Those who self-identify as vampires have often been met with adversity of many kinds, from friends and strangers alike. One of the most significant issues facing the vampire community today is the perception that vampirism itself is a psychological disorder that requires a cure.  And while there are many reported disorders which contribute to falsely identifying oneself as a vampire, thereby mudding the issue significantly, vampirism itself is not a condition which either the individual nor the community views as a psychological affliction in want of a remedy.
But is this issue specific to real vampirism, or indicative of a greater force which seeks to find a cure for things outside the realm of common understanding, registering off the scale of perceived "normalcy"?  Moreover, what can the vampire community learn from other communities that have been met with, and overcome, the same issue?
The following piece explores the subject of combating misconceptions, and revealing what is thought to be an infirmity as a cure in and of itself.  It is written by Hesperus — a self-identified psychic vampire, and member of the OVC.
The Vampiric Cure
When I began openly identifying as a vampire, one of the most frequent responses I faced was an accusation that I must be insane. What other explanation could there be, after all, to my obvious delusion? These extremely thoughtful acquaintances proceeded to recommend that I seek out professional mental help so that I could be "cured" of my "illness." Cultures have often struggled to understand behavior that differs from those cultures' norms and one of the most popular contemporary methods of addressing unusual traits seems to be identifying unusual behavior as symptomatic of psychopathology. This is particularly problematic for minorities, of course, who necessarily maintain ideas and behaviors that are not those of the majority. Not understanding the cause of something is an excellent reason to explore it scientifically and even skeptically, but immediately labeling any pattern of behavior that is statistically infrequent as a psychological disorder is not skepticism, it is prejudice. In order to rightly qualify as a disorder, a pattern of thoughts or behaviors must disrupt one's ability to function or otherwise cause personal distress. (It should be noted that facing hostility and discrimination as a result of one's behavior is quite likely to cause distress but, so long as this is in response not to one's own behavior but a perfectly reasonable reaction to personal attack, that stress does not indicate one's behavior to be pathological.) Vampirism, though widely assumed by many non-vampires to require pyschotherapeutic treatment, is not, in fact, a disorder in need of a cure.
We are far from the first marginalized community to be slandered and attacked by unjust accusations of mental instability. Female sexuality was pathologized as "hysteria" for centuries and often treated with the sexual assault of female patients by a physician. A slave's compulsion to flee and seek freedom was labeled "drapetomania" and could supposedly be cured by "whipping the devil out of them." Until relatively recently, psychiatrists applied liberal amounts of electroshock to homosexuals in an effort to correct what was seen as their obvious mental imbalance. Thankfully, these specific abhorrent practices have since been recognized as the despicable and prejudicial crimes that they were and simply being one of these minorities is no longer grounds for a diagnosis of mental disorder. Our community, however, has no assurances by psychological and psychiatric institutions that we will not be summarily deemed insane due solely to our vampiric identities and these past abuses establish a clear pattern of utilizing psychology as a means of oppressing undesirable populations. While most of the incredibly inhumane "therapies" mentioned above are no longer in use today, a vampire wrongly labeled as insane can be forcibly isolated in an institution, denied basic rights, and stigmatized indefinitely, making allegations of mental disorder very serious.
Identifying both as a vampire and a gay man, I have in the past drawn comparisons between the two communities and the difficulties relating to these aspects of my nature. Though the vampire community shares significant common ground with the gay community, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Homosexuality is clearly not a disease or a disorder, as it is neutral; it does no intrinsic harm to society, non-homosexuals, or to homosexuals themselves. Herein lies the obvious distinction between the two: vampirism is not neutral. Vampirism actively siphons off stagnant, burdensome energy and makes it vibrant again. Vampirism inspires positive emotions in others. Vampirism offers an immediate and tangible reminder that life is more precious and subtle than mundane, material experience alone can reveal. Vampirism, as a natural consequence of its application, is primarily positive. So when someone is threatened by the sexuality of someone else, which in reality poses no threat at all, that insecurity is most likely inspired by a perceived threat to the unearned privilege enjoyed by heterosexuals. When someone is threatened by vampirism, however, one must ask what precisely they feel is being threatened. The only reasonable answer is that those who want to "cure" vampirism either do not understand what vampirism truly is or they see the freedom and emotional growth of others as a threat. Ultimately, the enemies of the vampire community are the allies of entropy and decay.
Asking for a cure to vampirism is like asking for a list of carcinogens in search of a cure for not having cancer. Vampirism does not need a cure because vampirism is a cure; vampirism ameliorates the grave ills of the human condition through the revitalization and inspiration of others. The refusal to acknowledge this by those who would oppress our community or misrepresent us as mentally unsound is not only offensive but indicative of delusion or vile intention on their part. It is my sincere hope that these misguided and mentally deficient souls seek out the professional help they need as soon as possible. Perhaps a skilled vampire could cure them.
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