There are many disparaging comments about homelessness, poverty, and class throughout the young adult supernatural romance series House of Night, written by the mother-daughter team P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast. In this series, readers follow the adventures of Zoey Redbird, a teenage girl who has been Marked [sic] and recently begun the Change [sic] from human to fledgling to vampyre [sic]. The series aims to promote progressive and empowering ideals, such as women occupying positions of authority in society, acceptance of gay teens, racial diversity, and tolerance for religious differences. Unfortunately, the series often falls short or completely contradicts these ideals. Moreover, it is very selective about what groups deserve acceptance and empowerment. Homeless people are one of the excluded groups.
Making friends has always been rather difficult for me. I was badly bullied in my first year of school, I became extremely isolated from my peers in high school, and though I finally made close friends at university, everyone moved away after graduation. I know many people have experienced similar problems to this and will relate to the struggle of starting from scratch (so to speak) as a shy or socially anxious person.
Every now and then, a word will slip so easily off someone’s tongue and stab me right in the gut. It could be a co-worker joking around, grinning as they call their friend a gay slur. I try to hide my discomfort. I usually grin and bear it. But sometimes I can’t and I have to say something.
It took me longer than it should have to figure out that I was bi. Part of that is because of where I fall on the spectrum (I’m most often attracted to men, so for a long time I thought I was straight), but it’s also because I didn’t really have any exposure to bisexuality. Looking back on my childhood and teen years, I hardly ever came across bisexuality in media. What I did know of bisexuality was heavily stereotyped – bisexual women are promiscuous and unfaithful and wild. As a shy nerd who would rather read or play board games than go to a party, I had a very hard time seeing myself in that portrayal of bisexuality.
It’s no secret that sex education in a lot of places is seriously lacking. From no education to abstinence only education to deliberate misinformation, there’s a myriad of ways that the school system fails us when it comes to understanding our bodies and sexual health.
“Just write it,” I tell myself, my hands hovering over my keyboard. I feel as if a physical force has grabbed hold of my wrists, stilling them every time I try to type a sentence. But there’s another force there, too – something intangible, digging its roots deep into my brain and poisoning my thoughts.