Scary Times For American Democracy

Jan 6, 2022
   1 year ago, an angry mob stormed the United States Capitol Building in an effort to stop Congress from performing it’s Constitutional duty of certifying the 2020 election. This was the first time such a terrible event has occurred in the United States history. And what is even more disturbing is how so many people, many of whom are Republicans, are trying to downplay the seriousness of the assault.
   Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: the 2020 presidential election was free and fair. Every single state, including those run by Republicans, certified the election because they found no evidence of widespread fraud. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states during the counting process. There were also international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. And again, no evidence of widespread fraud was found. There have been numerous recounts and investigations into the election. For example, in Georgia, the official overseeing the election in that state was a Republican. After the Trump campaign made its claims of fraud, Georgia instituted serious investigations which included the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as the FBI, and no evidence of widespread fraud was found. The Trump campaign lost over 60 court cases where it was trying to push its claims of fraud, and many of the judges who ruled against Trump were conservatives themselves. The reason they ruled against Trump is because the Trump campaign had no legitimate evidence that would hold up in a court of law.
   Yet despite all this, Trump and many of his associates and followers continue to spread lies about the election claiming widespread fraud which in fact did not exist. There is strong evidence that it was these false claims that instigated the mob of Trump followers to riot and attack the US Capitol Building. And it is beyond disturbing and frankly dangerous the way Trump and many others continue to spread false claims of fraud when no widespread fraud actually occurred. It is undermining American democracy, and that is no exaggeration. Many people are losing faith in the electoral process due to these false claims still being spread. A growing number of Americans are saying they think violence against the government is acceptable. There are also Republicans in numerous states trying to pass laws that would make voting more difficult for millions of Americans, and they seem to be doing this in large part because of the false claims being spread by Trump and their willingness to bow to Trump’s demands. It is also deeply disturbing how many Republicans in Congress are trying to downplay the seriousness of the January 6th events these days. Some are even trying to rewrite what happened.
   This is why it is so vitally important to learn about the details, causes, and ramifications of the Jan 6th Capitol Building attack. We especially need to understand the causes since those are still simmering and festering in society today. Democracy is an amazing thing, but it is also a fragile thing. History has proven this many times.
   So we need to stay vigilant. We must stand for truth (whatever it may be) and democracy.

This Is A Dangerous Time For American Democracy

Jan 3, 2022
   It’s really frustrating and disheartening that people are still arguing about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. And when you think about it, it’s downright scary.
   Here are the facts: there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Let me say that again: there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Donald Trump legitimately lost, and Joe Biden legitimately won. That is the truth. How do I know that is the truth? Well, consider the following.
   Every single state (including those controlled by Republicans) certified the election. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states. On top of this, there were international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. Now consider that Trump and his people lost over 60 court cases where they were trying to challenge the election results with their false claims of fraud, and many of the judges who ruled against Trump were Republicans themselves. The reason they ruled against Trump is because Trump and his people had no evidence to back up their false claims of widespread fraud. When you consider all of this, it is clear that the election was free and fair and that there was no widespread fraud.
   Yet Trump, his allies, and many of his devout followers continue promoting their false claims of fraud with regards to the election. And what is further concerning is how polls are showing that the majority of Republicans feel that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump despite the fact they don’t have legitimate evidence to back up these claims. Many Republicans are saying they currently don’t trust the election process in the United States.
   This state of affairs is truly frightening and extremely dangerous because it is undermining our democracy and could lead to authoritarianism especially when one considers the authoritarian style power Trump is currently wielding over the Republican Party and how millions of Republicans continue to devotedly follow him no matter what (even when is lying outrageously to them). Trump is spreading his false claims about the election over and over with the idea that if he says them enough, people will believe him even though the claims are totally untrue. And it’s scary that millions and millions of Americans are believing these lies. Trump is essentially demanding that all Republicans, especially those in elected positions, bow to his will and demands. There are some Republicans in elected positions who secretly disagree with Trump, even strongly disagree with him, but are so afraid of him that they go along with his demands even when those demands are wrong.
   The events of January 6th, 2021 were horrifying and unprecedented in American history. Of course Congress needed to investigate what happened to try and prevent it from ever occurring again, yet the majority of Republicans in Congress voted against a bipartisan 9/11 style commission to look into the events that occurred. I think secretly, numerous Republicans wanted such a commission, but they voted against it because Trump demanded they do so. And many were likely also afraid that the legitimate results of such a commission would be at the very least embarrassing and possibly hurt them politically in the future.
   When you look at what is going on these days, especially with regards to Trump’s lies and hold over the Republican Party, one can see how our democracy is in serious danger. There are retired military leaders who are genuinely concerned that in 2024 we may see violence worse than the January 6th riot (or insurrection) and that there is a chance that members of the US military might join in. Such a possibility is beyond horrifying because that is what leads to authoritarianism and full-blown dictatorship. The cold hard truth is that in many ways, a significant portion of the Republican Party is now going in the direction of authoritarianism and away from true democracy.
   Whatever political persuasion you may be, we all need to be vigilant and speak up for truth and democracy. We need to be smart about what we say and how we say it and make sure that we can back up our positions with evidence. We need to stand against the lies and authoritarian trends that Trump and his allies are pushing.
   Democracy is a wonderful thing, but as history has shown, it can be easily lost. So let’s stand up for democracy and be sure that it lives on for many years into the future.

With Omicron Spreading Quickly, Too Many People Aren’t Thinking About The Greater Good

12-31-21
   What is wrong with people?
   We are still in the COVID Pandemic and are experiencing a serious surge as the Omicron variant spreads like wildfire around the world. Some medical experts are thinking Omicron may be as contagious as Measles. Here’s an example of how contagious Omicron is. In late November of 2021, 110 people attended a Holiday party in Oslo, Norway. Most of the attendees were fully vaccinated (from the initial 2 dose series). One individual who had recently arrived from South Africa was infected with the Omicron variant of COVID, and when all was said and done, 70% of those in attendance ended up catching the virus. 70%. Think about that. And remember many more people who had not been to the party undoubtedly caught Omicron from individuals who had been present. That is how contagious the Omicron variant is.
   Another problem we’re seeing with Omicron is that while immune resistance from the initial vaccine series is still helping protect against severe disease, it appears to be weakened in preventing people from getting infected in the first place. Immune resistance from previous infection of earlier COVID variants is also not working as well against Omicron so that the risk of reinfection (especially in those who are unvaccinated) is significantly increased. This is why getting boostered is so important. Boosters are improving the immune system’s ability to fight the virus.
   We know that mask wearing and social distancing help significantly decrease spread of the virus. It’s also clear that to gain the maximum effect, everyone inside a public space should be wearing a mask. This is because masks decrease the amount of virus that is exhaled into the air by someone (who may have COVID and not realize it) while also increasing protection for other people in the room who would be exposed to what virus is able to escape into the room’s atmosphere. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
   Now consider how schools are getting ready to restart after the Holiday break. It should be abundantly obvious that everyone inside a school should be wearing a mask right now. Everyone. Kids and staff are going to be inside rooms in close proximity to each other for hours. We’re also seeing how in this current surge, a growing number of young people are getting infected since so many kids are not vaccinated (whether because they are too young or because the parents being too hesitant). And yes, some of these kids end up in the hospital. This is why everyone should be wearing a mask inside schools.
   It’s not rocket science folks.
   Yet many people are fighting against mask wearing mandates in schools claiming that not wearing a mask should be their individual right. The problem with their argument is that we are in the midst of a pandemic with case numbers rapidly rising. This means that wearing a mask inside a school is not just about protecting the well-being of the wearer. It’s also about protecting everyone else in that school as well as people students and staff will be in contact with elsewhere in their lives. It’s about doing what is responsible and right for the greater good.
   This is why when people are vehemently opposing mask wearing mandates in schools, they are being seriously irresponsible and are endangering the lives of not just their own children, family, and friends, but those of other people as well. And worse still is how Republican Governors DeSantis of Florida and Abbott of Texas have prohibited mask mandates in their states’ public schools. That means local public school officials are not allowed to institute mask mandates, even during times of high transmission rates in their districts. This goes against science and will definitely cost lives to be lost needlessly and unnecessarily. Frankly, people like Governors DeSantis and Abbott have (or will have) blood on their hands.
   In times of crisis, everyone needs to pull together and do their part for the greater good and let go of some of their own personal desires and demands. This is what happened during World War II when everyone did their part to defeat Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. The problem is that right now millions of Americans are refusing to do their part in that they’re not wearing masks and social distancing when they should, and many are refusing to get vaccinated and/or boostered despite the fact they have no legitimate medical reason not to.
   So I ask again: what’s wrong with people? Why are so many being selfish to the point of endangering the lives of not just themselves and their own children, but those of other innocent people as well?
   During this time of crisis, mask wearing and social distancing in public places, especially schools, is critical in managing the pandemic because otherwise, the health care system will become even more overwhelmed than it already is. Another vital tool in battling COVID is for people to get vaccinated and boostered when eligible.
   If more people would think about the greater good and do the right thing, we would get better control over the pandemic faster, which in turn would save lives.
  

JK Rowling’s Transphobic Comments And Positions Hurt Many People

12-26-21
   Personally, I think it’s time to move on from Harry Potter because JK Rowling’s numerous transphobic comments have been, and continue to be, extremely hurtful to the transgender community. And the thing that makes it worse is that she seems to continue to double down on her transphobic positions instead of opening her mind and trying to become more supportive of the transgender community.
   Transgender people are hurting these days because so much of society has very intolerant, ignorant, and prejudiced attitudes aimed against them. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 29% of transgender adults live in poverty in the United States, and 22% are lacking health care insurance. 54% have been the victims of domestic violence, yet only 30% of women’s shelters are willing to house transgender women. 47% of transgender people have been sexually assaulted, and during the years 2014 and 2015, 1 in 10 were physically assaulted.
   So it is clear that the transgender community needs support and understanding from society. This is why JK Rowling’s ongoing transphobic comments and positions are so deeply hurtful and damaging. There are examples of celebrities who have made troubling, intolerant comments who later made genuine efforts to educate themselves, open their minds, recognize what they had said was hurtful, and try to become supportive allies. But Rowling has not done this. Instead, she has doubled down on her transphobic comments and positions.
   So I think it’s time that we put Harry Potter in the past because I don’t think JK Rowling deserves any more of our money. She has become extremely wealthy from Harry Potter, so much so that her current net worth is estimated at around 1 billion dollars. She doesn’t need any more money, and frankly, because of her ongoing transphobic behavior, I don’t think she deserves any more money. A clear way to send a message to someone like JK Rowling is to stop supporting the thing that has made them wealthy and famous, and in this case, that is Harry Potter. I’m not going to buy her books or watch her movies. I don’t want her to get a penny of my money. We can also make our voices heard with companies that profit from Harry Potter such as HBO. There have been rumors that HBO might be considering a Harry Potter series. We should contact HBO and tell them we are categorically against such a move due to JK Rowling’s transphobic behavior. As a matter of fact, I’ve already sent HBO several messages about this. Remember, when you speak up, be thoughtful and considerate in what you say and be sure you can back up your positions with facts. Don’t spew out hurtful, personal attacks because doing so is wrong and also backfires since people will tune you out and ignore you.
   Together, we can make a difference in creating positive change. So let’s make that happen.

https://www.hrc.org/resources/understanding-the-transgender-community

People Need To Educate Themselves And Open Their Minds

12-14-21
   Think about the fact that transgender women are four times more likely to be murdered than cisgender women. I mean really think about that. It’s heartbreaking, disgraceful, and a real sign that intolerance and prejudice are still far too common in today’s society.
   It begs the question: why?
   Why are so many people so intolerant towards others just because they are different from themselves.
   People often are uncomfortable with, fear, and sometimes even hate things that are different and that they don’t understand. While some strive to overcome this by opening their minds and educating themselves, others don’t and sometimes sink further into prejudice and hate.
   The current state of affairs needs to change. People should open their minds and educate themselves. They also need to stop automatically believing stereotypes that are frequently untrue. So I’m going to use this piece to try to educate people on some terms and ideas that many in today’s society don’t have a good grasp on. And I’m going to be clear about the fact that I am queer myself having a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid).
   A transgender person is an individual who identifies as a different gender than the person was physically born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid (a mixture of male, female, and in between); how much they feel one way as compared to others can fluctuate. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Bisexuality refers to the potential to be attracted to more than one gender (male, female, non-binary, etc) while pansexuality is attraction to someone regardless of that person’s gender (like gender doesn’t matter in a way).  Bisexual+ (bi+) is an umbrella term used to describe anyone who can be attracted to more than one gender (or regardless of gender), whatever term(s) they prefer (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc). Queer is essentially a catch-all word referring to anyone who is LGBTQ+. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many people will use more than one to describe themselves.
   People who are bi+, transgender, genderfluid, non-binary, genderqueer, and so on are living, breathing human beings who deserve open-mindedness, tolerance, decency, and respect. We are not disturbed or diseased. We are not a bunch of confused, cheating sex maniacs. We want to live happy, productive lives just like everyone else. We want to have friendship and love too. As to romance, most of us are monogamous individuals while others choose polyamorous or open relationship lifestyles.
   So please, take some time to educate yourselves and open your minds. Be respectful of others and don’t automatically be intolerant against someone just because they are different from you.

The Milgram Experiment Has Ramifications Today

12-8-21
   Ever hear of the Milgram Experiment?
   It was a study conducted in the 1960s at Yale University by psychologist Stanley Milgram. The purpose was to see how far people would go in obeying an authority figure, and it’s results were frightening.
   Participants were selected via an ad that was put out in a newspaper looking for volunteers to be part of a study that they were told involved learning. They were all men between the ages of 20 and 50 whose jobs ranged from unskilled labor to professional. They did not realize the real purpose of the experiment was to see how obedient they would be to an authority figure.
   The set up was as follows. There was an experimenter who would wear a white lab coat and two other individuals. One of these was the volunteer and the other actually working for Stanley Milgram but was pretending to be a volunteer. These two individuals drew straws to decide who would be the teacher and who would be the learner (this was rigged so that the volunteer would always be the teacher). The volunteer was told that the learner had been given word pairs to remember. As the teacher, he would then be expected to say a word to which the learner was supposed to choose the correct match out of four choices. Furthermore, every time the learner made a mistake, the volunteer was to administer an electric shock and that every time the learner made a mistake, the shock would increase by 15 volts. There were two rooms that were connected via microphone. In one was the experimenter and the volunteer (the teacher) while in the other room was the learner. The experimenter was sitting at a desk while wearing his white lab coat, and the volunteer was at another desk that held the device which he believed would deliver the shocks to the learner. The first switch said 15 volts, and each of the following switches increased by 15 so that the last switch said 450 volts. The volunteer had been told that each switch would send a shock of electricity to the learner whom the volunteer believed was sitting in a chair with electrodes attached. In reality, the learner had no such electrodes.
   Once a session started, the learner purposely made lots of mistakes and had a prearranged script that he would use as the voltage increased. If the volunteer questioned the experimenter about what he was doing, the experimenter would prod him to continue up to 4 times.
   Prod 1: Please continue.
   Prod 2: The experiment requires you to continue.
   Prod 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue.
   Prod 4: You have no other choice but to continue.
   At 75 volts, the learner would start the scream in pain. From 150 to 330 volts, the learner would protest with increasing intensity and complain of his heart bothering him. At 330 volts, the learner would refuse to go on, and after 330, he would go silent.
   The results were truly frightening. All the volunteers continued up to 300 volts, and 65% of them went all the way to 450 volts. Think about that. After the learner went silent, the volunteers would have no idea whether the learner was unconscious or possibly even dead, yet 65% of the participants continued asking questions and inflicting shocks up until the maximum 450 because the authority figure in the form of the experimenter told them to.
   Combining the strong tendency many people have to follow authority figures with devotion that has gone too far frequently leads people to go along with and contribute to distortions, misinformation, and wrongs to a dangerous degree. Authoritarian leaders have relied on this throughout history, often adding fear into the mix as well.
   In the United States today, Donald Trump is an example of someone using these types of tactics in his quest to hold as much power as he can get away with. Many people have shown a willingness to a severe degree to follow his authority, even when he is outrageously in the wrong. The evidence that Trump lost the 2020 election is beyond overwhelming. He lost fair and square. Yet millions of Americans and numerous Republican politicians continue to go along with and even spread Trump’s lies about the outcome. A number of individuals who were in the mob that stormed the United States Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021 have openly said they did so because they believed Donald Trump wanted them to. While Trump doesn’t use fear to the severe degree that people like Joseph Stalin did, he does use it in ways such as trying to make his followers afraid of immigrants and of those who disagree with him politically. A number of Republican politicians continue going along with him because they fear Trump will turn on them and get his followers to vote them out of office.
   It’s scary to see these tendencies going on in the 21st century, but unfortunately they are. People need to open their minds and think for themselves. They should get information from a variety of different, independent, reputable sources and not just from those that tell them what they want to hear. People should strive to learn about what a leader is really trying to do so that they can make informed decisions about whether they agree with that political leader or not.

Time For People To Open Their Minds About Bisexual+ Individuals

   Here’s the thing folks: bisexual+ people can be totally faithful and monogamous.
   Why don’t we look at it another way. Bi+ are not a bunch of confused, lying cheaters.
   It’s sad that I keep having to say this, but I do. The reason is that there are still so many people out there who believe unfair stereotypes about bi+ sexuality. Far too many people seem to think that individuals who can be attracted to more than one gender must be confused or that they would never stay faithful to somebody. There are some individuals who actually think bi+ sexuality doesn’t even exist, which is completely preposterous considering that more people identify as a bi+ sexuality (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc) than gay or lesbian.
   So let’s get something straight here (no pun intended lol): bi+ sexuality is quite real, and bi+ people can be faithful and monogamous. Now, like with any community, bi+ come from all walks of life and have a plethora of views on life. Some prefer open or polyamorous relationships while many others are monogamous. Are there some who are lying cheaters? Sure there are, just as there are straight and gay people who are lying cheaters. People don’t assume all straight and gay individuals are cheaters because of the actions of a few, so it’s wrong and hurtful that so many unfairly stereotype the entire bi+ community like they do. As a result of these biased attitudes, far too many bisexual+ people feel isolated and alone. Dating can be brutally difficult to near impossible, especially for those who are older, and far too many bi+ suffer in the closet afraid of what might happen if their sexuality was discovered.
   Things need to change.
   People need to educate themselves. Don’t make broad, stereotyped assumptions about an entire community. That’s not right. Instead, everyone should open their minds and their hearts. Get to know a person before jumping to conclusions. Give an individual a chance.
   Think about how amazing this world could be if everyone would do this.
   Think about it…
  

COVID’s New Variant, Omicron, Causing Concern

11-28-21
   I know we are all tired of COVID and are anxious to get back to more normal lives. But the blunt reality is that COVID in all likelihood is here to stay. The best case scenario (realistically speaking) is that it will become endemic as opposed to the current pandemic. But even once it is considered endemic, there will be periodic surges (some local and some worldwide). It will wax and wane with some areas having larger outbreaks than others.
   There are multiple reasons why COVID is here to stay. For one thing, there are too many people refusing to get vaccinated even though the vaccines have been proven to be quite safe and effective, especially against severe disease. There is also growing evidence that people’s immune resistance from previous infection and vaccines may decrease over time. This is why boosters have now been authorized. Another factor is how the virus has been mutating so quickly. As the virus mutates, new variants of it are created. Sometimes, a variant will fizzle out without getting very far, and other times a variant will spread rapidly to become the dominant form of the virus for a period of time. We recently saw this with the Delta variant. And now we have a troubling new one called Omicron.
   Omicron is concerning because it has a large number of mutations which could affect how transmissible it is and potentially how severe it is. The mutations might also impact how well people’s immune resistance (from previous infections or vaccines) may be able to fight it. There is a chance that Omicron could be so different because of its mutations that people’s immune resistance won’t work well in battling it. At this time, it’s too soon to tell the full impacts of this new variant. Some preliminary data is raising the possibility that with Omicron, the risk of reinfection for people who already had COVID via an earlier variant, may be elevated. Research is ongoing. Hopefully, within a few weeks, we will have some idea how well people’s current immune resistance will work against it.
   Another concern for the Northern Hemisphere with regards to Omicron is the onset of winter. Some viruses, like the flu, survive better in cold, dry environments. We can’t say for sure whether COVID is like this or not, but there was already concern about a winter surge due to the fact that in cold weather, people are more likely to be gathering indoors where there is less ventilation. There’s also the fact that people are getting out more and fewer are wearing masks/social distancing when they should. This combination of factors is creating great concern about what is going to happen during the next few months.
   People should wear masks and social distance when they are inside public places or in outdoor crowds that are large and concentrated. Individuals who are unvaccinated need to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and vaccinated people need to get boostered when eligible.
   We must all do our part in fighting COVID. It’s more than just protecting ourselves; it’s about doing the right thing for the greater good.

The Hans Island Whiskey War

11-16-21
   Have you ever heard of the Hans Island Whiskey War?
   No?
   Well, let me tell you about it.
   First, you’re probably wondering where the hell Hans Island is. It’s a 1.3 square kilometer, uninhabited island with no known reserves of oil, natural gas, valuable minerals, or the like. There are no trees and very little loose soil. It’s located in the cold waters of the north between Ellesmere Island of Canada and Denmark’s autonomous territory of Greenland in the middle of a waterway called the Nares Strait. The strait is 22 miles wide here, and since Hans Island is in the middle, it technically lies within 12 mile territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland.
   Thus the conflict because neither side has been able figure out which country actually owns it!
   In 1880, it appears that Hans Island got overlooked when Britain turned over it’s North American possessions to Canada. The use of outdated maps probably contributed to this, and some years went by before the mistake was recognized. In 1933, an international court awarded Hans Island to Greenland, but after the court was dissolved, many considered the ruling invalid. In 1973, an agreement was reached between Canada and Denmark regarding the maritime borders of their lands in that part of the world, but they were not able just settle the Hans Island dispute. They decided that it would have to be resolved later on.
   There may be some question on the details of how the Hans Island Whiskey War itself actually started. But as one version of the story goes, in 1984, a group of Canadian soldiers arrived on the small island and erected a flagpole upon which their nation’s colors was raised. The story goes on to say that on a lark, the soldiers also left behind a bottle of Canadian whiskey as an entertaining in your face to their Danish rivals.
   Well, Danish authorities could not let that stand! So a contingent of Danes was dispatched to the island in response, whereupon they raised the Danish flag to fly over the island. They also left behind a bottle of Danish schnapps and a letter aimed at the Canadians saying “Welcome to the Danish Island.”
   This rather comical war of flags and liquor continued for some years as each side would periodically show up on the island to raise their flag and apparently leave behind a bottle of their nation’s distilled spirits. There are reports that in 2005, the governments of Canada and Denmark decided to cease this phase of the conflict and stop raising their corresponding flags on the island. They were supposed to conduct serious negotiations in order to finally settle the issue of Hans Island once and for all.
   But as of 2021, it has not been settled. So in some form or fashion, the rather polite conflict over Hans Island continues.

People Need To Open Their Minds About Transgender, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Non-binary Individuals

   I’m going to be up front about the fact that I am queer with a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid). As such, I unfortunately have first-hand experience about how so many cisgendered people often have a serious lack of understanding with regards to genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, and transgender (GfNT) individuals. This in turn leads to intolerance and prejudice.
   Maybe I should start with explaining who we are. A transgender person is an individual who identifies as the opposite gender than the person was physically born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid. A mixture of male, female, and in between. How much they feel one way as compared to the others can fluctuate one minute to the next. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many GfNT people will use more than one to describe themselves.
   Often, people fear, ridicule, and make fun of things that they don’t understand or are uncomfortable with. This is especially common among cisgendered individuals with regards to GfNT people. But when a person makes fun of and ridicules a community that is hurting and suffering, it worsens the pain and intolerance that community is already being forced to endure.  It reinforces and exacerbates the lack of understanding and prejudice that is so pervasive in this society.
   Consider this: many GfNT people are afraid to use public restrooms because of the risk of verbal and even physical abuse. Using public restrooms is something cisgendered people take for granted. Dating is another area that GfNT individuals such as myself often find brutally difficult because most cisgendered people won’t even consider dating us, even if they were interested before realizing our gender identity. The result of all this is that too many GfNT people feel very isolated and alone. Studies have shown that the transgender community suffers higher rates of depression and suicide than the cisgendered community. This is obviously connected to intolerance, prejudice, lack of understanding, isolation, and loneliness.
   For things to get better, people need to educate themselves and open their minds. Put themselves in other people’s shoes so to speak. Imagine being afraid of the simple act of using a public restroom. Think about how hard it would be going through life feeling isolated and alone because you are trying to be true to who you are. If more members of the cisgender community would do this, perhaps there would be fewer ridiculing and making hurtful jokes about the GfNT community.