By Cobus Benade
When I started this blog almost a year ago I mostly wanted to get my message out there, I wanted to share my sudden awareness, and my intensifying frustration regarding the way LGBTI people are treated in our world. That I did in my first few posts.
In the 10 odd months that have passed since those initial posts I continued with this blog, since then I've also realized that there is so much information out there, and that even in our hyper connected world, effective communication, and the flow of information is one of our communities key problems.
I'm still frustrated with what's happening around us, how we are treated, but I have started to wonder if this blog actually has a future in its current static form, and if I have in fact actually made a change, and solved any problems in the world through my writing. It's all debatable I guess, but it's a new year, and with each new year I reflect on the year past, and I always ask myself, what next? What do I intend to do this year?
So what's next for this blog?
I've wondered about that questions for months now, and I'm still not sure exactly how I'm going to get where I want to evolve it, if evolution is even possible.
Since I started studying, I've had this intense desire to make a positive change to the world through what I do professionally, to go home at the end of the day and say "I did good today, I made a change, I enjoyed it, and as a side I made a living as well". Apparently I'm over idealistic?
The problem is that I'm a geek, I work in IT, cellular IT to be exact. How the hell am I suppose to make a change to the large set of problems LGBTI people face around me when, on a daily basis I have 12 random cell phones on my desk and about 100 odd new emails?
Last year during my short time at the Mr GSA breakaway I sneaked away one afternoon and went to Sabie to see my favorite waterfalls. On the way there, rain pouring down, and Lady Gaga's Born this way blaring on the radio (totally gay, I know) the events of 2012 got the better of me. The insane work hours of the months past, the new thoughts, the new people, the relationships and the breakup with my partner just became too much for me, and I felt like I just wanted to scream and cry! I headed to my favorite waterfall in the area, and there, alone, in the rain, I sat on one of the rocks with my feet in the ice cold water. I looked up at the beautiful view, and I did exactly what I felt like doing, I screamed, and I cried. I let all the crap in my head out for a few seconds.
Amazingly, for a short time everything I was feeling was absorbed outside of me, the waterfall itself and the rain, it just completely overwhelmed my scream and washed away the tears, and with all the crap out for those few seconds it became clear that two problems in the back of my head were related, and in fact each other's partial solution!
UNICEF says that 72% of South African people between the ages of 15 and 24 have a cell phone, information I have at work actually indicate this figure to be higher. 13 to about 21, but my own experience, is also the time many gay people start to explore their sexuality and look for information about what they are feeling. Anyone make the obvious link yet? No?
Those young people, they are being bullied, they are scared, they are looking for a connection, help, information, information that isn't flowing perfectly in their direction (one of the problems). Most of those young people also have a cell phone. I'm a geek working in the cellular industry (the other problem)!
I'm uniquely positioned, by passion and skill, to find a way to connect them to the information they need.
Obvious when you think about it!?
I still haven't fully formulated the finer details of the plan, but now I have a plan! Unfortunately this blog doesn't feature to much in the plan, so this might actually be my last post (on this site - hint), but still, watch this space, and wish me luck!
Cobus's full blog can be viewed HERE!