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.

 

 

 

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“Not in my house.”

Depending on who you ask, homeless LGBTQ youth may or may not exist.

According to AM radio host Linda Harvey, homeless LGBTQ youth do exist, but not because their parents kicked them out. Rather, they exist because the teens stormed out in a tantrum of sorts:

“The teen storms out by choice and leaves voluntarily because the homosexual relationship is more important than that of his or her parents.

“And when that all-important relationship ends, the teen is too stubborn or already too involved in alcohol or drugs or the premature independence of the homosexual life and he or she would rather drift than return home.

“I’ve heard [it] far too often.”

I bet you have, Linda.

And if you turn to statistics, well, statistics say there are homeless youth, but finding absolute numbers is exceedingly difficult. A federal study in 2002 claims that there are 1.7 million homeless youth each year. And a study done in 2006 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Coalition to End Homelessness states that anywhere from 20 to 40% of all homeless youth are queer.

If those numbers are correct, then that means that roughly 680,000 homeless youth are queer.

To say that 680,000 queer youth are out on the streets by their own choice, of their own volition is not only preposterous, but it completely discredits any struggles and pain experienced by these kids. Yes, Linda, you may have heard of such instances, but I can assure you from experience, that kids are kicked out of their homes because who they are goes against the grain of who the parents want that child to be.

I should know. It happened to me. I’ll never forget my mom’s reaction when I came out to her.

“Not in this house. Not around my daughter.” In thirty seconds, my mom had absolutely crushed me as a human being.

“Not in this house.” Because my announcement of being a lesbian somehow suddenly tainted the house I grew up in.

“Not around my daughter.” Because my sin was so great it could reflect on the successes of my sister; therefore the only plausible solution was to disown me.

And I found myself without a home. Fortunately, I’ve managed to make it (somewhat) on my own since then. But not everyone is so lucky. The kids being put on the streets don’t have the life skills to always pull themselves out. There are resources out there, but honestly, who pays attention to the homeless? We see panhandlers out on street corners, with signs saying they need money for food, and we draw our own conclusions as to why they’re on the corner, and more often than we’d like to admit, we either turn away in disgust or do our best to focus on that red light, waiting impatiently for it to change so we can drive away and leave that awkward uncomfortable feeling behind.

But how often do we see kids standing on street corners?

“Gay and homeless, please help.” That’s one sign I’ve never seen.

Are these kids able to get some kind of education? Do they eat regularly? Have they succumbed to drugs and alcohol and prostitution to cope? What kind of a chance do these kids have to succeed?

And who is helping them?

Groups like the 40 to None Project, spearheaded by Cyndi Lauper and an offshoot of her True Colors Fund, bring awareness to the fact that there is a hugely disproportionate number of homeless queer youth. And there are homes out there, like The Ozone House in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Streetwork Project through Safe Horizion, in New York.

But there needs to be more awareness. These safe houses are in big cities where the homeless population is high and has high visibility. What about places like my hometown? I know there’s homeless here. I’ve seen them, but where are the kids?

And then there’s the intangible number of those kids that are afraid to come out because they don’t want to end up on the streets. Linda Harvey had something to say about that, too. She feels that queer youth shouldn’t come out to everyone, and basically should stay closeted until they can be straight.

(Keep in mind this is the same woman that says Jesus may be forced to marry a man when he comes back to Earth.)

So these kids struggle daily with an alter-ego of sorts, pretending to be someone they’re not because of a fear of losing their family, their friends, their home. I know what that’s like too. Before I came out, I was going down to the gay nightclubs and had to make up stories as to where I was really going.

Mom: “So where are you headed tonight?”

Me: “Oh, out to the club.”

Mom: “Which one? And with whom?”

Me: “Oh, The Crush. And I’m going with Stephanie (who actually did exist) and some guys from work. Mark, John, Paul, Peter.”

Eventually I was going down to the bar with the 12 Apostles and George Glass. That was when it was time for me to stop pretending. But I played that game for a while before it became too overwhelming for me. I’m a facilitator for the local LGBTQ youth group here, sponsored by our LGBTQ resource center. I’ve only been to two meetings so far, but it’s really opened my eyes.

For instance, the group wants to make a float for our Pride parade. Some of the kids are so afraid of being outed that they say they can’t work on the float. Others spend their time looking over their shoulders, as if everyone they’re afraid of knowing the truth about them are standing outside, peering in through the windows. This is unacceptable. These kids have enough to worry about as teenagers without having to add a queer catalyst to the equation.

“Not in this house.” These are words that these kids should never have to hear. To be told their own blood doesn’t see them as human or equal or acceptable – I can’t change the hateful actions of those parents, but I can offer shelter and guidance to those kids who are either already on the streets or at risk of being on the streets if they are true to themselves.

I’m working on creating a nonprofit organization, so I can establish a safe house here in my hometown for these kids. I’m calling on you for help with this. Because I’m pretty sure that those who read my blog and whom I call friends would never ever turn their kids away if they came out of the closet.

These queer youth deserve a chance to succeed. They deserve to be who they are, to explore who they are, without fear of feeling unloved and rejected.

When someone says, “Not in my house…”

I want to be able to say, “Welcome home.”

Edit: Here’s a related story, definitely worth reading…

If you have an interest or want to know more, please fill out the form below and I’ll get back in contact with you as soon as I can.

 

 

What To Do In Case of Lesbian

Earlier this week Jody Rosen, writer for numerous magazines including The Rolling Stone, tweeted a picture of a document he came across designed for a Women’s Studies 101 class. The document was from the late 1980’s (1988 to be exact) and outlined some appropriate responses for heterosexual women when they encountered a lesbian.

The document does have its snarkier aspects, however I’m inclined to believe that the creators of said document were of pure intent and non-snarkiness, which makes the following document that much more difficult to fathom. The paper provides 15 ‘tips’ on the appropriate responses that a heterosexual woman should have when coming across a lesbian.

Here’s the original document, which reads something like a survival guide:

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  1. If you encounter a lesbian in the wild, it is important not to run. Not only is it rude, but the lesbian may give chase. If you do run, and she does give chase, you fortunately have a few options. You can either run to the nearest Chick-fil-a  or shout out your loyalty to Rush Limbaugh. Either one should deter a charging lesbian.
  2. I agree, it is important to use discretion when backing away from a lesbian. They sometimes travel in packs, and backing up without discretion can put you in a very awkward position, perhaps up against another lesbian. Also, it’s important to avoid eye contact. Direct eye contact with a lesbian for extend periods of time can cause the lesbian to charge unprovoked, and could potentially turn the heterosexual woman into a lesbian. They can see your soul.

3-5.Do not assume anything when it comes to the wily lesbian. They can trick you into thinking they are attracted to you, or that you are attracted to them. The lesbian is a very manipulative creature, and is capable of making you feel things you’ve never felt before. Especially with a man. The lesbian also has a silver tongue, and will lure you in with the promise of the ever illusive orgasm. She will also make claim to be able to locate the mythical g-spot. It is imperative you do not fall for such fairytales.

  1. Lesbians only get excited about rugby, craft beers, and Shane from The L-Word. She will not think it a novelty that you are a heterosexual. Nor do you need to point out the fact that she is indeed a lesbian. The lesbian is very intelligent, and wouldn’t overlook such vital information.
  2. Conversations about men should be avoided in general. Most lesbians are members of another species – The Feminist. The Feminist vehemently hates all things male, so referencing a boyfriend or husband is not only absolutely unnecessary, but could also provoke the lesbian into a full charge. Also, they can smell your heterosexuality. It’s an ability referred to as ‘gaydar’ and is highly specialized. There is no need to insinuate your sexual orientation. The lesbian already knows.
  3. Men are not oppressed. Everyone knows this. The lesbian neither cares nor needs to be reminded.
  4. While it is true that not all lesbians hate men, it is a safe assumption to make that no lesbian desires phallic representations (standard equipment for some bachelorette parties) waved in her face. She is likely to attack if provoked in such a manner.
  5. When communicating with a lesbian, it is good advice not to ask her how she got the way she is. If you do so, you’re in for a long tale of an epic journey in a land far from here. A tale of another time, another place…a small shire in Middle Earth, the dark pull of a ring…and the struggle of a lesbian given an unimaginable task. Wait…I don’t think that’s right. Well, regardless, asking a lesbian how she got that way is about as absurd as asking you why you like dark chocolate and Zumba.
  6. The only truly valid point on this entire sheet. The label of ‘lesbian’ may be a reference to sexual orientation, but there is much more to who she is than what happens behind closed doors. Do not underestimate her experiences, her life, or any aspect of who she is.
  7. All lesbians do not want to be treated like men. They would much rather be treated like lesbians in lesbian porn.
  8. This is a given. Women are emotional creatures. When you put two lesbians together in a room, they’re either going to start a fire, or blow the place up while trying to start that fire.
  9. It is impossible to be friends with a lesbian. She will turn you into a lesbian. It’s similar to how vampires function.
  10. If you meet any woman named Mary, Pam, or Lori…they are lesbians. That is a perfectly safe assumption.

And if you want to be a lesbian for 24 hours, I suggest you just go ahead and plan a long-term transition.

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.

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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.

The Farce of Black History Month

So there’s a good chance that this post might upset some people. I kinda hope it does, to be honest…

Black History Month is a farce. Just like June being Pride Month for the LGBTQ community. Now before you get your panties (or boxers, if you’re a butch) in a bunch, hear me out. After all, I’ve got Morgan Freeman on my side…

That’s right…A photo and video of an interview conducted with Morgan Freeman is circulating Facebook. It is February, so it’s not surprising this is surfacing again. The interview was from 2005, when Mike Wallace was interviewing Freeman on 60 Minutes. Here’s the video:

I agree. Black History Month is ridiculous. So is Pride Month. Why should our history be broken down into one month, when we exist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year?

“Here, we’ll give you one month to talk about yourselves and where you came from, despite the fact that your history dates back to the beginning of the world.”

Gee, thanks.

I understand the historical significance of the idea of a special month for a group of people. But I find it insulting. Because everything of historical significance that has happened to (and within) the LGBTQ community did not just occur in the month of June. Yes, Stonewall did. And Stonewall is definitely something to remember. But look at the leaps and bounds our community has seen in the years since. The same can be said for Black History Month. February is Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass’s birthdays. But, there are other dates in history that are just as important, if not more so, for Black Americans.

The 13th Amendment was adopted in December. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is in January. These seem to be pretty important events to me, so why localize their importance to one month? Harriet Tubman didn’t limit the rescuing of slaves through the Underground Railroad only during the month of February.

To pick just one month, be it arbitrary or specific, to celebrate one’s history, including their struggles and triumphs, is insulting. Why can’t we have Pride festivals year round? Why can’t we have celebrations on anniversaries of triumphs, instead of one giant gathering that really is nothing more than a parade and an opportunity to get shit-faced drunk with a group of like-minded people? Hell, I can do that whenever I want. How can Pride be so special if we only get one month to celebrate it? What do you do when you go to a Pride festival? How much do you pay attention at booths like those of the HRC or GLAAD? Do you know if your college or your children’s schools have a GSA? How involved are you truly in the fight for equality? Reposting news articles on Facebook isn’t enough anymore.

Another aspect of the farce is something Freeman says in the interview. When Mike Wallace asks “How are we going to get rid of racism?” Freeman replies, “Stop talking about it.”

I’ve seen comments on Facebook ranting about how stupid that statement is. That ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Well, to you I say – you’re idiots. Freeman isn’t saying to ignore the issue. But when we turn to racism and discrimination to explain why we can’t get ahead in the world, we’re making ourselves victims. We’re victimizing ourselves.

Yes, it’s important, desperately important, to remember the pain we’ve all gone through, to remember the past. Because after all, without the past we wouldn’t be where we are today. But a continual focus on the struggle, on the negative, does nothing to clear our path to further our cause for equality. Yes, it’s important to recognize the negative, to remember the past, but it’s even more important to recognize the future, and to remember where we’re headed.

When we look at people and say “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian, that one over there is gay, etc.” we’re putting them in boxes. We’re categorizing them. We categorize ourselves. But that one box we’re stuck in…that doesn’t define us. Yes I’m a lesbian, but that’s only a part of who I am. I’m a writer, an animal lover. I’m agnostic, I’m Dutch, German, French, Polish, and Native American. I’m a Michigander. I’m a dreamer, a hopeless romantic. All of these things make up who I am. Don’t nail me down to any one category.

When we say “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian” we’re judging each other. We’re creating standards by which we can later use against that person to hurt, to exclude, to belittle. Instead of saying “He’s Black, she’s a lesbian” we should be looking at one another and simply saying “He’s human. She’s human.”

You should most definitely be proud of who you are and where you come from. But limiting that to one month out of a year is ludicrous. Celebrate who you are year round. Remember your history year round.

Who I am is far more important than 1/12th of a year.