Tag Archives: LBGTQ

“But She Seemed So Normal”

I hate these words. Especially when it comes to teen suicide. “She was at the top of her class.” As if that’s enough reason not to kill oneself, right there, correct? What reason could someone at the top of their class possibly have for killing themselves, they have everything going for them? “She seemed so normal.”

It makes me cringe inside, want to beat the walls in frustration. Why don’t people understand? Just because someone is at the top of their class, just because things seem fine, it doesn’t mean that they are fine.

What classifies as normal? Who judges what is and isn’t normal? People with no understanding of depression? People who have no real memory of how real and immediate the problems of a teenager seem when you’re a teenager? Much less if you’re a teenager with depression?

As a teenager, you don’t have a lot of control over your life. You can’t vote, you live at home, your parents hold the reins. It’s difficult if you’re a so-called “normal” teen (whatever that is), much less if you have depression, or identify as LBGTQ, or don’t fit in to any other of the myriad ways one is expected to in high school.

People are shocked when someone they thought was “normal” commits suicide in high school. Because the person was hiding a lot. Trying to fit in. Possibly afraid of the stigma of whatever issue they’re trying to deal with. “Why didn’t they talk to anyone?” Some people lament. Maybe they did, but no one really heard them. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, per se, but sometimes others don’t want to hear. They don’t want their images of “normality” shattered. “Not normal” is scary; it takes people away from the expected into realms of the unexplored and leads them into the uncomfortable, where things are difficult to talk about. But the difficult needs to be talked about. The uncomfortable needs to be delved into.

Teenagers today have it harder than they did when I was a teenager. Not only do they have all the issues I had to deal with, they have social media, a whole new wonderful world of torture. And those who use it for that purpose know how to do it well. And as for all of this zero-tolerance for bullying? According to the students I have talked to about it, that’s laughable. Bullying is alive and well on our K-12 campuses.

Some people think that the anti-bullying campaigns think that it’s preventing children and young adults from learning how to deal with these things on their own. I say those people didn’t have to grow up in an environment with social media, and the amount of viciousness that exists in schools today. I don’t remember the amount of hatred that seems so pervasive today, and I had my fair share of bullies. They were mean, but it wasn’t hate. If you broaden that out to statements made by adults on social media, you see a lot of hate there as well. It’s not a huge surprise it exists on school campuses.

But back to suicide. There are many, many reasons some teens feel hopeless enough to attempt it, and it’s tragic when they succeed. When the attitude is, “but they seemed so normal,” it’s no wonder that they hesitate to find people to talk to. At that age, trying to fit in is important to many kids (there are those who are brave enough to say “to hell with this” and find their own paths, and kudos to those kids), but there are some who aren’t, or can’t. They’re desperately trying to be “normal” and hide how they’re feeling, when in reality they need someone to tell them that what they’re feeling is normal, and it’s okay, and to please find someone to talk to them. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s not a weaknesses, it’s a sign of courage.

Being a teenager is hard. Really hard. It’s confusing, and sometimes things do seem like the end of the world, or that you’re stuck and there doesn’t seem like any other way. But wait. There is another way. And I know it’s not a huge consolation to hear it, but things do get better. There aren’t a lot of times I can say that with certainty, but when you’re in high school, and so much of your life is out of your control (you can’t even vote yet!), things really will get better. Find someone, anyone, you trust, and talk to them. Go on a walk. Give yourself time. Call a hotline. If there is ever a time to procrastinate, this is it. Make contact with someone. There are people who will help you, people who care about you, because you are important. Don’t ever forget that. Repeat it to yourself. You are important. You matter. You make a difference.

Normal is relative, and sometimes, being “normal” really isn’t all that important. Being safe, being loved, being accepted for who you are, and finding people who see the things in you that matter–those are the things that are important. Be who you are, not who others want you to be. You are your own “normal”, just the way you are. Your normal may be weird and funky, or depressed and odd, or whatever combination of things you can come up with, but that’s who you are, and don’t be ashamed of it. Let your flag of who you are fly, and be proud of it. There is only one you, and you are irreplaceable.

 

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Realigning Priorities

This is based on my observation and perception. I have not done vast research as I normally would. It is something I mentioned in a post quite a while ago and then didn’t really think about keep calmuntil a couple of thoughts collided. The first was all the press given to bakeries refusing to make cakes for same sex weddings. The second was a visit to the Facebook page The Republican War on Women. Okay, wait, three. The third was watching Panti Noble’s Call at the Abbey Theatre and thinking about oppression. All right, a fourth as well; how much effort I have spent arguing for, writing letters for, advocating for, the LBGT community, and against Putin’s policies in Russia.

All of this bubbled around together a little for a while. I remembered reading an article about how more straight women allies advocate for DefendEquality_ShepardFaireygay men than some gay men do at times, and feeling a little ticked off about that at the time. Then another article simply asking, straight women have advocated for gay men for their rights, where are they in terms of advocating for our rights? Then I started to think about oppression, and what a huge deal has been made over the past congressional year over gay marriage, gay rights, gay people being refused service. I have written congresspeople about using this issue as a way to avoid other issues such as the economy, unemployment, the state of our schools. Yet I have been ignoring the one thing that is one of the most important things of all, to me. My rights to what happens to my body. Yes, that makes me feel oppressed, and it pisses me off, too. I’ve been so distracted fighting for the rights of other people, I haven’t been paying enough attention to my own: as states pass rights for same sex marriage, my rights to what I can and can’t do with my own body are being stripped away. How’s that for inequality for you?

While same sex couples argue over the right to have a bakery make a cake for them, women have finally gotten the right to buy the morning after pill without a prescription at a pharmacy. For those who don’t know, gay men included, this is a marvelous thing for women who, for any reason–condom failure, forgetting to use birth control, maybe even a rape they didn’t report, but for whatever reason that is none of that damn pharmacist’s business–want to take this pill because it pretty much, almost 99% guarantees you won’t get pregnant, that pharmacist, who is a practitioner of, one could say, a medical profession, can decide, if he or she wants, not to sell it to you because of their religious beliefs.

Now, I’m sorry, but when you balance a cake vs. a pill that could alter the course of a woman’s life by keeping her from getting pregnant, I’m with the woman. That woman could be me. It roe graphiccould also, unfortunately, be a woman who is lesbian. It could be a 16 year old girl. So go to another pharmacy, says the voice of the person who hasn’t had to go through the humiliation of having your sex life judged by some holier-than-thou professional. You think it’s just gay people who get their sex life judged? It’s not.

But let’s think about the incredible hypocrisy here for just a second. That pharmacist that won’t sell you a pill because you are killing a life GOPcrush(and honestly, if there’s anything there at the moment, its a few cells forming a blob) will be the same pro-lifer yelling at you for getting an abortion two months later because they wouldn’t sell you the pill. The pill that would have acted so soon after the fact there really wouldn’t have been time for anything to have happened “life-wise,” it would simply have kept you from getting pregnant in the first place, negating the whole need for an abortion.

The right to make sure that pharmacists always sell that pill is a little more important than a cake, I’m sorry. I will always fall on that side. Pro-lifers want women to have the children, but will they take them when they’re born? No. They cut the money for WIC to make sure the kids can eat right until they’re at least three. They cut the money for the programs to take care of the children so the mother can work. They don’t question whether the woman wants children, whether she’d make a good mother, whether there’s a father involved for their perfect idea of a little American family. They want to make the woman have the baby, and then push her into poverty because all they care about is that the baby lives, that’s all.

And what choice does the woman have in this, that’s being taken away state by state, by rich white men in suits who couldn’t find their way around a woman’s anatomy to save their lives?  woman-propertyAnd those are the married ones. None. Her body, apparently, doesn’t belong to her. Her reproductive system belongs to the State and then, BAM, after 50 apparently women no longer have health care needs.

What I want to know is, woman have been advocating for equal rights with fervor for the LGBT community. Are you advocating for us? Byprochoice this I mostly mean the generations younger than mine (the 1960s-1970s). Gay men around my age or older seem to have a different sense of responsibility. Again, just my observation. Yes, love is love, I believe that with all my heart. But equality is equality, and that means equal rights for everyone. Jesus God (did I forget a comma?) has no place in the hands of the religious self-righteous to force into the shape they want solely to interfere in the lives of groups they choose to harass because the RS-R are mean-spirited, their heads aren’t screwed on quite right, their shoes are two tight, and their hearts are…well, I’m sure their are hearts there somewhere. Anatomically they have to be.

My beliefs haven’t changed. It is simply that some things on their own are heinous, and still are. But when compared to other, more heinous things, they pale a little in comparison. The thing is, the HUGE thing is, is that it is the same people who are doing this; the same religious fanatics who want to call members of the LGBT community demons and pedophiles are the So you still think homosexuality is sinfulsame ones who want to call women who want control over what happens to them (what a concept) whores and sluts. For being such pious people, they really do have quite the vocabulary, don’t they? I think they’ve been reading a few too many of the hardcore Urban Paranormal Romances. When they start talking about Azagoth and his minions then we know we’re in trouble.

Just remember that others helped get the LGBT community where it is, and when you see yet another story about whether Jesus can tell a store owner whether or not he or she can discriminate in selling a wedding cake, or whatever it may be, think about the morning after pill and that pharmacists do the exact same thing, not because of sexual orientation, but simply because women happen to be the gender who gets pregnant, and other people think they have the right to control our lives because of that. And if you’re gay and think that doesn’t effect you, think again. Do you have a sister, a female friend, a female coworker, a mother? Yes, moms do still have sex. Sorry, as icky as it is to contemplate.

While states are being added to the map of same-sex marriage friendly, women are losing ground. It makes me angry. Angry that I wasn’t paying closer attention. Angry about the apathy in the groups I advocate for in political issues. Angry with friends who want to make their safe little comfort bubbles and meditate. Angry that this couldn’t have been done, in my opinion, the right way.  If a law had been passed making same-sex marriage legal in all states, across the board (which probably never would have happened, but still, I can dream in my ideal world–we are supposed to be the United States, after all), and the same for women’s rights–how much time, effort, and money have been spent on things that have no place in court? In Congress? These are basic human rights. I’m not rich, not male, don’t wear fancy suits or have the power to shut down the government because gods forbid everyone should have healthcare. I don’t really care what people think of it. It’s the first real attempt someone has made at universal healthcare, which is so f*cked up in this country anyway the whole system needs to rebuilt, but that’s a different, lengthy post.

And here’s another thought. Some people seem to be making LGBT friendly business directories. Why not start bakeries who specialize in wedding cakes for same sex weddings, and be the ones to show they can be the most mature. Don’t discriminate. Well, unless it’s obviously provocation. But you get the idea. The other bakeries will regret the business they’ll lose, and in some cases better than equal, a step above, is the only way to pull people up to your standards. Make the standards. Set the new bar. If other people won’t do it for you, do it for yourself, only better. I would buy a cake there, without a doubt.

A great name for a bakery would be Love is Love. Or, I suppose, if you wanted to thumb your nose a little, Not All Cakes are Equal. Seriously–do a search on cakes and fondant, add a few words of your choice and see what you come up with. I’ve never tried to make anything with fondant, but I think it must be the wonder of all wonders when it comes to cake making. Is there anything it can’t do? And look at some of the cake toppers–they are made with such love and care. Why have a second rate baker who doesn’t want to make a cake in the first place make one when there are people who can make things like those! One even includes the dogs! I like bakeries, and I’m getting off the subject–and there’s a whole portion of the population out there who have to have things gluten-free; if I had the talent, this is something I would seriously consider. All right. My getting goofy over cakes changes nothing about how I feel about this issue. There are alternatives to closed-minded, small people.

For women, this clamping down on rights is dangerous and possibly deadly, if women are forced to resort to back alley abortions: that’s what this means:

Back alley abortions www.worldchanging.com

Back alley abortions
http://www.worldchanging.com

Women should never have to resort to this again. If you have questions about it, look it up on Wiki; I’d rather not discuss it here.

But let’s try to help each other. There are too many important things going on for all of us. Human rights are equal rights. All of us are due some big changes.

tumblr_mz6vk65LWf1rqpa8po1_500images

marriage equality

I apologize sincerely for any errors. It’s been a long day and my eyes are tired.

Kiss That Frog–I Dare You. No, I Double-Dare You! Review: Oil & Water by Goesta Struve-Dencher

Oil & Water

by Goesta Struve-Dencher
ebook, 74 pages, FREE
Published June 18th 2013 by M/M Romance Group @ goodreads

Oil and Water Cover

******************
This is the tale of a nerdy young man, Enzo, and a man who would make the Gods proud, Jericho. Enzo lusts after Jericho, who is a straight and mermaid conquering man as any other…straight and mermaid conquering man. They both have special powers which make them extremely special men. There is a description of the story on Goodreads which explains the situation much more succinctly than I can, given my tendency to go on and on and digress.

Commencement of Review-ish Observations and Comments

While I was confused in a few places as to whose mind I was in, I realized that in some ways it didn’t really matter–Enzo and Jericho were experiencing a sense of twinning of identities so they were literally melded together. Those are the places where it’s important to know that it’s Jericho’s mind that is the dominant mind.

The amusing part is that Enzo is presented as the “puppy dog”– a clumsy, get-in-your-way, adorable, ball of wriggling fur (without the fur–no shifters here) with melty chocolate eyes–innocent and adolescent in his fawning over Jericho. His lust for Jericho is obvious. Jericho is, after all, Neptune risen from the sea, strong, bold, and a conqueror of women. It’s that last bit that causes the problem for Enzo.

Just what does define sexuality? Preference of the sex of the object of your desire? Whom one is invariably attracted to? Women, men, both, neither, trans*? That’s vague, but just use however you define your own sexuality in reading that.

Jericho, while exuding masculinity, is a gentle soul with the power to heal through his touch (darn it, Platters, return from whence you came). He is indubitably (uh-oh, watch out, I used an adverb) straight, and finds it difficult to give Enzo his treatments knowing Enzo is very up for them and finds them quite relieving. Jericho is extremely patient with this.

I’m just giving a summary, this isn’t a review. Okay, to get the ball rolling again, Enzo is not quite the innocent he looks to be. Behind those puppy-dog melty browns are the calculating eyes of a Jack Russell Terror (okay, maybe terriers are known more for their tenaciousness than for their intelligence–that works too). Tenacious is actually more apt. In a blissed out moment, Enzo kisses Jericho, and sparks fly. Literally.

Jericho discovers he’s not quite as straight as he thought. At least, in this story, not with Enzo. In seeing Enzo’s true essence, his “Enzo-ness,” Jericho sees himself as well, his sexual identity, and realizes he loves Enzo as well; Jericho’s true essence that Jericho has been unable to see in himself despite his ability to see it in others.

The reference to the frog prince is very clever, reversed to suit the sexuality of the story–taking an old, familiar tale and turning it on its head. Ribbet, indeed.

A kiss still has power, the power to transform, the power to bring to the surface what is hidden. After all, how many fairy tales involve kissing? So go ahead. Next time you see one, kiss that frog.

Frog PrinceImage from: http://fairytalesbytempleton.blogspot.com

Peridot Dragon Garnet eye

A Few Odds and Ends

I have posted a new link on the side for the “It Gets Better” project. They have a good blog on tumblr and on the web. I’m reblogging this from their web site (June 10th, 2013):

trans children

They support, as their pledge says: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better.

Dan Savage and Terry Miller have a video up on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcVyvg2Qlo

It’s very cool.

On another completely different note, I am delving into the Regency era. I ordered a lot of 23 Georgette Heyer books (the woman who in essence started the Regency novel as we know it today). No pun intended, but that’s a lot of books. I also ordered a book by a woman who studied Georgette Heyer for her Ph.D. Her Ph.D, folks. That’s fairly serious business. But, she wrote it up, all of her research and notes on the Regency period (roughly 1811-1820)–it all makes perfect sense once I figured it out–the period between poor mad King George III, when he was no longer able to rule starting in 1811, with the Regency Act, until his son came of age in 1820 and became King. Seeing that, according to wiki, King George III had fifteen children, it’s a wonder both he and the queen consort didn’t go mad.

I found a page that looks to have a lot of potential but haven’t completely scoped it out yet:

http://www.writersandeditors.com/for_editors_57430.htm

There’s not a lot out there on being an editor. There’s a lot on self-editing. There are books on technical editing and scientific editing, but not so much on editing fiction. I’m guessing there are so many books on self-editing now because of the rise in self-publishing and the fact most people can’t afford to hire editors to go over their books.

What about Straight Pride?

This came up in group I’m in and a member kindly posted this link:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/opinion/granderson-straight-pride/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

I looked at some of the comments following the article, which is always a dangerous thing, because that’s where all the interesting people start climbing out of the woodwork. I should mention the post before this one was one talking about “religious bigots raising their children to hate everyone, such as gays, and perpetuating their irrational christian beliefs.” Normally I stay out of religious arguments completely. I’m not religious. I come from a family (stopping at my parents) of Southern Baptists. I see the kind of “love” they preach. Love everyone unless they’re different. Love everyone who follows all our rules. Put on a good show in public, but in private it’s not so important. I truly don’t understand the comment below, and I don’t understand how someone could be so ignorant of the world around them. I find it hard to believe that anyone could make the statement in the second sentence and truly believe it–I think I can fairly safely say that it isn’t an accusation but a matter of fact that bible centered churches have and actively do preach hatred and the denial of rights toward individuals who are gay, and that many christian groups have taken a strong negative stance against gays and gay rights.

“What Christian organization are you speaking of? Because NO Jesus centered and Bible centered Church that I have attended has EVER preached hate or the denyl of rights. What it DOES teach is love and acceptance. I may not agree with their life choices but that doesn’t mean I hate them. What they choose to do has nothing to do with me. I may not agree but I still love. Just as Jesus did for me. The people who you are speaking of would be ignorant, hateful, and practice bigotry whether they were “Christians” or not. Just because they call themselves a Christian doesn’t make them one. I can call my self a Muslim but if I dont follow the teachings of the Koran and Muhammad I am not a Muslim.

Edit: I took out a section of this post in which I used a more extreme example of hate and violence to try to “win” this “argument” I apologize and retract the former. Homosexuals that experience hate and violence are no less important because some other groups may experience more.  Eric Truman 

My response:

“Have you taken a look around and read the news lately? Why is it the religious groups that believe that reparative therapy is possible? I’m afraid that there are more religious groups against equal rights for people who are LBGTQ than for them. 

For those of you who believe it’s a life choice, think again. People are born the way they are, already oriented the way they are. This makes them no less equal, no less worth loving, gives them no less right to chose who they want to love, than any of the rest of us. 

Who are the groups who are keeping them from having the rights they should already unquestioningly have? Religion, and the government. Two groups who should have no voice in a persons’ sexuality or who they love. 

Anyone who says that religious groups only teach love and acceptance are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and seeing what they want to see. 

God made everyone in his image, correct? Does God make mistakes? I don’t think so. Would a religious person agree to that? God made people who are straight, who are gay, who are lesbian, who are all gamuts of that spectrum. They are not aberrations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They are perfect the way they are. 

Step out of your box and truly look at the world around you. Say hello to someone with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Use tolerance. Practice patience. Love. Treat others as you would want others to treat you.”

The thing that I think stands out most jarringly to me is the statement in the “Edit” section of Mr. Truman’s post–he mentions “winning” the “argument.” I’m not sure if he’s retracting that as well or if he still means it. Equality isn’t about winning an argument. This is a fight for rights, yes, but only because the rights which are duly owed haven’t already been given as they should have been.

While not religious, I still think the above postulation does make sense. I also believe that religious groups and politicians should mind their own business, once they’ve straightened out this mess and given equal rights, legally, to everyone who should have have. Not deserve to have them, although they do, but should have them as human beings just like anyone else. As a basic and fundamental right. We’re past the days (I thought) where children had to be protected under animal abuse laws because there were no laws protecting children from abuse. Aren’t we?

This country, in it’s attempts to escape oppression for freedom, has done a fine job emulating that oppression. Oppression against people of different races, beliefs, women, LBGTQ individuals, children, people with disabilities…

I went to my SO’s daughter’s 8th grade graduation last night. She had been attending a Charter School loosely based on Waldorf principles, which emphasis creativity, individuality, the ability to work together (they don’t adhere so strictly to the Waldorfian principles because, quite frankly, they were written over a hundred years ago and they haven’t changed with the times). These children, approximately twenty of them altogether, have grown up together. They’ve had the same teachers, the same classes. All of them gave short speeches. For those children who entered later on, in say, 5th grade like my SO’s daughter did, they were suspicious of the methods of the school and the curriculum because it was so radically different from those of a regular public school. (This school has a waiting list, we were lucky she got in). But these children gave the wisest, funniest, most heartfelt speeches. Some of them said they’d hated school until they went there. For some of them, it was their last chance school, they’d tried every school in the district and been unsuccessful. They all mentioned the school being like a family to them. These kids have it together, and are much more mature than I was when I was fourteen. They’ll need it, because now they’re going on to public high schools around the district, and she’s going to the biggest high school in Eugene, but is also a very good school. They have values and ethics some adults are lacking. Her mother is lesbian, with a partner who’s known her since she was 5, so she’s grown up used to differences. I’ve known her since she was 8. She has changed so much, and I know that she will be a kid who won’t bully other kids in high school. She’ll help them. It’s in her nature. I am incredibly proud of her and her tenacity for standing up for what she believes in. I hope there are more young adults like her, or who will follow her example, and help fight against bullying and prejudice. I’ve talked to her about it. She’s very receptive–unlike many fourteen-year-olds, you can have conversations with her about pretty heavy things.

So, in a way I suppose it will be a fight, although I think it’s sad that someone who isn’t gay thinks it’s something that needs to be won. To me, it’s not a matter of winning or losing, it’s a matter of long deserved reparation that should never have had to be asked for, and should never have been withheld–basic human rights.

SF Signal-MIND MELD: LGBT Themes in Fantasy and SF – Recommendations

I found this in the fanzine SF Signal, which I was unaware of (shamefully), and the recommendations are really good and interesting. Definitely worth checking out!