Friday, September 16, 2016

Remarks by Abdel Fudadin at World Suicide Prevention Day Candlelight Vigil

Remarks by Abdel Fudadin 
SASOD-TCV “Voices Against Violence” Candlelight Vigil for World Suicide Prevention Day

We have all been programmed to respond to the human difference between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human difference as equals. As a result, those differences have been misused in the service of separation and confusion.

Prejudice, discrimination, social exclusion and mental ill-health are interconnected in more than one way. While people with mental illnesses may face discrimination due to stigma attached to mental health symptoms, discrimination on a variety of grounds can also be at the root of mental health issues.

Discrimination and exclusion have proven to negatively impact persons with mental health illnesses which then increase their risk of suicide ideation. On a social level, prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are reflected in everyday stereotypes compounded by very rigid social identity expectations, for example, limitations on job opportunities, parenting, and relationship recognition are often justified by stereotyping assumptions.
How do we commence positive support to minimize the risk, to reduce stigma, and to create safe preventative measures?

1.      We need to be gentle with each other. Being open minded and apply a gentle approach to one another regardless of socio-economic status or current circumstances.
2.      Confront parallel oppression amongst the LGBT population. It already tremendously difficult to co-exist in such a society as LGBT persons, and when there is parallel oppression operating,  it can be extremely detrimental to those on the receiving end.
3.      Normalizing each other’s relationships in a peaceful demonstration of unconditional love, beauty, and embrace of who are, the beautiful normal human that have a right to be.
In conclusion, I would like to say that there is a lot of work that needs to be done, starting with addressing legislation, social policies and education about LGBT people -the same types of things SASOD has been advocating for over the years. However, we must start with ourselves and reflect on how we treat one another.

We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success. If you truly believe in something that is totally rejected by others, then you’ve just made a difference.

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