Humans of the Wheatbelt

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a disability project that celebrates inclusion within the community.

There is always someone in each story that has a disability whether it is the human, interviewer, photographer or writer.

James Part 2 of 2

Growing up, I did have barriers to getting an education and that was due to my skin colour. My background is half-Persian and half-Romanian. My dad is from Transylvania, the land of vampires, famously knows for Dracula.

Going to high school here in Australia, every day I’d have to summon the courage to go. I was called every name under the sun and there was one day where it got really bad. I was dragged into the bathroom by four boys who had been tormenting me for years, where one of the boys displayed his genitals in an aggressive manner. I was completely dissociated to what was happening out of shock. Another student came in, not knowing what was happening, and quietly backed away. That’s when I knew the system had failed, because when did we stop helping people in their time of need? The boys then broke a window, ran outside, locked me in, and then they threw in a pigeon which was just as frightened as I was because it was madly flying around the room. I just remember screaming for twenty minutes until someone came to help me. That was my day-to-day school life struggle dealing with harassment, prejudice, racism, and confidence.

The second traumatic incident involved a group of friends who had helped me fight off a bully for two years. The guy pretty much just shoved me up against the wall and took my money. One day, I heard my two ‘friends’ talking to one another on one side of a very big shrub, I remained standing on the other side tying my shoes. Because the shrub was so big you could not see through the other side. I then heard them saying they should ditch me because I was such an ‘Afghan cookie’, and ‘too brown to be friends with’, I pretended I didn’t hear what they said. I stayed friends with them for the rest of the year and then broke it off, but it left a stain on my heart. I was shocked, confused, and surprised. I got through it but not everyone can. By the time I got to university, the barriers before me seemed to have disappeared luckily.

It’s not that there isn’t any racism anymore, but I think it’s evolved to become smarter, which is in itself a bad thing. We’re looking at things now that are more subtle such as institutional racism. I don’t identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and yet I consider myself brown, thus my experience of racism will be different. I’m appalled by the treatment of some of my Aboriginal friends in prison, who have been gassed, chained, and gagged.

I’m definitely a gamer because my earlier work as a ‘programmer’ naturally led into gaming. I ended up playing for Australia on the Major League Gaming (MLG) tour in the early 2000s. My speciality was Halo and we ended up winning one of the tournaments. I love games that expand into the diverse world of creativity like Far Cry, Dishonoured, and Horizon Dawn. I’ve also been playing Rainbow Six Siege and Call of Duty on my downtime. I recommend Horizon Dawn because it helps you to move toward that inclusive mindset of equality between men and women as the main character is female and accepting people no matter what gender they are. It’s a beautiful environment with mechanical dinosaurs where you can do whatever you want.

I used to do cosplay and I attend Comic Con, where I once dressed up as the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. I’ve also dressed up as a Cyberman, again from Doctor Who. It’s an amazing culture where for a few days of the year you can be wacky and just be yourself and everyone can accept you without judgment because everyone else is doing the same thing.

I’m a big fan of Anime Lab so I’m always watching that. In terms of DC vs Marvel, I grew up loving Batman as my favourite superhero, but in recent years Marvel have done a great job of protecting their franchise while DC have made some questionable decisions. Now, my favourite superhero is Antman. Making yourself small would be such an advantage, but you’d have to be careful! As a hero he also has such a unique sense of humour which I love.

If I could have a superpower, it would be the power of obedience. If I could touch a living organism and it would obey my command, that would be incredible. To be clear, I would once again use it for good to unite the world. If I could choose a different decade to live in it would be the eighties because the music was awesome. I’m also usually drawn to movies of that era.

I live by a motto, which is ‘If you find in life you can’t help someone, for the love of God don’t hurt them.’ That’s something I live by, not just in my work as a Counsellor, or Psychologist but in my personal life. If I could give my younger-self some advice, I would say continue being resilient and accept who you are. Things will change, so go out and explore who you are. Travelling is the antidote to ignorance. As Confucius says, “the only thing that’s constant is change.” …So be part of it.

Human – James Gibson
Interviewer & Photographer – Shannon Boundary
Writer – Guy Salvidge

Part 1 -

Holyoake DRUMBEAT Shire of Narrogin Narrogin, Western Australia Psychology Today Psychologies Psychologies Magazine

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