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.

Onions, lesbians, and layers.

Lesbians are like onions. Some really stink and others make you cry.

Okay, that’s not where I was going with that pearl of wisdom, but it at least caught your attention. It’s true though. Lesbians have layers.

There are some that seem to think my lesbian life consists of this:

Because, of course, this is what all lesbians look like
Because, of course, this is what all lesbians look like

And there’s others that think it looks something like:

Let's get one thing...ah...erm..*straight*...I'm not the super sporty type.
Let’s get one thing…ah…erm..*straight*…I’m not the super sporty type.

And still others think this:

Even if I did this, I'd be more likely to wear a pantsuit. I just look goofy in a dress.
Even if I did this, I’d be more likely to wear a pantsuit. I just look goofy in a dress.

But what is truly interesting is those who think that we partake in these varying events also want us to keep all of this in our bedrooms, where it belongs. Because obviously softball should be played in the bed. (Keep the euphemism to yourself…)

Every lesbian has heard of the butch-femme continuum. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog. It’s this scale that lists the varying gender identities among lesbians. It’s similar to the Kinsey scale in the varying extremes of how lesbians present themselves. It’s essentially a persona.

And because it’s a persona, it’s a bit harder to ‘keep it in the bedroom.’ I identify as a butch lesbian (that’s about as far as I get in the specifics of the continuum) and wear guy’s clothes, keep my hair short, and just generally present myself in a more masculine way. It’s what I find most comfortable, and it works for me. The way I sit, the way I walk, even some gestures and mannerisms lean more to the masculine side. These aren’t things I can just keep in the bedroom.

I won’t pretend to be something, or someone, I’m not. I won’t put on a dress or makeup because you can’t figure out if I’m a guy with boobs or an actual woman. I refuse to change the way I look so you feel more comfortable around me. I’m old enough to know what bathroom to use. I know I’ll probably be called ‘sir’ at some point. I know someone will unknowingly refer to me as ‘him’. I’m fine with that. It comes with the territory.

download (4)Being butch has its advantages and definitely has its disadvantages. I understand discrimination on a degree that most cisgender femme lesbians don’t. I’m more likely to be called out because of my appearance. Using a public restroom can sometimes play out like an episode of The Walking Dead.

 

Wait...butch lesbians use the women's restrooms??
Wait…butch lesbians use the women’s restrooms??

Most of the time though, I get looks of confusion if I don’t make it to a stall before anyone sees me, or when I’m up at the sink washing my hands. I’ve even gone so far as to mess with ignorant folk in a bar by using both restrooms.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I do find myself amazed at how many people become members of the Potty Patrol when a butch lesbian walks into the bathroom. (That sounds like the start of a bad joke…) I’m sorry, but am I one of the few people that believe that most people use the bathroom for its intended purpose? It’s where you poop for cryin’ out loud. It’s not a single’s bar.

Okay, enough toilet talk.

I’m proud to be butch. I hold doors open (In fact, that’s how I met my girlfriend). I let others enter in front of me. I dress in vests and ties and wear fedoras. I like doing heavy work. I like being sexually dominant. I own a chain wallet, a pocket watch, and I shop in the men’s section at clothing stores. I have several straight guy friends who consider me ‘one of the guys’, and I love it.

I try hard not to subscribe to the stereotypes. I do have flannel patterns. But I don’t pair those flannel shirts with Birkenstocks. I don’t always wear a fauxhawk. I do own aviators, but I don’t pop my collar. I like beer. I really like craft beer. I don’t own a ridiculous amount of polos. I do however, own a pair of plaid shorts.

I wear my persona proudly. And when I walk into the women’s restroom, I do so with my head held high (even if it’s just so I can quickly assess the situation and make it to an open stall with as little visibility as possible).

I am a butch lesbian. I am an onion. And I will not hide my layers in the bedroom.

download (5)

Discrimination within the GLBT community

With all the discrimination coming at us, from so many different angles, I thought I’d take a look at some of the most damning discrimination we face. That within our own community.

A stereotype is defined as a ‘widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

But where do stereotypes come from? Within ourselves. When a group of people do the same thing enough times, it becomes the acceptable norm for that group. At some point, the majority of lesbians had to wear flannel, cargo shorts, and Birkenstocks. That was what was acceptable in our community at that point in time.

Just as the media creates stereotypes in the African American community by celebrating the ones that commit crimes, we’ve perpetuated our own stereotypes.

To all of my lesbian readers, I’m sure you know what the butch-femme continuum is, but to those of you that don’t, here’s a link, and my Clif Notes version:

Screen_shot_2011-11-16_at_11.05.26_AM

Now, the Butch-Femme Continuum is nothing more than a scale used to categorize the lesbian community. I myself, am a Soft Butch. Meaning I look and dress like a guy, but I’m not a tough, truck-driver type of woman. There are other qualities that follow that, but basically, you’re a femme if you look like a girl, and a butch if you look like a guy.

We categorize ourselves. We create these stereotypes and expectations that we force our own community to live by. How can we be upset at others for creating stereotypes when we do it to ourselves? They’re simply taking what we perpetuate and giving it publicity.

As if it’s not hard enough already for teens to come out of the closet, lesbian teens also have to figure out that not only are they homosexual, but they now have to figure out what category the lesbian community will place them in. We talk about carrying our ‘butch card’ and all this other…bullshit, honestly…and then get pissed off when a heterosexual makes a comment about lesbians and faux hawks.

And that’s just half of it. We not only perpetuate stereotypes, but we discriminate within our own community. If you are a homosexual, take a moment to think about something. How do you feel about bisexuals? Or the transgender community? Are they just freaks whom we need to distance ourselves from in our effort for equality? Are they just confused individuals? If you can’t embrace everyone the same, then what makes you deserve ‘equality’? Why do we deserve same-sex marriage when transgender teens are killing themselves over the cruel punishment they face in society over something they had no choice in?

Bisexuals are no more confused than I am when I’m trying to figure out what pasta I want from Olive Garden. Transgenders don’t need to accept the body they’re given because some unseen deity screwed up when handing out crotches.

And attraction has nothing to do with stereotypes. I dress in men’s clothing and have short hair and strut instead of prance because that’s what makes me feel comfortable. Not because that gives me a higher score on some imaginary scale or because I need to fulfill a stereotype to make me fit in. I have the things I’m attracted in, and over the years, I’ve dated women of all shapes and sizes. When asked what my ‘type’ is, I can honestly say I don’t have one. Eyes and smile get me first. Everything else just adds to it.

All our lives we categorize everything around us. And we learn it at a young age. Mom and dad tell us to pick up our toys, and give us a place to put those toys. A place for everything and everything in its place. We carry that with us through our lives. It’s easier to handle things when we can put them in a category, and tuck them away into a compartment in our mind of how things are supposed to be.

I say we upset that balance. We upset that categorizing that has come to rule so many aspects of our lives. Stop labeling, stop categorizing, and you’ll see there’s nothing left to stereotype. Because when it all comes down to the end, we are human, and if you line enough of us up, you’ll see the only real difference between us is what’s inside.

So the next time you participate in a march for equality, ask yourself, are you really marching for everyone’s equality? Or just your own? Stop stereotyping, and just be.

Diagnosis: Rainbow-itis

Apparently some doctors are content taking a step backwards when it comes to medical diagnosis. According to several different sources, a Southern California doctor diagnosed a man as having chronic homosexual behavior, and even went so far as to use code 302.0.

These codes are used as diagnostic codes not only for billing purposes, but also to help other physicians quickly identify a patient’s medical diagnosis. The set of codes using 302 all pertain to varying acts of sexual deviancy, including pedophilia and necrophilia. It should also be noted that when homosexuality was declassified by the APA (American Psychological Association) in the 1970’s, it was highly recommended that homosexuality no longer be classified as a disease either.

What’s disturbing is not only is it still considered a treatable disease, but it’s still technically a valid code. You can read the story here.

So apparently it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one might ‘catch the gay’. And that got me to thinking. What are all the possible ways a heterosexual could catch the gay. I came up with my top ten list.

170px-Toilet_seat_600x98010. Toilet seats – Look at all the different things we could catch from toilet seats – AIDS, cancer, pregnancy. It’s only logical that one could catch the gay from a toilet seat. Especially when you factor in the number of times we see a news story about some prominent person soliciting gay sex in a bathroom.

9. Airborne pathogens – Try as we may, it’s often extremely difficult to contain this much fabulousness in a small radius. Sometimes, our glitter gets caught up in the air ducts or blown by the breeze. You take a breath, and BOOM! If you’re a woman, you’re suddenly craving plaid shorts and microbrews, and if you’re a man, you find yourself with this unexplained need to trim your eyebrows and get a manicure.

8. Money – They say 90% of all US money, especially dollar bills, contains some trace of cocaine. And I definitely can see where some of that money may also contain gay. Because if you look close enough, you can find the letters to spell out ‘rainbow’ and ‘gay’. So to all the straight people out there – the next time you think about snorting a line, consider this: you are really snorting a line of rainbow covered evil.images (15)

7. Water – This one is given. We homosexuals generally take good care of ourselves, which includes personal hygiene. We shower, some of the gay falls off in our skin cells and hair follicles, and then gets washed down the drain, into the water. Even if that water goes through a filtering system, the gay is very robust and has a tendency to survive multiple filters, only to find its way to your glass of water. Why do you think the water you use on your plants makes them grow so well? It’s not because of the Miracle Gro. Oh no, it’s because of the ingrained lesbian trait of yard work and landscaping. We’re natural at it, it’s in our genes.

6. Contact – Don’t touch a gay. They teach that in preschool. No, wait, that’s don’t touch a hot stove. Well, this one is important too. Gay can completely rub off on you, so if you see a gay coming towards you, you either need to cross the street to avoid potential contact, or lay down and play dead. The CDC says that touching a gay increases your risk of contracting the gay by 93.452%. And that’s an exact figure.

5. Being in the same room – Again, with all of the different ways one could catch the gay, the most obvious one is this. So it’s best to avoid being the the same room as a homosexual. It just makes things easier. And if you’re forced to, say share an elevator with one, don’t make eye contact. The first thing you should do is listen to the muzak. If it’s Madonna, Cher, or Brittany Spears, you should be okay. They’ll be distracted by the music and probably won’t even notice your presence. However, if it’s anything else, you may have to make small talk. Just mention things like Ellen DeGeneres, marriage equality, or Pride, and you’ll be safe. You don’t have to know anything about these topics, just mentioning them will most likely get the homosexual to go off onto a tangent, and before you know it, you’ll be to your destination and you won’t have caught the gay.

4 through 2 all involve really in depth medical terminology, so I’ll save you the trouble and just tell you that cars, computers, libraries, grocery stores (especially organic or vegan) are all completely unsafe because of the nature of the gay. Basically, stay home, close all your windows and vents, and order everything online.

And the number one way to catch the gay?

how-to-draw-a-mosquito-step-8_1_000000009376_5Mosquito bites. That’s right. The mosquito. Think about it. They bite the leg of a gay, suck a lot of fabulous blood, then fly around and land on you. They stick their little needle nose under your skin and Whammo – you’ve got the gay, by transference. It makes ultimate sense too. We homos, especially the lesbians, love bonfires. And bonfires are lit in the summer months, when the mosquito population is at their highest. So here we are, sitting around a bonfire in our plaid shorts, sipping our micro brewed beer, when OUCH! a mosquito bites us. Only we’re slightly intoxicated, which allows the mosquito to take more of our blood before we notice. Then it flies away and lands on some hapless heterosexual. And now they’re gay.

So in the end, suffice to say anyone who is afraid of catching the gay needs to enter their doomsday bunker now. Especially since it’s been coded as a diagnosis by some ridiculous doctor in California with her own agenda.

But, ultimately, it proves we’re here to stay, and under some circumstances, attempting to recruit at a biological level. Now go out there and get your respirator and biohazard suit.

LGBT Pride Flags and Symbols

LGBT Symbols

There are several different flags representing different groups within the LGBT community. Since it’s Pride Month, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the flags, the meaning behind their colors, and their origins.

There are also several symbols associated with the LGBT community. Those will be featured as well.

 

Gay Pride Flag

The original Gay Pride Flag was designed by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Celebration. It originally had eight stripes, and each color represented a different aspect of humanity and equality:

Pride Flags

The flag was changed to seven colors, and the pink strip was removed because the fabric color was not available in large enough quantities. In 1979, the flag was changed to 6 colors, and the blue was changed to a royal blue. This is the flag we see today:

prideflag

Bisexual Pride Flag – 

The Bisexual Pride Flag was unveiled in 1998 on December 5th. The flag was designed by Michael Page. The flag consists of three stripes. A large magenta stripe at the top of the flag, representing same-gender attraction, a large blue stripe at the bottom of the flag representing opposite-gender attraction, and a thinner lavender stripe in the middle of the flag, a combination of the two colors, representing attraction to both genders.

Biflag

The Genderqueer and Transgender Flags – 

Designed by transgender woman Monica Helms, the flag was unveiled at a Pride parade in Phoenix, AZ in 2000:

Transflag

The light blue stripes are associated with the traditional color for baby boys, and the light pink stripes are traditional for baby girls. The white stripe represents those who are transitioning, are unisex, or are gender neutral or have no gender. The flag is designed so that it can be hung in any fashion and still represent the transition of those who are finding their identity.

The other flag represents those who are genderqueer, Two Spirited, gender fluid, or androgynous. The flag was designed by Marilyn Roxie and consists of a lavender stripe, a white stripe, and a green stripe:

genderqueer

The lavender stripe is the mix of pink and blue, the mix of genders, representing androgyny. The white stripe represents gender neutrality, and the green stripe represents those who don’t identify within the traditional gender spectrum.

Leather Pride Flag – 

The Leather Pride Flag was designed in 1989 by Tony DeBlase, and presented at International Mr. Leather in Chicago. The flag is comprised of alternating black and blue stripes, with a white stripe in the middle, and a heart in the upper left hand corner of the flag. Tony DeBlase left the colors of the flag up to personal interpretation.

leatherpride

Bear Pride Flag – 

Created in 1995 by Craig Byrnes, the International Bear Brotherhood Flag was created representing the Bear culture within the gay community. The color scheme for the flag is not specific, but appears to represent diversity in color. If anyone knows the specific symbolism behind the colors, please feel free to contact me.

bearflag

Other Symbols

100px-Labrys-symbol.svgThe Labrys is the double-sided battle ax, the weapon of choice of the Minoans, an ancient civilization bound5who had one of the first and only all-powerful female deities. The Snake Goddess was a symbol of fertility, and the labrys has been carried as a symbol of lesbianism, popularized by Gina Gershon’s character, Corky, in the movie Bound.

 

 

 

The lambda is a Greek letter symbolizing unity under oppression. It was adopted by the Gay Activist Alliance in New York in 1970, and was later adopted as an international symbol for the fight for equality. Lambda-letter-lowercase-symbol.svg

 

 

 

 

And of course, everyone recognized the iconic symbol of the Human Rights Campaign. The equal sign in yellow set over a blue field.Hrc_logo.svg

 

 

The symbols representing the various subcultures withing the LGBT community are numerous, each with their own colors and meanings, but all of the symbols echo a call for equality. Remember this as you celebrate Pride this month, and remember the struggle that our predecessors went through to give us the successes we’ve seen today.

 

June is Pride Month – What are you proud of?

Pride (noun) The quality or state of being proudimages (11)

June is considered ‘Pride’ for the LGBT community, in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Originally, it started out as ‘Gay Pride Day’, celebrated on the last Sunday in June, but quickly expanded to a weeklong celebration, at the suggestion of Brenda Howard, a bisexual rights activist, and her LGBT activist friends, L. Craig Shoonmaker and Robert A. Martin. This trio also popularized the term ‘Pride’ to describe these events.

Both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have issued proclamations recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

But have we lost sight of what Pride truly is? What does Pride mean to you? And what have you done to help further LGBT rights?

stonewall2The Stonewall Riots were a turning point, a time when those who were deemed ‘different’ and ‘deviants’ decided enough was enough. They took pride in who they were and fought back. They risked themselves because they knew they deserved to be treated with respect and dignity. And because of them, others stepped forward. Supporters who had previously remained quiet. Friends and family came forward, demanding that homosexuals and bisexuals and transgenders be treated with equality.

The people of Stonewall became icons, and the event itself became the fuel that the fight for equality needed. And now it’s up to us to continue that fight, not just for same-sex marriage, but for equality across the board.

Pride now has turned into a cross between a giant singles bar and a flamboyant display of Pride Flags. Sure, we walk around to the booths, but how many of us go to those booths for a free sticker or pin? Do you really take a moment to look at the information they’re providing? How many know what the colors on the Pride Flag represent? Or the other flags and symbols of the LGBT community? These things are important, but most important, what does Pride represent for you?

We can talk about the history of Pride Month, which is important to know, but it’s also important to know where Pride is headed from here. What is your Pride? What are you fighting for?

Mine? It’s the security of knowing I can be myself, always, and be safe. That I can hold a job and not worry about being fired because someone makes an assumption about what goes on in my bed. It’s the desire to not have to worry about being accosted when using the women’s restroom in a public place. It’s the want to be treated as a human being. Because in the end, that’s what I am. Human. I’m not some pedophilic monster or some ‘rainbow recruiter’. I’m me. I’m Teri, and I’m a lesbian. But I’m also a writer, a geek, a cancer survivor, and much more. You see, my sexuality is only part of who I am, and while my lesbianism is prominent in my life (I’m butch, and I dress accordingly), it’s not the only part of me.

When you call me a dyke, or tell me I’m going to Hell because I’m attracted to women, you’re only seeing one side of me. Take your blinders off. I have faults, yes. But being a lesbian is not one of them.

This June, what are you proud of?

I am proud of who I am. I am proud of my sexuality, my strength, and where I’ve come from. And I am fighting for equality.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana