The Fight for Full LGBTQ Rights and Acceptance Continues

   2023 has arrived and despite the fact that we are well into the 21st century, it is all too tragically apparent that we LGBTQs still have a long way to go for full acceptance, especially when you consider everything that has been going on of late. Think about it. Conservatives around the country are pushing anti-LGBTQ policies and laws despite the fact these hurt a great number of the population. We’ve seen far too many assaults and murders of people just because they were queer. A large number of LGBTQ minors live in homes that are not queer affirming, and things can get so bad that some run away while there are others who get kicked out even when they have nowhere else to go. Many LGBTQ people (like transgender, genderfluid, nonbinary, genderqueer, bisexual+) find dating extremely difficult to near impossible because of lack of acceptance. For many, it’s so bad that they are facing the hard reality that they will probably never find someone special.
   So what can we do about it? I know it can feel insurmountable at times. But there are things we can do to try to improve LGBTQ lives and acceptance.
   One is to speak up and make our voices heard. I realize that many LGBTQ people are not comfortable being out, and that’s okay. A person should only come out if they want to and choose to. But for those who are out and are comfortable and safe speaking up, making our voices heard can make a difference. There are a variety of ways to do this. One example is using social media to speak up and to share important information. And please remember that it’s important to be as accurate as possible when doing this because spreading bad information is counterproductive as well as just plain wrong. Day to day interactions with non-LGBTQ friends and acquaintances also help so that they realize that we LGBTQs are decent human beings who deserve respect and human rights as well.
   Something else we can do is encourage greater and more accurate LGBTQ representation in movies, TV shows, books, video games and so on. Supporting examples that succeed in accomplishing this is one way. Another is to contact the creators themselves (such as authors, directors, etc) via social media, websites, and so on to tell them what we want. When doing this, it’s important to say thank you to those who provide good LGBTQ representation as well as challenging those who do not.
   Another thing we can do is to support businesses which are pro-LGBTQ, try to avoid those which are not, and speak up about what we are doing. And when a business is especially anti-LGBTQ, we can encourage as many people as possible to avoid that business and even boycott it.
   And vote! Get out and vote for elected officials who support and will promote LGBTQ rights. Remember that every vote counts, and that absolutely includes yours!
   In terms of LGBTQ rights and acceptance, we have come a quite a ways, especially when you consider what it was like 20 or 30 years ago. But we still have a long way to go, and if we make an effort, we can continue forward in our quest for full rights and acceptance. And that will make the world a better place for everyone.

Undemocratic, Closeminded Efforts By Republicans Threaten US Democracy

October 30, 2022
   I’m going to begin this by telling you that I’m an Independent politically. I don’t belong to any political party.  That said, I’m also going to tell you that this country cannot afford Republican control over governments at any level. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
   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 evidence shows the 2020 election was fair and that Joe Biden legitimately won, the majority of Republicans believe Trump’s lies instead. And a significant percentage are actively promoting those lies. Many Republicans have gone so far as to push for laws and policies that are clearly undemocratic. Want some examples? Here you go: In several states, Republicans have proposed bills that would allow state legislatures to overturn election results and allot electoral votes themselves, literally ignoring the will of the voters. There are also proposals by Republicans that would make it very difficult for election officials to deal with partisan poll watchers who are intimidating and interfering with voters and election workers. Republicans in numerous states are also trying to get Trump following election deniers into positions (like secretary of state) where they would oversee future elections, thus increasing their ability to interfere with (and possibly overturn) legitimate election results they don’t like. These are not exaggerations. Republicans around the nation are also trying to make voting more difficult because they are afraid high voter turnout may increase the chances of Democrats winning. Tactics include things like making voter registration much more difficult, enacting stricter voter ID laws, and trying to limit or eliminate early voting as well as mail in voting. What’s especially disturbing is how these efforts are particularly targeting people (such as African Americans) who are more likely to vote for Democrats. Again, I’m not exaggerating here. I wish I was, but I’m not. This is really happening.
   Also consider this. The Jan 6th, 2021 assault on the US Capitol Building was a terrible event that was caused by outrageous, dangerous, false rhetoric being spread by numerous people. Whatever one’s political beliefs, understanding what happened and why it happened is vitally important. Yet most Republicans oppose Congress investigating the events and are continuing to blindly follow the dangerous rhetoric that led to the assault in the first place.
   Want some more examples of why we can’t afford Republican control over governments these days? Here you go. Republicans are actively attacking female reproductive rights despite the fact that most Americans are pro choice. Some Republicans even want to ban abortion nationwide. Around the country, Republicans are also pushing for very anti-LGBTQ policies and laws that blatantly discriminate against Queer people. The “don’t say gay” laws being promoted in states around the country are examples of this. Such laws are targeting LGBTQ youth, individuals who already have to deal with far too much intolerance and prejudice from others. Many LGBTQ minors live in homes where they face discrimination from their own parents. This is why it’s common for many Queer students to turn to teachers and school counselors for support and help. But this important resource is being taken away from many due to “don’t say gay” laws. With these laws, many teachers and counselors will be unable or too afraid to help. This in turn will increase the suicide rates of LGBTQ youth.
   The behavior of much of the Republican Party is the sort of thing that leads to authoritarianism and even full blown dictatorships. History is full of examples. Look at what happened in Germany during the 1920s and 30s when people chose to ignore facts, evidence, and even decency in order to blindly follow a brutal, narcissistic dictator instead.
   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, honesty, decency, tolerance, kindness, open-mindedness, and the United States Constitution. We must 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.

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 encourage 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.
  

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

   Why is there still so much prejudice against the LGBTQ (Queer) Community?
   Why?
   LGBTQ people have been around for the entire history of humanity, and 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 Queer 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’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, especially if the individual already has a lack of understanding about the LGBTQ Community. Think about it. Imagine an individual who doesn’t really understand the LGBTQ Community and may have some insecurities and misconceptions about the subject. Now, picture a scenario where many of the important people in this person’s life don’t get the Queer Community either and often make derogatory jokes at the expense of LGBTQs. This often encourages and can worsen the individual’s intolerant views and behaviors.
   Something else to keep in mind is how intolerance and prejudice can be insidious so that individuals frequently don’t recognize that they are prejudiced themselves. Of course, there are other people who know they themselves are but have so much hate that they don’t care. Either way, they are harming 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 Queer.  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. And now there are multiple “don’t say gay” laws as well as other legislation targeting the Transgender Community being pushed in states around the country.
   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

Troubling Times

May 1, 2022
   Damn, things seem really frustrating, disheartening, confusing, and downright scary these days. On the international news front, we’re witnessing terrible, heart-wrenching examples of death, suffering, and carnage being wrought by Vladimir Putin’s vicious, bloody, unwarranted invasion of Ukraine.  On the domestic side here in the United States, bitter divisions in politics and society have gotten so bad that it often seems virtually impossible to get anything done. Despite it being the 21st century, we’re seeing far too much intolerance, prejudice, ignorance, and hate throughout the nation, and what’s even more disturbing is how many social conservatives are pushing for policies that actually worsen these problems.
   Think about it. In numerous states, there are social conservatives trying to pass laws that knowingly hurt the LGBTQ (Queer) Community, a community that was already suffering. A 2021 survey conducted by the Trevor Project of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth (ages 13 to 24) found that 42% had seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months. That number rose to 52% for Transgender youth. Only one in three indicated that they lived in an LGBTQ affirming home. Yet despite evidence such as this, numerous Republicans are working hard to pass laws that would clearly hurt Queer kids instead of helping them. And what’s worse is that these laws will almost certainly increase LGBTQ suicide rates.
   There’s also been a move by many conservative Republicans to make a big deal about critical race theory and wanting to ban it from being discussed in schools. Well for one thing, it’s clear most of these individuals don’t even know (or don’t care) what critical race theory actually is because it’s a theory that is dealt with at the post graduate education level and not K through 12. But it seems that many Republicans are using the attack on this term to go after general discussions about race relations in American history classes. This effort by conservatives is extremely dangerous because in order to learn from past mistakes, people need to look at American history honestly (warts and all), and that clearly has to include race relations. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The brutal reality is that racism and other forms of prejudice (like that which is aimed at the LGBTQ Community) are still widely prevalent today, and as a result, it’s that much more important to include honest, frank discussions about such issues in school.
   So the thing is: we need to speak up and educate others about what is going on and what we can do to try to make things better. People should stand up for open-mindedness, tolerance, and be honest about America’s history and current situation, not stick their heads in sand ignoring the problems. We should all strive to make things better.

Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Harms People And Increases Suicide Rates

April 10, 2022
   The LGBTQ Community still faces ignorance, intolerance, and prejudice despite the fact that it’s the 21st century. And what’s more troubling is how social conservatives in states around the country are trying to pass legislation that is deeply harmful to many Queer people, especially Queer youth. And that makes it so much worse.
   There are numerous “Don’t Say Gay” and anti-Transgender type bills and laws being pushed by conservative Republicans in state legislatures around the country such as in Florida, Tennessee, Kansas, Alabama, Ohio, and Indiana. What makes these bills so destructive and abhorrent is how they target an already suffering community, that being LGBTQ youth. To prove my point, here are some statistics compiled by The Trevor Project, 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 1 in 3 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 for a minute. I mean really think about them. They are tragic and scary. LGBTQ young people need understanding, tolerance, love, and support, but these laws provide anything but that. Instead, “Don’t Say Gay” and numerous anti-Transgender legislation being pushed around the country promote intolerance, misinformation, and downright prejudice. They make Queer kids think that there’s something wrong with them which in turn fills them with confusion and guilt. These bills also increase the likelihood that LGBTQ young people will be bullied and mistreated by other students, and they limit the ability of school staff from being able to reach out and help LGBTQ students when they are in need. And since many Queer minors live in homes that are not LGBTQ affirming, it is not uncommon for them to want to turn to school counselors or teachers for help. But with these bills, Queer students who are in need will be less likely to do this for fear of backlash and intolerance, plus many teachers and counselors will be afraid of getting into trouble if they try to help. Also remember how 52% Transgender/Nonbinary youth considered suicide in the 2021 survey. Anti-Transgender laws that limit or even prevent the ability of doctors to provide health care (such as temporary puberty blockers that are reversible and proven to help Transgender youth) will increase that suicide rate. Anti-LGBTQ legislation such as these result in LGBTQ young people having to endure greater suffering than they already do which in turn increases their suicide rate.
   It’s time for everyone to educate themselves and open their minds. Let go of intolerance and prejudice. Try to imagine what it’s like for other people and strive to provide support and acceptance to others, especially when they are in need.
   So please join me in speaking out against these destructive, intolerant bills and laws so that we can work towards making this a better, more accepting society for all.

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

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.

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.

Proposed Anti-Transgender Bills Reveal How Much Ignorance, Intolerance, And Prejudice Still Exist In This Country

4-28-21
   Where in the hell did all this hate come from?
   I’d really like to know.
   It’s the 21st century, and one would hope that we’ve come a long ways as a species. And while there are people who are tolerant, open-minded, and compassionate, it seems there are many these days who are full of intolerance and prejudice. And what’s even more disheartening is how they seem more vocal and are even trying to pass laws based on their intolerance. This latter is particularly disturbing and frankly disgraceful because it harms innocent human beings.
   Think about that. People are trying to pass laws that will harm innocent human beings. And that’s exactly what is happening with these anti-Transgender laws that many Republicans are trying to pass in states throughout the country. And Transgender kids are a particular target with these proposed laws.
   They’re targeting kids for goodness sakes!
   Kids!
   Kids who are already struggling as they try to be who they are and how they want to live their lives. Far too many Transgender kids are already the victims terrible bullying in school from other kids, and on top of that, a great number also have to deal with intolerant teachers who don’t use the correct pronouns and look at them with derision and even disgust. Such incessant, vicious bullying and treatment are major reasons why Transgender kids have higher suicide rates. They need encouragement, support, and help. Not more bullying, intolerance, and hate.
   Yet many Republicans are trying to pass laws that would make the lives of Transgender kids even more difficult by doing things like banning them from participating in sports with the teams that match their preferred gender. What’s even worse is that several of these laws prevent doctors from prescribing medical therapies that help Transgender kids in their journey to be who they truly are. An example of this is how several of these laws prevent doctors from prescribing puberty blockers. Puberty blockers are medications that are entirely reversible and give a Transgender kid time to discover who they are and want to be. We’re not talking about surgery. Doctors are not performing gender surgeries on minors. We’re talking about medication which is reversible and that research proves support and improve the lives of many Transgender kids.
   People who are pushing these anti-Transgender laws clearly do not understand what being Transgender is all about. Yet instead of trying to educate themselves, they are working to pass laws based on their ignorance, intolerance, and prejudice against Transgender individuals.
   This is so sick and wrong. It makes the lives of Transgender kids even more difficult and will increase the likelihood that some will commit suicide. To be frank, those who pass anti-Transgender laws will have blood on their hands.
   It’s time for all of us to speak up in support of the Transgender community and against these horrible anti-Transgender bills. Put pressure on politicians who are pursuing such disgraceful legislation. And when they come up for re-election, vote them out of office.
   It’s time for people to open their minds and their hearts. Educate themselves and strive to be more compassionate and understanding of others, even when those individuals are different from themselves.