Smash Bipolar Gay Oppression by Leo (gr10 student)
Rayan Ahmed, a bipolar gay blogger once wrote, “It is ironic to be a bipolar gay, especially in my conservative society where sharing your feelings is far difficult so you can’t expect the positive acceptance in society you’re living in.” I want to discuss this issue because I have seen the majority of the conservative society show a lot of fear and rejection towards the LGBTQ community and more specifically,bipolar gay men. People do not give these people love or a life experience they deserve, leaving them in deep depression and loneliness. One huge contemporary issue today is solving the discrimination and mistreatment towards bipolar homosexual men. My position is that we should not walk away from these people, because they are not helpless and this ill-treatment is just something we all have to solve. I believe there are three pillars to solving the maltreatment that this community is receiving: developing communities’ acceptance, providing more rights to protect them, and education to the general public which will make their lives safer and improve their overall quality of life.
I am researching this topic because bipolarism is actually not as rare as you might think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population 18 and older. I must clarify that I am not associating bipolarism as a result of homosexuality, because they are not a cause and effect of each other, but rather targeting a more particular group to investigate, because I believe they receive the most intolerance from our society. Just like Mark Donbeck, Ph.D., explained, “there is no direct connection between mood disorder (of bipolar or unipolar varieties) and homosexuality.”
Bipolarism is a biological disorder that occurs in a specific area of the brain and is due to the dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These chemicals may involve neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin and many others (Dombeck Ph. D., Mark). It is a disease, like diabetes, and the person should not be blamed for having it. Dr. Donbeck also described that, “homosexuality appears to be determined primarily by fluctuations in hormones that occur during fetal development (during pregnancy).” They are both particularities of our society, and because many parts of society have prejudice against the “different”, intolerant people may commit a sexual orientation discrimination on top of a disability discrimination.
I also would like to establish that bipolarism is not a normal mood swing teenagers get because of hormonal changes during puberty, they are far more severe. Matthew Rudorfer, the associate director of treatment research in the division of services and intervention research at the National Institute of Mental Health says, "The mood swings of bipolar [disorder] are more severe, longer lasting, and maybe most significant of all, they interfere with some important aspect of functioning, such as ability to work at one's job, or manage one's home, or be a successful student." These people already live with difficulties, and really they do not deserve to be tormented by society’s judgement. The second point I would like to make everyone understand is that it is not because society’s increasing acceptance, that there are more homosexuals now. According to Ray Blanchard, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and his research, “Homosexual orientation does not increase in frequency with social tolerance, although its expression (in behavior and in open identification) may do so.” People with a different sexual orientation and a different kind of nervous system can now express themselves more, but it doesn’t mean that it is because they are expressing themselves, their population is increasing. Relatively, society is learning to be more liberal and is starting to embrace the existence of these phenomenons, but I believe it is still a work in progress, because many people are still suffering because they are bipolar, or they are gay, or even more so if they are a bipolar gay.
I have no doubt that acceptance is a predominant way to solve discrimination against bipolar gays, which can be achieved by means of optimism, non-judgement, avoiding dichotomies and focusing on the present. A homosexual bipolar man from south-east London called Oli Reagan reported, “Since I came to realize my identity, all my relationships in the past have broken down. It's been a nightmare. You get looked at in a different way from a "normal" person. Every argument is: "Are you taking your medicine?", "You're a nutter."” Just breaking the pre-established relationship because someone is a bipolar gay, calling them names and seeing them differently with an unjust manner is a prejudicial discrimination. I find that sometimes being only non-judgemental is also discriminatory. Non-judgement is different than accepting (because not judging is only part of accepting). The definition of “acceptance” is the act of taking or receiving something offered; a favorable reception; approval; favor; the act of agreeing with or believing. Then, the definition of “Non-judgment” is not judging on the basis of one’s personal standards or opinions. It is to refrain from holding an opinion, forming a conclusion, or deciding upon critically (Deck, Joanne M). In harmony to these definitions, we could contemplate that acceptance is like saying “yes” and not judging expresses something like“I see” or “that doesn’t matter to me.” According to the definition, accepting is to respond in a positive manner, to perceive information in an optimistic way. With non-judgment, we make no kind of response, we form absolutely no standpoint, which is upon the biggest issues today, people do not protect and fight for the rights of these people. (Deck, Joanne M) Accepting is not the same as remaining silent about our view; with non-judgment we have no formed view and do not take a stand, so nothing is discussed and nothing is changed. Discrimination against bipolar gays can only be solved if we discuss the issue, convince people to accept them, only conversation will make change. The people who left Mr. Reagan, only met the non-judgemental stage and not the acceptance stage, so they treated an isolated and helpless person with a cold heart.
This is what society has to do before discriminating anyone, we have to always preserve our optimism. We need to realize that a person is way more than the illness, we cannot just look at stereotypes of the illness or homosexuality. After all, we should not call people “a bipolar” or “a queer”, we are all people and we are more than a sexualtiy or a disease. The key of acceptance is seeing the best of a person, so we stop focusing on how people are different but see the beauty of that person’s actions, qualities, talents and strengths. The American author Rebecca Solnit once said, “There are infinite shades of grey, people often see black or white.” It is extremely true that people often are tempted to see the world in black and white, which is what is right and wrong, but there is no right or wrong in the identity of a person. If we see a person in black or white we are applying prejudice and labeling a person in some way, and people are more than a label. People don’t like it when them themselves are labeled, but people tend to label others, so the key is empathy. You can reverse the situation, what if you yourself came out as gay and similarly you developed bipolarism, so you can learn to treat people how you want to be treated. The organisation Cush and Wisdom has a famous quote, “Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Live in the present and make it beautiful.” It is psychologically proven that lack of acceptance is because of a comparison made of the present situation to the past, but we have to live accordingly and live in the present (Deck, Joanne M). Every person and every situation is different, so focus on the bipolar gay you have in front of you, than comparing and saying that someone is worse than something. With all of our solution methods applied, then we can rethink our past example of discrimination, and we can definitely solve this injustice. If Oli Reagan’s friends and family looked at all the positive attributes this person had, they would not have isolated him. If people didn’t label Reagan with “wrong or right, gay or bipolar” and see themselves in his shoes, then people wouldn’t break down their relationships with him. If people didn’t compare Reagan to the past experiences, they wouldn’t think Reagan is worse, then they would realize that Reagan is just another human being that deserves the same love and relationships that any other person has.
I fight for the creation of more rights and laws towards the protection of bipolar homosexuals as I see that it is another way to stop discrimination towards them. Sadly, in our society some people don’t do things because it is morally what should be done, and the bipolar homosexual people need to be able to get protection from these people, at least in a judicial system of our society. In the history of this matter I have to be thankful and acknowledge that many legal bills like the amendment of the Americans with Disabilities have improved many aspects of their lives, because the bipolar community deserves to be cared for just like any disable person. The year 2008, was when the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended to include the bipolar disorder. This simple legal process protect bipolar homosexuals from discrimination in hiring, job, assignments, promotions, firing, layoffs, benefits and all-employment-related activities, so people can sustain their lives with no oppression at least in the workplace which is a huge part our lives (McCullough, Lynda). Bipolar homosexuals before this act would get fired because of depression or insomnia, and the flexible time needed for doctor appointments, or just because they needed more office supplies, and this changed their lives utterly. According to the New York State attorney Jonathan Weinberg, “You may experience frequent mood swings, from high points to low points, and back again. You may have persistent anxiety, hopelessness, loss of interest in the ordinary pleasures of life, decreased energy, or sleeplessness. Your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your bipolar disorder.” These poor people are already suffering from these symptoms and they should be relieved from extra discrimination from their superiors. The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch found that students with disabilities made up 18.8 percent of students who suffered corporal punishment at school during the 2006-2007 school year. This is the bill changed the life of the percentage of disabled children who were punished as it applies to students, and this helped the bipolar community as they are also part of this disability community. US president Obama and US Congressman Barney Frank set an example to the entire world, by fighting and achieving rights that helped the bipolar gay community. Frank is the first gay congressman serving in the US House of Representatives, and constantly fought for LGBT and disability rights in congress. He was upon the main supporters of the Americans with Disabilities Act with countless labor rights, housing rights, marriage rights, including hate-crime laws and anti-discrimination laws. President Obama as the executive power carried these wishes out, which were the Shepard and Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which were creation of hate crimes laws, including crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or disability. Obviously then were the efforts which resulted in the legalization of same-sex marriage, which Obama pushed to be passed. This meant equality and the so many rights for the bipolar homosexuals, and this meant that they had to be legally protected by our society. This was a wonderful change, but the rights for the global community is a work in progress. Homosexual relationships are illegal in 74 countries, and in 9 countries homosexuality is punished by death penalty. In majority of Asian countries bipolars are excluded from education, which destroys their lives. People in the entire world have to take action to protect this community, just that the change in the United States is absolutely not enough, and I believe we have to produce a catalyst based on rights and education for acceptance.
I believe that another part of stopping mistreatment of homosexuals is education. Will Page a 20 year old, from Brighton, was diagnosed with bipolar about a year ago, and it was his boyfriend who supported him all the way. He explained, “Mainly it's been the medication. People have got total misconceptions about it, like, 'Oh you're on meds, you must feel totally zonked out. Or [they'll say], 'Oh you must have no personality because it dulls you out.' But as a person experiencing [the effects of medicine] it's not that my edge is lost, it's that I'm actually stable for once.” This shows that people are offending gay bipolars because they lack education, they do not know how the medications he was taking affected him and that brought numerous misconceptions towards this person. Why did he get so much love and support from his partner? I believe it is because he effectively got educated, and went to the doctor with him, investigated in the internet and went to support groups. The ultimate solution to all ignorance which causes all this prejudice is education. People should learn that bipolarism is not a personality flaw, and that it is a natural occurrence, a disease like any other ones. The key to education is connection, when people mix and actually meet people with the illness they learn acceptance and see that they are more than the illness or their sexuality("Dealing With Stigma Or Discrimination | Bipolar Caregivers"). When people are educated, as a result they will educate more people, and people will start to speak out and stand up against the discrimination of bipolar homosexuals.
There is a whole other perspective, arguing that homosexuality is causing bipolarity, and that it is a curse that God has put on the gay community. Recently the blogger Christian Inc. has made a publication on MDJunction that provoked a whole wave of responses, and this organisation claimed, “During the past 12 years with this illness, I have met countless gay/lesbian souls who have been cursed like myself with this illness. I was so moved, I began researching the topic and (sic) history shows that our greatest creative people who have been gay and lesbian have also had entirely clear signs of this disease (...) like Van Gogh who had homosexual affairs and had depression episodes.” It is extremely sad that people are believing that bipolarism is a curse, like any disease it is just a part of health, but not some malicious curse that God puts on us. I believe that people are also saying this because of lack of education, and they do not understand the difference between depression and bipolarism. The second misconception is that homosexuality causes depression, but the truth is that all the discrimination and pressure that parts of society brings upon these people is what depresses them. So I completely disagree with the idea that it is homosexuality that is cursing humans with bipolarism, and I believe it to be nonsense. Because if you make that statement, you are saying that homosexuality is a sin ,and that people should be punished based on sexual preference.
The actor Will Smith once stated, “If anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form.” I feel that life is tough and specially if you have a disease like bipolarity, so that it why they deserve all kinds of love from anybody, and any gender. This support comes from acceptance in the shapes of rights and taught by education. As I stated before, these ideas need to reach every corner of this world, because it is what is right. Bipolar homosexuals will stop being called “nutters”, they will receive the rights and love they deserve, and we will accept people for who they are. My dream is that some day every single person in the entire world will believe in these words, and this will only be achieved with acceptance, rights and education.
Works Consulted Page
Ahmed, Rayan. "Bipolar Gay Having Hypersexuality". Bipolar Homosexuality, 2017, https://mybipolarhomosexuality.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/bipolar-gay-having-hypersexuality/.
This is a hands-on, very personal and intimate reflection of Rayan’s own sexuality and his bipolar sickness, which really impacted me, and will be useful as a factual and experimental source. It is useful because the person speaking is actually going through all of these problems and it talks about the coldness and the discrimination he received. It talks about the phases and the episodes, and the whole process of it all, and the struggles in sexual health and mental health.
"Dealing With Stigma Or Discrimination | Bipolar Caregivers". Bipolarcaregivers.Org, 2017, http://www.bipolarcaregivers.org/stigma-and-discrimination/ways-to-deal-with-stigma-or-discrimination.
This source provides a lot of solutions to discrimination and can be used as a powerful resource to encounter my own arguments. This source is completely honest and caring because this is a support group for bipolars which only write for the welfare of others. I will consult this source to create my own solutions to the discrimination issue.
Deck, Joanne M. "Acceptance + Non-Judgment: Are They The Same?". Yoganonymous.Com, 2017, http://yoganonymous.com/acceptance-non-judgment/.
This piece of evidence is really essential to my writing because it is the main component to one of my solutions which is acceptance. To establish acceptance, we have to explain how not judging and accepting are different. How not judging is no reaction, but accepting is a positive reaction and is what contributes to change. Other than establishing the difference we also have to mention that not judging is only a component of acceptance. This site is reliable because it is written by a very famous educator, who has written multiple reference books, and this website was created only for the wellbeing and improvement of humanity.
Dombeck Ph. D., Mark. "Bipolar And Homosexuality - LGBT Homosexuality And Bisexuality Meanings". Mentalhelp.Net, 2017, https://www.mentalhelp.net/advice/bipolar-and-homosexuality/.
This site is exceptionally credible because it is a scholarly source written by a doctor that received a Ph. D in clinical psychology. that studied this topic, and is explaining these concepts. It is really essential to the narration section to be able to establish what each term means and how it affects people in this society, and how people might discriminate against them. It is better when we establish something conceptually to be able to look at the solutions to the maltreatment of this community.
Fenton, Siobhan. "The 74 Countries Where It's Illegal To Be Gay". The Independent, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/gay-lesbian-bisexual-relationships-illegal-in-74-countries-a7033666.html.
This was really impacting for me to see. It brings me the fact that it is illegal to be gay in many places to prove that more change has to be made, and that change is needed in all countries. This source is absolutely reliable because it is written by a certified newspaper called The Independent, and it is based on a lot of evidence and true facts, so it establishes great credibility.
Inc., Christian. "Is There A Gay/Lesbian Connection With Bipolar?". Mdjunction, 2017, http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/bipolar-support-forums/general-support/3371885-is-there-a-gay-lesbian-connection-with-bipolar.
This is a blog written by a person creating the idea that being gay causes you to be bipolar. Which is useful for my article because it helps me show how absurd these arguments can be, so I can refute them. This can be used because I can show how strong my argument is, and prove this article’s ideas wrong.
Jackson, Marie. "Mental Health And Stigma: 'You're Not Alone' - BBC News". BBC News, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38814377.
This site is very useful because it is a primary source and provides first-hand experience of people with mental illnesses like bipolarity. The author does not state any opinion which makes it more impartial, it just includes the statements and the feelings of the people with these conditions, which makes it reliable. BBC News is usually reliable too because of the merit that it already has, and particularly this article contains the experience of a homosexual bipolar in regards to discrimination, that can be extremely useful for proving my point.
McCullough, Lynda. "Bipolar Disorder And The Americans With Disabilities Act | Psych Central". Psych Central, 2017, https://psychcentral.com/lib/bipolar-disorder-and-the-americans-with-disabilities-act/.
This source is about a US legal bill and how it affects people with bipolarism. This is credible because this is a psychology page based on investigation made by experts and therapists. I will utilize this information to establish how rights can help this community, and these legal movements should be carried across the globe.
"One Billion Forgotten Protecting THE Human Rights Of Persons With Disabilities". 2017, https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/2014%20disabilities_program_low.pdf.
This source is about the treatment of disabled people, also particular investigation in the legal system and the social issues of each country. This source is by the Human Rights Watch that is a non-profit organisation that towards the meeting of human rights in every section of the world. I will use this source to provide statistics to show how the bipolar gay community is being mistreated.
Page, Will. "World Mental Health Day: Bipolar Is Like My Body Is A Shell, Like I'm Not Here". Bbc.Co.Uk, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37595651/world-mental-health-day-bipolar-is-like-my-body-is-a-shell-like-im-not-here.
This information is also essential, from a great news source, approved from the entire world. The fascinating part about this article is that it directly gives you a compilation of quotes of the maltreatment of gay bipolar people, it does not show much bias. It shows how the disease has affected his love life, his professional life, his family and friends and society’s views on him. It shows and proves that society is lacking education, which I believe causes ignorance and is the root of all major issues today. This source encourages people to learn to deal with people like him, and to not hurt and damage him, treating him like how he deserves to be treated.
A simple definition of sexuality would be who you’re sexually and/or romantically attracted to. These two attractions are different from each other, and both branch off into whole other branches of sexuality and sexual orientation. For example, you could be sexually attracted to boys, yet romantically attracted to girls. This means that when it comes to sexual desire, you would rather have sex with boys, not girls. Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t want a healthy, romantic relationship with girls; you would just rather abstain from girls, and go with boys. This is totally fine, since everyone has their preferences. Some commonly known sexualities include:
Pansexuality/Omnisexuality: This refers to people attracted to others of any gender identity, including cisgender, transgender, and genderqueer people. Their attraction is not limited to only one or two genders, but rather all.
Bisexuality: This is when an individual is attracted to both men and women. When someone refers to themselves as bisexual, it does not mean they’re both gay and straight. They’re not “basically gay”; they’re a whole other sexuality, and calling them gay when they don’t identify as such is considered offensive.
Homosexuality: When an individual is attracted to people of the same gender. For example, a girl who is sexually attracted to other girls is commonly called a lesbian. A more commonly used word for this sexuality would be gay.
Heterosexuality: Most people know this sexuality; when one is attracted to people of the opposite gender. A more commonly used word for this sexuality is straight.
Asexuality: Someone who isn’t sexually attracted to anyone. The term asexual is merely and umbrella, and there are so many more parts to it. Just like any sexuality, it’s a broad spectrum, and each individual identifying as asexual may differ. Some don’t want to have sex with anybody at any time, some want to have a close bond first, some don’t even want romance (the term for this would be aromantic), simply platonic friendship.
These are broad subjects, and each have its own subdivisions of attraction. Some examples of romantic attractions would be homoromantic, heteroromantic, biromantic, aromantic etc. Each of these terms refers to who you’re romantically attracted to. Maybe you don’t want to use these terms, and that’s fine. Maybe you don’t want to tell anyone either, and that’s fine too. Only you can decide what to do with your sexuality; let everyone know, keep it hidden, whatever feels right for you.
Sometimes, it’s not easy for someone to come out as gay, bi, etc. As lots know, there is a ginormous amount of stigma, stereotypes, and prejudice against sexualities that aren’t heterosexual. There’s tons and tons of discrimination; people have even been killed because of their sexualities. With this amount of hate, it makes sense that some people just want to stay hidden, because sometimes it’s dangerous for them to say anything. The truth is, one can’t change who they’re attracted to and who they like. It’s not a choice whether someone wants to have sex with girls or boys. Trying to change this part of someone is completely pointless, because it’s not about how they were raised or what kind of things they do or hobbies they like; it’s just a matter of that person, and how they just are. It’s like making fun of someone because of their race; they can’t help it if they’re black, white, asian, or anything else. They just are, and it’s not anyone’s fault.
They should be teaching this in Health classes. They should be assuring young teens and kids that it’s okay to be gay, bi, straight, ace, pan. It doesn’t matter if they’re straight or not, because it doesn’t make them any more human than anyone else on the planet. Just imagine: your peers, family, and half the world hate you because of one little thing that you can’t control. Just remember that no one can tell you who you are. Only you can decide for yourself. Not your parents, not your friends, not your classmate or your teacher. There is only one person who knows you best, and that is yourself.
For more info:
Here’s a video in case you’re still confused about sexual preference:
Author: Sophia (gr8)
Blog posts here have been written by students in MS or HS on topics that interest them and with a purpose to educate their peers.