Taking Up Too Much Space?

My fiancée and I had a very interesting discussion the other night. Mira and I were talking about the space we occupy, and despite both the knowledge and belief that we are entitled to that space, sometimes, there is some guilt in occupying our own space. As if fully occupying our space, filled with its happiness and love and good fortune, we are taking away from those who are struggling.

I wrote a while back about attending the Trans 100 and listening to Tiq Milan talk about taking up space.

We are all entitled to space in this world, and we are fully allowed to occupy that space.

We have a right to exist, and we have a right to been seen, to have our voices heard, and to move through this world as everyone else does.

When others try to occupy our space, or even part of our space, it’s oppression and discrimination. They are trying to tell us that we are not important enough for our space, or that they are so important they need our space as well. When someone tries to silence our voice or speak for us, they’re occupying our space.

But what happens when we don’t feel entitled to our space in this world? What happens when our narrative feels akin to boasting?

My life is good now. It didn’t used to be. Those of you who know me know the struggles I’ve overcome. But that was then. The space I occupy now is different, stronger, and more confident. The life I live is happy, loving, and stable. But at times, almost (rather, quite) like a survivor’s guilt, I wonder if my story is too good to tell. Mira and I both struggle with this. Rather than talk about the good things happening to us, rather than rightfully occupy our space, we remain silent.

After all, I’m no braggart, and as an activist and an ally, I firmly believe it is my responsibility to lift those who are struggling, so their voices may be heard. If I speak out of turn, or if I talk over the voices of those I ally myself with, what kind of support is that?

So instead, we stifle our story, tamping it down so as not to distract from those who struggle. We lend sympathetic ears, and allow these stories to be told. After all, our happiness may push them further into their sorrow, right? If I talk about all the good things happening to me right now, that’s boasting, isn’t it? That’s telling those who are struggling that my story is more important, right? It’s taking away their space, right?

Oh my God…am I being oppressive?

Well, that escalated quickly…

I feel that people struggle with the concept of occupying space in this world. There are those who try to occupy too much, stepping on the toes of others and trying to push them out of their space. And then there are those who either don’t realize they’re allowed to take up space, or they don’t feel the space they have is deserved. There are also those who who remain in their space, but somehow feel their space is more important than others and insist they are the defining example of those like them.

My life has much privilege now – the privilege, essentially, of being a white, heterosexual male. I have white privilege, I have socioeconomic privilege, I have male privilege, I have heterosexual privilege…

Does my space shrink with the more privilege I have? I think the perception, the wrong perception, is that the space you’re entitled to increases with privilege. I don’t feel that is right. While there are no obvious, visible lines limiting the space we have, I think 1) it is our job to maintain limits in the space we occupy and 2) just as there is finite room on this earth, the amount of space available is finite, even if it isn’t a tangible thing.

Maintaining the limits of the space I occupy doesn’t mean I silence my voice. What it does mean is that it is my responsibility to be aware of those around me and the space they occupy. It means that sometimes my voice should remain quiet – this doesn’t mean that my voice is any less important. It simply means that it’s not my place to talk, and any opinions or thoughts I choose to share, should be considered with regard to those around me, and the stories they are telling. It means that in conversations concerning race and gender equity, I should do far more listening than talking.

Maintaining the limits of the space I occupy means that I have a duty to call others out, and then in, when they are overstepping the limits of their space and encroaching on the space of others. It means understanding the privilege I have, and not using that privilege to oppress, but to raise up those individuals who are struggling.

It also means that I don’t have to be guilty about fully occupying my space. My happiness doesn’t take away from others. It doesn’t occupy their space or prevent their voice from being heard.

When I talk of a finite space, it’s not finite in the sense that those coming into the world don’t get a space or those leaving this world take their space with them. I mean it is finite in the sense that our space is just that, our space. It is finite in the sense that there is space specifically for every individual on this earth, and that our space is all the same. No one is entitled to a bigger space than someone else, regardless of success or struggle, and your space doesn’t change in size depending on how much or how little privilege you have.

My story is part of the space I occupy. My beliefs, experiences, ideas – these are all rightfully mine and are contained within my space. But should they stay there? Should I silence my voice out of guilt because someone else is struggling? Should I silence my voice because my voice is happy?

My story, while both happy and sad, triumphant and tragic, deserves to be heard as much as any other story. Comparing the importance of individual experiences is a very dangerous path to go down. It pits the marginalized against one another, as if bleeding at the hands of someone else is somehow worse (or better?) than bleeding because of my own hand.

No. My voice should never be silenced. The space I occupy has been created for me, and quite frankly, it is my duty to occupy that space. If I don’t occupy it, then I’m failing those who are struggling, in a sense. If I don’t occupy my space, all of it, then someone else will, and I don’t have the ability to choose who that individual will be.

It is my duty to occupy that space in that my story of struggle and success could help someone else realize that as much of a cliché “It gets better” is, there is truth in the phrase. My narrative is relatable. It is as relatable as the other narratives that exist.

My voice may give others the strength to speak. So then, is it fair for me to silence myself and crawl into a remote corner of the space I’m supposed to occupy because someone else will be struggling more? No, it’s no more fair than if I were to try to silence the voice of others so I may be better heard.

It’s just as important for someone to be able to relate in the struggles of someone else as it is to reinforce that hope for the future.

To those who wish to occupy my space – it is mine, I am entitled to it, and I refuse to let you silence me.

To those who feel they do not deserve the space they occupy – stand firm, stand strong; your space was made for you, occupy it with the knowledge that it is important because you are in it.

To those who wish to blanket your story over mine – understand that all voices must be heard, and my story is just as important, even if it is for different reasons.

Go out in the world. Take up the space you are entitled to. Help others to occupy their own space. And don’t feel shame or guilt in doing so.

 

 

 

An open letter to the LGBT community:

We’ve been in the news a lot lately, especially regarding DieselTec and business owner Brian Klawiter. Now, I’m not necessarily inclined to believe the ‘death threats’ and graffiti weren’t self-organized in an attempt to keep their name in the news and to keep the publicity rolling in.

But, that is irrelevant. What is relevant is our further actions with him and any other businesses that engage in this extreme form of discrimination.

I implore you, as members of the LGBT community in West Michigan, to stop engaging this business, this man, in any and all forms of communication. Clearly nothing we say or do will change his mind into supporting us and our fight for equality. He is a lost cause. And frankly, he offers a very specialized service that most of us will never use.

As I said, I don’t believe the death threats are real, and I’m seriously inclined to believe the graffiti was self-inflicted. However, if it wasn’t, and if the death threats are real, and did indeed come from our community – please, stop. Stooping to his level and destroying property does nothing more than provide fuel for these people to further spew their hatred. Acting in this way not only gives us a bad reputation, but can make it harder to get city officials and members of the community to back us and give us the equal rights we deserve.

We can’t bully people into accepting us. I understand the frustration and anger that fills you when someone says such hate-filled things. Trust me, I understand that desire to lash out and show these people that we will not run in fear, and that we will not back down. But reacting with threats and vandalism isn’t the way to do this.

I understand the want to react in kind when someone calls us evil, or says we’re sinning, or says we’re below them. Stand up for yourselves, stand up for our community, but don’t drop to the level of behavior of our detractors. That is not the path to equality.

Let this story die. Let this man flounder his way in his hate-filled life. His business is either going to go away or it’s going to continue forward. But don’t let him define our progress or our actions.

If you want to fight back, get involved in the community at large. Volunteer, announce your pride and show the community we are not unlike them and we are claiming our space in the world. Get involved in local politics – show up at city hall meetings, talk to the lawmakers in your community. Protesting outside of a business will not get us equal rights. Laws and city ordinances will. Make our voices heard in the most productive way.

And remember the more space we give this man and others like him, the less space we have for ourselves.

The Measure of an Activist

The internet has been abuzz as of late about Indiana’s RFRA, specifically, about a little pizzeria called Memories Pizza. (By the way, the business didn’t bother to purchase their domain name.)

They closed shortly after coming out on the news talking about their opposition to serving the LGBT community, specifically stating they wouldn’t cater a same-sex wedding. The owners claimed they received death threats and because of this, felt they needed to close their business for their safety.

Yet none of these alleged threats have been discovered. None of the articles posted go into any sort of detail regarding the threats. To me, a threat of death is far more serious than a threat to boycott a restaurant.

This post, however, isn’t about the validity of the threats, or why RFRA is wrong, or how obvious it’s been that Memories Pizza was chosen to be a martyr for the “Gays are Evil” movement. This post is about activism and advocacy, and how important these things are.

I comment on a post about exactly that, how these people are martyrs for the cause. Someone responded with a comment that didn’t set well with me. They said that yes, the LGBT community and their allies had shut the business down, but that we didn’t change the minds of the business owners, so essentially, nothing had changed.

I beg to differ. Shutting down a business because they have bigoted, discriminatory views does change things. Recently Mira received the honor of being a member of the Trans100 2015. One of the keynote speakers, Tiq Milan, talked about his mother teaching him about taking up space, and how he has a right to take up space, and a responsibility to take up space.

By shutting this business down, the LGBT community has shown them that we deserve to be here, and we will take up our rightful space, whether others feel we deserve that space or not. And it’s our responsibility to continue to take up our rightful space, no matter what the opposition says or does.

How do we gauge the success of our efforts? If it’s solely by the number of minds changed, then are any other efforts moot? The Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro most likely didn’t change the minds of the shop owner or many of the other white people sitting in the diner. Because they didn’t change the minds of those people, does that discount the fact those four students sparked an interest that ultimately resulted in 1000 people protesting the segregation? Certainly not.

Those four students had enough. They took up their rightful space at that counter. And the LGBT community needs to do the same. We need to continue to take up space and show our opposers that we are not backing down. Of course I’d love to change minds in the process, but that obviously isn’t always going to happen.

To poo-poo the efforts of the LGBT community and their allies to get businesses to close their doors because of discrimination is hurtful and extremely dangerous. If enough people felt the way this commenter did, the likelihood of any kind of movement for social change wouldn’t occur, because ‘we couldn’t change their minds’.

Change doesn’t occur overnight, either. Stonewall was the catalyst for the LGBT movement. But their efforts didn’t change the hearts and minds of all people. Clearly that fight still continues. The results of their actions, however, gave others the inspiration to no longer sit back and be trampled on.

Yes. We came out in force against this business. Yes, we may have helped in shutting the business down. And yes, we didn’t change the way they feel about the LGBT community. But things have changed. And they continue to change.

We may not change everyone’s minds. But it is our job to continue to fight, to take each step forward as a victory, as fuel to continue down the path to equality. As Tiq Milan said, success is measured in the space we occupy. It’s measured in the quantity of people out fighting for a cause. It’s measured by the quality of life those fighting for rights have. Each victory, no matter how small, counts.

This is a victory. It shows other businesses that we will not back down. It shows others within the LGBT community that we do matter, and that we can make a difference.

SIDENOTE: I understand that the owners of the pizzeria became puppets of the religious right. I also understand that they were most likely approached and told if they closed their doors, they would be repaid for it. I understand they became martyrs and targeted to be martyrs. This however, to me, is still a victory. Our voices were heard.

Real Men Wanted

Man up.

Apparently there's even a religious movement to get guys to 'man up'
Apparently there’s even a religious movement to get guys to ‘man up’

Real men don’t cry.

Be a man.

We hear these phrases, and other words come to mind.

Misogynist. Sexist. Controlling.

There’s plenty more words that pop up for me, which bothers me. The word ‘man’ comes with such negative connotations. And it doesn’t seem like anyone (especially men) are trying to change this.

I was in a situation recently where the discussion turned towards what it meant to be a man and how none of us trans men wanted to identify as a ‘man’ because of all the negative baggage that comes with it. Other labels, like guy or trans man were acceptable. It was okay to refer to each other as the other’s ‘bro’. But none of us were men. Each time we’d say that word, our faces would scrunch up as if we were tasting something awful.

There have been other times too. Driving home after a particularly horrid week of work, I found myself full of road rage. I was vacillating between whipping people the bird and wanting to bawl my eyes out. And this little voice crept into my head.

Real men don’t cry.

I was horrified. I’ve always been a bit proud that my emotions are readily available. Did starting my transition mean I’d suddenly have to pack all that down, because that’s what real men do?

Then there was the conversation I had with my girlfriend, when I told her I didn’t want to be the breadwinner of the house, and then had to think about what I meant by that. Which is essentially that I don’t want to ever tell her she can’t work or shouldn’t work or make any kind of big decision like that about her life or our life together. (RE: the idea of staying home and being the doting housewife for her should definitely be something she chooses, not because of my saying so)

But all of these things are coming about because of this disgusting baggage associated with men.

So I choose to call myself a trans man. And if someone calls me a guy, that’s cool too. I’ve got bros, and I’m proud to be a bro. And I’m even okay with someone calling me dude. But man? Them’s fightin’ words. Apparently.

There’s a bit of shame with that, too. After all, I’m a firm believer that despite Michigan legislator’s apparent anger and disgust with the LGBT community, that it’s my responsibility to stay and fight for equality. I bite my tongue when people say they can’t wait to move out of the state. I’m staying to fight. This is my home state, and I have a very strong sense of loyalty to this state, despite its’ failing ratings in the LGBT community.

Such a catchy tune...
Such a catchy tune…

And yet I run like hell from a single word. Because I don’t like the baggage that comes from it. There’s another word I don’t like. Hypocrite. And I’m treading a very thin line.

There’s a problem with the trans men community. We have no role models. I mean of course there’s Chaz and Buck. I’m sure there’s others Laverne and Chaz.001too. But the problem is, they’re not visible. They’re not nearly as visible as Laverne Cox or Janet Mock. And they don’t advocate for change. Society has a fascination with trans women. But a trans man? Well, he’s just one of the guys.

Okay, so that may be painting with broad strokes. But there is some truth to it. Many trans men, once they’ve transitioned, sort of fade into the abstract. They’re content with who they are and seem to feel no real need to be out in the world of advocacy, mingling with legislators or giving media interviews. We have our social groups (that I’ve found) which remain secret and almost anonymous (like the Illuminati). Now there’s no shame in being happy with who you are, and it’s certainly your choice whether or not you want to live the life of an activist, but isn’t fading into the abstract almost a cop-out?

Just like running from the label of ‘man’.

It’s a complete cop-out. Here I am, identifying as a trans man, as masculine and a guy and with it comes all the privileges, but I’m unwilling to take on the label. I’m accepting the male privilege, but refusing to accept the word that comes with it. It’s having my cake and eating it too.

Why? I’ve no valid reason. No argument I could possibly come up with justifies it. And while I might not ever be as famous as Laverne Cox or Janet Mock, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a role model.

Even traffic lights understand the need of diversity...
Even traffic lights understand the need of diversity…

Change comes in different ways – maybe an instantaneous change, like when the traffic light changes from green to red. Or perhaps change comes in ripples, like the concentric circles that occur when you drop a pebble into the water.

So how do we go about changing the definition of manhood? Well, what defines manhood? Is it biological? Social? What it means to be a man certainly has varying definitions throughout the world, but at the very basic level, there has to be some correlations.

What is manhood? In the past, I’ve looked at being a man as always being stoic, and if tears are shed, it’s few, before the emotion is sucked up and tamped down deep in the recesses of manhood. Being a man meant you remained emotionless, unless you were angry. That was fine. Being a man meant it was up to you to take care of things when crises hit. Being a man meant working a difficult, laborious job and having the woman take care of you. Being a man meant you didn’t have to work as hard to make as much money, and women were never your equal, because…well because that’s just the way the world is, son.

Being a man means you think with your genitalia, and believing in things like legitimate rape and that she deserved what she got. Being a man means you can act like an ass, do stupid, hurtful things, and it’s okay because “boys will be boys.” Being a man means you’re in constant competition with other men to be the best in everything, to be the strongest, to have the most toys and the biggest titles.

Of course these are all the awful stereotypes that many men perpetuate. And why would anyone want a label that comes with all that baggage? I realize not all men are that way. There are good men out there – nurturing fathers, loving husbands, caring and considerate boyfriends. There are men who are feminists, believing that a woman’s place is wherever she chooses it to be, not barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. There are men who cringe when another man jokingly tells a woman to “get in the kitchen and make me a sammich.”

And I’m sure there’s more of these good men than I or many others realize. But the general overview of men and manhood is essentially the Brawny Man or Mr. Clean – but much meaner. And it’s true, 85% of domestic violence victims are women. And when you think of road rage, you think of men tailgating and driving aggressively, not women, who are horrible drivers anyway. (Please read the sarcasm in the previous statement. I in no way think all women are horrible drivers.)

I don’t want the label of ‘man’ or to associate myself deeply with manhood because of all of these things I’ve listed, and many more. And I know I’m not the only one. But I don’t like being a hypocrite either. I can’t look at those who move out of Michigan and shake my head in anger and disappointment because they aren’t staying to fight when I want to put so much distance between myself and manhood.

So what do I do? Change it. I want to be that rock and create those ripples that reach out, further and further. How? By reclaiming manhood and defining the concept as something to be proud of, not something that gives me Medicine Face when I say it.

It’s not an easy thing. And where the hell do you begin to change thousands of years worth of misogyny and sexism? Well, some things can’t be changed, and it’s necessary to accept that and move forward. What we need are role models. Good, healthy role models to come forward and not only show other trans men, but cis men what it means to truly be a man.

Real men not only show their emotions (besides anger), but they support other men in showing their emotions as well.

Real men understand their privilege, and more so, use their privilege to further the rights of others – by advocating for women’s rights, and the protection of those rights.

Real men call one another out when we’re being sexist or misogynistic, and then call one another in by educating each other on those points.

Real men stop looking at women as things to be conquered, but as equals, to be treated with great respect.

Real men aren’t afraid to follow their significant other into the intimate apparel stores.

Real men are respectful, honest, and compassionate.

So, as I take on this label of manhood, I ask that my fellow trans men step up and do the same. Advocate for change in the LGBT community. Advocate for change for the trans* community especially. Make yourselves visible (if you are in a capacity to do so) and fight for equality. Show all men what it is to be a real man. I dare you to take on that label, accept the baggage that comes with it, and then show others the baggage no longer fits. Trans men don’t have to be hyper masculine to be men. Redefine manhood by being authentically you, by using your agency, by not simply fading into the abstract.

Life isn’t meant to be easy. If it were, we would take all the good things in life for granted. As of right now, I’m adding ‘man’ to my list of identifiers.

Be that rock in the water. Be that change.

???? Vol.119 ?????????

The Agenda of Paranoia

Disney-logoDisney’s at it again. It’s already bad enough that they host the Gay Days, but now their movies are starting to promote the gay agenda in them as well.

Thanks to the ‘Well-Behaved Mormon Woman’, we can now see what Disney’s program really is all about. She breaks down Disney’s blockbuster, Frozen, and shows us what the story is really about.

Brace yourselves. This is a *big* deal.

It’s about…same-sex marriage…*gasp*

I know, I know. I was floored too. But wow, her logic is completely undeniable. Here’s the link to her post:

http://wellbehavedmormonwoman.blogspot.com/2014/02/movie-frozen-gay-homosexual-agenda.html#.UwUrAWJdUsA

Now, of course, I’ll break it down accordingly and respond to her responses with my own responses.

She looks like she has an agenda
She looks like she has an agenda

I’ll admit, I haven’t watched the movie, and I doubt that I will. But I cannot allow myself to go on in life without a response.

Ultimately, this Mormon woman (now before you yell at me about stereotyping, let me just say – she started it) has broken down what she sees as the main themes of the story, along with their homosexual aspects.

For those of you who don’t want to bother reading her ridiculous correlations between the movie Frozen and the ‘gay agenda’ (whatever that is – I used to have an itinerary…does that count?) I’ll start off by posting her ‘Sidebar’ and addressing that:

Sidebar: Let me be very clear about one thing, I am not anti-gay nor am I here to judge homosexuals not worthy of their rightful and respectful place among society. However, I draw the line at the idea of redefining traditional marriage to include homosexual relationships, as equal. Meaning, that as a Christian, I believe that acting on same-sex attraction is contrary to God’s will, and therefore SSM should not be legalized. Because I hold this value and voice it freely, does not mean that I am trying to force it on anyone – anymore than those who feel opposite and advocate for their position intend to force SSM on me, personally – both have the right [to freely advocate an oppositional position] and should not be demonized, regardless of where society takes us, as a whole.

So right off the bat, the Mormon woman is saying – ‘it’s okay….but’ – that whole idea that if you pre-define yourself as being accepting, the bullshit that comes out of your mouth next is also acceptable. That’s like saying that the fact that some gay people work at the same place you do makes you eligible to be the Grand Marshall in the Pride Parade.

She claims not to judge homosexuals, but then goes on through her entire post to judge Disney based on her assumption of an animated movie about a little girl. So apparently she doesn’t judge homosexuals, but everyone else is fair game…

Basically she’s prefacing her entire post by saying “Yes, I know my opinion is going to probably piss some people off, but its okay, because those same people piss me off too. And although I don’t judge anyone, because I’m religious and all, I don’t believe in equality.”

She could have just said, “This is my damn blog, and I’ll write about whatever the hell I want to.” (or ‘heck’. After all, she is ‘well-behaved’.)

She goes on:

Elsa has a great power that she has been taught by her parents from the time she was a child, is not publicly acceptable and that she must fear its expression, at all cost, thus hide it from people, even her own sister who could be hurt by it – even killed. Shame is at the core of Elsa’s feelings about her magical powers: same-sex attraction.

As Elsa’s power increases, her parents’ urge her to learn how to control it, as it would be perceived as evil to others, but Elsa can’t; it’s impossible. Her parents’ make the decision to close the castle to the public, and lock Elsa in her room so that her power won’t be discovered. Not even her sister is allowed to see and play with Elsa: demonetization of homosexuals by society.

Elsa is devastatingly lonely and depressed being forced to live a life of isolation, believing her powers to be evil. Her sister, kept from the truth, and affected by the inflicted secrecy also becomes victim to the dysfunction of her family and experiences equal isolation and confusion: not “coming out” and being who you are meant to be (acting on the power) is harmful to the person, family and society. 

Okay. First off, this woman apparently sees same-sex attraction as some kind of ‘power’. That’s some crazy shit right there. I wonder if I could join the X-Men? I could be known as Dyke – and wear flannel shirts and combat boots, have a rainbow mohawk, and drive a tricked out U-Haul truck.

And as far as I knew, society in general wasn’t demonizing homosexuality anymore. I thought it was mostly the Conservatives and crazy religious people who called themselves ‘Christians’ who hated us.

download
Look at that strong jawline…

Sidebar: If you’re going to go off on a crazy diatribe about the ‘gay agenda’ make sure you get your terms right. Demonetization is actually the stopping of using a particular metal to make coins, or the act of withdrawing units of money from circulation. I know Susan B. Anthony looks rather masculine, but I’m sure you meant demonizing

I’m also not exactly sure how ‘being who you are meant to be’ is a bad thing. I mean, isn’t that sort of like your calling? And aren’t men of the cloth generally called by a high power? Could you imagine if they didn’t ‘come out’? Why, there’d be no one to lead you! Yes of course! Embracing who you are is bad! It’s the root of all evil, isn’t it?

She continues in this manner, even bringing up the fact that the main character is destined to be a ‘queen’, telling her readers to interpret that however they want. *wink, wink* I mean, it’s so unnatural to think that a princess could become a queen.

The ridiculous thing is that this sort of thinking can be applied to any movie. The X-Men? They even have a separate school for these social misfits. And the men wear spandex! You can’t get much gayer than that.

Sharon271
She’s just a little too hot for me

Silent Hill – there’s a whole friggin’ church who dislikes people who are ‘different’ than them – so much so they’ll burn them at the cross (The lesbian-looking police officer, no less).

The Goonies, Spiderman, Batman – hell, any superhero movie (esp. Hellboy)…In fact, any movie in which the hero had a great obstacle to overcome, something he or she struggled with, or some great power the hero had to recognize, could be picked apart to represent the ‘gay agenda’. Any movie that showed the outcast winning over her peers or having to do some soul searching or commit some great sacrifice could be considered part of the ‘gay agenda’.

The utter bullshit of her entire post though, is the fact that every piece of convoluted logic she uses to show that Frozen is pushing some ulterior motive to further homosexuality, can be used to describe the plight of anyone that has faced adversity in their lives. If the hero was in a wheelchair, would this ‘well-behaved’ woman be raging about how Disney is pushing the ‘handicapped agenda’? If the hero was an elf, is Disney pushing the ‘little people agenda’?

You see, Well-Behaved Mormon Woman, homosexuals don’t have any ‘agenda’, except, perhaps those who would normally have agendas – Chairmen, politicians…and apparently some crazy religious people.

What bothers me is this woman, who claims to be religious, is upset by the fact that the story is telling kids to be who they are, and that the problem isn’t about who they are, but how everyone else perceives them. So ultimately – the problem isn’t you, it’s everyone else. So in essence, this woman is saying that if you don’t fit within someone’s set of norms and values, you should change yourself or hide parts of yourself so that you are acceptable by everyone else and can be neatly packaged with these norms and values.

She tries to make it about same sex marriage. But in the end, all I can draw from this post is that a certain woman should be treated for paranoia, and a deep seated hate for anyone different than her.

men unicorns fantasy art freddie mercury rainbows cromartie high school rainbow unicorn 1600x900_www.wallpaperno.com_42
Yes. That’s Freddie Mercury. And yes, he is being carried by a unicorn. Your argument is invalid.

LGBTQ – RSTUV?

LGBTQ – An acronym heard many times over in media of all sorts.

But some wonder when we’ve hit enough letters to represent who we are. I don’t know, I personally like the addition of letters – it’s creating a catch-all for those who have nowhere else to go. It might just be my altruistic nature. I know I’m not the only one who recognizes the importance of this though.

facebook_g_options.png.CROP.promo-mediumlargeFacebook has adapted its selections in regards to gender to encompass a wide range of identities. And yet again, as with any change, there are the detractors – those who don’t understand the idea of gender identity and don’t get the fact that sex and gender and identity are not the same, and they’re the ones who try to shout the loudest.

What’s sad is some of those doing the shouting, are from within our own community. In fact, I think that may be the saddest thing of all. Not knowing who your allies are, not knowing who your fight for equality affects. We chastise those ignorant of our struggle, yet we wear blinders ourselves, so focused on our own personal successes in our fights that we fail to see the bigger picture.

We stick to our cliques. We keep within our comfort zones. Those on the outside, well…they can fend for themselves. It’s a dog-eat-dog world after all, isn’t it? I can profess anger and concern for issues, but if it truly doesn’t affect me, how much effort am I going to put forth?

I’ve never been one to fit in anywhere. I didn’t even fit in with the people that didn’t fit in anywhere. Life dealt me chickenhell7cards that at times, made me feel like I didn’t belong in the body I was given.

I don’t know…maybe it’s because of these things that I feel such a connection to everyone who aligns themselves as anything other than heterosexual. Regardless, I think it’s important that we keep adding letters if necessary. And I think it’s even more important to know what those letters mean.

In my journeys I have met some incredible people. People who are simply looking for their place in the world. People with incredible stories, amazing journeys, and beautiful insight on the world around them.  Why wouldn’t I want to be an ally? All of the people I’ve met – they’re fighting just as hard for my rights as they are for theirs.

These last few weeks…I’ve seen things from so many perspectives; I keep surprising myself at the revelations I’m having. Like differences between identity and orientation – little revelations in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure, but it’s a big deal to me. I had always thought I was open-minded. No, no I sure wasn’t. And now I’m finding a new passion, one that fits my altruistic nature. And it’s a passion that everyone should have – the passion of being human.

5529107926_1527283a00_oThis may be the most clichéd analogy ever, but it works for me. It’s one of the snowiest winters in my state. And it got me thinking about snow – specifically, snowflakes. They say each snowflake is different, that no two are alike. Yet, any search on the internet, and you’ll find that there are 6 general categories for the different forms of snowflakes. But, each snowflake really is different; different patterns, each one unique, but able to be categorized on a basic level. And if you dig even deeper, each snowflake, with their genuinely unique pattern, is absolutely identical on a molecular level. Snowflakes, for all their individuality, are made up of the same molecules – every single last snowflake.

People lose sight of that. While our outward appearances are different, and with the exception of twins, absolutely dna-double-helixunique, at the most basic level, we are all the same – our molecular structure is identical. Yes, our DNA is different, but even that is made of the same four nucleic acids.

There was a point where I didn’t know any transgender people, and it wasn’t until recently that I met a genderqueer person and an androgyne. Funny, my Microsoft Word doesn’t understand these terms and insists I’m spelling them incorrectly. I guess other aspects of technology need to catch up as well. I still need much education in regards to all of this myself.

I just don’t understand why gays and lesbians would discriminate against transgender people, and anyone else, frankly, who identifies in the wide spectrum. After all, lesbianism is a sexual orientation, while transgender is an identity. So why discriminate against someone’s gender identity? Hell, why discriminate at all? We’re all fighting for equality. We’re all fighting for the day when gender and orientation and identity are no longer such inflammatory issues. We’re all fighting for the right to be treated as humans.

So yeah, while the court case in Texas that ruled in favor of the transgender widow might not directly affect me, I celebrate it regardless, because it’s one step closer to equality and tolerance for all. But you can’t efficiently fight for a cause unless you believe in it and respect it.

images (22)The letters LGBTQ are nothing more than ways to define individuals who don’t fit in anywhere else. Stop taking issue with the string of letters, and get to know the people who represent the letters. That’s what’s important.

Our community is huge. Our community is diverse – filled with beautiful people, each as unique as a snowflake. Get to know them, their stories, what makes them who they are. I guarantee you’ll surprise yourself too. We avoid because of ignorance, which breeds itself in many forms – fear, disgust, anger – don’t get sucked into that. Rise above. Know the members within your own community, and fight inequality together.

Don’t just say you’re a member of the LGBTQ community. Be a member of the LGBTQ. Get involved. Meet your fellow advocates. Know what you’re fighting for.

“The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.” ― Eric Berne

“The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.” ― Aristotle

“The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.” ― Julian Bond

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I’ll take a little discrimination with a side of hypocrisy to go. Thanks!

Hi there, it’s Repowoman. I was gonna take a stab at the whole video post thing, but an audio failure prevented me from doing so. Oh well.

Anyway…

I wanna start out by giving a shout-out to my home state: download (11)

Hiya Michigan! What the fuck??! With Virginia’s constitutional amendment being declared unconstitutional (on Valentine’s Day, no less) , we are now the ONLY state that has an amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and all other contracts.

Fucking awesome! The mitten state, America’s high five to the world, is sufficiently giving its citizens a giant middle finger.

Progress? No! That’s talk of the devil!

Okay, well, to be fair, we are awaiting a ruling from a US Federal judge regarding a lawsuit filed by a couple in Detroit. LGBT-Adoption-Rights-by-State-InfographicThey have adopted children, separately, and want to adopt each other’s children, so that if anything should happen, the children would stay with the remaining parent and not go back into the foster care system.

But, Michigan won’t allow that. Michigan does not allow same-sex partner adoption. Because, you know, it’s so much better to rip that child from a loving family and put them back in the system. So they went to the judge and said, ‘how fair is this shit?’

And the judge says “I’m inclined to believe it’s not fair at all, but if you challenge Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, I bet you’ll get even further!”

So they did. And the judge told them he was going to wait to see how the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA. When the Supreme Court said DOMA sucked and was unconstitutional, the Federal judge here said, “Cool. Well, I wanna hear from some experts.”

And now, on February 25th, 2014, the Federal judge will listen to experts testify.

Because it’s not enough to listen to the parents of these kids.

I should be happy, though, because he is at least hearing the case. But how long will we have to wait before this is a marriage-scales-of-justicenon-issue in this state? In 2004, when Prop 2 was passed, it was passed with a 58% majority. Now, a poll done in May of 2013, shows a 56% support for same-sex marriage. Gay rights activists are looking to petition to have the ban overturned, with a ballot drive in 2016.

Why? Why do we have to wait 12 years for someone to say “Hey, this isn’t right, let’s fix this”? Why do we have to wait 12 years for a fucked up constitutional amendment that was painfully redundant to be overturned?

But, it doesn’t end here. With each step forward, there is someone trying to push us back.

download (12)Kansas has decided that so-called ‘religious freedom’ trumps the basic human right of equality. They’re looking to pass legislation that will allow for absolute discrimination against the LGBTQ community on the basis of ‘religious freedom’.

Yup, the ‘Because God said I could’ movement of discrimination is picking up steam. They’re using the argument that the First Amendment gives them the right to refuse service to anyone they feel ‘violates their beliefs’.

Okay you fucking Bible-thumpers. Here’s the deal. The First Amendment is not a tool for you to use to discriminate against anyone. Freedom of religion, as per the Constitution, means the government can’t force you to practice a particular religion. If you want to be Jewish, be Jewish, if you’re a Catholic, that’s great! If you’re an atheist – more power to ya! But that still does NOT give you the right to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation.

Let’s reverse the roles. Say you walk into a business. You wanna buy some flowers for your dead grandmother. The

'These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!'
‘These were on their last leg, ma. Just like you!’

business owner of the floral shop is an atheist, and refuses to sell to you because he thinks you’re an idiot for putting flowers on a grave of a bunch of bones.

What are you gonna do? Stand outside and pray for his fucking salvation? No. You’re gonna go find a lawyer, and sue his non-believing ass, right? You’re gonna picket outside of his business and tell people that it’s blasphemy to step foot beyond that threshold.

So what gives you the right to do it to someone else? Where in your Bible does it say to turn away from people who need your services? Where does Jesus say “Go ahead and tell the gays you don’t want them around”?

I don’t think he does. In fact, from everything I’ve ever read, Jesus was a pretty cool guy who accepted everyone for who they were. No exceptions.

So this bullshit about freedom of religion? You’re wrong. You do have freedom of religion. And until someone violates your ability to practice your religion or tells you that you can’t practice your religion, you still have freedom of religion. And no, my ‘gay agenda’ is not infringing upon your religious rights. Mostly, because we don’t have an agenda. Unless you consider equality an agenda. Oh, we’re such sneaky homos…

Newsflash, Kansas…This law isn’t going to stand in front of the Supreme Court. There’s this lovely amendment that trumps your ideas of what the First Amendment says. The Fourteenth Amendment – the one that guarantees us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Yeah, that’s sorta like your worst nightmare, isn’t it? Your ‘religious freedoms’ are trampling all over my ability to live and to have liberty, and certainly, your bigotry and discrimination is a massive roadblock in my pursuit of happiness.

Enforcing-the-ten-commandmentsYour brand of pseudo-Christianity is severely lacking in substance and realism. I’m sure that nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it say “Thou shall practice hypocrisy and hatred.”

If your religion says that it’s perfectly okay to turn away another human being in need…I don’t want to prescribe to your religion…

And you wonder why I’m agnostic.