I received this email from someone who looked at the dehumanization section of the Anawim website:
He writes as follows:
My name is Wesley Flowers, and I have been homeless for the better part of the last 7 years. I have been completely dehumanised. I don't know where to go or what to do. I was in Portland for a little while in 2008, and I came across your website after reading the comments to an article that was written about me in the Mercury last year. http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/without-notice/Content?oid=837161 I never got any of my stuff back or any kind of restitution. Go figure.
I am homeless in Toledo Ohio now, crashing on the couch of a community centre in downtown that I have been helping with, but the dehumanisation process continues on a daily basis. Classism is more embedded in our society than white privilege. I have been off the streets (not sleeping outside) for almost a year, but feel more homeless than I did when I was sleeping under a bridge. I have no homeless friends now, and the people who are around me are economically privileged, and noncognizant of it and unwilling to look in that mirror. Depression is crippling at this point.
I don't know how to get the people who are around me on a regular basis to stop dehumanising me. I've lived here since March, and I can't even get anyone to want to go "out on the town" with me. I've been basically confined by circumstance to one room, and I feel just like I felt when I was homeless. I am best kept out of sight and mind. I don't know what to do or think or feel anymore. I spend all my time giving up now. It doesn't seem like there is anything left to hope for.
I stay away from the Christian places because I am gay and quite happy not expressing my faith within a Christian context, as I have experienced quite a bit of psychological abuse from Christians throughout my life. I do believe in God, but these days it feels like God doesn't believe in me. Those places around here aren't really Christian anyway, they're Monetarian.
I've lived an extremely hard life. I have had everything taken from me in the worst way possible, and in some cases multiple times. I can't take any more. I need a break. Maybe this letter is a kind of prayer. I believe prayer comes in all different forms, and I am certainly pleading my bleeding heart here. I don't know what to do. Please help me.
I just want people to recognise that I am a human being. I want people to want to spend time with me, and I want them to want me to spend time with them. But I haven't been able to remain in one place for more than 10 or 11 months at most since 2003. Every place I've been to, as soon as the newness of "the cool combat vet intelligence officer who knows everything" wears off, I'm just some depressed bum who nobody wants to be around unless it is to answer a question. Keep me in the closet and use me as a human google. But by no means ever acknowledge that I have human needs or emotions as well. My existence is not strictly intellectual, I have a body and a soul too. No one wants to look at that. Everyone changes the subject immediately.
I haven't even had enough of a moments peace in my life to even begin dealing with the shit I went through in the military, much less the emotional stuff I went through that led me to homelessness in the first place, and the things that have happened subsequently which have exacerbated that cycle.
I am completely unemployable as a result of an untreated hand injury which requires specialty care (orthopaeidic reconstructive surgery) and I have no insurance. That was the reason I came to Portland in the first place. None of the hospitals there would treat me. The thumb of my right hand is dislocated and deformed and the tendons are snapped. I am right handed. Now, my middle, ring and pinky finger are the only ones working on my right hand and I am an insurance liability for employers. I don't even know why I'm telling all this to you all. You can't really *do* anything either. I guess I just need to vent, but I've vented and vented and vented and nothing gets done ever.
I am at the point now where I feel like there is nothing for me here in Toledo either and the best I can hope for is more of the same distant tolerance dressed up as friendship that I have received all my life. I don't feel that there is anywhere left TO go for me. I've been almost everywhere in the US and am prohibited from crossing any international borders by Homeland Security as a result of my veteran/economic/political status. I dohn't know what to do anymore. I feel like I'm out of options.