suicide and may be triggering for some readers.

In September last year, the worst nightmare for any parent came true. 13 – year – old, Lily Dowling had taken her own life.

Before her death, she wrote letters to her best friends and left them in thier lockers. 

Jane Hansen from Herald Sun described her as a “gorgeous 13 – year  – old with a love for Harry Potter books and the world at her feet…”

When speaking about her daughter, Emma Heeley said:

She was the kindest, most caring girl who was always looking out for others. She attracted really beautiful people and had a lot of friends. 

The warning signs

There were clues that Lily wasn’t coping. Lily had written a poem about her own death nine months before the tragedy. She’d posted it on Instagram. Unfortunately, Ms. Heeley only found the poem after Lily’s death. 

By August 2019, Lily had started to withdraw.

“I knew something was really, really wrong, but she would just close up and not talk to me”, Ms. Heeley said. 

Lily refused to go to therapy.

Lily’s death is only one of a string of suicides among young girls that have gotten worse over the last ten years.

Lily came out as asexual

Three months before her death, Lily came out on Instagram as asexual. (Kudos for Jane Hansen for properly defining it in the article). 

Professor Ian Hickie raised concern about young people feeling the need to put a label on themselves in such a sexualised culture.

It’s true that young people shouldn’t be forced to place a label on themselves before their ready. Sexuality can be complex, especially while growing up.

Having said that, young people, should be able to come out if they feel sure about how they feel. 

How many cases like this out there?

How many young asexual people feel lost, depressed and even suicidal? Studies suggest that young LGBT people are at least 2.5 times more likely to take their own lives than heterosexual peers. However, this data excludes asexual and non binary trans people. 

In a paper, Morag Yule, Lori Brotto and Boris Bolzaka guessed that asexual individuals may suffer worse mental health issues due to stigma than other groups.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case. What I found the hardest growing up was the erasure. I was told that asexuality Leither didn’t exist or it was something that people grew out of. 

I’ve said before that I don’t blame the people that told me these myths. This was in the early 2000’s – from 2005 to 2007. But I do hope things are changing.

School counsellors and other mental health workers need to know about asexuality

Everyone should feel free to go to a counsellor. LGBTQ+ people need to have counsellors that are going to accept and validate their identities and experiences. They need to know they won’t be judged.

This is why acceptance of asexual people is so important. School counsellors, social workers and other mental health workers need to know that asexuality is real. 

 

Maybe this can be included in a professional development program. Or make it a part of social work and psychology degree subjects/ modules. You might be scoffing at this, but the time for erasure and ignorance needs to end. 

 

 

If you feel like you need assistance, you can call Lifeline: 13 11 14.

BeyondBlue: 1300 224 636 (you can also chat online. They also have LGBTQ+ resources. They include asexuality).

If you believe that you or someone you know is in crisis, contact 000 or your country’s emergency number. 

Please leave your thoughts or helpful mental health hotlines in your area in the comments below. 

 

 

Categories
Culture Film, TV

Australian TV needs to stop using diversity as a gimmick

TV shot of Brooke Blurton, Australia's 2021 Bachelorette

Australian TV will soon make “history”.

This year, The Bachelorette will feature Brooke Blurton. She is the show’s first Indigenous and openly bisexual (successful) star. Both men and women will be competing for her affection. People have expressed scepticism on social media. Many claim it’s a gimmick.I can’t say I blame them.

Producers refused request for an LGBTQ+ Bachelor

Producers of The Bachelor/ The Bachlorette Australia ruled out having an LGBTQ bachelor or bachelorette. This was less than three years ago, after Australia had legalised same – sex marriage. Host, Osher Gunsberg was all for the move. Their excuse was that it didn’t fit the “concept”.

The ‘concept’ apparently needed heterosexuality and monogamy. This excuse raised another issue; the idea that LGBTQ+ people couldn’t have relationships to cis – het people.

This excuse was made less than two years ago.

So, why now? Have ratings plummeted over the years? Is that why they’re using LGBTQ +  and Indigenous people?

I’m sick of this. LGBTQ+, Indigenous people, and people of colour in general, shouldn’t be just add ons. They shouldn’t be used to make a company, or a TV production feel better about themselves. And, frankly, that’s how the TV industry in Australia has been acting recently.

We should be past the idea of having people of colour or LGBTQ+ people in pop culture as revolutionary. Enough with the obsessions of the ‘firsts’..

Australian TV and its issues with diversity

Close up of black remote with white numbers on buttons
Image: iStock

The Bachelorette hasn’t been the only show to face issues with diversity.

Last month, former Neighbours actors Sharon Clanton, Meyne Wyatt and Sharon Johal claimed to be victims of racism, sexism and homophobia. They also accused the production company, Fremantle Media of not doing enough to prevent it. This shows that virtue signalling doesn’t work. Inclusion has to be genuine.

Will producers treat Blurton fairly?

I doubt I’ll watch the Bachelorette. If I do, it won’t be much of it. However, I do hope Brooke Blurton is treated and portrayed fairly.

I hope that the producers respect Blurton’s identities. I hope producers don’t erase Blurton’s bisexual or Indigenous identities. Let’s also hope they don’t make soft-core porn from Blurton’s sexuality, either.

Enough of ‘firsts’ and gimmicks

The Neighbours controversy (for me) proves that meeting a ‘quota’ is not enough. Having Indigenous or LGBTQ+ characters is not enough.

It’s time to normalise LGBTQ+ and Indigenous people in Australian pop culture. They should be included without causing a news story! Can we get to that point?

 

Just another side note, can we please not make Blurton’s identities into a debate? If Blurton claims she’s Aboriginal and bi, can we just leave it at that? So what if Blurton didn’t identify as bi three years ago? She can now if she thinks it fits her. Sometimes sexuality isn’t so clear cut. And her being or “identifying” as Aboriginal? I don’t want to get into that.

 

 

What do you think of The Bachelorette this year? Will you watch it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

Categories
Pop Culture

ABBA hologram performance and new music announced

Get ready from a blast from the past! Well… kinda.

ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus has promised fans that ABBA is planning on releasing new music. 

These new songs are the first recorded since Agnetha Faltskog, Annifrid Lyngstad Benny Andersson and Ulvaeus parted in 1981.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has halted ABBA releasing the songs, a TV special and Abbatar; a hologram – based live show. 

Despite the setbacks, Ulvaeus is convinced it’s going to happen. 

“It’s not a case anymore of it might happen. It will happen”, he told Newscorp

He even joked that it’ll be COVID safe, with no live singing. 

The show will be launched at a venue in London. 

Australia will also get the chance to see Abbatar. However, no dates have been mentioned. 

The band regularly discuss their ‘comeback’. 

Two titles of new songs have come out in the past five years: I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down. 

Ulvaeus has refused to expose any more details about the new songs.

Next year will mark fifty years since the release of the single People Need Love. 

However, the band has no desire to physically tour again.

The hits that have never got old

ABBA’s music has stood the test of time. Almost everyone has heard at least one of these hits:

Dancing Queen (1976)

Mamma Mia (1975)

SOS (1975)

Waterlook (1974)

Waterloo won them Eurovision in Brighton, UK. It also kickstarted their career globally, especially in Australia. 

 

 

ABBA’s impact on pop music spans generations

You don’t have to be a child of the 1970’s to know who ABBA are. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers have heard of ABBA. 

I remember growing up listening to ABBA Gold. I also remember A*Teens covering Mamma Mia. 

Then, there was the musical Mamma Mia. It became a hit movie in 2008, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. 

 

Mamma Mia DVD featuring L to R: Julie Waters as Rosie, Amanda Seyfried as Sophie, Meryl Streep as Donna, Pierce Brosnan as Sam, Christine Barinski as Tanya, Stellan Skarsgard as Sam and Collin Firth as Harry.

The singing wasn’t the best. Key signatures were altered from the original. But the hits in the movie were recognisable. 

Ten years, later, MammaMia: Here We Go Again came out. It featured some of ABBA’s lesser known songs such as Adante, Adante, I’ve Been Waiting For You and My Love, My Life. 

ABBA turned metal

I kid you not. 

In the early 2010’s, power/ symphonic metal band ReinXeed, (now Majestica) did a number of metal covers of Swedish pop songs, including ABBA’s. 

Here are some of my favourites. 

Take A Chance On Me

Does Your Mother Know

Rock Me

 

ReinXeed/ Majestica haven’t been the only metal band to have covered ABBA. Yngwie Malmsteen did a great cover of Gimme Gimme Gimme.

 

No one can deny ABBA’s impact on music. They’re a once – in – a – lifetime band. There will never be a band like them. They definitely did an amazing job.

Maybe not too long from now, even more generations will be exposed to their music. Even if it’s in hologram/ virtual form. 

What is your favourite ABBA song? For metal fans, do you have a favourite metal ABBA cover? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.