Menstuff® has information on LGBATQQI issues.
Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of Gay/Bi/Trans gender. Females have an XX chromosomal makeup, and males an XY. Most people born with androgen insensitivity syndrome live as women despite their XY chromosomes. Klinefelter's syndrome has 47 chromosones (XXY). In fact, the bodies of one in every 100 births differ from the standard male or female body. (See breakdown.) That's 67 million people.
You can get advice and seek support any time on the message board Sex Matters® with Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, boards.webmd.com/topic.asp?topic_id=1078
We would also like to acknowledge Nip Tuck,
Brothers & Sisters, The L Word, Glea and
Gray's Anatomy for working positive images of
transsexuals into their television shows.
How To Tell If You Are
How To Tell If You Are Gay
- Recent stories in the media
How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBTQ Youth - A 38 page pdf
Did You Choose to Be Straight?
Watch Two Trans Advocates Take Katie Couric To School
LGBT & Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) Girls Face in the CriminL Justicer System
Imagine A World Where Being "Gay" The Norm & Being "Straight" Would Be The Minority! [Short Film]
LGBT & Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) Girls Face in the CriminL Justicer System
Lesbian - a woman whose emotional, romantic, and sexual energies are geared towards other women. bacon.jpg
Gay - 1. jovial or happy, good-spirited
2. a homosexual male or female
3. often used to describe something stupid or unfortunate. originating from homophobia. quite preferable among many teenage males in order to buff up their "masculinity"
1. "We'll have a gay old time."
2. "You DO know he's gay. Notice his homoerotic pornography collection."
3. "Man, these seats are gay. I can't even see what's going on!"
Bi - (short for bisexual) - A person with significant attraction and desire for both sexes, both sexually and romantically. (The desire for the two sexes is not necessarily equal.)
Being bi does NOT imply confusion, wanting/having more than one partner, or participation in wild sex orgies.
Trans - A truncated
version of transexual, transgender, or transvestite. It is
attempted to be used as an umbrella term referring to those
who are differently gendered, however, there are differently
gendered people who would not use the term for
The acronym stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex. However, the list could get quite long if John Money offers his listing. As Emeritus Professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine and a leading researcher in the understanding of the intricate links between anatomy, body chemicals and life experiences in shaping sexual and gender identity with the ability to function sexually, the list could include at least 23 various proven sexual identities. For more on that, check out his book Gay, Straight and In-between: The sexology of Erotic Orientation. See, also, LGBTQIA
1. the theory that the overlap of various social identities, as race, gender, sexuality, and class, contributes to the specific type of systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual (often used attributively); Her paper uses a queer intersectionality approach.
2. the oppression and discrimination resulting from the overlap of an individual's various social identities: the intersectionality of oppression experienced by black women.
Some terms added to Dictionary.com this month relate to LGBT people. One word points to a concept many are still trying to understand: intersectionality. It's worth looking up. In fact, it is one reason this reporter has a job covering how race and ethnicity intersect with the LGBT experience, and how the systemic oppression faced by people of color is linked to that of LGBT people. Neither of these experiences or communities are mutually exclusive.
The term isnt new, nor is it the first time it has been included in a dictionary. But the word, first created by legal scholar and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to explain the layers of oppression faced by black women in a legal context, has gained momentum in popular culture. Why? Because so much of what LGBT people experience is intersectional. Just take a look at recent events to see how intersectionality plays a role.
In other words, because of identities tied to race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender identity, disability status, sexual orientation, and other markers, people experience prejudice and oppression differently and to varying degrees. And women, especially black queer/trans women, endure the harshest of both violence and invisibility.
Regular readers of The Advocate may have noticed an increase of coverage of stories centering perspectives of nonwhite LGBT people. Stories like the lynching conviction of Jasmine Richards, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement who is also a lesbian, caused controversy in the comments sections. Some LGBT readers saw the news as a distraction from coverage of the LGBT community.
But to think covering members of Black Lives Matter is a distraction or to negate its value as LGBT news erases the fact that for many, like this reporter, the black and LGBT experiences intersect. This view also negates the queer feminist origins of the Black Lives Matter movement simply because "black" is in the name.
Its newsworthy that Richards, a black lesbian, was convicted of a charge that was formerly referred to as lynching, especially given her visibility as an activist. And considering the history of lynching counts by the Equal Justice Initiative document nearly 4,000 black people killed by white mobs across the country after slavery ended race in this case represents a key piece of information with which to understand the controversy.
As fellow Black Lives Matter leader and professor Melina Abdullah explained last month to The Advocate, it was the intersection of her identities that led to her act being charged as felony lynching" instead of a lesser charge.
There are vastly different experiences based on race and based on class for most poor black people we know there is no such thing as Officer Friendly,'" Abdullah said after Richards was convicted.
The Pulse shooting also gave insight into intersectionality, as it demonstrated how different groups of people were treated in its aftermath. LGBT people faced a direct attack on their identity, feeling that they could have been one of those 49 people who lost their lives. Since many of the victims were also Latino, these feelings were even more complicated for LGBT people of color.
José Roldan Jr., a New York-based playwright and actor, said that when he heard the news, he froze in fear, and then that fear turned to anger.
A number of communities that I belong to were affected, Roldan told The Advocate. The Latinx community as a whole, more specifically the Afro-Latinx community, the Puerto Rican community, the LGBT community, and the Latinx LGBT community. I belong to every single one of those communities.
Roldan felt the tragedy was being generalized to the LGBT community, and that for this to happen on a Latinx night in a predominantly Latinx community is upsetting.
For Elizabeth Rivera, an activist and member of New York's famed ballroom family House of Ninja, it hit close to home too.
I just broke down, I broke down crying, Rivera said. Until recently, she lived in Tampa, an hour away from Orlando, but she had never visited Pulse. I thought about all the different venues Ive accessed as a transgender woman. It made me start reflecting on how vulnerable I felt in that moment.
Vigils around the world expressed the resilience and strength of LGBT people. But some felt that the experience at the vigils painted a picture that erased their identity or made them feel like outsiders.
For example, Mirna Haidar, a queer Muslim New York-based activist was heckled by LGBT people while speaking at Stonewall about the Islamophobia members of her faith faced since Pulse.
And Tiffany Melecio, a University of Missouri journalism student, was shouted at by a gay male couple who felt her question about why the mourners at the university's vigil didnt show up to other demonstrations about race and social justice was inappropriate.
New Yorker Gia Love was so frustrated at the Stonewall vigil that she left and recorded a Facebook live video about her experience.
They were telling us to leave when we were speaking the truth, Love told The Advocate. Thats very common, and it has historical implications around white men telling black people or people of color we dont belong when we should have been at the forefront of that vigil, and our voices should be heard.
People fighting the oppression exacerbated by intersectional identities may experience oppression differently than those with fewer intersections, but their experience also catalyzes change in rapid and creative ways.
Our perspective is a genius perspective and we can take it to the next plane, hip-hop artist Mister Wallace told The Advocate. Wallaces latest EP release, Faggot, by FutureHood a label focused on queer and trans people of color that he created with his music partner Anthony Pabey (AceboombaP) challenges the status quo with in-your-face reality. "Right now everything kind of exists in that plane of normativity, heteronormativity, mediocrity, Wallace said.
Wallace, who said he lost his job in corporate America because his blackness and queerness became a liability, used the opportunity to start production of his label to help others find themselves in a supportive space in the music industry.
These queer people and these trans people of color are so visionary because they have so much perspective because their intersection allows them to see much deeper, said Wallace.
The key theme from all of these people is that listening will help LGBT people and people of color understand the complexities of their experience. Jennicet Gutiérrez, for instance, said she grew in her activism because of exploring the different experiences she encountered. For her and others, it especially meant listening to those who are most vulnerable and advocating in spaces where others cannot.
I tell a lot of my white friends all the time, its fine were hanging out now, youre feeling this way now, Pabey, who is Puerto Rican, told The Advocate. "But when youre sitting at Thanksgiving table and [a family member makes] that comment ... thats the moment, thats the fight, thats the revolution right there. Are you going to hold your tongue, or are you going to speak?"
Solidarity with all LGBT people is how we can work to
break down the systems of oppression that affects every
vulnerable group. Racism, Islamophobia, ableism, misogyny,
and transphobia shouldn't exist within LGBT communities, but
they do, just as they do everywhere. LGBT people should know
better, and they can do better. The first step is easy
just look up a word in the dictionary.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today signed a law that imposes a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts and life sentences for those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality." A measure imposing the death penalty was removed from an earlier version of the bill.
Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, as it is in 37 other African countries. Though the death penalty was removed from Uganda's law, it's a potential punishment elsewhere, including parts of Nigeria, Mauritania and Sudan.
(Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure similar to Uganda's into law; a few weeks later, a mob pulled 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, screaming about cleansing their neighborhood of gay people. )
Here are the 10 countries where homosexuality may be punishable by death:
Yemen: According to 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.
Iran: In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.
Iraq: The penal code does not expressly prohibit homosexual acts, but people have been killed by militias and sentenced to death by judges citing sharia law.
Mauritania: Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law. Women face prison.
Nigeria: Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.
Qatar: Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.
Saudi Arabia: Under the countrys interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.
Somalia: The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed Sharia law and the death penalty.
Sudan: Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. Southern parts of the country have adopted more lenient laws.
United Arab Emirates: Lawyers in the country and
other experts disagree on whether federal law proscribes the
death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for
rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the
organization said it was not aware of any death sentences
for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are
Homosexuality Online-Book: Engaged Tenderness - The Gay & Lesbian Handbook Same sex partnerships have always been and will always be. This is normal. The sociological research has however for the first time in many years described same-sex partnerships (SSPS) in detail from lesbian and gay couples. The previous social report "Engaged Tenderness" concerns itself with being a book-of-facts on the social dimensions of feeling, love and same-sex couples in areas of family, politics, love and work-life, media and extended societal reports: i.e. gay-lesbian family politics, state marriage and church commitments in addition to marketing and commercials for lesbian and gay couples respectively. It is a handbook for all desiring further study of same-sex couples. First in such a book's area of concentration would be a collective review of currently asked questions from the mentioned arenas, and clarification of perspectives such as how same- sex couples can set aside self-judgment and self-determinedly relate their life, love and future with their parents, families, and friends. From the contents:
Taken from: Frank Andreas, Engaged Tenderness - The Gay /Lesbian Handbook on Living Together as a Same-Sex Couple; A reference reader for public research into the social dimensions of feelings, love, identity, partnership, family, church, marriage, and homosexuality. (C) Internet-Version Karlsruhe 1997.
Three Republican candidates speak at
anti-gay pastor's rally
LGBT community has given all of Irish democracy one of its greatest days
The overwhelming victory for the Yes side in the marriage equality referendum is not as good as it looks.
Its much better.
It looks extraordinary little Ireland becoming the first country in the world to support same sex marriage by direct popular vote. But actually its about the ordinary. Ireland has redefined what it means go be an ordinary human being.
A supporter holds a sign reading Thank You - Youre All Invited to the Wedding as he celebrates outside Dublin Castle following the result of the same-sex marriage referendum in Dublin on May 23rd, 2015. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty ImagesAll churches in Ireland in need of reality check
It made me cry: Generation Emigration expresses pride at same-sex marriage result
A day when hope and history rhyme: writers and artists react to same-sex marriage vote
Scenes Dublin Castle on Saturday for the referendum count. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins PhotosSame-sex marriage: Northern Ireland last bastion of discrimination says Amnesty
Singer Miley Cyrus tweeted in response to the same-sex marriage referendum result: Fuck yeah Ireland! Photograph: George Pimentel/Getty ImagesCelebrities react to Ireland legalising gay marriage
Micheal Baron (left) founder of Belong with his husband Jamie Nanci at North Strand polling station. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES Same-sex marriage: gay couples await peoples decision
Fridays vote, and Saturdays result, generated huge interest in Germany topping the main evening news and shattering many dearly-held if dusty cliches about the grüne Insel or green isle.Angela Merkel urged to follow Irelands lead on same-sex marriage
Panti raises her arms with supporters for same-sex marriage at Dublin Castle on Saturday. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.US politicians pay tribute to Irelands vote on same-sex marriage
Weve made it clear to the world that there is a new normal that ordinary is a big, capacious word that embraces and rejoices in the natural diversity of humanity. LGBT people are now a fully acknowledged part of the wonderful ordinariness of Irish life.
It looks like a victory for tolerance. But its actually an end to mere toleration.
Tolerance is what we extend, in our gracious goodness, to them. Its about saying You do your own thing over there and we wont bother you so long as you dont bother us.
The resounding Yes is a statement that Ireland has left tolerance far behind. Its saying that theres no them anymore. LGBT people are us our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. We were given the chance to say that. We were asked to replace tolerance with the equality of citizenship. And we took it in both arms and hugged it close.
It looks like a victory for articulacy. This was indeed a superb civic campaign. And it was marked by the riveting eloquence of so many people, of Una Mullally and Colm OGorman, of Mary McAleese and Noel Whelan, of Ursula Halligan and Colm Toibin, of Averil Power and Aodhan O Riordan and of so many others who spoke their hearts and their minds on the airwaves and the doorsteps. The Yes side did not rise to provocations and insults, it rose above them. Many people sacrificed their privacy and exposed their most intimate selves to the possibility of public rejection. Their courage and dignity made the difference.
Even so, this is not a victory for articulate statement. Deep down, its a victory for halting, fretful speech. How? Because what actually changed Ireland over the last two decades is hundreds of thousands of painful, stammered conversations that began with the dreaded words I have something to tell you Its all those moments of coming out around kitchen tables, tentative words punctuated by sobs and sighs, by cold silences and fearful hesitations. Those awkward, unhappy, often unfinished conversations are where the truths articulated so eloquently in the campaign were first uttered. And it was through them that gay men and lesbians became Us, our children, our families.
It looks like a victory for Liberal Ireland over Conservative Ireland. But its much more significant than that.
Its the end of that whole, sterile, useless, unproductive division. There is no longer a Liberal Ireland and a Conservative Ireland. The cleavage between rural and urban, tradition and modernity that has shaped so many of the debates of the last four decades has been repaired. This is a truly national moment as joyful in Bundoran as it is Ballymun, in Castlerea as it is in Cobh.
Instead of Liberal Ireland and Conservative Ireland we have a decent, democratic Ireland.
It looks like LGBT people finally coming out of the closet. But actually its more than that: its Ireland coming out to itself. We had a furtive, anxious hidden self of optimism and decency, a self long clouded by hypocrisy and abstraction and held in check by fear. On Friday, this Ireland stopped being afraid of itself. The No campaign was all about fear the fear that change could have only one vehicle (the handcart) and one destination (hell). And this time, it didnt work. Paranoia and pessimism lost out big time to the confident, hopeful, self-belief that Irish people have hidden from themselves for too long.
It looks like a victory for global cosmopolitanism. But actually its a victory for intimacy.
It was intimacy that made Ireland such a horrible place for gay and lesbian people, for all those whose difference would be marked and spied on and gossiped about. But intimacy is a tide that is just as powerful when it turns the other way. Once LGBT people did begin to come out, they became known. Irish people like what they know. They like the idea of home.
On Friday, the wonderful spectacle of people coming back to vote, embodied for all of us that sense of home as place where the heart is the strong, beating heart of human connection.
Finally, it looks like a defeat for religious conservatives. But nobody has been defeated. Nobody has been diminished. Irish people comprehensively rejected the notion that our republic is a zero sum game, that what is given to one must be taken from another. Everybody gains from equality even those who didnt think they wanted it. Over time, those who are in a minority on this issue will come to appreciate the value of living in a pluralist democracy in which minorities are respected.
By pushing forward on what only recently seemed a marginal issue, the LGBT community has given all of Irish democracy one of its greatest days. It has given our battered republic a new sense of engagement, a new confidence, an expanded sense of possibility.
It has shown all of us that the unthinkable is perfectly attainable.
We now have to figure out how to rise to that daunting
and exhilarating challenge.
As happens every time that I read something from Black Girl Dangerous , I recently found myself snapping, nodding, and yelling out YES! while reading a piece from Mia McKenzie.
Her article No More Allies made me profoundly uncomfortable which is a good thing.
I was uncomfortable because it was a call to reflection about my own ally identifications and my own work.
Its time for those of us who fashion ourselves allies or as currently operating in solidarity with to have a conversation.
More and more, I am seeing precisely what McKenzie is describing people of identity privilege who are identifying as allies almost as if it is a core part of their identity.
Whats worse, I keep seeing people respond to criticism about their oppressive language or problematic humor with, But Im an ally!
For instance, I recently saw an acquaintance (who notably identifies as Straight) post a pretty problematic joke about Gay men on Twitter.
Aside from expressing my discontent in a tweet, I reached out to her in a private message to explain why I took issue with her joke.
Her response, though, was to say, Jamie, you know that Im an LGBT ally! I speak out for Gay rights all the time! This was clearly just a joke.
And therein lies the problem.
The identification of ally was so prominent in this persons mind that she couldnt even hear criticism of how her actions were out of alignment with her professed desire to be an ally!
So allies, lets talk.
Credit Where Credit is Due
Before I say anything else, though, I should note something important about this article.
None of what I am writing here are my ideas.
They are drawn from Mia McKenzies piece, from conversations Ive had with people of many different marginalized identities, from theorists, novelists, bloggers but none of them are inherently mine.
They are the ideas of the People of Color, Queer-identified people, women, differently-abled people, poor folks, Jewish people, Muslim people, Atheists, undocumented citizens, and others.
And noting this is important.
Because part of being an ally means giving credit where credit is due and never taking credit for the anti-oppressive thinking, writing, theorizing, and action of the marginalized and oppressed.
Which I guess leads me to my point.
10 Things Every Ally Needs to Remember
There are lots of ways to be a great ally and innumerable ways to be a terrible one.
But its not rocket science.
There are simple things you can keep in mind and do in order to be a better person currently operating in solidarity with the marginalized or oppressed.
And while this list is not comprehensive, its definitely somewhere to start.
1. Being an Ally is About Listening
As McKenzie puts it, Shut up and listen.
As someone striving to be an ally, the most important thing we can do is listen to as many voices of those were allying ourselves with as possible.
Now, does this mean that we should assume that just because, say, one Person of Color said it that its the absolutely truth that we should parrot? Absolutely not.
If that were the case, then Don Lemon would clearly speak for all Black people.
But listening to a diversity of marginalized voices can help you understand the core of any given issue.
And it also can help you understand why the opinion of your one gay friend is not necessarily the best defense of your use of heterosexist language.
2. Stop Thinking of Ally as a Noun
Being an ally isnt a status.
The moment that we decide Im an ally, were in trouble.
As Mia McKenzie puts it:
Currently operating in solidarity with is undeniably an action. It describes what a person is doing in the moment. It does not give credit for past acts of solidarity without regard for current behavior. It does not assume future acts of solidarity. It speaks only to the actions of the present.
3. Ally is Not a Self-Proclaimed Identity
Really, being an ally is not an identity at all, but its vitally important that we understand that we cannot simply decide we are allies.
Being in solidarity is something we can strive for, but in the end, it is the choice of those we are attempting to ally ourselves to as to whether they trust us enough to call us an ally.
Additionally, just because one person considers me an ally, that does not mean that every person of that marginalized identity considers me an ally or should!
Trust is something earned through concerted action, not given simply because of our actions in a particular arena or context.
4. Allies Dont Take Breaks
The thing about oppression is that it is constant.
Those who are oppressed and marginalized in our society do not get to take breaks and respites.
Thus, if you truly want to act in solidarity, you cannot simply retreat into your privilege when you just dont want to engage.
This is one of the hardest things for me in being an ally.
Sometimes I just dont have the energy to respond to my super classist uncle or to that racist comment form a Facebook friend.
I dont want to get into an endless discussion about how they didnt mean it that way or how Im just being too PC or sensitive.
But People of Color have no choice but to resist racism every single day of their lives. Women have no choice but to weather the shit storm of misogyny every day of their lives. Differently abled people have no choice but to deal with and respond to ableism every day of their lives.
And in the end, part of the privilege of your identity is that you have a choice about whether or not to resist oppression.
And falling back into your privilege, especially when you are most needed, is not being in solidarity.
5. Allies Educate Themselves Constantly
Standing in solidarity with a marginalized or oppressed person or people means that we need to know our shit.
We need to educate ourselves about the issues facing those with whom we want to be allied and about the history of said oppression.
One of the most important types of education is listening (see #1), but there are endless resources (books, blogs, media outlets, speakers, YouTube videos, etc.) to help you learn.
What you should not do, though, is expect those with whom you want to ally yourself to teach you.
That is not their responsibility.
Sure, listen to them when they decide to drop some knowledge or perspective, but do not go to them and expect them to explain their oppression for you.
6. You Cant Be an Ally in Isolation
To a certain degree, it is entirely possible for someone to stand in solidarity with a group of marginalized people even if they have no relationships with said people.
At a surface level, you can support the cause and advocate in your community for equal rights or speak out against oppression.
But solidarity in total isolation lacks one vital thing: accountability.
This is particularly important for people of privilege, but really any person who wants to act in solidarity needs to recognize that allyship cannot exist in isolation.
This is not to say that your one Black friend legitimizes all of your actions and self-professed allyship.
In fact, some of the most important accountability comes from relationships that are not friendships.
But without a diverse community to engage with and without other activists to hold you accountable, your understanding of solidarity can very quickly become paternalism or, worse, outright recreation of oppression.
7. Allies Dont Need to Be in the Spotlight
I cant help but acknowledge the irony of my writing this one, as my work literally puts me in the spotlight in some conversations about oppression, but hang with me.
True solidarity means supporting the work of those youre allying yourself to, not solely creating a platform for your own voice and work.
Sure, your privilege may afford you the spotlight sometimes, and there are times when you can use that spotlight to talk to people who share your identity (see #8), but whenever possible, allies turn that spotlight away from themselves and to the voices that are so often marginalized and ignored.
In my own work, I work hard to ensure that my work is grounded squarely in the scholarship and lived experiences of those with whom I ally myself, and I work hard to share or abdicate the spotlight to those with whom I attempt to act in solidarity whenever possible.
Perhaps I fail more than I succeed in this realm, but it is something I must continue to keep central in my praxis.
8. Allies Focus on Those Who Share Their Identity
As a person who benefits every single day from White privilege, it is not my place to engage People of Color in a discussion about what is or is not racist. Thats not solidarity.
However, I have a very specific responsibility in engaging conversations about racism: talking to other White people.
Beyond listening, arguably the most important thing that I can do to act in solidarity is to engage those who share my identity.
As a man, I have a specific responsibility to engage men in building a more positive masculinity and standing up to misogyny and sexism.
As a White person, I have a responsibility to stand up to racism and work to bring White people into the anti-racist conversation in a way that they can hear and access.
As an able-bodied person, I have a responsibility to call out examples of everyday ableism.
9. When Criticized or Called Out, Allies Listen, Apologize, Act Accountably, and Act Differently Going Forward
The single most important thing Ive ever been told about being an ally came from a professor of Color who profoundly impacted my life:
If you choose to do social justice work, you are going to screw up a lot. Be prepared for that. And when you screw up, be prepared to listen to those who you hurt, apologize with honesty and integrity, work hard to be accountable to them, and make sure you act differently going forward.
There are few lessons more important for allies to understand than this one.
10. Allies Never Monopolize the Emotional Energy
One of the things that I love about the White Privilege Conference is its commitment to accountable racial caucusing spaces where White folks can meet with other White people, holding them accountable as they process their feelings or learning and where People of Color can process without the intrusiveness of White privilege and oppression.
In my experience, the White caucus can get pretty emotional, but the facilitators are trained and ready to hold people accountable to their privilege and process.
Ive also heard that the various People of Color caucuses can be pretty emotional, charged with anger and sadness and hope and community.
That space is vital.
Virtually every year, though, there is a White person who doesnt get the need for these spaces.
A few years back, a White woman burst into one of the People of Color caucuses, throwing herself on the floor, crying, asking for forgiveness, bemoaning her Whiteness and her role in oppression.
And I honestly think this woman would have considered herself an ally.
One of the more common and egregious mistakes supposed allies can make is to expect emotional energy from those to whom we ally ourselves.
To once again quote McKenzie, [T]he people who experience racism, misogyny, ableism, queerphobia, transphobia, classism, etc. are exhausted.
The last thing they need is our monopolizing of the emotional energy to only further their exhaustion.
Surely allies need emotional support, but it must come form other allies.
Dont expect marginalized people to do the emotional work for you or feel sorry for you or forgive you.
Solidarity is vitally important to any movement toward social justice, but it also runs the tremendous risk of recreating the very power structures of oppression that it purports to challenge.
Sure, the above list is a start, but as someone striving to work in solidarity, I recognize that I should never have the final word.
So please, what would you add?
What else must we who seek to be allies remember if we hope to advance rather than hold back the struggles for justice?
Jamie Utt is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism.
He is the Founder and Director of Education at CivilSchools,
a comprehensive bullying prevention program, a diversity and
inclusion consultant, and sexual violence prevention
educator based in Minneapolis, MN. He lives with his loving
partner and his funtastic dog. He blogs weekly at Change
from Within. Learn more about his work at his website
and follow him on Twitter @utt_jamie
Read his articles here and book him for speaking
engagements here .
According to some masculinity theorists, we are in the midst of a crisis. For centuries and across cultures, mature masculine psychology was achieved through the intimate relationship between the mature and immature masculine, the tribal elder and the young initiate, the father and the son. The processes that used to usher boys into adulthood have eroded, leaving recent generations of men increasingly wounded, underdeveloped and uninitiated -- starving for the vital connection with mature masculine energy. This yearning is father hunger.
Father hunger is particularly relevant for gay men. After all, the first important relationship that serves as a template for future love and intimacy with men is between a boy and his father. Many gay men experience a particularly painful distance from their fathers -- resulting in men who have some of their most basic father needs unmet. Gay men are also more likely not to have masculine role models or to participate in the cultural processes that help them mature into adult masculinity. It's easy, without the intervention of the mature masculine, for a young gay man to become a "lost boy." He finds it nearly impossible to fulfill his promise in the world, and his true gifts often lie dormant. It is not until the internal immature masculine unites with the mature masculine that a man's potential can be realized.
Father hunger is the yearning for mature masculine energy, the intimacy of the father-son bond and the need to be initiated and blessed by the ritual elder. With some stretch of the imagination, one can explore how father hunger seems to appear in some of the fantasies, imagery, role-play and sexuality of gay men.
Probably the most obvious expression of father hunger is in Daddy-boy sexuality and relationships. In a conscious manner, some gay men seek out older men, dominant men, or men who can serve as mentors. Daddy-boy sexuality involves different aspects of this psychology, including being the "good boy" for Daddy in order to get his praise and blessing, and to "make Daddy proud." Other men seek the dominance and submission found in Daddy-boy dynamics, seeking to be initiated and guided into deeper parts of their masculine psyche. Some seek the mature masculine nurturance, intimacy and mentorship that can occur between generations of men. Even in relationships and sexuality that are not labeled as "Daddy-boy," many gay men can identify with aspects of this dynamic.
Some men fantasize about an erotic father-son relationship. The imagery of a father being sexual with his son is a potent manifestation of father hunger being expressed. There are fantasies and sex play that involve roles such as the uncle and his nephew, the older babysitter and the youngster, the big brother and his little brother, etc. All these themes eroticize the familial relationship, expressing the deep need for intimacy between the mature and immature masculine.
Father hunger includes the desire for mentorship and learning. Many sexual fantasies include the roles of the mentor being eroticized. We see the classic scenarios of the coach spending extra time with one of his players, the doctor taking advantage of his young patient, the teacher giving private instruction to his male student, or the priest sexualizing the altar boy. Sex play in this area can involve the eroticization of sexual initiation -- being "taught" or "introduced" to sexuality.
In primitive cultures, boys were ushered into adulthood by the ritual elder and the adult male tribe. This often involved ritualized initiation rites of pain, humiliation and suffering in the service of expanding the boy's ego and developing his inner strength. This was typically conducted in sacred masculine space. After enduring his challenge, the boy was then embraced, blessed and accepted into the world of men.
Many sexual dynamics of BDSM -- including flogging, servitude, spanking, and sexualized pain and torture -- can be understood as the need to be initiated by the mature masculine in action. There are striking parallels between initiation rites of the past and BDSM practices of today. Both make use of masculine space that is controlled by the ritual elder or the dominant. Both involve some ordeal of pain or struggle, and both are followed by masculine bonding and blessing. There is an initiation hunger at play in some of these dynamics. Initiation hunger may also express itself in other sexual scenarios such as fantasizing a gang bang.
Power and authority
Hyper-masculinity is a sexual ideal for many gay men and it permeates many themes in gay sexual psychology. Some of the most powerful fantasy objects for gay men include police officers, army sergeants, firemen, the boss, the "Sir," etc. These are all examples of the powerful masculine male who embodies the father's authority and his ability to maintain order, set limits and even mete out punishment.
Of course, there are many other reasons why a guy might like cops, want to lick boots or want to date older men ... but father hunger is a powerful need that manifests today in our culture and consciousness.
Dr. Omar Minwalla is a clinical sexologist, licensed psychologist and clinical director of the Sexual Recovery Institute. He specializes in sex addiction, sexual offending, transgender issues, sexual orientation, BDSM and paraphilic sexuality. In addition to his work at the institute, he has a private practice and conducts sexual health seminars for men who have sex with men.
Do you have a sexuality question? To send an e-mail,
Two new studies released last week provide new evidence that the mental health challenges gay, lesbian, and bi people experience is not because of their sexual orientation, but because of the stigma and discrimination they experience as a result.
In one study, researchers at Australian National University followed a cohort of about 5,000 LGB adults over eight years to track their life experiences and their mental health. The results showed that there were many risk factors that contributed to negative mental health outcomes, but they werent directly related to individuals non-heterosexual orientations.
For example, survivors of sexual trauma and childhood trauma, rejection in social interactions, not having family or social support, and smoking all contributed to the long-term risk for depression and anxiety. When LGB people didnt experience these factors??when they had positive support and affirmation in their lives??their risk of long-term mental health problems was no higher than for straight people.
In other words, LGB people do experience higher rates of mental health problems, but thats only because they are more vulnerable to rejection and stigma??and are more likely to turn to coping mechanisms as a result. As lead researcher Richard Burns explained, When we adjusted for these other mental health risk factors, we found no major risk associated with sexual orientation itself.
Anti-gay researcher now tries to claim stigma doesnt harm LGBT people
Conservatives are eager to reject research sympathetic to the LGBT community.
The research did show that bisexual people are more vulnerable to these negative outcomes, as other studies have confirmed. But this could still be due to mitigating factors. In terms of those who identified as bisexual orientation, they did appear to have an increased risk of poor mental ill health, Burns said, but we found that was being driven by other well-known risk factors for poor mental health.
We concluded that all things being equal that there is no particular mental health risk for people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation.
These results jibe with a new report from the Oasis Foundation, an LGBTI Christian organization in the UK. A response to the House of Bishops upholding the Church of Englands opposition to marriage equality, the report draws connections between the mental health challenges LGB people experience and the messages they hear from religious bodies.
According to the report, LGB people are 12 times more likely to experience negative mental health outcomes if they were raised in religious households. It is beyond reasonable doubt, the report asserts, that it is the Church and local churches who are fulling this negativity.
What Happens When Gay People Are Told That Homosexuality Is A Sin?
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at Orlandos Pulse nightclub, Christian conservatives known to be anti-LGBT
Noting that all but one of the major denominations in the UK have positions and policies which actively discriminate against people in same-sex relationships, the report concludes that religious organizations bear primary responsibility for the consequences LGB people experience. In the UK, local churches are one of the biggest organised discriminators of LGB people. Christians are also the biggest grouping of people who fuel negative attitudes about same-sex relationships in media and society.
Studies in the U.S. have similarly documented that stigma
and discrimination have a significant
negative impact on LGB mental health
and likewise the effect is very
Easter. The day Christians celebrate new life in a risen Savior. Its a day to think about crucifixion and resurrection. What God is calling us to do versus what we want. Its a day of new beginnings.
My favorite memories of Easter as a child are the Easter baskets (of course!), the matching dresses with my older sister (a tradition the younger one loves and the older one dreads!), and the patent leather shoes and white gloves (not kidding!).
Every bit as fun as the actual baskets on Easter morning is the search to find the baskets because Easter bunny hid them! I dont remember personally finding them (I was the youngest of six until my brother came along) but the hunt was always a thrill.
One particular year we were searching for the baskets and suddenly my mother asked me to go outside to get the newspaper. What?? Right now? Were right in the middle of the hunt!
I dragged myself outside, grabbed the paper, and headed back in. Then I saw them. In the front window behind the living room drapes were the baskets. I bounded in the door: I found the baskets! Mom had a big smile on her face. Even though the bunny had put the baskets there, Mom knewand shed sent me out so Id find them!
I thought that going out in the middle of the hunt was the wrong move. I thought I knew, but Mom knew. Mom had something better for me than searching in vain for the baskets. Her plan led me directly to them.
So heres the point. I have met so many parents in turmoil because their children have come out. They feel lost, their head is spinning and they are in despair. They dont see how this could possibly lead any of them to a peace and joy beyond their understanding, and actually deepen and strengthen their faith.
But it doesif you take the journey.
I am asking you to step outside as Mom asked me that Easter morning. Really. Step outside of your box. What? Right now? But they cant be gay/bi/transI have raised them in the church.
I know. But you will not find life inside among the chaos where everyone else is frantically looking. You need to step outside and get a new perspective. God knows how to lead you in this, my friends. God calls you to love, and let the answers come when they come. You know that magnificent God you sing about and learn about and talk about every Sunday? That God really has got this.
If you can quiet your spirit, you will hear that still small voice saying, Shh just go where I lead you. No need to be afraidyour child is fine. Theres a journey ahead, and you can trust me. I got it. I will crucify your understanding and resurrect new love, beautiful and free.
Before you even realize it, you will find yourself more in love with your family, and more in love with God, than you ever dreamed possible. Its counterintuitive, but then crucifixions and resurrections usually are.
Give up searching in the usual places, open the door, and go outside. God will give you everything you need.
As Jesus says, Just follow me.
Happy Crucifixion and Resurrection.
FreedHearts has private, secret Facebook
support groups for Moms, and one for Dads. If you would like
more information, please just email me at: email@example.com
A large study of gay brothers adds to evidence that genes influence men's chances of being homosexual, but the results aren't strong enough to prove it.
Some scientists believe several genes might affect sexual orientation. Researchers who led the new study of nearly 800 gay brothers say their results bolster previous evidence pointing to genes on the X chromosome.
They also found evidence of influence from a gene or genes on a different chromosome. But the study doesn't identify which of hundreds of genes located in either place might be involved.
Smaller studies seeking genetic links to homosexuality have had mixed results.
The new evidence "is not proof but it's a pretty good indication" that genes on the two chromosomes have some influence over sexual orientation, said Dr. Alan Sanders, the lead author. He studies behavioral genetics at NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois.
Experts not involved in the study were more skeptical.
Neil Risch, a genetics expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the data are statistically too weak to demonstrate any genetic link. Risch was involved in a smaller study that found no link between male homosexuality and chromosome X.
Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Harvard Medical School, called the new study "intriguing but not in any way conclusive."
The work was published Monday by the journal Psychological Medicine. The National Institutes of Health paid for the research.
The researchers say they found potential links to male homosexuality in a portion of chromosome X and on chromosome 8, based on an analysis of genetic material in blood or saliva samples from participants.
Chromosome X is one of two human sex chromosomes; the other is chromosome Y, present only in men.
The study authors note that animal research suggests a gene located in one region of chromosome X may contribute to some sexual behavior; it's one of the same regions cited in the new study.
Specific causes of homosexuality are unknown. Some scientists think social, cultural, family and biological factors are involved, while some religious groups consider it an immoral choice.
Study participant Dr. Chad Zawitz, a Chicago physician, called the research "a giant step forward" toward answering scientific questions about homosexuality and helping reduce the stigma gays often face.
Being gay "is sort of like having certain eye color or skin color it's just who you are," Zawitz said. "Most heterosexuals I know didn't choose to be heterosexual. It's puzzling to me why people don't understand."
Sanders' research: www.gaybros.com
I was 19 when I met my wife, but it took another decade before I got comfortable with words like "lesbian" and "bisexual."
Since then, I've openly shared my life and relationship in essays for publications like Cosmopolitan and on Bravo television.
Then a funny thing happened this year: Women began coming out to me.
Women reached out to me through various forms of social media.
When we think about coming out, we usually think of that awkward adolescent time of emerging sexuality. But for older women, coming out can be a whole other experience an especially challenging one that creates a delicate new identity.
Take Sarah, who came out at 28, after nine years with a man to whom she was also engaged.
In an email to me, she explained, "I had to confront a lot of internalized homophobia in myself, even in subconscious ways like being ashamed to appear gay or let people find out that I was."
Then, there was the email from "Jen" (not her real name) over 1,000 words long sent from a fake account.
She was 41 when she reached out to me. "How did you reconcile with the fact that you'd be with a woman the rest of your life?" she asked. Jen told me she made a female friend at work in 2007. The woman had a husband and Jen had a boyfriend. They became inseparable. They've kept this secret for eight years, and Jen confesses of her girlfriend, "One of her sons told her he'd never talk to her again if he found out something was going on with us." The e-mail closed with: "I've changed our names to protect our silly secrets."
The secrets she shared didn't feel silly. They were about love both romantic and familial and lies.
They were about unexpectedly falling in love with another woman and the ways in which it could change both of their lives at a point when they thought they were already settled in their identities. They were about guilt and fear and doubt.
Sure, we all expect to change some as we grow older, but we expect certain things seemingly core parts of our identity we take for granted to stay the same.
Says Jen, "For 30+ years I envisioned myself with a husband, not a wife."
Dr. Darcy Sterling, whose practice Alternatives Counseling specializes in the LGBT community, knows this struggle firsthand. "As someone who came out later in life, I too wanted certainty around my orientation." She explains, "I didn't dislike sex with men but I preferred it with women." Ultimately she made peace with her fluid sexuality and chose to identify as a lesbian. "I find it easier to wrap my complicated head around than making overarching declarations about my orientation, past, present or future," she says.
Kathy Prezbinkowski, Ph.D., M.S.N., and leader of the Washington-based support group Coming Out Women, points out that older women who come out often have to confront a lot of ingrained expectations. The group aims to create a safe space for women to listen and share stories and strives to help them break out of the "mold to fit in the heterosexual box." Women in the group range in age from mid-30s to their mid-70s, and many have already started families. Prezbinkowski says:
"More than 50% of the 2000+ women at our group had been married to men some still in marriages and had children, and even grandchildren. The vast majority knew that they had attractions to women, but followed the societal norm."
Admitting their feelings to strangers is one thing, but opening up to loved ones remains a daunting conversation.
"I practiced saying the word 'gay' to my infant," Natalie, 34, told me by email. She had both a husband and a newborn before she identified as a lesbian.
Christi, a 38-year-old mom twice married to men, admits that telling her kids wasn't easy. In an email, she said she was worried about hurting her relationship with her daughter: "There is a lot of fear and guilt involved in coming to terms with your own sexuality and many more layers of it when it comes to telling other people."
But there are also some benefits to coming out when you're older and wiser. As Christi put it:
"I didn't understand what I was feeling when I was younger. For me, coming out at 35 was a million times easier than it might have been in my teens or 20s. By 35 I had a lot of life experience, more confidence, and I cared less what other people think."
Coming to terms with a new identity is hugely challenging, but for many of these women, it marked the beginning of their path to real happiness.
Not long after our initial correspondence, Jen wrote to me again, sharing her real name and information. She said that talking to me about her identity helped her to see her life in a new light. "I feel forever indebted to you," she wrote. The reason our conversation changed Jen's life? I listened with openness and compassion. That's it.
She shared another secret: She proposed. The couple is not fully out to their families yet, but they're working on it.
Meanwhile, Christi and her wife are expecting a baby this winter, and Sarah and her wife were married earlier this spring.
Sarah says this is not how she pictured her adult life when she was little, "but I'm ever so glad that I'm here."
Coming Out Women's mission statement asserts that all women deserve empowerment, authenticity, and wholeness. That doesn't begin with having all the answers. It can begin simply with finding someone who will listen. We are all empowered when we project the compassion we seek in others.
"When women first arrive at group," says Prezbinkowski of
those who gather at Coming Out Women, "perhaps after
numerous attempts, they know they are 'coming home.'"
As a woman living in New York City, it's no secret that I've had my fair share of uncomfortable and scary experiences with street harassment. But after "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman," a hidden-camera experiment documenting the experience, went viral, the responses were surprisingly mixed. One of the biggest complaints was "This isn't fair to guys!" Well, this parody does a pretty good job of explaining why the street harassment conversation isn't a two-way street.
OK sure, this video is a joke. But it's illustrating an
important difference in the way women and men experience
street harassment. What's absolutely not a joke were the
reactions of so many who tried to legitimize the catcalling
in the original video. Take a look at some of the comments
from the original video. Goo to:
Christian Scripture Really Condemn Homosexuality? (Hell
Does such treatment have anything to do with God? No, not really. It is about fear.
Does it have to do with the Bible? Not at all. Those who use Christian Scripture to stand against same-sex relationships are twisting those Scriptures to justify the marginalization and oppression of an entire group of people.
The rest of this post is courtesy of our friend, Pastor Jim Rigby. With his permission, I share it with you.
5 Things You Need to Know About the Bible and Homosexuality.
1. Neither Greek nor Hebrew had a word for the modern concept of homosexuality. The English word homosexuality was not coined until the 19th century. This means that phrases like a man shall not lie with a man as with a woman, are not as clear as it may seem. They may refer to other same sex practices such as temple prostitution, rape or pederasty, but we dont really know. Jesus did not mention the topic.
If the point of the text were to condemn all homosexuality, it is strange that women would be left out of the prohibition. The best concordances and modern commentaries no longer use the word homosexual to translate those phrases because they could mean other things. In any case, because the terms are not completely clear, the benefit of the doubt should be given to those being attacked.
2. It is dishonest to say biblical marriage was between one man and one woman. Many characters in scripture had multiple spouses. Some of them impregnated their slaves or the widows of their dead relatives. Biblical marriage was nothing like our modern concept of marriage. The Bible says nothing about needing a wedding license, nor the blessings of the church. (Read more)
3. The cleanliness codes of Leviticus were cultic practices, not ethical norms. I will let Rabbis explain what Leviticus means to modern Judaism, but in the Christian covenant such cultic practice are clearly overturned. Unclean foods were considered acceptable, and Christians were specifically commanded to call no person unclean.
The healings of Jesus seemed to focus on people whose illness would render them unclean by the Levitical Code, and one of the first converts to the new religion was a Eunuch. If the Levitical prohibitions were still intact that never would have happened.
4. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is often interpreted as a condemnation of homosexuality, but the prophets clearly refute that interpretation. The crime of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality, but cruelty:
This is what your sister Sodom has done wrong. She and her daughters were proud that they had plenty of food and had peace and security. They didnt help the poor and the needy.(Ezekiel 16:49)
Hear the word of Jehovah, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. What unto me is the multitude of your sacrifices? And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:10-17)
5. Finally, the ace in the hole for those who try to use the Bible to attack the LGBTQI community is Pauls diatribe in the first chapter of Romans. What homophobic theology always leaves out is the whole point of the passage, which is found in Romans 2:1, Therefore none of you has an excuse when you judge others. In other words, the entire passage was NOT a condemnation of homosexuality, but of judgmental Christianity.
Amazing isnt it? That so many unloving people in the church have taken stories and passages condemning mistreatment of the vulnerable, and used them to persecute the vulnerable?!
When heard in the spirit of love, the stories of the Bible are a source of ever-widening compassion. When heard arrogantly and lovelessly, the Bible becomes one of the deadliest books ever written. When we project our current prejudices upon the ancient stories we weaponize the text in the same way violent prisoners see every spoon as a potential knife.
Christianity was a call to a new understanding of humankind where there are no longer religious insiders and outsiders, no longer masters and slaves, and no longer gender roles. (Gal. 3:28)
Gay bashing is a renunciation of the very heart of
I stayed quiet; quiet was always better than saying the wrong thing, something that might have given me away. When we had that conversation I was still two years away from finally saying those three words aloud to anyone other than the face that stared back at me in the mirror.
To be completely honest I had said those words to one other person, my mother. It was a few days before I started my senior season of high school in Bloomington, Illinois. After days of making deals with myself and breaking promise after promise, I broke down and told her. The next thing that she said to me was one of the best and worst pieces of advice I have ever received: "Hide it, whatever you do, hide it."
I was crushed. I do not think I have ever cried as hard as I did that week. Three days after I told her, Mom had the first of seven strokes that year. She no longer remembers that conversation, but it has stuck with me. I completely trusted her, so I heeded her advice and hid it. Hiding who I was became my obsession -- any hint of being gay was avoided, any conversation that may be considered gay did not include me. I became reserved, I became a fake. That year I was elected as homecoming king. I was convinced that people did not like me for me, but for the person I acted as. I was living a life I had only dreamed about before, and could not enjoy it. I was worried about maintaining the facade.
Looking back at it, I am not sure if what Mom said was either totally right or totally wrong. At the time I was focused entirely on maintaining the image of being a straight football player. Football consumed my life -- school, practice, hangout with teammates, and repeat. I figured if I just focused on being the best football player everything else would go away.
At the time I don't think I could name a single gay athlete. This was only a few years before Michael Sam or Jason Collins came out. But I was so worried about myself I never searched online for any other gay football players. My mom and I shared the same fears -- that if I was open about who I was, I would not have the opportunity to achieve my dream of playing college football. I can understand that fear and it would endure for the next three years. I think the advice was right for me at the time. I was not ready to come out publicly at the time and I don't think the game would have accepted it. The fear that we felt consumed my thoughts each day.
I was an offensive lineman on a team in the Big Ten, playing the game I loved. What more could I dream of? It was everything I had worked for. I got to spend each day with some great teammates, lifting, practicing and joking around. Every Friday, a group of student-athletes would go and volunteer at schools around Minneapolis. The kids would go nuts when they saw all the athletes walking down the hall. We would get to read, sing, answer a few questions and occasionally dance with the kids.
Balancing the scales between who I am and the dream that I wanted to live was a constant struggle. Every moment was tainted by questions of, "Is this how I am supposed to feel?" or "Would I feel different if people knew?" I remember listening to one of Coach Jerry Kill's post-game speeches, when he spoke about simply enjoying the moments in life, and all I could think about was what I would be feeling or how I would act if I was out at the time. The toll of these thoughts finally broke me after my junior season.
As the new year started in 2014 I forced myself to accept that this was the year that I would finally tell someone again. This would be it. No really, this year was it. I could not go another year living two lives. I had to do it. The night of Feb. 9, 2014, I texted two of my closest teammates saying we had to talk.
That was the night that Michael Sam came out. I am incredibly grateful to him. Selfishly he allowed me a chance to judge my friends' reactions before really telling them. It took another two days until we could all sit down together and chat. On Feb. 11, after team training table, Alex and another tight end on the team and I all got in my car and drove down to the River Flats area of Minneapolis, where we could just park and talk.
It was eerily silent compared to our usual banter. Two thoughts dominated my mind: "How do I get out of this?" and "Is this really happening?" When we got to the flats I parked the car and we sat for what seemed like hours. Finally, Alex just asked, "What did you want to tell us?"
I tried to respond but I couldn't say anything. My mouth simply would not form the words. "I'm ... I'm gay," came my whisper. I was ready for them to go off, to demand to go home. I expected them to disown me. None of that happened. Instead, I heard, "that takes balls, man" and "I am proud of you."
I did not believe what was going on. Staring ahead as tears rolled down my face, I answered a few of their questions -- "How long have you known? Why now?" Eventually they both said that they always thought that something was "off" about me, especially that I never really talked about who I found attractive or who I was dating.
The relief of just two people knowing was incredible. I felt better than I ever had. I finally could focus on what was going on around me even though I still wasn't totally out. After that night, word slowly spread. We never had a team meeting nor did I ever really announce it but people learned and I did not deny it anymore.
On the team, things that are not really accepted don't really get mentioned. Things that are accepted or don't really bother people are what we joke about.
"Wow, you really are gay, huh?" laughed one of the tight ends, as I ordered a hot chocolate from Starbucks a few nights later (I don't like coffee and hot chocolate is just delicious). We were all laughing. You might not believe me but that was the moment I knew I was accepted by them. On the team, things that are not really accepted don't really get mentioned. Things that are accepted or don't really bother people are what we joke about. It is a weird kind of reverse psychology. But, for me, actually being made fun of for it was when I knew they were totally cool about it.
I won't lie and say it was all perfect; some people did not take it well. However, the support, acceptance and love I felt outweighed all the negativity. There were a few teammates that did not like it and mostly they just ignored me. Others took a few conversations before we were cool. It was nowhere near the outright rejection and hatred I had feared. I think the coaches knew, but they never said anything about it. I was not really on their radar much that year since I was not a starter or key backup.
I was a scout team player on the offensive line, nowhere close to a star player. My love of football evolved from one that revolved around actual playing time to the time spent with the team, the workouts, the banter that filled almost every waking moment. I got six plays against the University of Iowa (a big rival) my senior year, and would not trade it for the world. Those six plays made all of the 300s drills and early morning workouts worth it.
Yet it was the acceptance from my teammates that I will remember. Being part of a family that did just about everything together for four years was amazing. Being part of a family that turned out to be so much more accepting and supportive than I could have imagined made me realize that I had nothing to fear. The only thing I should have been afraid of was what was in my own mind.
I am not sure if my mother was right when she said to hide who I am. It has allowed me to live my dream, but it also denied me that dream. I have one regret from my time at Minnesota: I wish I came out sooner. The reality was so much better than I ever imagined. When I was hiding and full of fear, I would imagine coming out and it always ended with rejection, hate or loneliness. I did not once expect it to go OK. In reality, it went great. I was surrounded by people who cared and supported me.
My coming out experience taught me that the fear I grew up with about being gay doesn't need to exist anymore. Yes, there is still discrimination against the LGBT community. Yes, I have lost some friends and family members. But, I believe times are changing, things are getting better. It is our responsibility to not let fear stop us.
I am proud of who I am. I am happy being the man I was born to be.
Because of all that I have been through, ridding myself of my own fear, I have become stronger. I have learned to accept myself and build confidence in who I truly am. I came out to my family to love and support. The vast majority of my friends accept me. I am blessed to have them in my life.
It gets better, it truly does. I have emerged stronger than I was before. Fear does not control me anymore.
Luke McAvoy, 23, played offensive line for the Minnesota
Golden Gophers from 2011-14. He majored in English
Literature and was named All-Academic Big Ten. He is now a
middle school teacher in Milwaukee. He can be reached via
email at: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or on Twitter: @lukemcavoy.
The Truth about Sodom and Gomorrah
Tim Teeman joins HuffPost Live to explain why
lumbersexual is the new metrosexual. "The biggest drag
Offered his virgin daughters. Rape Adultry
Plus: Judges 19:13-27
In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that homosexuals had "gifts and qualities to offer" and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples.
The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops on the family, said the Church should challenge itself to find "a fraternal space" for homosexuals without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.
While the text did not signal any change in the Church's condemnation of homosexual acts or gay marriage, it used less judgmental and more compassionate language than that seen in Vatican statements prior to the 2013 election of Pope Francis.
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home," said the document, known by its Latin name "relatio".
"Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?" it asked.
John Thavis, Vatican expert and author of the bestselling 2013 book "The Vatican Diaries", called the report "an earthquake" in the Church's attitude towards gays.
"The document clearly reflects Pope Francis' desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on marriage and family issues," he said.
London-based QUEST, one of the oldest Catholic gay rights groups, said in a statement that parts of the synod document "represent a breakthrough in that they acknowledge that such unions have an intrinsic goodness and constitute a valuable contribution to wider society and the common good."
The Vatican document will be the basis for discussion for the second and final week of the bishops' assembly, known as a synod. It will also serve for further reflection among Catholics around the world ahead of another, definitive synod next year.
A number of participants at the closed-door gathering have said the Church should tone down its condemnatory language when referring to gay couples and avoid phrases such as "intrinsically disordered" when speaking of homosexuals.
That was the phrase used by former Pope Benedict in a document written before his election, when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and head of the Vatican's doctrinal department.
The language and tone of Monday's document, read to the assembly in the presence of Pope Francis, appeared to show that the advocates of a more merciful tone toward homosexuals and Catholics in so-called "irregular situations" had prevailed.
It said that the 1.2 billion-member Church should see the development of its position on homosexuals as "an important educational challenge" for the global institution.
While the Church continued to affirm that gay unions "cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman", it should recognize that there could be positive aspects to relationships in same-sex couples.
"Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners," the document said.
Pope Francis has said the Church must be more compassionate with homosexuals, saying last year: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge."
The Church teaches that while homosexual tendencies are
not sinful, homosexual acts are. Elizabeth Saint-Guily,
spokeswoman for David and Jonathan, a gay Christian
association in France, said the group had received news of
the synod document "with joy," even though not all of the
group's expectations had not been met. "The fact that we are
even on the agenda is amazing ...," she said.
Not so fast. The haters have spoken. Vatican
alters draft report translation about gays
The Vatican is watering down a ground-breaking overture to gays - but only if they speak English.
After a draft report by bishops debating family issues came under criticism from many conservative English-speaking bishops, the Vatican released a new English translation on Thursday.
A section initially entitled "Welcoming homosexuals" is now "Providing for homosexual persons," and the tone of the text is significantly colder.
The initial English version - released Monday along with the original - accurately reflected the Italian version in both letter and spirit, and contained a remarkable tone of acceptance to gays. The other translations were similarly faithful to the Italian and didn't deviate in tone.
Conservatives were outraged, and the English was changed.
The first English version asked if the church was capable of "welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities." The new version asks if the church is "capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing ... them ... a place of fellowship in our communities."
The first version said homosexual unions can often constitute a "precious support in the life of the partners." The new one says gay unions often constitute "valuable support in the life of these persons."
Other changes were made in other sections of the text, but without significantly altering the meaning or tone.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said English-speaking bishops had requested the changes on the grounds that the first translation was hasty and error-ridden.
When Lombardi was shown how significantly the meaning had changed, he pledged to investigate and didn't rule out a third version.
Lombardi stressed that the original Italian remains the official text, and noted that the draft is being revised top-to-bottom for a final report which will go to a vote among bishops on Saturday.
If two-thirds approve it, the report will form the basis of discussions in dioceses around the world before another meeting of bishops next year, and ultimately a teaching document by Pope Francis.
Based on the complaints to the original text and the number of amendments proposed Thursday, the drafting committee appointed by the pope has its work cut out for it if it wants to get a two-thirds majority.
The Vatican released summaries of the amendments from the 10 working groups that have been negotiating all week. They are near-unanimous in insisting that church doctrine on family life be more fully asserted and explained - that marriage is between a man and woman, open to children - and that faithful Catholic families should be held up as models and encouraged rather than focus on family problems and "irregular" unions.
The English-speaking working groups were among the most critical. The one headed by Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier of South Africa complained about the translation of the draft report and used the new "providing for" homosexuals language of the revised English translation, suggesting that he or someone in his group might have requested the change.
On Thursday, Francis added Napier, as well as an Australian bishop, to the drafting committee that will compose the final document. It was widely noticed that Francis' initial appointees were largely progressives whom he named after conservatives were elected to head the working groups proposing the amendments.
African bishops, who are among the most conservative on
family issues, were not included in his initial picks.
12 LGBT Facts To Celebrate
I remember hearing the word "fag" tossed around the locker room like it was no big deal.
Like it wasn't the dehumanizing, hateful word that it is.
I am gay. And I, like millions of LGBT people, remember firsthand the pain I endured in locker rooms and in hallways, and in cafeterias, and sometimes just sitting in class because I was different.
Teens who identify as LGBT are significantly more likely to face bullying and violence at the hands of their peers than their straight counterparts and that takes a toll on their mental health. Kids who are LGBT are at greater risk of depression and more likely to contemplate and commit suicide.
As a queer kid growing up and feeling less than, it seemed like only straight, macho guys could become heroes...
...which is why a new video made by New York City firefighters is so validating. I know "middle school me" would have loved to hear what they had to say.
In the video, which was created in conjunction with the It Gets Better project and in recognition of National Coming Out Day (which falls on Oct. 11 every year), LGBT firefighters in the FDNY opened up about their own struggles being different.
Like, what it's like to feel alone...
"Growing up, I never really felt like I belonged anywhere."
Or what it's like to have parents who say things like...
"Homosexuality is just wrong. It doesn't exist."
They also shared stories of hope and explained that being different is actually pretty cool.
Because sometimes the most powerful thing you can tell a young person who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel is that, yes, things do get better.
"When I decided to come out, I kind of channeled that ... that defiant, I am 'the other.' And I'm OK with that. I'd rather be 'the other' than the cookie cutter." Luke Allen, FDNY
In a statement, FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said,
"As firefighters, paramedics and EMTs in the most diverse city in the world, FDNY members have the tremendous opportunity to inspire young people through their brave work every single day. Through this video, they deliver an important message to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth around the world it absolutely does get better."
I may not have become a firefighter, but I did become a
writer who's very happy with how things are turning out. So
I, too, have to agree: Hang in there! Blue skies are on the
During the 1940s, at least three public universities expelled students and fired faculty who were presumed to be homosexual. The cases at Texas, Wisconsin, and Missouri open a window onto a little known aspect of the history of higher education in the United States. Although we know in a general way that homosexuals were discriminated against during the 1940s, there is scant documentation about the treatment of homosexuality on college campuses.
A paper on this topic that I co-authored with one of my former graduate students, Jennifer Silverman, was just published in the journal History of Education Quarterly. The paper, "'An Indelible Mark': Gay Purges in Higher Education in the 1940s," builds on a small amount of existing literature on the history of homosexuality and campus life.
The purges at the three universities we examined had much in common with a similar purge of gay men and lesbians from the State Department in Washington, D.C., a purge that is widely associated with McCarthyism. Much of what we know about this type of discrimination against gays and lesbians is about the McCarthy era. However, the State Department purge, and the events at Texas, Wisconsin, and Missouri, preceded the rise of Senator McCarthy. While there are some historical works on this topic, none examine the immediate post-World War II period. Most studies of gay students or faculty look at the repression of the 1950s or the period after the Stonewall Riots in 1969.
The history of gays and lesbians on campuses, as either faculty or students, in the pre-McCarthy years has yet to be written. Our research is beginning to change that.
In our paper, we focus on incidents at three universities, although we believe similar incidents likely occurred at other universities at the time. Here are more details about the three cases the paper focuses on. (We used pseudonyms for some people to protect their privacy and the privacy of their families.)
In 1944, the Texas Regents dismissed University of Texas President Homer Rainey. Rainey had previously been the subject of controversy: a champion of academic freedom, he opposed the Regents when they wanted to fire faculty for their political views and when the Regents wanted to censor literature assigned in English classes. The Regents wanted Rainey out. To further bolster the case against him, the Regents contended he had not taken swift or severe enough action against gays on campus. Rainey, who tried to protect faculty who held unpopular political views, did not try to protect students or faculty from being ousted because of accusations of homosexuality.
In some ways, these events from the 1940s mirror what is happening today. In the late 1940s, there was a movement toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians after the publication of the Kinsey Report, which documented that homosexual activity was far more common than many people believed. But just as some people moved toward acceptance, others moved toward increasing severity. In many states, it was not until the late 1940s that sodomy became a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
Today, the legalization of gay marriage draws a lot of attention, but at the same time, in a majority of states there are no laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit, or education. Same-sex couples might be able to marry, but still lose their jobs, or be evicted or expelled.
After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell case, many people asked why it was that public opinion had changed so quickly in favor of gay marriage. A parallel question is, why did the rapid punitive response to homosexuality happen in the mid-20th century? Why was hostility ratcheted up -- and codified -- then, in the wake of the more tolerant views that stemmed from the Kinsey Report? More research needs to be done to fully understand these shifts and processes, in the past and in the present.
The full article is available here: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hoeq.12135/abstract
Margaret A. Nash and Jennifer A. R. Silverman, "'An
Indelible Mark': Gay Purges in Higher Education in the
1940s," History of Education Quarterly 55 (4) (Nov 2015),
Almost 11% of Americans acknowledge some same-sex attraction
And about 19 million Americans have participated in same-sex encounters.
In 2013, there were almost 220,000 children being raised by 125,000 same-sex couples.
The Veterans Association believes that about 1 million of our 21 million veterans are LGBT.
The first modern gay pride flag was designed in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker (The rainbow)
Humans aren't the only animals who experience same sex attraction
It is thought that nearly all bonobos are bisexual (The book Monogrmy Myth claims that they have yet to find an animal (including birds and acquatic creatures) that, according to DNA findings, are strickly heterosexual.)
Sex is used by them to reinforce social bonds and resolve conflict
And they hve an incredibly peaceful society.
9 out of 10 Americans personally know someone who is gay or lesbian (Actually, the other 10% know someone but don't know that they are gay or bisexual. - Editor)
Surveys show that churches in recent years have grown more accepting of same-sex couples.
High schools in at least six states have elected a transgender teen as prom queen or homecoming queen.
In 2013, 72% of Americans surveyed said that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable.
As of October 2014 for the first time over half of Americans live in states with full marriage equality.
How have your views changed over
After the Supreme Court paved the way for same-sex marriages to begin taking place in 6 new states, conservatives in those states are mounting their defenses.
IN, OK, UT, VA, WI wants to continue bans. (Editor's note: It's time all remaining states take the position not to recognize any marriage license from these five states until they change their position on same-sex mariage licenses!)
The report comes as a raft of bills before state legislatures would allow people to refuse service or accommodations to gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people based on their religious beliefs.
The Public Religion Research Institute, drawing on 42,000 interviews conducted in 2015, issued on Thursday (Feb. 18) a new analysis of the American Values Atlas with a look at LGBT issues.
Key findings include:
Even among groups that oppose same-sex marriage, support for protection from discrimination crosses all partisan, religious, geographic, and demographic lines, said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones in a press release.
But support for anti-discrimination laws breaks down by
party lines over religious exemptions, said Jones. The
survey found that 74 percent of Democrats but only 40
percent of Republicans oppose allowing small-business owners
to refuse to provide products or services to gay or lesbian
people if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
When searching for the perfect city to live, you might consider cost of living, job availability, and whether you're willing to endure winter months with below freezing temperatures. Apartment finder site Adobo thinks that its tenants might also like to consider the level of racism, sexism, and antigay sentiment in a potential hometown.
Adobo searched tweets with 154 terms that reference race, gender, and sexual orientation in both neutral and negative ways from June of 2014 to December 2015. With 12 million tweets containing one of the terms, the group went on to categorize states and cities with the most and least derogatory Twitter feeds.
According to a 2014 survey from the Pew Research Center, about 23 percent of Americans use Twitter. While tweets may not tell the whole story, Adobo argues that its findings offer a snapshot into a region's cultures and values.
Overall Offensive Level
Louisiana had the highest instances of all forms of derogatory language, with about one tweet per 87 containing some form of slur. Texas and Nevada came in second and third for tweets containing offensive language. Wyoming and Montana are at the opposite end of the spectrum, with the lowest amount of derogatory language used on Twitter.
Women Have it the Worst
Most of the offensive tweets were against women, using the terms b---h, c--t, hag, bimbo, slut, and twat. Recognizing that bitch can have both positive and negative connotations, Adobo also offered a list that omitted this term, but still found that gender-based insults were the most common.
When including "bitch," researchers at Adobo found that New Orleans had the highest percentage of derogatory comments against women, with about 1 out of every 27 tweets containing a sexist insult. Louisiana also has the widest gender wage gap in the nation, with women earning about 65 percent of what men make, compared to the national average of 78 percent.
A Surprising Leader in Homophobic Comments
Antigay language was next most common form of abuse on Twitter, although tweets containing the terms fag, faggot, homo, dyke, sodomite, lesbo came in a distant second to sexist terms. Adobo found that Buffalo, New York had the highest rate of antigay tweets, with one out of every 625 tweets contain a gay slur. As one of just a few states to offer non-discrimination protections to LGBT people regarding adoption, employment, and housing, a city in New York might seem like an unlikely hub of antigay sentiment. Adobo researchers noted that they did not differentiate between positive and negative comments and that they were "uncertain how much this may reflect more neutral in-group reclamation."
While Adobo didn't rank cities by overall derogatory
comments, there were a few locations that poppsed up
multiple times. Arlington, Texas ranked in the top 10 for
its frequency of antigay, sexist, anti-black, and
anti-Latino tweets. New Orleans was also in the top 10 for
all the aforementioned categories, save for slurs against
1. What is sexual orientation discrimination?
2. Which federal law covers sexual orientation discrimination?
3. Are there any other laws which make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation?
4. What if I am being harassed by someone of the same sex or because of my sexual orientation, how does harassment relate to sexual orientation discrimination?
5. Are homophobic jokes or slurs against the law?
6. What if my employer does not know my sexual orientation?
7. Can I be asked not to discuss my sexual orientation or display a picture of my same-sex partner at work?
8. Am I entitled to employment benefits for my partner and family?
9. Can my employer justify their discrimination on religious grounds?
10. Can I take leave to care for my partner or my partner's family members?
11. What is the difference between sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination?
12. Who enforces the law?
13. How can I file a complaint?
14. What are the remedies available to me?
15. How much time do I have to file a charge of discrimination?
Along with learning how to add two-digit numbers and construct intelligible sentences, second graders in the state of California will soon learn about all kinds of family structuresincluding those with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents.
This week, the California Board of Education unanimously approved a history and social studies curriculum that includes prominent LGBT figures and milestonesfrom the Stonewall riots of 1969 to the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015for public school students.
An LGBT-inclusive curriculum helps create an environment where all students can thrive, Rick Zbur, the executive director of Equality California, said Thursday in a press release. Zbur noted that LGBT students face higher rates of bullying and depression than do other kids. By seeing themselves reflected in lessons and materials, students experiences are validated and their sense of self-worth reinforced, creating the opportunity for students to be able to achieve academically, he said.
In the new curriculum, LGBT milestones will pop up in history and social studies lessons multiple times throughout elementary, middle, and high school. After the initial introduction about diverse families, fourth-grade students will learn about the emergence of gay rights advocacy groups in the 1950s and one of the nations first openly gay public officials, Harvey Milk . In eighth grade, students will learn about traditional gender norms and groups that rebelled against them when settling out West in the first half of the 20th century.
A more in-depth analysis comes junior year of high school, with a history curriculum that looks at attempts to weed out gay and lesbian service members from the military; surveillance of suspected gay and lesbian government officials in the 1950s; and police raids on gay bars in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City in the 1960s. Students will also learn about the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015
The changes to the state syllabi have been a long time coming. Equality California cosponsored the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, which was signed into law in 2012. Its implementation lagged as conservatives argued that it should be each familys choice if and how they teach their children about the LGBT rights movement.
Those complaints appear to have fallen silent. During an hours-long public forum this week, several families and educators objected to the ways religious groups were presented in the proposed educational plans, The Associated Press reports. No one protested the inclusion of the history of LGBT rights.
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"Rednecks, hippies, misfits-we're all the same. Gay or straight? So what? It doesn't matter to me." Willie Nelson
What's one thing that gays and rednecks have in common? They both hate shirt sleeves.
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