Two Life Altering Events: Pulse and U.S. Election

Two life altering moments of 2016: Post Pulse and Pulse U.S. Election

From an email to a friend (June 27 2016):

Today/yesterday (Sunday) was the first day that I wrote anything in a long time. Just journaling but it was a forward step, towards life, my heart, purpose. I’ve been struggling mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for a while but the Orlando Massacre and the media response and social response, has really..I don’t know how to word it properly. I feel like a part of me died that night. I am a different person. Words like anger and grief don’t even begin to cover it. This weekend I started meditating again and I’m going to make it a daily practice again. A friend of mine suggested I journal and that has already been beneficial. My ex-wife, used to say, “don’t let the world steal your joy” and I’ve been hearing that echoing in me. I know the world needs our love, joy, passion etc. but for the first time in my adult life I’m struggling with my love and hope for humanity. And I’ve been dealing with my guilt for feeling that way.

From a social media post (November 11, 2016: 

The election results did not cause the same or even a similar response as most of my friends/my loves. I am not judging myself about it. I don’t feel guilt about how I am reacting or in some people’s view, my lack of reaction. This year as a whole (so far) has been just, wow, ugh, yikes!, grrr!, oomph, no! in so many ways. Obviously there’s been good too. Mainly though, it’s been challenging.
People have been asking me if I’m okay and I was finally able to speak my truth to some friends tonight and say that I am relieved. I am relieved this election is over. I am relieved that the numbers are out and people can see what’s what. We don’t have to tell/explain to people that we live in a racist, sexist, society. It’s a conversation I dropped out of a long time but now that this has happened there can be no denial. Well, there can be denial because people…but I think overall, less denial about what our country is like.

Those who are able/willing can begin to do what needs to be done to create a society that is beneficial to us all. We won’t be silent and allow people to be assaulted, harassed, abused.
Some have been working towards this for the longest (forever). Now we have even more passionate people who will fight this good fight.

Let us continue to love, listen, and lift each other up when we fall and flounder.
Peace All.
Thanks for reading.

From 12/28/16:

This year is almost over. I don’t know what the future holds. I’m not naive enough to think that things will be okay in the New Year. I don’t have the hope and optimism I so naturally/effortlessly used to have, but in the last couple weeks vacationing, visiting friends, and family, being in familiar surroundings (San Diego and Moreno Valley), I’ve gotten rest, been around like-hearted people, and feel strengthened and ready to face the challenges ahead. I will be working on love and compassion for myself and all of us really, while speaking my truth and living my life, without apology.

2017, I welcome you.

Is Bisexuality A Thing?

Of course Bisexuality is a thing!
Bisexuality is the capacity for emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to more than one gender/sex . A person who identifies as bisexual affirms this complexity and acknowledges a reality beyond the either/or dualities of heterosexism.
I believe Bisexuality is the largest sexual orientation on the planet. If not for bias against bisexuals, Bisexuality would be the thing.
Bi-flag_newHomophobia and Biphobia¹ are closely related.
I think a lot of  human beings have a hard time with sexuality and authentic acceptance of their emotional and sexual desires/attractions. Same sex relationships/attractions are still stigmatized on a global scale.
I also believe between homosexuality and heterosexuality, bisexuality is the most misunderstood, non-tolerated, marginalized.
I am speaking from my observations made in the past 22 years since I’ve been “out”.

And I apologize in advance for using the following line, though it is true/sincere:
I’m not bisexual but some of my good friends and few family members are 😀
The family members don’t use the term bisexual. Some say they aren’t into labels but them not being into labels does not mean they are straight, and doesn’t stop them for only presenting themselves as heterosexual.BisexualAllTheTime
The majority of my friends who identify as Bisexual are wives and mothers or engaged to men. Their sexual orientation is dismissed or people conveniently forget.
Bi-erasure is a thing.
Bi-phobia is such a problem that in the medical community, the clinics and health providers I go to/know, have a designation on their forms for orientation. MSM is a box one can check. MSM stands for men who have sex with men. The category was added years ago because these men wouldn’t label themselves as bisexual or gay. They’d say straight they were straight but sometimes would have sex with other men. This effected their health care ,the health of their sexual partners and overall Public Health and Safety funding and policies.
From my perspective (or in my opinion) men who engage sexually with other men who still label themselves heterosexual are dealing with internalized biphobia. They don’t want to lose face, status, or social standing in their communities and/or their families. They want to be [perceived as]straight/part of the dominant, socially accepted, sexual orientation.
This internalized biphobia has been detrimental, sometimes devastating for those who are living it and for those who are in relationships with them. Part of the reason I am so out in my life is because I believe when people can be honest with themselves and others about their sexual orientations, we can be healthier and happier as a whole. I want liberation for us all, in this regard. The main reason though, the main reason I speak about issues related to sexuality [and gender] is because of our youth. Our kids are being bullied, murdered, kicked out of their homes, hurting themselves/killing themselves, feeling hopeless, simply because they are not heterosexual. This is shameful and completely unacceptable to me.

notes: I respect everyone’s choice to self identify. Also, I recognize that some people choose “no label” for other reasons and that there are more orientations than Bisexuality, Gay, and Lesbian. ex. Pansexuality, Asexuality etc. Also I think the choice to come out or not come out is an individual choice.

¹Biphobia is aversion toward bisexuality and bisexual people as a social group or as individuals. People of any sexual orientation can experience or perpetuate such feelings of aversion. Biphobia is a source of discrimination against bisexual people, and may be based on negative bisexual stereotypes or irrational fear.
 from What Does Biphobia Look Like?

 

 

LGBT Pride Month: The Fight To Be Seen As Human Beings

Maybe because I’ve been that suicidal teenager/adult. Maybe because I mentor lgbtq youth and adults who deal with rejection, self loathing, self harm, abusive parents, and suicide ideation. I deal with people who live their lives as “straight” but are scared to come out. It’s okay if they don’t. That’s up to them. I know what they have to lose. I also know what they will gain but everyone decides for themselves. I recognize the judgmental and hypocritical culture we live in. I recognize that we, as human beings judge and behave in hypocritical ways. I recognize that we all are all full of contradictions.
I don’t post every youth we lose to suicide because of bullying about their sexual orientation or gender expression. I don’t post every time a trans person is murdered. I don’t post when parents shoot their children and their loved ones in the head or when people throw boiling water on a gay couple to teach them a lesson. I don’t post about places in the world where it’s illegal to be gay. Where we are stoned to death or thrown off high buildings. I don’t post about the “corrective” rape used against men, women, people, to “fix” them and make them heterosexual.
Partially I don’t post these things every time it happens because everyday there’s something. Partially it’s to spare people the reality of how many of us live. It’s depressing and distressing. I care so much but I am afraid that you don’t. Or you’ll think I’m exaggerating. Or that I should just focus on something else.
Maybe because friends of mine, highs school teacher, counselors, strangers, and many lgbtq people reach out to me for advice and support. We all have our fights and ways we contribute to society. We all have our issues we care about. This is one of mine.
I’ll speak on human rights for as long as there are people being persecuted, oppressed, discriminated, beaten up, set on fire, acid thrown in their face, bodies disregarded and left in dumpsters, alley ways, abandoned buildings, placed in de-gaying camps. facilities, mental hospitals, kicked out on the street to fend for themselves because of who they are and who they love.
Dramatic as it may seem, It is a life or death thing for me.
It is a life or death thing for many. It is about being a compassionate, aware human being thing for me. I wake up this way. A mixture of gratitude mixed with anger and righteousness, laced with hope. Always hope.
It is the siren song of my blood.
It seems I am always fighting. And even if you are not a QUILTBAG person, I know some of you understand what I’m talking about. You are always fighting for your lives. To better your life or those you love. Always fighting and we know the exhaustion that comes from that. I’ve been at it so long, recently I’ve been looking to fight. Preemptively defensive. I don’t particularly like this development but I recognize this is where I am right now.
Pridecolos_katieBarnes

Image by Katie Barnes

Lexa Lives: 11 Weeks Post 307

TV Related: 11 weeks ago today, Lexa (my favorite TV character of all time) was killed in a horrible way.
Less than 90s of screen time, after consummating her relationship with Clarke, this great warrior was killed by a stray bullet meant for Clarke, shot by her father figure, who disapproved of their relationship.
I had seen this almost exact thing 14 years before on BtVs when Tara was killed by a stray bullet.
We continue to see these stories play out on TV. The bigger problem is that we see and live these stories in real life. People killing people for not being straight. Parents killing their children for not being straight. Parents abusing their kids, rejecting their kids, kicking them out on the street.
We live in a world where kids kill themselves because they are not accepted and loved as they are. How can we call ourselves civilized when we live in a world where our children kill themselves? I was one of those queer kids. I will always speak and fight for us. I will always speak out and fight for our children.
The fallout from Lexa’s death has been so much more than I can convey. This fandom has accomplished so much in the past 11 weeks. I am so damn proud to be a part of this movement. 

Television is a powerful medium that changes culture. At least now all current major TV content creators are aware of the Dead Lesbian Trope and the Bury Your Gays Trope. This is a great start. Thank goodness for social media, which is an amazing tool to connect with others all over the world to create social change.

If you are inclined, please consider donating to The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project serves more than 100,000 LGBTQ youth every year with their life-saving programs that include the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorChat, Ask Trevor and TrevorSpace.

Violence Against LGBTQ People: It’s Not Just About A Character

I haven’t written much publicly about The 100 fiasco because I’be been to upset emotionally, mentally, and hecka busy with school, work, and family obligations, but I did post links on a previous blog to orientate readers a bit on what’s been going on and what all the hoopla is about. Other writers, so many really, have been able to give voice to what I and many other fans and lgbtq people are thinking and feeling, and for that I am so grateful. I feel fortunate to be a part of a movement, that for me, is about acknowledging the lesbian tv trope, bury your gays trope, and how stories we tell through television, shape and impact viewers and the larger culture. I got involved because of the devastation I saw on twitter, tumblr, and youtube from the younger generation, early teens to early twenties mostly. It was heartbreaking to witness. And hearing from people my age, (30+) open up about the pain they were experiencing catapulted me backwards to my own psychological scars from growing up as a young queer person in the mid to late 90s.

As brief as possible, here’s a small part of my story:
I came out at age 16*.  I had my first relationship with a girl at that time. When my 1st girlfriend and I were together, when we’d walk around campus holding hands, we’d have people following us making comments, disgusted noises (ex. ugghh), and not just students, adult campus supervisors would have comments/disdainful looks. A group of guys threatened to beat me up because.. I was with a beautiful, femme looking, popular girl who only previously been with guys before. There was this thing going around that I had corrupted her, even though she’s the one who asked me out! (not the point I know). Anyways, luckily for me my mom started picking me up from school and driving me home, my friends started walking with us to and from all our classes, my dad would pick me up from work.
My girlfriends’s mom and her mom’s boyfriend were okay with us being friends. They liked me and loved her, but they were not ok with us dating or being in love. They forbid her from talking about it with her younger brothers. Their reasoning was that we would be ruining our lives if we continued.  So it came to a point where we weren’t allowed to see other. We had to sneak around. We’d get in trouble with both sets of parents. It was stressful! Of course, it affected the way we were each other, all that interference and fear. One of the things that has always stuck with me, was when we eventually broke up, my dad said to me, I’m glad you’re through with that gay shit.

I’m glad you’re through with that gay shit.

That’s how he felt and I believe that’s how he feels. We haven’t spoken in years now. My parents say that they love me, and I think from their perspective they do, but they don’t love the whole me, the living, loving, real me. For 17 + years I’ve listened to slight variations of, Why do you need to talk about it (being gay, being bi, being trans)? It’s no one’s business. Don’t tell people. This is not you. You just want to be different.
When my dad found out I was trans, one of the first things he said to me was actually a question: You’re going to date girls, right? You’re going to date girls. Meaning now that I was going to be living and looking like a man, I should only date girls. He knew full well at that time, that I was identifying as bisexual and seeing/sleeping with guys. That homophobic mentality doesn’t lend itself to a genuine loving supportive relationship. And I won’t at this time get into anything about my mom.
This is only a snippet of what I’ve dealt with, and only a little bit of what I’ve experienced just with my parents. I have extended family, there are people at work and school that say transphobic things, homophobic things. We are joked about and our bodies are a battleground. We are emotionally, mentally, and physically attacked. It is illegal in many places to be in a same sex relationship.  We are murdered, set on fire, body parts chopped off, stoned to death, left to bleed to death on the streets from medically trained people who refuse to help, who see us as less than, because we are who we are and we love who we love. Every time I hear of a transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, life lost or taken, whether by suicide or murder, just for being who they are, for existing, I grieve. I mourn. I feel scared, I feel mad. Sometimes I rage inside. Sometimes I feel so heavy, I can’t get out of bed and I don’t want to leave my house.

The inspiration/reason for writing this blog post is because this early afternoon, the showrunner and cast of The 100 participated in a panel at Wondercon. I said a lot of things to my screen when the showrunner was talking. He says he’s sorry yet he’s still lying and contradicting himself. After the panel, I chatted online with someone about the main thing I was upset about. The following pic is just a portion of our conversation but sums up my feelings/thoughts.

LGBT_Violence_The100

At this time I am sharing links to 3 stories that remind me of real world parallels with the way the storyline on the 100 unfolded.
1. Two years ago there was a story of a man who beat his daughter, Britney to death, and shot and killed her girlfriend, Crystal, because he disapproved of their relationship. Britney and Crystal were 24 years old and had been together for two years.  Britney’s father was charged 15 months later, and from what I could find, is still awaiting trial.

2. A couple weeks ago, a couple, Marquez and Anthony, were sleeping in  bed, when Anthony’s mom’s boyfriend, poured boiling temperature water on them, causing second and third degree burns. Afterwards, he allegedly shouted for them to, “Get out of my house with all that gay.” He has since been charged and is facing 80 years in prison. While the 21 year olds whom he burned are physically healing, they may be facing a lifetime of psychological trauma resulting from his actions.

3. Recently a former baseball player,Tyler Dunnington, for the St. Louis Cardinals, talked about the anti-gay/homophobic remarks he endured in the locker room from his couch and some teammates. The locker room consisted of talk about how to kill gays. The coach at one time said, “We kill gays, in Wyoming.” This is a reference to the murder of Matthew Shepard.  There is an ongoing investigation but the coach has admitted to his hate speak and apologized to Dunnington, wishing him a good life. The coach says, he feels empathy  and has been listening to people’s stories. He wants to make amends and help raise awareness about this issue. Here’s a link which also has video links to a press conference about all this.

2 of 3 of these stories have occurred in March of 2016. The 100 aired, problematic episode 307, on March 3, 2016. In the world of The 100, it is true that anyone can die. The 100 is a post apocalyptic sci-fi television show on the CW Network that generally caters to a a young demographic. In the show, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, don’t matter at all. What matters is how to survive and who can help you survive. But the show doesn’t exists in a vacuum. The show exits in a world where violence against lgbtq is real and constant. Some of the people viewing the show live in households that are detrimental to their existence. Some live real life nightmares and injustices every single day. The 100, Lexa (Grounder Commander of the 12 clans), and the groundbreaking depiction of the complex same sex relationship she had with Clarke, (the bisexual lead character and leader of the Sky People), changed lives and had so much potential. That potential is lost now forever, but… the show goes on.  I honestly believe that the show’s creators and writers are aware now and will do better in future.

The three linked stories that I shared above, highlight one of the issues that is important to me but unfortunately there are thousands more stories like these.

Please feel free to share your story or links to others in the comments.

And if you are inclined, please donate to The Trevor Project.
Peace and Love All.

 

*When I was 16, I was living as my assigned gender at birth, female. My gender identity now is non-binary trans. I started medical transition in Spring of 2009. I live my day to day life, socially perceived as male.