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.

More People Need To Get Information From Varied, Independent, Reputable Sources

10-9-21
   What happened to people’s ability to think for themselves clearly, fairly, rationally, and accurately?
   I’d really like to know.
   The thing that makes it so ironic is that we live in an age where people have more access to incredible amounts of information than ever before in human history. Think about it. With just our smartphones, devices which literally fit in our pockets, we can access vast amounts of information. News sites, online encyclopedias, a vast array of other websites, and multiple television news channels are all literally at our fingertips. Never in human history has so much information been so readily available to an everyday individual. It’s quite amazing when you think about it.
   As a result, it’s easier than ever to obtain information from a variety of different sources and get different points of view in order to be as accurate as possible. The problem is that millions and millions of people don’t do this. Instead, they focus on sites and people that only tell them what they want to hear. They connect with others online who agree with them and shun those who don’t. Many only get their news from extremely biased, one sided sources that frequently twist information around, exaggerate, and sometimes flat out lie. And when reputable news sites tell them accurate information that they don’t want to hear, they often call it “fake.” They seem to prefer deluding themselves over facing the truth.
   There are plenty of examples of this these days. With all due respect, Donald Trump lost the 2020 election fair and square. There is overwhelming evidence proving this. Every single state certified the election. There were Republican, Democrat, and Independent officials in all the ballot counting rooms in all the states overseeing the vote tallying process. There were even international observers from multiple countries monitoring the election. When the Trump campaign tried to spread their false claims of fraud in the courts, they lost over 60 times. And many of the judges who ruled against them were conservatives themselves. Yet tens of millions of Americans continue to believe the false claims of fraud as they only listen to Trump, other select Republican figures, and conservative websites about the election. They’re ignoring the vast amount of evidence showing that there was no widespread fraud and that Trump legitimately lost.
   Another example is how millions of people are ignoring the scientific evidence regarding the COVID pandemic in terms of the need for getting vaccinated, mask wearing inside public places, and social distancing. Instead of listening to the scientists on reputable sites, they ignore them and follow misinformation which is resulting in too many people not getting vaccinated and refusing to wear masks/social distance in situations where they should. This in turn is making the pandemic much worse and is undoubtedly costing lives to be lost tragically and unnecessarily.
   People need to open their minds and get information from varied, independent, reputable sources. They should strive to learn different points of view, try to verify information, be as objective as possible, and avoid only listening to those that tell them just what they want to hear. Doing these things would help more people get closer to understanding the real truth than has been happening thus far, and this in turn would help make the world a better place in the long run.

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!

Why Is There So Much Prejudice Against The LGBTQ Community? Why?

   Why is there still so much prejudice against the LGBTQ Community?
   Why?
   LGBTQ people have been around for the entire history of humanity. LGBTQ behavior is also seen in other animal species.
   So where did all this prejudice and hate come from?
   The answer isn’t simple.
   Numerous factors are involved in creating intolerance and prejudice because I don’t think people are born that way.
    Lack of understanding is a big one. Many people don’t understand what it means to be LGBTQ. They don’t know the challenges and pain many LGBTQs face on a regular basis. They don’t seem to grasp that being LGBTQ is part of who a person is and cannot just be switched off (and shouldn’t be switched off). There is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ. Being LGBTQ can and should be a wonderful thing.
   Now, add on influences from people, organizations, schools, churches, leaders, family, and friends. If many of those  surrounding influences are prejudiced themselves, that can affect a person, especially if the individual already has a lack of understanding about the LGBTQ Community.
   Often, intolerance and prejudice can be insidious with individuals frequently not recognizing they are prejudiced themselves. Others know they are but have so much hate that they don’t care. Either way, they are hurting innocent people.
   Such hurt can manifest in many ways. It can occur when people make fun of someone just because that person is LGBTQ. Or when an organization refuses to help because those in need are LGBTQ.  Another example is how many people categorically refuse to date someone they would be interested in otherwise just because that person is LGBTQ (Bisexual+, Non-binary, and Transgender individuals are frequently the victims of this).
   In early 2020, Tennessee signed into law new regulations that allow religious based adoption agencies to automatically reject prospective parents just because they are LGBTQ.  This is legalized discrimination.
   All this prejudice against the LGBTQ Community needs to change.
   Everyone should take a good hard look at themselves, their views, and the factors driving those views. All should educate themselves to better understand other people, including those who are different.
  It’s the 21st Century! Time for people to open their minds and let go of the intolerance and prejudice pervading society these days.
  It’s time…

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/most-lgbtq-americans-experience-harassment-discrimination-harvard-study-finds-n823876 https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/12/19/anti-lgbt-discrimination-has-huge-human-toll-research-proves-it/ https://www.thedailybeast.com/are-bisexuals-shut-out-of-the-lgbt-club

The Actress Behind Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark Is Bisexual+

9-26-21
   Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is bisexual+!
   Well, Cassandra Peterson, the actress behind the character, is.
   Peterson is an actress, writer, and singer who stepped into the role of Elvira in the early 1980s. The character was created by a Los Angeles television station to act as hostess for late night horror movies, and this is the role Peterson has become famous for. As the years went by, the character Elvira became a cult icon showing up on television as well as in movies, comic books, novels, Halloween costumes, calendars, and more.
   Cassandra Peterson married musician Mark Pierson in 1981, they had one child together. She first met Teresa Wierson while working out at a gym. At first, she thought Wierson was a man and was a bit surprised when she realized that Wierson was a woman. Part of the shock of this discovery probably relates to the fact that Peterson was attracted to her, and apparently this was the first time she had found herself attracted to a woman like this. The two became good friends, and when Peterson’s marriage fell apart, the two took their relationship to the next level and became a romantic couple. They were in love and have been together ever since, 19 years.
   Now, you may be wondering why this is a big deal. The reason is because there are still too many people (both straight and gay) whose attitudes towards the bi+ community reveal serious lack of understanding which often goes along with intolerance and prejudice. As a result, most bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc) individuals are still in the closet, and of those who are out, a great number find dating extremely difficult to near impossible due to the fact that so many people choose to believe unfair, negative stereotypes that are untrue most of the time. The truth is that bi+ can be just as faithful and monogamous as anyone else and are not a bunch of confused, lying cheaters.
   This is why it’s such a big deal when a celebrity such as Cassandra Peterson comes out as bisexual+. It helps to humanize the bi+ community so that people who are straight and gay can relate a little bit more and perhaps open their minds with regards to people who are bi+. As more bi+ come out and speak of their experiences, hopefully with time there will be greater acceptance by others in society. And this would make the world a better place for everyone.
   So thank you Cassandra Peterson for having the courage to admit your fluid sexuality, and I hope you and Teresa Wierson have many more happy years together.
  

Kristen Stewart Plays Princess Diana In Her New Movie Spencer

9-18-21
   There’s been quite a bit of buzz about bisexual+ actress Kristen Stewart’s new movie Spencer in which she plays Princess Diana. From the photos I’ve seen, it looks like Stewart really got into the part as she attempted to recreate the tragic and beloved Royal. It also sounds like numerous critics are giving her very positive reviews with some even speculating on a potential Oscar nomination. At least one reviewer felt like Stewart really captured how Diana didn’t fit in well with the traditional rather stoic, stiff upper lip Royals. Since I haven’t seen the film yet, it’s obviously difficult for me to say if I agree with them, but I could definitely see Kristen Stewart potentially nailing this role.
   She has shown herself to be a very talented actress. I thought she was excellent in The Runaways where she played rocker Joan Jett in her younger days and Personal Shopper, a quiet independent psychological thriller whose story I don’t want to give away. Stewart made each of the characters she played in these films feel real and very believable even though they were quite different from each other, as were the films.
   Now, you may be wondering why I made a point to include the fact that Kristen Stewart is bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, etc). I did it because bisexual+ people still have to deal with so much lack of understanding, intolerance, and prejudice from too many members of the straight and gay / lesbian communities (which is why most bi+ are still in the closet and why of those who are out, a great number find dating terribly difficult to nearly impossible). For things to change, we need people who are straight and gay to open their minds and educate themselves and stop automatically believing unfair, negative stereotypes that don’t hold true for most bi+ individuals . Hopefully, having more people come out as bisexual+ will help this process. This is why it’s so important having celebrities such as Kristen Stewart be open about having bi+ feelings and desires. It helps humanize bi+ people so that more of society starts to recognize that bi+ are real and can be just as decent, kind, caring, and faithful as anyone else.
   If and when to come out is clearly an individual’s personal decision, and no one should be forced to do so. But I will say that I greatly appreciate all bi+ who have come out because it does help in the long term battle for understanding, acceptance, and equality.
 

Opposing School Mask Wearing Mandates During This Surge Is Grossly Irresponsible

8-26-21
   What is wrong with people? Hmm? I’d really like to know!
   We are still in the COVID Pandemic and are experiencing a serious surge. The Delta Variant, which is now the predominant form of the disease, is multiple times more contagious than earlier variants.  We know this. We also know how 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 providing protection for other people in the room who would be exposed to what virus is able to escape into the room’s atmosphere. Think about it. It makes perfect sense.
   Now consider how schools are trying to return to in-person learning in the middle of a rising surge. It should be abundantly obvious that everyone inside a school should be wearing a mask. 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 with some going to the hospital due to having severe cases that are potentially life threatening. This is that much more reason 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 dealing with a pandemic and with public health. 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.
   It’s about doing what’s right for the greater good.
   This is why when people are vehemently opposing mask wearing mandates in schools, they are being grossly irresponsible and are endangering the lives of not just their own children, but those of other people as well. This sort of selfishness is sickening and abhorrent on so many levels.
   In times of crisis, everyone needs to pull together and do their part for the greater good and let go of some of their selfish desires and demands. This is what happened during World War II when everyone did their part to defeat Nazi Germany, Italy, and 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 despite the fact they are medically able to do so.
   So I ask again: what’s wrong with people? Why are so many being ruthlessly selfish to the point of endangering the lives of not just themselves and their own children, but those of other innocent people as well?
   What happened to doing what’s right?
   What happened to fighting for the greater good?
   I’d really like to know.

The Threat Of Cyber Attacks Is Greater Than Ever

6-22-21
   The threat of cyber attacks is greater than ever these days as the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline and resulting chaos exemplifies. And the thing is: it could have been so much worse than it was.
   So much worse.
   Technology is amazing. It is! It makes our lives so much easier and allows humanity to accomplish achievements never before seen in the history of our species. Think about it. There are multiple probes and rovers operating on Mars right now, including the first helicopter flown on another world. We can video chat with people on the other side of our planet and watch movies on our smartphones.
   Computerization is also integral in the infrastructure of modern life. The power grid, water systems, air traffic control, the internet, financial institutions, the healthcare system, and national defense are just a few examples in which technology and computers are absolutely vital for safe and proper operations.
   Now imagine the potential devastating impacts that could occur from a severe enough cyber attack on any of these systems.
   Think about it for a minute
   Imagine hackers shutting down air traffic control operations at a major international airport, or even region of the country. Consider what that could entail. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport saw an average of 300,000 people passing through every day in 2018. At the very least, you’d have the chaos of massive flight cancellations and interruptions of people’s travels, and at the worst, you could have horrible plane crashes with terrible loss of life.
   Another frightening possibility would be hackers taking control of a major hydroelectric dam’s computer systems so that they could shut down its power generation and worse, potentially create a devastating flood that could kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent people living downstream.
   Or consider this terrifying scenario: what if hackers seized the computer controls of a nuclear power plant.
   Cyber attacks are perpetrated by individuals, criminal organizations, terror groups, and other countries. The damage they can incur is downright scary.
   We as a society need to take this threat much more seriously than many have been so far. Improving cyber security is no easy matter especially when you consider that different people, companies, organizations, and governments vary as to how seriously they take it and what measures they may be implementing to protect themselves. And being a democracy, there are limitations in what the government can do because while we need better cyber security, we also must maintain people’s rights and freedoms. It can be a delicate balancing act with no easy answers.
   But seeing that we are facing serious cyber threats, like it or not, will have to grapple with finding better ways to protect ourselves while also maintaining our cherished way of life.
  

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2021/06/22/colonial-pipeline-jbs-ransomware-attacks-cybersecurity-fears/7547655002/

Pride Is Here

6-2-21
   Well Pride has arrived. A time for LGBTQ+ people to be proud and celebrate who we are. Many cities and communities have a variety of celebrations, although the COVID pandemic has changed some of how it is celebrated. In normal times, there are festivals, parades, declarations by local governments, and so on. Rainbow flags as well as the flags of a variety of LGBTQ+ groups are more prevalent, and on social media, LGBTQ+ people will say Happy Pride and put various LGBTQ+ symbols and colors on their profiles. For many, it’s a time to be proud who they are, to celebrate, and help spread the word and educate others.
   But for many LGBTQ+ individuals, Pride is not so happy. It can be a tough time for quite a few people. The reasons for this are quite varied. There are many LGBTQ+ still suffering in the closet, surrounded by prejudiced family members, coworkers, and others who create such a toxic environment that the LGBTQ+ person is too afraid to come out. There are others who have suffered personal setbacks or tragedies that have tarnished their feelings about Pride. In addition to these are numerous LGBTQ+ people who don’t feel much sense of community because of intolerance and lack of understanding coming from too many members of the straight and gay / lesbian communities. Examples of people who often feel this way are those who are bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid), genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, transgender, asexual, and intersex. Too many of us feel like we don’t really belong anywhere. And I said “us” on purpose because I’m bi+ and genderfluid myself.
   So for a variety of reasons, Pride can be a difficult time for many LGBTQ+ people. So, to those for whom Pride is an amazing time, try to be considerate and understanding of those for whom this month is difficult. Take a moment to educate yourself and learn about the reasons why some people are hurting right now. Perhaps open your mind a little bit with regards to those who are bi+, genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, transgender, asexual, and so on.
   And to those for whom Pride is not so happy, be strong and hang in there. It’s okay. I understand because Pride is a difficult time for me as well. Believe in yourself and never give up.
   Remember:
   Believe in yourself and never give up!

The United States And Guns

   The United States of America has a serious gun problem. One way or another, most people know this, although some are in denial and don’t want to believe it or admit it. But it’s true.
   Too many people are dying every single day tragically and needlessly because of gun violence.
   When the Constitution was created in the 18th century, it was a different time. There were no smartphones, communication was slow, the standing army was tiny, and many people lived in small rural communities or farms that were isolated and far away from help if something occurred. If you lived on a small farm in the 1700s, you couldn’t jump in the car and go to the grocery store. Small farmers frequently had to be much more self-reliant growing a significant amount of their own food and sometimes hunting for meat. Also if a criminal came to the farm, they couldn’t call 911. In many ways, they were on their own because it could take hours or longer to alert the authorities and get help. Something else to consider is that the muskets of the 18th century were much slower to reload and much less accurate than weapons today. Someone with significant practice could get off maybe three shots in a minute, give or take. In real world circumstances, it was likely often less than three a minute. And finally, the United States of the 18th century and early 19th centuries relied heavily on militias for defense because the standing army was tiny.
   In other words, the Second Amendment was written in another time when the circumstances were vastly different than today.
  It’s now the 21st century, and the United States has a large standing military, the National Guard, extensive police and law enforcement agencies, rapid communication, vehicles, planes, trains, grocery stores, and much deadlier guns. It’s definitely a different time.
   Let’s start by comparing assault rifles to muskets. A muzzleloading musket from the 18th century would take around 20 seconds to reload and fire if you were experienced, whereas a semi-automatic assault rifle can fire essentially as fast as your finger can squeeze on top of having high capacity clips. Realistically, someone could fire 60 rounds or more in a minute with a much higher degree of accuracy than the old muzzleloading muskets. The people who wrote the Second Amendment likely had no idea that assault rifles would ever exist or be in the hands of civilians.
   Now, let’s compare gun violence in the United States to that of other countries which have stricter gun control laws. First, death by firearms in 2017 per 100,000 people. According to the statistical site, Our World In Data, the United States rate was 4.63. The United Kingdom’s rate was 0.06, whereas Australia’s was 0.18. Germany’s was 0.1, and Japan’s was 0.03. Think about the vast difference between these countries and the United States.
   Now let’s look at the rate of death by interpersonal violence using any method in 2017 per 100,000 people. In the United States, the rate was 6.1. The UK’s was 0.5, and Australia’s was 1.4. Germany’s rate was 0.8 and Japan’s was 0.6. As you can see, the rates are multiple times lower than that of the United States.
   Take a look at these numbers. Look at the vast difference between United States and these other countries. The UK, Germany, Japan, and Australia have crime like the United States does. Their crime rates overall may be a little less than the United States in some cases, but not that much less.
   So let’s be honest about what’s going on. The major factor that explains the significant difference in murder rates is guns. The other countries listed here have much stricter gun control laws than the United States does. That’s the big difference. And if you compare these rates between the United States and other countries such as Belgium, France, and others, you will find similar results.
   It’s clear as day that the United States has a major gun problem and must enact stricter gun control laws. Gun violence in this country is just plain way out of control, and too many innocent people including children are dying every single day because of it.
   I’m not saying make all guns illegal. But there are practical, common sense gun control laws that would make a difference, especially in the long term. Ideas include banning assault style rifles from private ownership. No civilian needs an assault rifle. Assault rifles were created to kill human beings in times of war. That’s what they were designed for. Not for hunting animals or sport shooting. Restricting the size of clips is another practical idea that could save lives. Again, no one needs clips that hold 30 rounds of ammunition or more. Mandatory training and licensing would be a great idea. In order to drive a vehicle, you have to take a test and get a license, so why not do something similar for guns. Also, more extensive background checks would save a lot of lives as would tighter laws on proper storage of guns and ammunition when not in use. Too many kids die in tragic accidents when they grab their parents’ loaded gun that was sitting below the bed.
   By instituting laws like this nationwide, many lives would be saved, and law-abiding citizens who want to have a gun for hunting or similar would still be able to do so. As a matter of fact, many gun owners support gun control laws like this.
   So it’s definitely time to act. People need to stop automatically opposing gun control legislation ideas. Too many Americans are needlessly dying every single day. It’s time to enact better gun control laws.
   Future innocent lives are literally at stake.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rates-from-firearms

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/homicide-rate

https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+Kingdom