Alan Cumming, A Great Actor Who’s Bisexual+

   Alan Cumming a great actor who has had a successful, prolific career with roles on stage, television, and the big screen. You might recognize him from the series The Good Wife or from his role as Nightcrawler in the movie X2. For theatre fans, he’s played the role of Emcee in Broadway versions of the musical Cabaret. As a matter of fact, I saw him in that role in New York myself, and he was amazing! It was like he was born for the part.
   He’s also bisexual+.
   Why is that a big deal? It’s because there is still far too much intolerance, prejudice, and lack of understanding with regards to the bi+ community. And by the way, bi+/bisexual+ are umbrella terms for anyone who can be attracted to more than one gender whatever label(s) they prefer (bisexual, pansexual, queer, etc).
   Too many bi+ suffer in the closet afraid of what would happen if their sexuality was discovered. For those who are out, many find dating brutally difficult to near impossible because of the way so much of the population believe unfair stereotypes that are not true for most bi+ individuals. Bluntly put, bi+ are not a bunch confused, lying sex maniacs, and many are hoping to find happy, monogamous relationships.
   So when a celebrity like Alan Cumming is open about being bisexual+, it’s a big deal because it gives a positive human face to the bi+ community that many people can relate to and like. It helps open people’s minds and hopefully encourages them to take a closer look at their own attitudes towards the bi+ community.
   In other words, positive representation matters. And hopefully with time, as more people come out as bi+, society’s attitude towards the bi+ community will improve, which in turn will make the lives of many so much better.
  

Loneliness Is Much More Common Than Many People Realize Or Want To Admit

  Loneliness is tough and much more common the most people realize. It can be painful, exhausting, heartbreaking, and potentially devastating, especially when we let it consume us. At times, it can feel hopeless, overwhelming, and has the potential to increase the risk of mental and physical health problems.
   Anyone is susceptible, from individuals with lots of people around them to others who are physically isolated.  All ages, genders, sexualities, races… No one is immune.
   Kinda scary isn’t it.
   I know all about loneliness because I’ve been living with it for many years. I understand the pain and challenges. Seeing other people have significant others and numerous close friends while I’m on my own.
   As to why loneliness occurs, that is complicated and varies from person to person with numerous factors potentially coming into play. Physical isolation, lack of common interests, being different from people in one’s environment, depression, social anxiety, shyness, and low interpersonal communication skills are a few examples.
   Age can play a role as well. Studies have shown that for most individuals over 30, the number of friends they have decreases. This is probably connected to people getting into long-term relationships, starting families, dealing with careers, and so on. As a result, some of the friendships they had from before drift away. As to the established friendships that continue, there may be changes such as not seeing each other quite as often because for many individuals, their significant others and families have become their main source of social interaction. The result is that most people over 30 aren’t particularly looking for new friends. From their perspective, they’re too busy or don’t need them. So for individuals who are lonely and searching for new friends, finding them becomes even more difficult.
   Loneliness can be terribly challenging to deal with, but we should work hard at not letting it consume us. We must learn to control it, not let it control us.
   Believe in yourself, even at the most difficult moments. Remember that you can rely on yourself no matter what. I know, it can be brutal at times, but never give up on you.
   Stay open to the possibility of connecting with someone because after being hurt so much and so often, it can be easy to automatically shut people out to try to protect ourselves from further disappointments, letdowns, rejections, and crushed hopes. The problem with shutting people out is that it can also isolate us even more and prevent us from establishing contact and potential relationships with others. 
   So be open to meeting people. Don’t automatically rule out letting them in. If they hurt you, don’t let it bring you down. I know it can be frustrating and terribly painful, especially when you don’t have any close friends and attempts to find one seem to keep failing. Still, metaphorically speaking: Get back up, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward.
   Another thing is to try to find happiness in yourself. There is truth to the idea of love and have faith in yourself.
   Believe in you! Doing so will help make life more enjoyable and also increase the possibility of perhaps connecting with others. And if you don’t find someone to connect with anytime soon, you’ll still have you!
   Do things you enjoy, even if you are doing them on your own. Use your imagination because there, you can experience, explore, and do whatever you want.
   And don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is absolutely no shame in doing so, and it may help you cope with your circumstances a whole lot better.
   And please, never give up!
   Remember that you can always rely on yourself and be your own best friend!

The True Story Of A Brave Dog In The Civil War, Sallie Ann Jarrett

   I’m going to tell you a story…
   A true story about a dog named Sallie Ann Jarrett.
   But we have to go back in time. The year is 1861. A Union regiment, the 11th Pennsylvania, had recently been organized and was training for the American Civil War.
   Being early in the conflict, local civilians would come out to watch the new soldiers march, drill, and train. Once such individual was an attractive, young woman named Sallie Ann. As you can imagine, the soldiers liked it when Sallie Ann stopped by.
   Well, one day, someone arrived with a basket. Inside the basket was a little, female pit bull puppy who was presented to the regiment as a gift.
   The soldiers named her Sallie Ann Jarrett after the popular young woman they liked and their original commanding officer, Colonel Phaon Jarrett.
   Little Sallie Ann was quite popular with the troops with her playful exuberance. Early on she would wind her way through the soldiers as they marched, but then she learned to join the commanding officer at the head of the column.
   In 1862, the regiment, under the command of Colonel Richard Coulter, headed south to join the war for real.
   And Sallie Ann went with them.
   The 11th Pennsylvania saw its first action at Cedar Mountain. As the muskets fired and bullets flew, Sallie Ann stayed at the front with her soldiers, for the 11th was her family. She apparently tried to bite Confederate bullets when they struck the ground.
   She saw more fighting. At the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day of the war, the soldiers tried to get her to stay behind, but Sallie Ann refused and remained with her regiment.
   She gave birth to puppies, who were sent north to families, but Sallie Ann continued on with the 11th.
   When the Army of the Potomac marched before President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Sallie Ann was in her place at the head of her unit.
   In July of that year, large Union and Confederate armies ran into each other at Gettysburg, resulting in a brutal three day battle. The 11th Pennsylvania saw action on the first day, during which they suffered a number of killed and wounded. When Union forces retreated back through town to regroup on Cemetery Ridge, Sallie Ann got separated from the regiment. As the bloody battle raged for 2 more days, no one knew what had happened to her. Considering there were 51,000 casualties, many probably feared the worst.
   After the fighting ended, Union soldiers explored the devastated battlefield. When they arrived at the site where the 11th had fought on the first day, they found Sallie Ann.
   After getting separated, she had returned and stayed vigil over the dead and wounded members of her family, soldiers of the 11th Pennsylvania.
   In 1864, Sallie Ann was shot at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse; though, she fortunately recovered.
   Then in February of 1865, Sallie Ann was sadly killed in action. Reportedly, several mourning soldiers buried her while the battle still raged. Finally, later that year, the terrible Civil War came to an end.
   Years passed by.
   In 1890, a monument was erected at Gettysburg honoring the 11th Pennsylvania. Veterans had demanded that Sallie Ann Jarrett be honored too.
   They got their wish.
   The monument consists of a Union soldier standing on top of a pedestal. On the front of the pedestal near the base, is the statue of a curled up dog, Sallie Ann Jarrett.
   In 1910, there was a reunion of surviving members of the regiment. They had their photograph taken with the monument behind them. If you look at the picture closely, you’ll notice 3 veterans are standing off to the right creating a gap. They did this so that Sallie Ann would be in the photo too, for if you zoom in, you can see the profile of her statue on the monument in the gap.
   So if you visit the Gettysburg Battlefield, stop by the monument and honor the brave little dog, Sallie Ann Jarrett.

1910 Reunion courtesy of emergingcivilwar.com
Memorial to the 11th Pennsylvania at Gettysburg
Photo of Sallie Ann Jarrett courtesy of emergingcivilwar.com
Someone left dog biscuits for Sallie Ann.

Still Too Many People Facing Intolerance And Lack Of Understanding

   I’m bisexual+ and genderfluid, and as such, I’ve learned from first hand experience how much intolerance, prejudice, and lack of understanding there is against individuals who are bisexual+, genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, transgender, asexual, intersex, and so on (BTNIA for short) from both inside and outside the LGBTQ Community. Unfortunately, experiencing intolerance from cisgendered, straight people is not a surprise despite the fact it’s the 21st century. But having to deal with it from fellow members of the LGBTQ Community can be even more painful since we wanted to believe that we’d at least find acceptance from other LGBTQs. But acceptance even here is not always the case. And let me tell you, it really hurts and can adversely affect innocent people’s lives.
   Why is there still so much intolerance against BTNIA individuals? Lack of understanding is a big factor I would say. People often fear, are intolerant towards, and shun what they see as too different and don’t understand. They are more likely to listen to unfair stereotypes and jump to premature conclusions that they then base future behavior on. This is compounded by the problem of how so many individuals only seek out people, groups, information sites, etc that agree with them and shun or ignore those that don’t. This sort of behavior reinforces close-mindedness and ends up seriously hurting innocent people (in this case, BTNIA individuals) who are seen as too different.
   The result is many of us who are BTNIA feel isolated and alone without a sense of community, and trust me when I say that this can be brutally hard. Human beings are social creatures as a species, so feeling like we don’t belong anywhere usually goes against our nature. A great number of BTNIA people suffer in the closet as a consequence, afraid of what might happen if their secret was discovered. Others who are out often find dating extremely difficult (sometimes near impossible) so that it’s common to find BTNIA individuals grappling with the very strong likelihood that we’ll never find someone special and that we’ll always be alone. Establishing close, genuine friendships can be terribly difficult too since we are often seen as at least a bit too different.
   It’s way past time for people to open their minds and educate themselves. To push outside their comfort zones and learn about other people who are different from themselves. They should seek out information from a variety of different sources, not just from those that agree with them. And they need to stop automatically believing stereotypes that are frequently unfair and not true for many BTNIA individuals.
   If more people would open their minds, it would help BTNIA individuals live happier, more fulfilling lives, and it would also help those individuals who are opening their minds to live better lives themselves.

Much of the Republican Party is on a Dark, Twisted Path

August 17, 2022
   Liz Cheney’s defeat in the Wyoming Republican primary is yet another example of the dark, undemocratic path much of the Republican Party is going down. And what’s worse is that this trend is threatening American democracy itself.
   In terms of policy and how she voted in Congress, Liz Cheney and I would disagree on a great many things, but I admire the fact she has put defending American democracy and the United States Constitution above her political career and loyalty to a political party. She is one of the few Republicans willing to stand up to Trump and fight back against his lies and threats to our democratic values. She realizes the importance of democracy and the Constitution. So the fact that Republicans in Wyoming would vote so strongly against her reveals yet again how dark and twisted so much of the Republican Party has become.
   In many ways, the Republican Party is now the party of Trump, a party that is willingly following a narcissistic, lying authoritarian figure. Despite the fact that overwhelming evident shows the 2020 election was fair and that Joe Biden legitimately won, the majority of Republicans believe Trump’s lies instead. And many are actively promoting those lies. Republicans in multiple states are pushing for laws that would make voting more difficult for many Americans, and it’s no coincidence that those being targeted are usually individuals who vote for Democrats. This is no exaggeration. Mail in voting has been shown to be quite secure and effective, yet Republicans are going after it because Democrats are the main ones who used it in the last election. Republicans are also trying to put Trump followers in official positions where they could interfere with state election results. Some are even pushing for policies where Republican controlled legislatures would be able to overturn election results if they didn’t like the way the population voted. Again, I’m not exaggerating here. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This is really happening.
   Whatever your political beliefs or party affiliation, people need to speak out against the lies spread by Trump and others. It’s time to stand up for democracy and the United States Constitution and vote in elected officials who do the same because if people don’t, future historians may look back on this time as the beginning of the end of American democracy.

Millions Still Blindly Follow Trump No Matter How Wrong His Behavior Is

August 16, 2022
   Many people in this country need to take a good hard look at themselves with regards to why they continue to blindly follow Donald Trump no matter how wrong, inappropriate, undemocratic, or dangerous his statements and actions are. We’ve seen this pattern continuing for years now, and it’s beyond disturbing. It’s dangerous. I say dangerous because history has shown that when people blindly follow an authoritarian leader, dictatorship often is the result. Yet despite this, millions of Americans (in this case Republicans) continue down this dark path.
   Let’s consider the fact that the FBI, using a legal search warrant, removed 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s possession at Mar-A-Lago. 3 of these were Confidential (which is the lowest level of classified). 3 were rated as Secret (which is the next step up), and 4 sets were Top Secret. The 11th set of documents was Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). TS/SCI documents are so secret that they are supposed to only be accessed in specific, secured locations. Yet all of these documents were at Mar-A-Lago after Trump had left office. Why would he have documents such as these at his home. No former president is supposed to have such classified materials in their personal residences. What’s even more disturbing is that the federal government had been trying for months to get Trump to turn over classified materials he was not supposed to have, yet clearly Trump had not returned all of them. As to why he had these documents, Trump’s story has changed multiple times, which is suspicious in itself.
   According to the Presidential Records Act, when a president leaves office, documents (that “includes any documentary materials relating to the political activities of the President or members of the President’s staff, but only if such activities relate to or have a direct effect upon the carrying out of constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President,”) must be turned over to the National Archives because they belong to the United States government. Officials at the National Archives go through the documents to see what can be made public and what is classified. If a former president wants to display some records in their library, they must get permission from the National Archives to do so.
   Remember that the US government had been trying for months to get materials from Trump that he wasn’t supposed to have. The Department of Justice is still investigating the situation, so we don’t have all the answers at this time. But I find it extremely troubling that Trump had these classified documents (documents that it sure sounds like he was not supposed to have). There are reports that at least one of the document sets may have been in regards to nuclear weapons, and while this has not been confirmed, if true, would be beyond troubling. Because why would a former president have deeply classified documents with regards to nuclear weapons? Hopefully the DOJ’s investigation will supply us with some answers. And what makes the situation so much worse is how it’s just the latest in a long history of Trump’s lies, exaggerations, and inappropriate comments, actions, and behavior.
   Trump lost the 2020 election. The evidence for this is beyond overwhelming, yet Trump continues to spew out his outrageous claims and lies about it. It’s also clear that his false claims instigated the assault on the United States Capitol Building that occurred on January 6th, 2021. He repeatedly insulted our allies during his presidency, seriously weakened the NATO alliance, and even questioned the necessity for the alliance to exist at all. He mocked people with physical disabilities and grossly mishandled the COVID pandemic. And these are just a few examples of Trump’s inappropriate behavior.
   Yet despite all of this, millions of Americans continue to blindly follow Trump no matter what. They won’t admit when he is out of line and totally wrong. Blindly following a leader no matter what is exceedingly dangerous and undermines democracy. It’s the sort of behavior that dictators use to seize and hold power. History is full of examples. Yet millions of Republicans keep right on doing this.
   It’s scary.
   People need to open their minds and quit being blind followers. They need to get news and information from a variety of independent sources and learn different points of view. They need to think critically and independently.
   But will they do it?
That’s the big question.

Why Do We Subject Ourselves To The Confusing, Frustrating Dating World?

   The dating world….
   It’s a mysterious world involving happiness, joy, consternation, pain, sorrow, heartbreak, you name it. For some, finding people to go on dates with is easy while for others it is a grinding, ongoing battle that keeps resulting in rejection, disappointment, heartbreak, and pain. And for many, it’s probably a combination.
   So why do so many of us keep subjecting ourselves to the war that trying to find someone to date often entails?
   The reasons can be certainly vary from person to person. But a big one for many of us is that we don’t want to spend our lives alone. It can get old having no one to come home to after a long, busy day. No one else is there to tell a funny story to about something that happened at work or to commiserate with about some frustrating event that occurred. No one to snuggle with while watching a good movie at night, no one to laugh or cry with, and no one to cuddle with in that lonely bed. When this state of affairs goes on day after day, night after night for weeks, months, or years, it can be terribly painful. It’s something many people fear.
   So we wade into the strange, uncertain world of dating. And how that works out varies from person to person. Some people have an easier time finding dates than others. Over 10 years ago, at the place where I worked at the time, was a fellow employee who had gotten out of a bad relationship. After taking a break from the romantic world, she decided to try a dating site. She was a straight, nice, attractive young woman, and I figured a lot of people would be interested in her. At the time, I had already been on dating sites for several years without success (dates were rare and went nowhere). In less than a month, she had met a guy she really liked. They ended up getting married, and all these years later, they’re still together with several kids. Whereas, despite being on multiple dating sites and Meetup groups, I still haven’t found anyone. Dates continue to be rare and go nowhere.
   Numerous factors come into play when it comes to the dating world and trying to find someone special. Personality, physical appearance, interests, how people see you, location, and so on. Some people are quite popular in the dating world while others are not. The truth is that I am in the latter category. I’m one of those individuals whom people see as too different. I’m not into watching sports and have never been into drinking. My being bisexual+ turns most people off very quickly despite the fact I’d be faithful and monogamous. The result is that I haven’t had much success in the dating world and will likely always be alone.
   While finding someone special is something most people want, not everyone will succeed in this quest. That is the cold, hard reality. And for those who do find someone special, it won’t be perfect and will require work. You may be lucky with your relationship lasting the rest of your days, or it may be good for a while but end in separation and/or divorce. Whatever the situation, people need to keep their chin up. There are many facets to life, and you can have a productive, satisfying life even if you don’t find romantic love (or you lose it). Remember the things that bring you joy. On your own, you can still enjoy a good movie or read a fun, interesting book. You can take that trip to some amazing place without a significant other. Perhaps you have friends to interact and connect with. The point is that whether you have success in the dating world or not, don’t let it totally consume you. Whether you find someone or not, you can still have a good life.

I Like DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow. Yes, I Do!

7-17-22
   I really like the TV show DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
   Yes, you heard me right.
   You’re probably wondering why. Is it a deep, thought-provoking show? No. Absolutely not. Is it addressing contemporary problems plaguing society today? Nope. So why do I enjoy it you might wonder. Well, let me tell you. It’s a fun, entertaining show that allows you to escape your troubles for a little while and also has surprisingly good queer representation. Yep, it does.
   I don’t want to give away plot lines because this show lasted for 7 seasons. The general premise is that a misfit group of gifted individuals with a variety of abilities and powers was organized by a time traveler who had stolen a time ship called the Waverider. Together, they try to fix aberrations in time with the help of Gideon, the Waverider’s powerful AI computer. The show is an entertaining mixture of action and comedy. It can be campy in places and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not trying to be deep. And frankly, this combination makes it quite fun, entertaining, and endearing. Another aspect which makes it really enjoyable is how they often screw up lol. They make mistakes. These are not perfect superheroes. Sometimes they are total screw-ups, yet somehow or another, they find a way to get the job done.
   Another thing that makes it a really good show is its strong, positive queer representation. There are multiple important regular characters in the show who are queer, and refreshingly, their being LGBTQ is not a big deal and is totally accepted by the rest of the crew. For example, Sara Lance and Constantine are openly bisexual+, and in the last couple of seasons, Sara Lance has been in a monogamous romantic relationship with another important female character in the show. As a matter of fact, in addition to their relationship being completely normal to the rest of the crew, it’s also been included into some of the show’s plot lines.
   So, is DC’s Legends of Tomorrow going to win Golden Globe Awards? No.
   But is it a fun, entertaining show that will allow you to escape your worries for a little while and also includes strong queer representation? Absolutely yes!
   You can catch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Too Many Movies Use Unfair, Negative Tropes About Bisexual+ Individuals

   I’m bisexual+ and genderfluid. And you know what: I’m sick of unfair, negative stereotypes that are still so pervasive these days. It’s got to stop.
   I was watching a movie about 2 female best friends, one straight and one gay, who are extremely close and in each other’s lives all the time. Texting, hanging out, laughing, telling each other everything, you get the picture. Their relationship changes when the straight one gets in a serious relationship with a man. She doesn’t have as much time for her best friend. So far, good story with a very relatable plot and sympathetic characters. Things change with time, especially when people get into serious, long term relationships. It affects other relationships in both partners’ lives.
   My problem with the movie comes when the gay friend is dumped by a woman (whom she’s been dating). The girlfriend in question is leaving her for a man and because of this, she is treated as confused, possibly a cheater, etc. The gay friend tells her straight friend that she’ll be more careful in the future to date women who are more sure of their being gay (I’m paraphrasing but that was the message). I stopped watching it at this point because it’s unfair, negative tropes like this that contribute to the ignorance and intolerance so many people hold with regards to bi+ individuals. Bisexual+ people can be just as faithful as anyone else. But too many straight and gay people think of us bi+ as a bunch of confused, lying cheaters. And that’s not fair. Straight and gay individuals can be lying cheaters, but people don’t automatically assume that all of them are, whereas, far too many people assume such unfair notions when they realize a person is bi+. It’s not right. It’s why so many bi+ suffer in the closet afraid of what will happen if their secret sexuality is discovered. It’s also why many of us bi+ find dating brutally hard. It’s a significant factor in why I’m still alone with dates being extremely rare (and going nowhere when they occur).
   Things need to change. People need to open their minds. Bisexual+ people are not a bunch of confused, lying cheaters. Are there some who cheat? Sure there are, just like there are straight and gay individuals who cheat. But that does not mean the entire community is a bunch of cheaters. Bisexual+ people can be just as faithful as anyone else. It’s time society accepts that.

Republicans Have Gone Too Far.

July 3, 2022
   Republicans have gone too far. This fact is plain as day.
   Look at what they’re doing. I mean take a good, hard look. They are taking away female reproductive rights from millions of women, are pushing anti-LGBTQ laws in numerous states (which will increase the number of LGBTQ suicides, especially among LGBTQ youth), have gutted the EPA’s ability to properly regulate power plant pollution (which will in turn worsen Human Caused Climate Change), and are literally undermining American democracy by promoting Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and pushing new voter laws that make it more difficult for millions of Americans to vote (especially those who are likely to vote for Democrats).
   Think about what I’ve just said. It’s all true. Republicans are literally doing this. And what’s even scarier is that they are not done. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support same gender marriage (recent polls show support at over 70%), there is a serious risk that Republicans are going to try overturn the Obergefell vs Hodges ruling to allow Republican states to ban same gender marriage. This would create a situation where some states would ban same gender marriage while others would support it. First and foremost, consenting adults should be able to marry other consenting adults whatever their gender. Banning same gender marriage is morally and ethically wrong. In addition, having same gender marriage banned in some the states would create all sorts of confusion in terms of taxes, insurance coverage, hospital stays/medical decisions (as to who is considered family), and more.
   Look at what is happening in terms of abortion rights with Roe vs Wade being overturned. We are quickly heading towards a situation where abortion will be banned (or severely limited) in roughly half the states while allowed in the other half. Many of the bans won’t even allow an early abortion in cases of rape. Think about this last part. A woman who has been brutally raped isn’t even allowed to have a morning after pill just in case. And these abortion bans in Republican states will particularly hit minorities and the poor very hard because many will not have the time and resources to travel to a state where abortion is legal. And what’s even scarier is that despite the fact that polls show that most Americans are in favor of a woman’s right to choose, there is a very strong chance that Republicans will ban abortion nationwide if they gain enough control over both Chambers of Congress and the White House.
   Republicans have gone too far. They are trying to legislate their own personal beliefs (that are often coming from their personal religious beliefs) upon the entire population even when the majority of that population disagrees with them. Think about that. For example, conservative Republicans’ hatred of women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights are prime examples because they see these things as sinful. In other words, socially conservative Republicans are essentially trying to pass laws based on the their own personal religious beliefs that affect the entire population. This is made even more disturbing when you consider that most Americans disagree with conservatives on these issues. Some Republicans even want to restrict access to contraceptives! Think about that one.
   The brutal reality is that we can’t afford Republican control over governments these days (local, state, or federal) because they are going too far as they try to legislate things (many of which come from their personal religious beliefs) upon the entire population even when the majority disagrees with them. They are literally attacking the rights of millions upon millions of people (such as with anti-LGBTQ laws and abortion bans) that will increase the suffering of many and will lead to a significantly increased number of tragic, unnecessary deaths (like from suicide of LGBTQ youth).
   People need to speak up and stand against what Republicans are trying to do right now. And even more importantly, people need to vote! Vote in overwhelming numbers against Republicans because we can’t afford Republican control over governments these days.