People Should Be Responsible And Adaptable In Living In A World With COVID.

March 23, 2022
   Oh no, another piece about COVID lol! Well, sorry, but yes it is.
   I know everyone wants this damn pandemic to end. I get that. I feel it. But the thing is, COVID is not going to disappear as much as we wish it would. The hard, cold reality is that we have to learn to live with it. But in living with it, that does not mean totally ignoring it as if it wasn’t there. On the other hand, we shouldn’t live in desperate fear of it either. Instead, we need to be vigilant and flexible in terms of living our lives in a world with COVID in it.
   Now, you may be wondering what I mean by that. Well, let me explain. The COVID virus mutates which is why we keep seeing new variants sprout up. This is what viruses do which allows them to survive. Immunity (or immune resistance would be a more accurate term I think) can come from vaccines, previous infection, or both. We also know that with time, immune resistance to COVID decreases, which is why keeping up to date with boosters is so important.  Another issue that comes into play is that as more mutations occur, the risk of new variants becoming more resistant to people’s immunity increases because of the new mutated variants potentially being so different from earlier versions that people’s immune systems don’t respond nearly as well (and in a worst case scenario, not at all). So, when you consider all this and the fact that some people still haven’t gotten vaccinated and how many more have not received boosters, it’s easy to see why COVID cases go up and down.
   Now and in the future, people need to stay aware about what the status of COVID is in their communities and countries, and they should keep up to date in getting their boosters. In all likelihood, new boosters based on newer variants will become available, and it will be important for people to get those shots when they are able (like getting yearly flu vaccines). Also, people need to be prepared to make adjustments depending on what COVID is doing in terms of case numbers and severity. While we all would like to see COVID case numbers stay low, that may not always be the case. In all likelihood, there will be times when case numbers rise (and sometimes it could be to significant levels). As a result, when those levels are high enough to be of concern, people will need to make some adjustments to help bring those levels back down. This could include things like people who had not been wearing masks in indoor public places starting to do so again. Another example could be needing to make adjustments to indoor gatherings (like shifting them outside, decreasing crowd size, and perhaps asking attendees to take at home rapid COVID tests before coming). I’m not saying people will have to take severe precautions all the time. It will depend on what COVID is doing (whether case numbers and severity are low or high).
   While we all need to live our lives, we should be smart about it and do so in a responsible way being prepared to make adjustments if necessary. By being vigilant and flexible, we can keep ourselves and other people safer and healthier which in turn will allow everyone to live better lives.

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.

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 person was physically born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid (a mixture of male, female, and in between); how much they feel one way as compared to 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.

People Need To Open Their Minds About Transgender, Genderfluid, Genderqueer, Non-binary Individuals

   I’m going to be up front about the fact that I am queer with a fluid sexuality (bisexual+) and a fluid gender (genderfluid). As such, I unfortunately have first-hand experience about how so many cisgendered people often have a serious lack of understanding with regards to genderfluid, genderqueer, non-binary, and transgender (GfNT) individuals. This in turn leads to intolerance and prejudice.
   Maybe I should start with explaining who we are. A transgender person is an individual who identifies as the opposite gender than the person was physically born with. For example: a transgender woman was born physically male but identifies as a woman. Transitioning is the process of trying to get her physical body to match how she identifies. A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. They don’t relate with the traditional male/female binary. A genderfluid individual is someone whose gender identity is fluid. A mixture of male, female, and in between. How much they feel one way as compared to the others can fluctuate one minute to the next. Thus, the fluid aspect of the term. Genderqueer refers to individuals who don’t subscribe (either fully or in part) to the traditional gender binary. Clearly, there is overlap and interconnection with some of these terms, and many GfNT people will use more than one to describe themselves.
   Often, people fear, ridicule, and make fun of things that they don’t understand or are uncomfortable with. This is especially common among cisgendered individuals with regards to GfNT people. But when a person makes fun of and ridicules a community that is hurting and suffering, it worsens the pain and intolerance that community is already being forced to endure.  It reinforces and exacerbates the lack of understanding and prejudice that is so pervasive in this society.
   Consider this: many GfNT people are afraid to use public restrooms because of the risk of verbal and even physical abuse. Using public restrooms is something cisgendered people take for granted. Dating is another area that GfNT individuals such as myself often find brutally difficult because most cisgendered people won’t even consider dating us, even if they were interested before realizing our gender identity. The result of all this is that too many GfNT people feel very isolated and alone. Studies have shown that the transgender community suffers higher rates of depression and suicide than the cisgendered community. This is obviously connected to intolerance, prejudice, lack of understanding, isolation, and loneliness.
   For things to get better, people need to educate themselves and open their minds. Put themselves in other people’s shoes so to speak. Imagine being afraid of the simple act of using a public restroom. Think about how hard it would be going through life feeling isolated and alone because you are trying to be true to who you are. If more members of the cisgender community would do this, perhaps there would be fewer ridiculing and making hurtful jokes about the GfNT community.

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

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

Pride Is Here

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

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.

Suicide Is NOT The Answer

   I know these are difficult, troubling times with many people feeling hurt, nervous, uncertain, and afraid. Isolation from the pandemic has worn lots of people down, and all the viciousness that seems to be permeating our society is heartbreaking and disheartening. With everything going on, a number of people feel like they’re at the breaking point and think things are hopeless.
   But folks, suicide is not the answer.
   I’m going to say that again: suicide is not the answer.
   No matter how difficult things may be or how hopeless a situation may seem, taking your own life is not the answer. Try to remember there are good things in life and activities that you can enjoy. It could be a trip you took that you really enjoyed, or it could be a movie that makes you laugh. Or a good book that you enjoy losing yourself in for a little while. Or perhaps a walk through a pretty park on a beautiful day. And even if it feels like hope is in short supply, don’t give up on it. Hope is still out there. Believe in yourself. You have the ability to persevere and get through to better times. You can do it.
   And don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. If you need help, get help immediately. There’s no shame in that, and it could save your life.
   I’m including links to several sites which provide support for people in crisis. Check them out and share them with others.
   And remember: never give up. Believe in yourself. No matter what happens, you always have yourself.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://afsp.org/lgbtq-crisis-and-support-resources

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

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, and others (NTBA+ 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 NTBA+ 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. NTBA+ 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.

There Are Multiple Factors Leading To Intolerance And Hate

   Where did all the hate and prejudice that is pervading society today come from? It’s the 21st century! Many of us want to think that society would be better than this, so why does it feel like so much intolerance is all around us.
   We live in an age of incredible advancements in terms of technology and communication. We have access to more information than anyone in human history and the ability to exchange information with one another faster than ever before. You’d think this would help broaden people’s minds as they learn about other people and far away places. And for some people, it has. But for others, it appears that this is not the case.
   So where is all this hate and prejudice coming from?
   I think the answer to that question is very complicated and varies from person to person. Often, it’s probably a combination of multiple factors that come together and lead to prejudice and hate.
   Lack of knowledge is a big one. People often fear what they don’t understand, so when they are confronted with something that they know very little about and is different from their own life experiences, many people respond with mistrust and intolerance. Their automatic response might be suspicion that it must be something bad and that they must stand against it.
   The influences of people and/or organizations in a person’s life which that person trusts are also major factors. If those influences consist of open-minded and tolerant attitudes, that could help broaden an individual’s mind. But when the influences are intolerant and close-minded, that increases the likelihood that an individual will adopt those attitudes as well, especially if the person was already leaning in that direction to begin with.
   Another issue is how so many people these days surround themselves with (or follow) individuals, websites, organizations, and other sources of information that tell them what they want to hear instead of giving them objective information and showing them diverse points of view. Again, this can reinforce intolerant and prejudiced attitudes that a person may already have and even make them worse.
   Fear of the unknown and of change also frequently comes into play. Many people don’t want to step out of their comfort zone. They want to surround themselves with what is familiar and what they prefer.
   So when you think about it, it’s easy to see how all these factors can combine in leading to intolerant, prejudiced attitudes.
   As a society, we must do better than this. People need to have the courage to open their minds and broaden their horizons. Think for themselves and don’t automatically believe some individual, organization, or website. Seek out sources of information that are varied, independent, and reputable. Have the courage to seek out new ideas and learn about different points of view. Recognize that there is often multiple ways to do things and accomplish goals. That this is a diverse planet and that we need to learn about one another, learn from one another, and strive to work together as best we can.
   It’s time to do better.