Texas Legislature Attack on LGBTQ+ Community

I’m really disappointed that I have to write this post.

Not surprised, but incredibly disappointed.

A while back I wrote a post on the proposed Anti-LGBTQ+  laws, unfortunately they are going into effect soon. It feels like any progress we’ve made has been set back. I’m tired of bring under the control of wealthy, cisgender, straight, bigoted white men. It took me a while to finish writing this because it’s hard to watch the place you live and love so much respond to you with hate. These laws are still pending approval of Greg Abbott, and he could veto them, but we all know he won’t make that decision.

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HB 3859- Foster Care/ Adoption agencies can now discriminate against potential parents for their gender, sexuality, religion, and marital status. These agencies get state funding. We will literally be paying them to discriminate against perfectly good parents. Most adoption/foster agencies have some sort of religious affiliation, almost always Christian. While I am a Christian, I do not support anyone who would discriminate against potential parents due to one aspect of their lives. There are currently an estimated 28,000 kids in foster care in Texas. 21.7% are ages 14-17 and in danger of aging out. I would like to see lawmakers look these children and the eye and tell them why they are taking potential families away from them. Texas foster care is incredibly underfunded even though they were just forced to up the budget by $509 million dollars after a judge deemed Texas Foster care, “incredibly broken.”

SB 2078- Students now must use the bathroom that matches their assigned gender at birth. If the kids “don’t want to use ” the bathroom corresponding with their gender assigned at birth then they can use a single stalled uni-sex bathroom (usually the nurses office). This is segregation at its finest. We should be protecting trans kids not setting them up for bullying and discrimination. Everyone just want to pee, it’s not that deep. Lawmakers who think boys will “pretend to be girl’s in order to go into their bathroom and rape them” and completely irrational. If someone is going to be a predator a sign on a wall isn’t going to stop them. Stop telling trans kids and trans people in general that they are inherently predatory.

Chuck Smith, the CEO of Equality Texas, called these laws “an attack on all LGBTQIA+ Texans,” and I have to agree. When you go after one section of the queer community you indirectly go after all of us. Not to mention pretty much all of the people in power in Texas are known for being incredibly homophobic, and do everything in their power to strip us of our rights. It’s exhausting to see our community continuously set back. People have been fighting their whole lives for right’s they still do not have. You can call on Greg Abbott to veto the bills. I have and will continue to do it even if it won’t make him change his mind.

I’m grateful for organizations like the HRC, Equality Texas, and the Texas Freedom Network. The have and continue to fight for equality even in the wake of set backs and discrimination.

I’m here and I’m not going to let him or anyone else forget it.

Should Non-Binary People Identify as Gay?

It’s come to my attention that some people don’t think those who are non-binary should identify as gay or a lesbian because their gender doesn’t conform to traditional definitions of male and female, but I couldn’t disagree more.

Labels are a very personal thing and I don’t think we should tell one another how to label themselves. If someone who once identified as a lesbian now realizes they’re non-binary and feels like the gay/lesbian label invalidates their experience as someone who is non-binary, then by all means they should use another label. If they have taken comfort in a specific label and want to continue to use it, then they should. LGBTQ+ people have been challenging the ideas and traditional roles of gender since the beginning of time, especially lesbians. I saw something on Tumblr ( aka home of all lesbians) that I really agreed with, but unfortunately can’t find the post.

Essentially the idea was that lesbians have always challenged gender stereotypes and roles, even before there was language to describe the experience of being non-binary. Policing someone else’s identity and telling them what they can and cannot identify as is not okay and goes against Queer history and what many people have fought for. Not to mention it’s transphobic to try and keep non-binary people out of gay/lesbian spaces.

Everyone defines their sexuality differently. Even the “most common” sexualities are defined differently by different people. Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you get to police other’s identities within the LGBTQ+ community. You don’t get to decide if they’re gay enough or not. We’ve all had someone question our identities at one point, so why do we do it to one another?

We should be lifting up one another, instead of trying to make sexuality an exclusive club.

 

 

LGBTQIAP+ Pride Month!

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ+ Pride because in June of 1969 the Stonewall Riots took place. While every city picks a different day for their pride parade, some in June, and some not, pride is about more than a parade or festival.

Pride recognizes the fight and struggles of those who came before us and paved the way. It brings awareness to today’s LGBT issues and sheds light on where we can do better as a society. Pride is also a time to celebrate the whole LGBTQIA+ community and Queer culture.

This month I plan on doing lots of LGBTQ+ related posts. Let me know if there’s something specific you want me to write about!

How are you celebrating pride?

Love of love,

Alyssa

The White Savior Complex

Everyone knows what “The White Savior Complex” is whether they’ve heard it in those terms or not.

The White Savior Complex happens when white people “help” others, usually POC, and act like they’ve saved these people from “terrible, miserable lives.” Without the white savior these people would be nothing in the “savior’s” eyes, and would have sad lives. A prime example is seeing a picture of a white teenage girl on Facebook surrounded by children usually in South America or Africa with a caption talking about how sad their lives are. Because without her five days of white guidance these people couldn’t possibly survive.

There’s a difference between actually helping people because you want them to have a better life, and “helping” because you want to feel good about yourself. Religious groups that do mission trips that last a few days to a few weeks are often are filled with these kinds of people. They’re so narcissistic that they think others would be lost without them. The White Savior also rarely listens to the people they think they’re helping, doing things like trying to “liberate” muslim women who wear hijab who are perfectly happy and don’t need or want any “help.”

The White Savior is always about having an emotional experience for themselves. Talking about how life changing speaking to a homeless person is, and using the one time they went to a soup kitchen on their college resume. Their volunteering is based in personal gain, rather than how they can be of service to others.

While mission trips and volunteering can be and often are good things, we need to examine our motives and attitude towards helping others. Getting involved somewhere that you can volunteer long term is always best! I also think we should call out the White Savior complex and call it was it is: racism.

 

What are your experiences with the white savior complex? What do you think about it?

 

 

P.S. Sorry to the guy in my header, I’m sure you’re a nice dude, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I laughed for far too long looking at the photo in this context

I Never Used to Cry

I wrote this when I was really sad one day.

I’m currently not feeling like this, but I like how it turned out so here it is!

I never used to cry

Tears were for the weak

And I was strong

yes

This brick wall I’ve built has become increasingly more unstable

The cracks becoming more visible to the naked eye

The foundation in the beginning stages of crumbling

yes

Tears sting my eyes more often than I’d admit

My wails are silent and unseen

Yet unescapable for me

break

The smile I paint on everyday isn’t turning out as well as it used to

People are questioning it’s authenticity

and I’m too exhausted to lie

Giving vague explanations, leaving something more to be desired

break

I deflect any questions you have

Giving the answers I know you want to hear

It flows from my lips with false confidence

And you buy it

break

Living in a sea of clear eyes and smiling faces

I feel as if I do not belong

My smile isn’t as bright as hers

and my eyes try to tell the truth, resisting every effort I make to fit in

break

I’ve taught myself how to sob without sound

My heart wretched as I lay in the shower

Confusing tears with the shower stream

break

I turn off the water and stare at the ceiling

Looking for answers that are never there

Too tired to move

Hoping if I close my eyes it’ll all go away

break

But I can’t escape it even in my dreams

or nightmares rather

The sadness infiltrates every aspect of my life

My eyes ready to release the truth

Ready to tell everyone how broken I feel

How broken I am

break

I never used to cry

But I wasn’t strong

I just created a charade I can no longer keep up

Getting Back into Things

For the past 3 1/2 weeks i’ve been going to the gym.

I gained a ton of weight on Gabapentin, like a lot. It’s hard to gauge exactly how much it is since before the rapid weight gain, I had rapid weight loss. Pre-chronic illness I weighted between 120-125 lbs, then I gained weight from meds and went up to 138 lbs, then I lost weight because of Cymbalta and Topiramate, down to 112 lbs, and finally I gained on the Gabapentin and Amitriptyline weight all the way up to 170 lbs. If you count the weight gain from when I lost a lot of weight then i’ve gained nearly 60 pounds, if you count it from before chronic illness it’s 45-50 lbs. Either way it’s a lot and needs to change.

For reference i’m 4’11 and 3/4 so being 170 pounds makes me over weight. I can deal with the weight gain, because I know I can lose it, but the stretch marks are distressing. I don’t have the silvery-white stretch marks that are barely noticeable. Since mine are “new” they’re bright red and everywhere. They’re the worst on my arms, but they cover my thighs, have crept onto my calves, cover the side of my stomach, and have popped up on the front of my stomach. I feel like a hypocrite because i believe everyone is beautiful and shouldn’t love themselves no matter what, but I honestly hate the way my body looks right now.

Right now I’m on an upswing with my health. I’m out of a flare and feeling pretty well. The biggest thing to celebrate is that I’m actually sleeping, so I don’t feel like a zombie all day. There’s no way I could go to the gym 5-6 days a week if I was still feeling so poorly, so for now I’m getting in all the exercise I can. I’m definitely not someone who loves going to the gym, it’s kinda boring and I don’t like working out around other people. Once you start to go regularly though you start to notice things.

For one, everyone is in their own bubble and doesn’t care what you’re doing. Also you’re probably not going to be the most out of shape person there. Sometimes super thin girls will get on an elliptical next to be and look half dead ten minutes in and by fifteen minutes they’re done. This is just one of a million reasons why weight doesn’t always correspond with health.

So far I’ve lost 4 pounds, which isn’t much but it’s better than nothing. I’ve been out of town for part of the time so I couldn’t go the gym, but for the most part i’ve been sticking to it. To me working out isn’t the hardest part, it’s eating healthy. When you feel terrible you don’t want to make something to eat. It’s easy to grab whatever’s available and takes no preparation. The problem with that is the things that take no prep are often processed foods, with little nutritional value.

Finding a diet that’s sustainable has been difficult. I really don’t want to put a ton of work into this now for it all to come back in a year or two. I’ve watched everyone in my family yo-yo with their weight so I know this isn’t going to be easy. I’m also currently taking another medication that can cause rapid weight gain, so I’m hoping I can go off of it soon since it doesn’t seem to be helping the tachycardia issue.

I’m counting on this getting easier the longer I do it. If you’ve lost weight/ started trying to live a healthier lifestyle, how did you stay motivated?

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

The Truth About Texas

Texas is the butt of many jokes, specifically about how conservative it is.

While it may be a red state, Texas isn’t always the hell it’s been made out to be.

I’ve lived half my life in South Texas – San Antonio, and the other half in North Texas – Dallas. I’ve always lived in the suburbs so my experience stems from that. Cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all incredibly progressive and you’ll find more democrats than republicans there. San Antonio is a little different. There’s a heavy catholic influence so people tend to lean more conservative, but there re still more progressive people in the city than other places in Texas.

The high school I went to was predominately white, but also had a sizable asian population. While there was the occasional super republican kid who spit out all the bigoted phases they heard at home, most people were pretty chill. I came out to a few of my friends at the time, and while they were shocked, it wasn’t a big deal. There were LGBTQ+ kids who were out and dating and most people didn’t care or at least didn’t care enough to say anything.

You will see protesters outside planned parenthood or standing on an overpass with their open carried guns, but those kind of people are everywhere. Even in the most liberal areas in the US there are still conservative people. I think most people would be surprised how many progressive and moderate people live here.

My narrative may be different from someone who grew up in a small town. The small town conservative mentality reaches much farther than the South though. Being LGBTQ+ in Texas isn’t always the death sentence its made out to be. While I would never want to erase the struggles of people who have experienced abuse for being LGBT in Texas, I think it’s important for people to know that isn’t everyones narrative. There are happy LGBTQ+ people who live in the South and people who come from religious families who have positive coming out stories.

Do I daydream about living in San Fransisco where most people identify with being LGBTQIA+in some way or another? Yes of course, but for now i’m pretty happy right where I am. I want to see the Texas legislature be reformed and more sane people go into power. These past few weeks a lot of bigoted laws have been put into place, and that has to change. I don’t think running to leave Texas the first chance I get is going to help anyone, and for now I want to stick around and do my part to make Texas a place where everyone is respected and receives the equity they deserve.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa