The “Don’t Say Gay” Bills In Florida Are Dangerous For LGBTQ Youth

Feb 12, 2022
   In the state of Florida, there are two education related bills (Senate Bill 1834 and House Bill 1557) being considered that would be seriously detrimental to LGBTQ youth to the point that if passed into law, their suicide rate would almost certainly increase. You may be wondering how I can make such a bold statement. Well, I can because it’s based on facts that I will explain.
   The Trevor Project is a national organization which provides support for LGBTQ young people in crisis who may be considering suicide. In 2021, they conducted a nationwide survey of close to 35,000 LGBTQ young people (aged 13 to 24), and here are some key numbers that they found. 42% of LGBTQ youth had seriously considered suicide in the past year, and for transgender/nonbinary youth, that number was 52%. 72% of LGBTQ young people reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the previous two weeks, and only one in three indicated that they lived in an LGBTQ affirming home. In the past year, 48% said that they wanted professional counseling but had not received it, and LGBTQ youth who had been subjected to conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide when compared to those who had not been subjected to the barbaric practice.
   Think about those numbers. I mean really think about them. And here’s another one to consider: of minors who have experienced homelessness, around 40% identify as LGBTQ. These statistics are scary and prove how far society still needs to go in terms of LGBTQ acceptance, understanding, and rights.
   Now, let’s go back to the two bills I mentioned that critics are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bills. They are dangerous because they place serious limitations on schools’ abilities to discuss and deal with LGBTQ issues. In their current form, they say, “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” The latter part of this in particular is quite vague and could easily be abused so that older students would likely be affected as well. The result would be teachers being afraid to discuss LGBTQ history and issues which in turn would make LGBTQ students feel even more isolated, marginalized, and confused.
   Another extremely disturbing part of the bills say, “critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being” must be told to the parents. What this essentially means is that unless they can prove doing so would lead to harm (something that would be extremely difficult to do), school faculty would be required to out LGBTQ students to their parents whether the students were ready for this or not. Why is this important you may wonder? Well, go back to the numbers above, in particular the part where only one in three youth say they live in an LGBTQ affirming home. The fact is: many minors have parents who are very prejudiced against the LGBTQ Community, and because of this, many students are more likely to come out to a school counselor or teacher before they are ready to tell their prejudiced parents. If these bills become law, this important outlet for these students will be taken away.
   The cold hard reality is that these bills, if passed into law, would certainly worsen situations for many LGBTQ youth (especially their mental health) as they became more isolated, marginalized, closeted, confused, and frightened. Instead of being able to seek out and receive support when they need it, too many would end up suffering in silence, afraid of anyone discovering their secret. This in turn would worsen quality of life and undoubtedly lead to increased suicide rates.
   So I hope you will join me in spreading the word in opposing these bills as well as other anti-LGBTQ bills being pushed in states around the country because lives are literally at stake

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/survey-2021/?section=Introduction

Too Many People Get Hurt Because Of Being Seen As Too Different

1-29-22
   People’s fear and/or discomfort of what they don’t understand hurt others far too often. And unfortunately, there are plenty of examples in society today.
   In general, it seems that many people only want to be involved with individuals, organizations, places, ideas, and so on that fit into their comfort zone. This means they tend to just associate with others who are similar to them. It can manifest in many ways, like people only socializing with others who share their views (such as in religion, politics, and interests). Whether they consciously realize it or not, these individuals frequently avoid those whom they see as too different, and this can be detrimental to all concerned in numerous ways.
   For one thing, this tendency can insulate people far too severely so that they often fail to open their minds. As this happens, they don’t adequately consider other ideas and points of view and as a result, usually don’t give such things anywhere close to a fair chance. The consequences of this sort of behavior end up hurting themselves as well as others.
   We can see the effects of this in a plethora of ways. One is in politics. Many people today focus their political discussions and fervor only with others who already agree with them and immediately reject ideas coming from individuals they see as too different. Just because one may disagree with another in numerous ways politically, doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t have some good points or ideas. If both parties would open their minds, they may find some common ground in places and perhaps the potential for compromise. They may also learn from each other and thus broaden their minds even further.
   Another area where the consequences are seen far too often is in the social realm. It is terribly common how so many people only socialize with or date others they see as similar enough (and not too different). The result is that many people get hurt and end up feeling rejected and lonely. This is especially true for individuals whom too much of society don’t understand and end up closing their minds to. For example, many bisexual+ people find dating brutally difficult despite the fact that they can be just as faithful as anyone else. Numerous others (such as individuals who are transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, asexual, and so on) have terrible challenges in trying to date because of being seen as too different. Most people automatically reject them in a kneejerk type of reaction without even trying to get to know them. The result is that far too many individuals feel isolated and alone. Plus, those who are so quick to reject them may be missing out on what could potentially have been a wonderful relationship.
   These are just a few examples. People in general need to open their minds and cease being so quick to judge. They should stop being so fearful of what they don’t adequately understand and instead, work to educate themselves and broaden their horizons, for doing so would likely make the lives of themselves and others so much better.

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 physical body the person was 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…
  

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 a different gender than the physical body the person was 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.

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.