The Real Story on Bisexuality
Bisexuality is often a point of speculation, confusion, inaccuracy and even judgment within our community. Some view bisexuals as having an advantage over the L, G and T members of our community: They aren’t limited by gender when looking for a romantic or sexual partner and therefore have better odds of finding a mate, and bisexuals get to exist in the world as “straight” some or all of the time, allowing them to benefit from all of the associated privilege. Yet, many bisexual women and men report feeling alienated from the LGBT community and invalidated by the “straight world” overall. More
The Harmful Effects of Bullying
Yet another young child took his own life as a result of persistent gay-based bullying last week. Ronin Shimizu, 12, started being bullied at school last year after becoming the only male student on the cheerleading squad. While some of his friends described Ronin as seemingly impervious to this sort of mistreatment, it is clear now that he was suppressing the painful feelings that accompany being bullied by peers until he could no longer tolerate it. We all know that children can be mean but bullying is a far cry from child’s play. It has very real and long-lasting effects, the worst of which is suicide.
Bullying is described as unwanted aggressive behavior occurring repeatedly towards the same person with the presence of an imbalance of power between the individual targeted and the bully. Bullying includes more than just afflicting physical harm; any effort to harm a person’s reputation, to damage their property or to verbally assault the target are considered bullying behaviors. Unfortunately, at present, LGBT youth generally experience an inequality of power and are sometimes described as having “special needs,” making any of the acts described here clear examples of bullying.
Coming Out Late In Life
It’s 2015, and the average coming-out age in our country is around 16 — and it appears to be getting younger and younger with each passing year. While LGBT youth continue to face difficulties in light of coming out, it seems that, for the younger generation, the consequences of staying in the closet far outweigh those of coming out of it.
The same was not true for older generations; however, we now see an influx of Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers coming out after a lifetime of living as heterosexual. Oftentimes, their coming-out stories also mark the end of marriages and the start of difficult relationships with family members, friends and even children, until new dynamics are established (assuming all parties are willing). Yet, more and more people from these generations continue to join our community. So why now?
Breaking up in the LGBT Community
We’ve all been through breakups. If you’re lucky, it’s just been one or two, or perhaps you’re someone who’s suffered more breakups than you care to admit. Regardless, you know the feeling: that deep pit at the bottom of your stomach, that painful heaviness in your chest that’s enough to make you want to cry (and often does), the seemingly never-ending feeling of wanting to retreat to bed at all costs, the immense need to somehow be anesthetized from any and all emotion.
The pain of a breakup is one sure way that same-sex relationships are exactly like heterosexual ones: It just hurts. What’s also true of all breakups, regardless of what gender you date and love, is that it takes time to recover. The recovery process varies from person to person but should generally include allowing yourself to feel your feelings, knowing when to give yourself a break from them with a few pleasant distractions and indulgences and relying on support from loved ones. Another typical feature of a breakup is that you stop physically seeing the person that you’re trying to heal from the loss of. If you live together, someone moves out. If you share the same friends, you all quickly learn how to navigate making plans so that you and your ex don’t end up in the same place at the same time. When you realize that you’ve left your favorite T-shirt at your ex’s house, you ask them to mail it to you or begrudgingly succumb to the fact that it’s gone forever.
But what about when you share the same community?
LGBTQIA: What Does The ‘A’ Stand for Anyway?
Most of us identify as a part of the LGBT community. In more recent years, a “Q” has been tacked on to the end of that. For those who are really progressive, our community is summed up by the letters “LGBTQIA”: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer/questioning and intersex, with the “A” commonly thought to represent our straight allies, but also being representative of asexuals, aromantics and those who identify as agender. Is this suddenly sounding complicated?
The thing is, individuals identifying as asexual, aromantic and/or agender generally feel entirely alienated from our community and invalidated generally. For me, I can’t help but be of the belief that as a long-marginalized community, we should be accepting of all sexual and gender minorities. So in that spirit, it feels important to acknowledge that approximately 1 percent of the population identifies as asexual (within this percentage, some identify as aromantic and/or agender; these statistics are unclear at present).
Fueling Hatred Towards the LGBT Community
As we all suddenly find ourselves existing in a reality of a proposed act to execute gays and of same-sex couples being legally denied service at a pizza shop, the assumption that the conservative right wing in this country is distinctly anti-LGBT feels like a safe one. In fact, their disdain for the LGBT “lifestyle” is far from a secret. Instead of quietly containing their hateful feelings with the awareness that it is conventionally wrong to express hatred towards an entire group of people, their hatred has been legitimized with religious justifications.
The Bible and God have become your average homophobe’s first line of defense for explaining their phobia. Without further exploration, perhaps such defenses could sound justifiable but upon taking the slightest bit of a closer look, it’s easy to see the only real defense in play is hate.
What fuels hate?
When trans* became trendy
I had the opportunity to see “Kinky Boots” earlier this week at the Forrest Theatre. I knew going in that there was a drag-queen component that had our community especially engaged with the show. What I didn’t expect was the excellent job that “Kinky Boots” does of presenting the challenges of the trans experience. More
Why We Have Pride
It’s not difficult to get wrapped up in the excitement of Pride weekend in Philadelphia: the start of summer, the glitter, the rainbows, the feather boas … what’s not to get wrapped up in?! Quite simply, it’s a definite formula for fun; however, the Pride events that take place all around the country surely don’t exist just for the sake of fun. What is the impetus for thousands and thousands of people to attend?
Let’s start by examining the word “pride.”
The literal definition is the state or feeling of being proud, or a sense of one’s own proper dignity or value. There are a lot of amazing aspects about having feelings of pride, as well as holding pride-related events. For example, having pride in yourself and your various personal attributes promotes increased feelings of self-worth and validation. Having events dedicated to the celebration of that pride helps to reinforce such feelings on the group level.
On Edie Windsor, Marriage Equality, and Avoiding Complacency
I, along with several other fortunate women, had the honor of spending the better part of an evening with Edie Windsor last weekend while she visited Philadelphia for the 50th anniversary of the Annual Reminders protest. The anniversary celebration couldn’t have come at a better time given that, as we all know, the legalization of same-sex marriage occurred just one week prior. Windsor, whose lawsuit against the federal government led to the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was honored for her huge contribution to our community.
Maybe it was the celebratory tone of the weekend that made Windsor share as freely as she did that evening, perhaps believing it important to arm younger generations with as much knowledge as possible. Or, maybe she is always such an inspired story-teller.
Regardless, Windsor discussed in detail her experience of being a lesbian during a time when electro-shock therapy was a common treatment for attempting to cure homosexuality and the only way to find a gay bar was to “ask around” on the sly. From having to hide her relationship with her late wife for decades to ensure neither woman would lose her job to leaving Harvard University due to feelings of immense isolation and “not knowing where to meet lesbians,” Windsor’s story, her life, is cause for much reflection on how far we’ve come and how much further we’ve still got to go.