Avatar art by Daniel Vancise, dvancise_arts on instagram, vantooner on youtube
Latest posts by Reader Submission (see all)
By Tomás Allende Conte
I realized I was gay twice. The first time around the age of 10. To put this in context, we are talking about Chile in 2001. Homosexuality had been legal for only 3 years, and it wasn’t very widely accepted. I told my parents who, understandably, proceeded to convince me it was a phase, and since the lie was easier to believe, I complied. The next couple of years I spent in absolute denial. Even watched lesbian porn, which to this day I can’t really say I understand (Scissoring works? Really?) and every time a hot guy showed up on my screen or on the school lockers, my reaction was a form of exaggerated disgust, a defense mechanism that served to convince me that I didn’t find them attractive.
When I was 12 years old, I gave up. I was gay, a ‘’maricón’’ (faggot) and while I admit I felt relief over finally being honest to myself, the horror of this realization was much more overwhelming. By admitting this to myself, I had to confront that I was going to hell, that most of my family and friends hated me by de facto, that no matter what i did, I was a deviant, a pervert. A 12 year old shouldn’t have to feel this way. No one should. I discovered other coping mechanisms. Self-hatred (No one can hate me more than me), suicidal thoughts and near executions (There is a way out, this doesn’t have to last forever) and around the age of 13–14, drugs. Started with benzos, then mild painkillers, Ritalin, all mixed with weed and booze. I avoided social events, and if I attended, I had a little plastic bag of pills with me all the time.
There isn’t much to say about those years. I survived them. I did very well academically, and one day drunk at a party (at was 17 by this time), I told my best friend. He was extremely supportive, and helped me tell other friends, some of which had proclaimed they would beat a faggot that came out to them. They were bluffing, they were just as supportive, and most surprisingly, they apologized if they ever said something hurtful, which as a gesture, meant a lot. This were all straight men. I also came out to my family, and eventually as I was leaving high school, everyone knew. Nothing happened., I had been conditioned to think they would hate me, that straight men would hate the faggot. Yet, in my journey of narcissistic self-loathing I never gave them a chance, I undermined their humanity. For lack of a better term, I had effectively discriminated my friends over their sexual orientation for years.
However, years of drug use can’t be erased by support, and I fell deeper and deeper into a drug addiction that had been initiated by one concept, straight men hate me, and even though that had been disproven by their acceptance and honestly, their lack of fuck givens over the fact I liked dick, I ended up shooting up morphine and uppers and eventually going to rehab. But, I’ve already talked too much about me, and this is just a long introduction to what really bothers me nowadays.
I remember one promise I made to myself. Within my power, I wouldn’t let any kid grow up the way I did, ashamed of their sexuality, afraid of expressing their sexuality in a healthy fashion, afraid to be themselves. Yet, when I look at our current culture, not only schools, but colleges and beyond, what I see is a complete rejection of the straight male identity. Somehow masculinity became toxic, they started being told they were wrong by default, that they had an invisible privilege which served them no good yet they had to apologize for it, rape accusations became a threat as if not more damaging than rape and suicide among men skyrocketed.
As with any deliberate attempt to marginalize any given group, the demonization of the straight male identity starts in early childhood. The classroom has been feminized. Children are demanded to sit quietly for prolonged periods of time, and almost any form of physical activity that tends to be enjoyed by boys, even Tag, are being banned from schools all over the west. So you have a classroom filled with kids with a lot of energy being asked to sit still. The ones that can’t comply to that, which again, is a common masculine trait, are branded mentally ill and medicated. ADHD, while I won’t say it’s a fake disorder, since people who actually have it benefit greatly from treatment, has been over diagnosed to ridiculous levels. It’s to the point that a disorder that has a rate of prevalence of 1–2% (According to the ICD-10 guidelines, which I prefer since the DSM-V tends to be biased towards diagnoses) is being diagnosed to up to 20% or more children in certain areas, of which 3/4 are boys. Given the tremendous variance among states within the US (Anywhere from 5 to 16%) it’s pretty clear this diagnoses is mandated not by the medical community, but by the educational system.
The classical treatment consists in an amphetamine-type-stimulant (ATS) that usually is meant to last the duration of the school period, ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine and Vyvanse being among the most popular. These medications offer an immediate relief of the symptoms to children who truly suffer from ADHD, but a classic stimulant effect in those who don’t. Since most studies have been done in children with a much more robust diagnoses than the one being handed out in schools, and using ATS on healthy children is unethical, we simply don’t have the data on the long-term effects of ATS on children with ADHD, and not even short-term effects on children who don’t have ADHD. While psychosis, depression and mania are known (although rare) side effects of ATS, this tend to resolve when the medication is removed with no long-lasting symptoms in most cases. Now, saying these medications are generally safe and have very little potential for long term damage is not excusing the fact that currently, we are drugging our children at rates higher than ever before for acting in what normally would be considered a ‘boyish’ fashion.
There is a new trend however, a worse kind of drug being given to children for what I can only consider dubious conditions at best: Oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and pediatric bipolar disorder. While I have Type Two Bipolar Disorder (Felt the need to disclose that for the sake of objectivity) and I have met many people with Bipolar disorder during my life, we all share a thing in common, the age of onset was between late teens and early 20s, and it was abrupt, people around us noticed that we were acting differently, which makes me wonder, how does a parent of a child whose personality is still developing can notice mania? My thought on that: They can’t, but many doctors are happy to tell them their son needs certain drugs. Methylphenidate and amphetamines were very profitable the years after their usage became common. However, patents expire, and the pharmaceutical lobby can’t allow cheap generic drugs being taken instead. Suddenly and with impeccable timing, the atypical antipsychotics were introduced to treat these primarily male ‘disorders’.
I don’t pretend to give a lecture on pharmacology, but I’ll explain the basics for context. The theory behind ADHD is a deficiency of the dopamine transporters on certain areas of the brain. ATS act by releasing or inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, increasing its concentration in the synapse. As controversial as their use is, it makes sense. Antipsychotics however, do not. They work by antagonizing a number of receptors, particularly the D2 dopamine receptor, the very same one that is stimulated by ATS. In simpler terms, they do the exact opposite as what the theory says is needed to treat the condition, they should have never been thought as options. Furthermore, these drugs are not approved or tested in pediatric patients, the children taking them are the guinea pigs of the pharmaceutical industry. What I find the most interesting is that while adult women take these medications at a higher rate than men, the opposite is true when we talk about pediatric patients, boys are more than 2 times as likely to be prescribed an antipsychotic than girls, simply looking at the numbers it would seem more women are willing or need these drugs when they can consent to take them, but more boys are forced to.
ATS are the most prevalent type of drug prescribed to children. Boys in particular have nearly a 20% chance of being prescribed one of these highly addictive drugs. As bad as they can be for a child who doesn’t have ADHD (and in some cases, even the ones who do) my fear is that the so-called second generation antipsychotics will become the norm, as their usage becomes more and more common. Possible side effects include weight gain, metabolic disorders, diabetes, extrapyramidal symptoms and neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which is potentially deadly. So, why would anyone prescribe something like this to their child? Well, some behavioral disorders don’t respond to ATS, disorders with symptoms such as defiance, hyperactivity, ‘acting out’ (literally), anger, temper tantrums. In other words, being a boy (and in some cases a girl). That’s the disease, boyhood. Bipolar disorder doesn’t manifest itself until late teens, and in children who are diagnosed it’s very common for the doctor to cite comorbidity (more than one condition at once) without thinking for a moment that maybe the diagnoses criteria is so similar because this diagnoses were targeted to curve behaviors commonly displayed by boys. Now we are seeing a rise in girls being diagnosed with these conditions. That’s the natural course. Once you can’t diagnose anymore boys, you have to go for the girls, the ones that are hyperactive, defiant, the ‘masculine’ ones. When you attack an identity, you attack any given human that adopts that identity, so if you happen to hate men, girls are the next target, maybe to a lesser degree, but no child should be misdiagnosed and given a drug that 10 years ago was only used to treat psychosis.
So, we tell boys as young as 6 that their identity is a disease, we drug them with increasingly more dangerous drugs and let the pharmaceutical industry make a huge profit out of this. This is how most boys in the west start their life. Before they have even figured out who they are, the very essence of their humanity is demonized and erased. Now comes the next stage: They have to be taught that this is a privilege. Some schools go as far as do exercises of separating students by race and gender, and telling them how oppressed they are, or if you have the ‘privilege’ of being a straight white male, how oppressive you are. Maybe we do live in a racist and sexist society after all, just not the way it’s portrayed in the media.
What happens then? Well, for most men, nothing, end of the line, time to get a job. For most women and some men, college. And now we take everything I have been implying but we shout it out as fucking loud as we can. Are you white? Are you straight? No one asks for your life history, your achievements, your sorrows, they will judge by your race, gender and sexuality while buying another Che Guevara T-shirt and proclaiming to be activists for those 2 words I’ve come to detest: “Social justice.”
The college experience varies a lot, maybe you’ll never run into a radical, or maybe you will, and they will not only confront you but dismiss you at the same time. If your university happens to have consent classes, and like George Lawlor you decide to say you’re not a rapist, some random cunt will call you a rapist the moment she reads the headline. And for the love of anything that’s holy, DON’T fuck a feminist. Just don’t. Don’t ask them anything, don’t engage with them. Offering a cup of coffee in an elevator is sexual assault now, if you tell her she looks pretty you may as well have told her that she’s a cum hungry whore. These people have no comprehension of normal human interactions and absolutely no self-awareness. They call men sexists while typing #KillAllMen, they call white people racist while creating segregated spaces, they call you homophobic while reading an article on why gay men are the most misogynistic. (Being gay doesn’t help, they’re that delusional.)
And there’s one issue I wanted to avoid but I simply can’t. Rape. The hysteria is palpable nowadays, the word is as overused as it is politically charged. One day there’s a claim that cat-calling is sexual assault (Don’t cat-call. Pissing off feminists is fun, but it won’t get anything). The next day a girl claims she was raped 7 months ago; the guy was drunk, she wasn’t, and she wasn’t forced, but she FELT forced. That guy gets a 2 day kangaroo trial and is kicked out of college. If you happen to be raped, it’s likely no one will care, and since you’ve been conditioned to position yourself as the victimizer, you probably won’t even realize it.
So, after all this fear mongering, my proposition remains the same as when I was 18 years old and decided I’ve had enough. Be yourself, and don’t fucking apologize. You are not a defective girl, you’re not an oppressor or a victimizer, you were not born with invisible privilege. You’re a human being with the same value as any fellow human is given at birth, and no matter how much intolerance discourse you hear, how many bullshit collectivists arguments you are presented. The only person who can decide your value is you, and all this insanity, this is nothing but a fake environment, it’s not reality. Be your own person and don’t look back, you’re not a racist, sexist, homophobe by default. My friends weren’t, not a single one. And if you happen to encounter a bigot who says otherwise, there are more of us, the sane people, the ones that care about human beings, not colors and genitalia, the ones who will be your friends not despite but because we disagree on certain matters. There are people who will stand by your side when you face the bigots if anything to remind you you’re not alone. The radical feminists and their equally fucked up crowd, they are the ones who got indoctrinated. They are weak minds who couldn’t survive without becoming their aggressor. That fact alone makes you stronger than them, and more often than not, a better person. I survived a religious indoctrination, one that told me I was sick, a deviant the moment I was born. And if you’re reading this, so did you.
Congratulations. The worst is over. What’s coming is what you make of it. Ignore the loud, disgusting intolerant voices and find the people who will love you for who you are. They exist. You’ve just gotta look.
You can follow Tomás on Twitter.by