Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
 
search SGN
Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
click to go to click to visit advertiser's website


 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
 

 

click to go to advertisers website
 
Ask Michael - A call to action: Coming together as community
Ask Michael - A call to action: Coming together as community
by Michael Raitt - SGN Contributing Writer

As you know by now, the GLBTQ community in Seattle has had a serious threat leveled towards us. Being out and about, I hear talk that ranges from laissez-faire, nothing-will-happen attitudes to serious concern with anger and fear. I'd like to give some perspective about what this is about, and how, as individuals and a community, we can successfully deal with this threat. Whether you think it is real or not, for many reasons, this is not a threat that we should minimize or ignore. We can, however, work together and have control over the impact it has on our lives and our community. There will be impact. The choice is ours about what that impact will be and how it will define us. Understanding what is at play and how to manage it will determine the impact it has on us.

Intentionally, I am going to provide my limited opinion about the letter writer. Limited because he/she (probably he; this is typically not the kind of act a woman would threaten to do) deserves little attention. Important, though, because it provides readers with a context to understand what is happening and how to deal with it.

A common trait amongst some people who perpetrate these crimes is that they gain attention and notoriety to feed horribly distorted perceptions about themselves. Levying that kind of threat is now a crime. This is an individual who is seriously in denial about the myriad of emotional and psychological problems he has. He has very distorted perceptions about others - if he views "others" as people at all. Typically, these types of people cannot be cured of their mental illness. The only way to manage them is by means of long-term incarceration.

As a community, we are challenged by the potential of a horrible event and an enemy we cannot yet see. There are three components that interplay to create the level of anxiety many feel: the serious nature of the potential act, not yet knowing the identity of this individual, and the unknown time duration of the threat. Potentially poisoning multitudes of people with a substance that has no remedy and inflicts a horrendous, painful death is very serious. Not knowing who this is or when he may act out or when he'll be caught adds to the distress that people feel.

For some who already struggle with being GLBT, such an act of hate targeted at us because of our sexual orientation can re-open and irritate the wound of shame that exists around our sexuality. This is an impact we cannot afford to have.

Until this psychopath is caught, what do we as individuals and a community do? We are not victims of this. Here are things we can do.

First, if you are feeling fearful and/or angry, recognize that these are healthy, appropriate responses to such a situation. These emotions tell us that something is wrong and when something is wrong, we are called to action. Be intentional about making your actions positive and healthy. Make sure any reactions you have will benefit you and avoid reactions that work against you.

Regardless of how you feel about this threat, stay confident. Confidence is about our self-image. When we feel good about ourselves, it shows in what we do. Don't let this threat intimidate you so that you feel bad about yourself as a GLBTQ individual or stop living your life fully. If we doubt ourselves or feel bad about ourselves because of a psychopath's hatred, we are just feeding his psychopathology - his delusional, grandiose sense of importance and power.

Every community has places to gather, have fun, socialize, make connections, and feel accepted. Like any other community, one place we as GLBTQ adults can go is to the bars for that connection and acceptance. In your confidence, continue to get out and socialize and stay connected to the community. Feel good about being GLBTQ.

While out and about, be vigilant. There is a difference between vigilance and panic/hysteria. Vigilance is a heightened level of awareness of our environment and our friends and loved ones. Panic/hysteria is when your emotions override the logical parts of your brain. When we are in a state of panic, our behaviors are extreme and unreasonable.

If something doesn't seem right, report it to the appropriate authorities. If someone seems unfamiliar, remember the theory of "six degrees of separation" - somebody knows someone through another person. If an unfamiliar face appears, we don't have to tip into paranoia. We can be vigilant and, 99% of the time, figure out that they are okay. Yet, if someone is suspicious, by all means, report it! It is scary being out and sitting beside someone you've never known before and thinking, "maybe this is the guy." We can deal with this effectively by not letting our fear/anger become panic, paranoia, or hysteria. We must stay focused and vigilant.

It is important to maintain open communication with friends, loved ones, and professionals. If you are having feelings about this, talk to someone. Don't internalize your feelings. Again, there is a broad spectrum of reactions, and internalizing them won't help you. By talking them out, you make sense and get an idea of what the best way to react is for you. Also, monitor any changes you might experience in your mood or behaviors. Are there changes in your appetite, sexual drive, substance use, or sleep? Any changes in these might signify some anxiety or depression around this looming situation. If you or your friends notice changes in any of these, seek professional help. There is no way to tell right now how long this threat may loom over our community.

Make no mistake, this isn't just about the GLBTQ community. We as GLBTQ men and women play such an integral part of all segments of society that if something happens within our community, the effect will be far-reaching. Remember, first and foremost, we are parents, partners, sons, daughters, and friends. We are integrated into every walk of life and every profession. No loving, compassionate, intelligent woman or man of any faith or belief system, anywhere in the country, could justify such an egregious act of hatred were something to happen. I am glad that local and federal authorities are taking this seriously. I am proud that we, as a community, are standing up and standing strong against this threat.

As you know (if you read last week's column), I will be out and about in the community supporting these 11 local bars to show my confidence and belief in our community. I've heard many others are doing the same and I am very proud to hear that.

This is yet another defining moment for us as individuals, as the GLBTQ community, and the larger community as a whole. Our reactions will speak volumes about who we are. Regardless of the actions of a psychopath, we are called to come together to support each other and stand in our confidence that we will not be influenced or intimidated by such hatred. We take our place because we deserve to be here. We stand strong because we know what we bring to the lives of our loved ones and to society as a whole. We live our lives with integrity and pride and never succumb to the hatred. Let this define us well!

Michael Raitt, MA LMHC, is a therapist and a contributing writer to the SGN. He writes a bimonthly column in the SGN. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him to write about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contact him at askingmichael@comcast.net.

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 


: http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2008

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News