Pride Month 2018

June is LGBTQIA+ pride month, and just like last year, all of my posts this month will be LGBTQIA+ related!

Pride Month is a time to celebrate being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, remember the history of our civil rights movements and celebrate our accomplishments, as well as organizing to continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere. Many cities hold their pride parade this month as well as other events, but some places, like where I live, hold their events at different times throughout the year. Either way, June is a great time to celebrate being LGBTQIA+ and have fun!

I have a lot of ideas about the posts I’m going to do this month, but I’d love to hear what you want to see from me! I’m really excited for this month, and all the festivities that come along with it.

Happy Pride Everyone!

 

 

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Day of Silence 2018

TW: Brief mention of suicide and mental health

GLSEN’s Day of Silence “is a student-led national event where folks take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.” The Day of Silence was created by a group of students at the University of Virginia in 1996.

“Nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive LGBTQ representation in their curriculum, nearly 9 in 10 experience verbal harassment, and almost a third miss school for feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. The Day of Silence is a national movement to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ students in school, which demands that school leaders take action to be more inclusive.”

I have never had a teacher speak about LGBTQ+ rights, or even acknowledge that someone they were talking about was a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in my entire life. I never learned about the Stonewall Riots in school, or the AIDs epidemic. I never read a history book that acknowledged our presence. Queer history is so important, and yet it is completely silenced in our education system. This is just one of many issues that leads to silencing and erasure in schools.

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“Safe Schools For All”

In my high school we had a GSA, but I never got up the nerve to go. Just a few weeks after I had come out to my family, an “advertisement” was played on the school announcements  for the GSA. Afterward, the boy who sat next to me laughed and said, “It’s so sad that we actually have one of those.” I felt gutted. Other kids laughed and they continued to make homophobic remarks. Was this a direct attack on me? No, they had no idea I was gay. Did it make me feel ashamed, outraged, and embarrassed? Absolutely.

I wish I could say that I stood up for myself and my community, but I did not. I was kind of scared and hurt, especially since it was all so new to me. Their laughter and bigotry made me feel as if I couldn’t speak up. However, I have had it so much easier than many LGBTQIA+ students; I’ve never been bullied or directly discriminated against. Hearing people say awful things, whether they realize it’s about you or not, is still hurtful.

Far too many LGBTQIA+ students suffer from mental health problems as a result of the bullying and general intolerance at their schools. We lose so many amazing kids to suicide, because of the abuse they face. Marriage equality didn’t end homophobia or transphobia, and it certainly didn’t make the United States treat LGBTQIA+ citizens as complete equals. We still have a long way to go, and we need protection of LGBTQIA+ students.

Should Non-Queer People Play Queer Characters?

There’s nothing more disappointing to me than enjoying a queer character in a show, looking up the actor, and finding out they aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community at all. It’s not like there’s a shortage of talented queer actors; Hollywood just doesn’t cast them. With over 10% of the population being LGBTQIA+ in some capacity, there’s definitely a plethora of talented queer actors, probably even some that identify the same way as their character does.

Representation is incredibly important for every minority group. While there’s been more LGBTQIA+ representation in the media in 2017 than ever before, we still have a lot of progress that needs to be made. It would be ridiculous and wrong for someone to play a black character if they weren’t black, so why do we treat sexuality and gender that way? Sure, some non-queer actors do a pretty damn good job playing queer characters, but they just don’t have the experience. They don’t know the struggle, and it really shows when they do interviews about their show/movie. As much as I think we really need to support queer media as a whole, I would rather support queer artists making LGBTQIA+ content.

As a young queer person, I often find myself finding other LGBTQIA+ identifying people, mainly queer women, to look up to. I really needed solid representation when I was figuring everything out, and straight women playing lesbians on TV just wasn’t what I wanted or needed. I also have a problem with the specific type of cis-straight-heteroromantic people that are casted. They are almost always white, able-bodied, and financially privileged. The real LGBTQIA+ community is diverse in every sense of the word. Hot white gays are not the majority, and their stories are not the most important ones to be told. Queer people of color, and disabled queer people’s stories and accomplishments are constantly being erased.

The history behind the character is important. People who are figuring out their gender and/or sexuality need to see queer people living “normal” lives. Straight-Cis-Heteroromantic actors just can’t possibly convey that, or be that representation off the show. Recently, Stephanie Beatriz’s Character Rosa, on the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, came out as bisexual. The only thing that’s cooler than Hollywood actually letting someone say the word “bisexual” on TV, is that Stephanie is bisexual. She is a perfect example of good queer representation. I wish we saw this more often.

Do you think non-queer people should play queer characters? Who are some of your favorite LGBTQIA+ actors?

Fried Gay Tomatoes?

Over the Holidays I watched Fried Green Tomatoes with my sister. I had heard of the movie before, but I had never seen it, and I’ve got to say it is so queer!

Idgie the main character obviously is a lesbian and has a thing for her friend Ruth. It may be cannon, but i’ts there. The whole time we were watching the movie, I kept saying “this movie is so gay!” My sister who had seen the movie before didn’t realize it, but once I pointed it out, she couldn’t stop seeing it either. The sexual tension between the two of them is crazy.

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Maybe I’m just looking too far into it, but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie having gay characters and that’s crazy to me. The movie was made in 1991, but is set in the 1920’s. From the way they dress Idgie, to her mannerisms and they way she talks, they made her a pretty stereotypical lesbian. She wears button down shirts, slacks and suspenders, while all the other female characters dress overtly feminine.

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Idgie also was friends with black people during a time where it wasn’t considered socially acceptable for white people and black people to be friends. There is a strong prevalence of the KKK in this movie, and Idgie is always fighting them. While this isn’t a direct sign that she’s gay, minorities do tend to stick together, because we can understand some of each others struggles. Maybe I am looking too far into this?

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I think the ultimate deciding fact is the way Idgie looks at Ruth. When Ruth marries Frank Bennett, Idgie is devastated. Also when she figures out Frank is abusing Ruth, she doesn’t hesitate to get Ruth out of there, and take care of her. Idgie takes care of Ruth up until the day she dies, and continues to love her when she’s in her old age and Ruth is gone. This movie really delves into the true meaning of love, and what that looks like.

Their romantic relationship may be played down a bit, but the love they had for each other is undeniable. I did some research to see if I was the only one who thought this, and I’m definitely not alone. So what do you think? Are Idgie and Ruth a couple? Let me know!

-Alyssa

The Unknowns of Being Queer

Being a young queer person, there area lot of things I can’t just count on.

I don’t know if I’ll be legally allowed to get married when the time comes.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to adopt kids if I decide I want them.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford an IUI or IVF cycle if me or my wife decided we wanted to carry.

We may have these right’s now, but they could be taken away in a instant.

It’s scary to know that basic human right’s can be taken away from you at any moment. The new government that is going into action soon, and it scares the shit out of me. Knowing there have been thousands of gay couples before me that didn’t have these rights and lived happy lives, makes me feel somewhat better, but it’s hard to imagine having them taken away.

My whole life society has taught me I should want to get married, and have kids. For a woman those are supposed to be the most important things, but when those things can be taken away, it’s hard to let yourself desire those things. Getting married and having kids is something I’ve always wanted; Long before I came out, and now even more after.

Thinking about the future and having a wife and kids, makes me so excited. I want to go on vacations, and make breakfast on a Saturday for my family. The legality of certain aspects of that could make obtaining those things difficult, but not impossible. I try my best not to worry too much about those things when nothing bad has yet to happen. Worrying isn’t going to make the situation any better, but it’s not an easy thing to stop doing.

Living in a conservative red state can also be difficult. How are you supposed to find someone to date, when everyone around you seems straight and against your sexuality? Of course their are other LGBTQ+ people in my area, they just aren’t always easy to find. The threat of violence against you is real. I would be very hesitant to show any kind of PDA in public in some areas in Texas. Sometimes safety is more important than happiness.

Taking action and fighting for not only my right’s, but also others is the only thing I can do right now. Trump may be hiring what seems like strictly only homophobic people, but the LGBTQ+ community is resilient. All we can do is fight and make it known that oppression is not okay.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

Putting Ourselves in Boxes

The LGBTQ+ community does something I’ve never been able to understand.

We put ourselves in boxes.

Lesbians are categorized into femmes, butch, chapstick, lipstick, soft butch, stone butch, stem, and the list keeps going. Gay guys are also categorized, but by body type, and amount body hair, which is even more confusing to me. From bears and otters to jocks and “clean cut,” to probably a hundred other terms I’ve never heard of. If society is so set on putting us into boxes, then why are we doing it to ourselves?

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“What does she look like?”  Oh you know she’s like a 5.7599 on the butch scale
I don’t think there’s any harm in identifying as a femme or a butch girl, but why does it matter? Gender presentation, is just that, a presentation. You aren’t getting any more information from one of these labels then you can from justing looking at the person. Being a “femme” doesn’t mean you have a certain personality or act a certain way. All it tells someone is that you dress more femininely. So why do we use these words to describe ourselves?

Queer guys classifications confuse me even more. How does someones weight or amount of hair effect their personality? It doesn’t. If we aren’t getting much information from these labels, then why do we use them? Being a “baby gay” and getting thrown into a world of slang and labels can be very confusing. I felt like I need to identify with one of these terms, but I didn’t feel comfortable labeling myself with any of them, and that’s okay. If you feel caught up in the world of labels, just know you don’t have to pick one or even fit into a certain label.

Each of these terms carries stereotypes about the persons character traits, and their general demeanor. The Queer community deals with enough stereotypes from the rest of society, so I just don’t get why we would do it to ourselves. I personally don’t want to have to fight societies ideas of what lesbian is or looks like, along with other queer girls ideas of how I should look or act based of being a more feminine presenting lesbian.

I find these terms unnecessary, and don’t really see their use, but if someone else wants to use them, it doesn’t offend me.  Do you use these terms to describe yourself or your friends? Let me know if you do like these terms, and why they are important to you. I’m open to all sides, and would love to hear your view!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

A is for Ally?

The acronym for the Queer community, is forever changing. Some people like to use LGBT, because that’s what it’s been for a long time, while others use LGBTQ+, since queer encompasses the whole community, and the plus sign makes up for any letters left out. The longest one that I’ve seen (that is widely used) is LGBTQIAP, standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and pan/polysexual.

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That’s a mouthful! I typically use LGBTQ+ since it encompasses everyone without being ridiculously long. One issue I’ve seen queer people argue over is what the “a” stands for. Some argue it should be for ally, others chime in with, “don’t forget about asexuals,” and then there are people who think it should stand for both words.

I don’t consider the “a” to stand for ally at all, because they aren’t queer. Allies are great, and incredibly helpful at helping Queer people get their voices heard, but they already have straight/cis privilege, so why should they be considered LGBT? If allies who are straight and cis are considered LGBT, then you’re saying everyone but homophobes are part of the community, and I don’t think that’s true.

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Being asexual carries a lot of stigm, but since I am not asexual I do not feel comfortable speaking for the community. Asexuals receive hate, and prodding questions, just like everyone else in the queer community, so why shouldn’t they be included? I’m not trying to be the “identity police,” but I think that members of the  queer community  should be just that, queer. I’d like to live in a society where we don’t erase others identities, and instead accept every gender identity and sexuality.

I’m thankful for allies, but I think they have their places as friends, family members, and acquaintances, but don’t need to be considered part of the community. The LGBTQ+ community bans together because we are all “different” from the majority in regards to sexuality and gender. Including people are straight and cis, in my opinion only discredits the whole point of establishing ourselves as a community. Being queer doesn’t make you any better/worse than a straight/cis person, but it does put a target on your back, and being in community with those who have similar experiences is important. If you’re straight and cis, use the space you take up in society to help those who’s voices aren’t as heard.  Let me know your thoughts on the acronym conundrum.

Lot of Love,

Alyssa