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.
  

Still Too Many People Facing Intolerance And Lack Of Understanding

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans Have Gone Too Far.

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

Too Many People Are Hurting Due To A Lack Of Acceptance From Much Of Society.

   Hey there folks. I’d like to talk about something that’s very important which many people don’t realize. The fact is that there are a great number of LGBTQ people who are hurting, isolated, and alone because too many members of the Straight and Gay / Lesbian Communities don’t fully accept us. And this needs to change. It’s the 21st century for crying out loud.
   Who am I talking about you may wonder. It’s actually a lot more people than you may think. Bisexual+, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Nonbinary, Transgender, Asexual, Intersex, and others (BTIA+ for short) often feel like we’re not fully accepted by most of society so that far too often, we end up very isolated and alone.
   Many people fear, and even ostracize, individuals whom they see as too different. Often, they assume the worst. That somehow we must be confused and untrustworthy. Or that we’re just plain too weird. The result is that they don’t fully accept us.
   The consequences are that too many BTIA+ people end up feeling like we don’t belong anywhere and that people don’t want us. It makes finding true friends incredibly difficult and often dating becomes virtually impossible, despite the fact that we can be just as faithful and monogamous as anyone else and that we want love too. Unfortunately, too many of us are having to face the brutal reality that we are probably going to be alone for the rest of our lives.
   Things need to change.
   The Straight and Gay / Lesbian Communities as a whole need to open their minds and their hearts. BTIA+ people deserve acceptance and a chance. Don’t automatically reject us because of who we are. Try to open your minds and get to know us. We also enjoy the same interests and activities that you do, whether it’s movies, TV shows, and art or good food, travel, and the outdoors. Plus, diversity should be celebrated, not feared.
   We are people too.
   We have hopes and dreams.
   We want to have happy productive lives like everyone else.
   All we are asking for is a chance.
   If everyone strove to be kind, considerate, tolerant, open-minded, and accepting, imagine how wonderful and magical the world could be for everyone.

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

Pride Is Here

6-1-22
   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!