Having a Political Identity

Once you come out as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, society labels your sexuality as “political.”

Part of this is because sexuality and gender have always been seen as a political issues. Getting married, having children, going to the bathroom, and even just existing in public are political fights we’ve had over and over, and continue to have. We’ve been labeled “other” and our rights are not a given like our heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Our rights are debated on stages and we’re often thought of as an issue on a ballot rather than human beings by homophobic and transphobic law makers.

Not long after coming out I remember having an a-ha moment. “People hate me because of my sexuality and I am now considered a minority.” In my privileged white-suburban-Christian-girl world, this took my brain for a tale-spin. I had never been hated for just existing before, and it didn’t feel good. The other thing that set in, especially after the 2016 election, was that my right’s could be taken away at any time no matter how unconstitutional or morally wrong that is.

Due to these reasons and a million more, I embrace society viewing my sexuality as political. I believe being an out LGBTQIA+ person is a form of resistance. While being LGBTQIA+ isn’t a choice, being out is (Most of the time.) I feel pride in actively resisting our cultures standards and beliefs by simply existing. Personally I live in a largely republican area in Texas, so I feel an even greater urge to exist as my queer self. I needed to see other people who were LGBTQIA+ just living life when I was younger, and now I want to be that for someone else. It truly humanizes the experience to see other queer people in public enjoying life and being care-free.

I no longer have the privilege of not being actively engaged in politics. Between being gay, being a woman, and being disabled, someones always trying to take away my rights. So I will continue to embrace my “political identity” and practice acts of queer resistance.

How do you practice queer resistance?

What do you think about having your identity politicized?

 

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Texas Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

Texas is trying to put a series of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place that are detrimental to the queer community.

The first one is a “bathroom bill” similar to one passed in  North Carolina. We fought North Carolina, and unfortunately have yet to win that battle. These so called “bathroom bills” are absolutely ridiculous and aren’t protecting anyone. They’re transphobic and only cause more problems. How do you tell someone who presents femininely and identifies as a woman to use the men’s restroom because she was assigned male at birth? That only puts her in danger, and criminalizes her gender. It doesn’t matter if the trans person “passes” or not, they have the right to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender.

Other legislation is being reviewed that lets teachers out students to their parents. This is so harmful! Suicide rates of LGBTQ+ are much higher than those of non-lgbt youth, and students who have unsupportive families only have an even high chance of self-harm and suicide. Many students don’t come out at home because they know it isn’t safe, but they are out as school and see it as a safe haven. Parents don’t get to know every piece of information about their children just because they are the parents. Some people are terrible parents and we should be protecting our  LGBTQ youth.

If you thought those were bad, just wait there’s more! They’re looking into making it legal to refuse service to someone based off their sexual orientation or gender identity and making it legal to refuse marriage licenses based off “religious beliefs.” That is complete and utter bullshit. You can’t break federal law because of religious beliefs. They already did this with Kim Davis and she ended up getting arrested, but with our mess of a government who knows what will happen.  I don’t believe being homophobic is a religious belief, but thats another topic for another time.

I’m hoping and praying that these things don’t pass, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of them did. Lots of celebrities are standing up against these laws, and I suspect if they pass they will pull their concerts and shows like they did in NC. South by South West is coming up and if people pull out, Texas could potentially lose millions of dollars.  Not only are these laws discriminatory and unconstitutional, but they are also bad for our economy.

Here’s a simple way you can help whether you’re a texan or not!

Go Here and Read the article

Scroll down to the bottom of my page and click on this to send an email to the Texas legislators to oppose these horrible, homophobic and transphobic laws!

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

Political Correctness & Respect

There’s a couple of words/phrases that I hate in the English language and one of those is “political correctness,”  “politically correct,” or “PC culture.” This probably stems from me living Texas and 99.9% of people I’ve heard use this phrase have said it in way that  complains about society moving towards respecting everyone, and mocks the idea of avoiding offensive language. I will never understand why someone would not change the words they use to make others comfortable or to respect them.

I believe in respecting all people. Respect peoples pronouns, and gender, and sexuality, even if you don’t think you “should have to” or don’t believe it’s “real.” (That’s another post in its own.) Don’t use racist and/or derogatory terms to refer to a people group. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t respect others with your words. It seems as black and white to me as not walking up to someone you find unattractive and saying, “hey, you’re ugly.” That is uncalled for and so is being “anti- PC culture,” and continuing to use language that hurts other people.

The biggest argument I have seen against political correctness is that some see it as a form of censorship and is “anti-free speech.” I couldn’t disagree more. Using those kind of excuses only dismisses those who have been discriminated against, and those who are trying respect others and progress in society. I personally  don’t want anyone to call me a dyke or fag just because I’m a lesbian. If another LGBTQIAP+ person I’m close to does it as a joke it’s okay with me because I like that kind of banter and humor, but it you are heterosexual or a stranger, I would be offended. That kind of speech is used to oppress a people group I belong to and I’m not okay with it. Just like I’m not okay with someone using hateful and derogatory  words to tyrannize someone else. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences, and some of those consequences hurt other people, and continue to systematically oppress people groups.

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I also mostly see white people complaining about political correctness. Is your freedom and power in America not enough for you? I’m white, and I’m going to call out other white people and say, how some of you treat your fellow Americans, and fellow human beings is wrong and it needs to stop. Some of it stems from racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia – you name it, but I also think a lot of it stems from laziness. Some straight people are too lazy to learn about pronouns and sexualities that aren’t as common. Some white people refuse to stop using racist terms, or supporting organizations with racist names and values because, “back in my day nobody cared; everyone now is too sensitive,” and they have used them for so long it has become a part of their daily vocabulary.Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon
I don’t agree that people are too sensitive now. We are moving towards a culture that has greater respect for one another – even though we are from that kind of society. I watched a great video on political correctness and respect awhile ago that inspired this post. In that video Franchesca Ramsey describes political correctness as, “Avoiding words that exclude, marginalize, or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” I love that definition, and I think it hits the nail on the head. Personally I want to love, respect, and empower everyone around me. I want all people to feel special and worthy no matter what society tells.

I have used the word respect a lot in this post, because that’s what I believe this boils down to. Respect. If you truly loved and respected others, you would take the time to better yourself and learn the kind of language to avoid. One  bible verse I like is Proverbs 2o:27, ” A person’s words are the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being” Essentially we should use our words to respect others and show not only God’s love, but also what our hearts look like. Even if you aren’t religious, good morals preach to show your love and to be “pretty on the inside.” Treat others with love and dignity, when speaking to them or about them. Celebrate diversity, while respecting those who are discriminated against, and validate their hardships.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

Growing Up Queer & Coming Out

I wasn’t someone who has known they were gay since they were five. I started questioning my sexuality when I was in middle school, but even then I pushed the thoughts out of my mind, and just “knew I was straight.” Looking back on younger me, I’m giving her the biggest eye roll ever.

I remember the first time I ever heard about gay people. I was watching the TLC show Bringing Home Baby, and I was around 4 or 5 years old. There was a lesbian couple on this episode and one of them was pregnant through IVF. I can vividly remember one woman saying, ” I am so happy I married my best friend.” Immediately a light bulb went off in my head, I can marry a girl? Technically you couldn’t “legally” get married then, but that’s beside the point.  I made a life plan (at five years old) to marry a girl (since all my best friends were girls) if I “couldn’t find” a boy to marry.

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Now this should have been a huge alarm going off that I was gay. But even when I thought about it at twelve or thirteen, I made excuses about how “it was normal for little kids to want to marry their best friends.” Fast forward my spring semester of freshman year, and my fall semester of sophomore year, all I could think about was the possibility of being a lesbian. I accepted that I was in fact gay in late summer/early fall of 2015, and then came out to my parents and sister on October 25, 2015.

I knew my parents weren’t going to care, and would love me anyway, but I was terrified. Both my parents are pretty liberal, so I knew I shouldn’t be worried, but we are a very religious family. My dad went to seminary and was a preacher for most of my childhood, and my mom’s father was also a preacher. I had heard so may horror stories of kids getting kicked out because they came out to their religious parents I began to wonder, what if that happens to me?

I felt sick to my stomach every time I would see my parents when I hadn’t come out yet. I wanted to do it really casually, because I don’t think me being gay should be a big deal, but that’s not what happened. I ended up saying to my mom, “I need to tell you something,”  and then sitting there shaking and crying in utter fear for ten minutes before I spoke again. This was exactly how I did not want to do it, but in the long run it doesn’t really matter.

Coming out has made me feel so much more free. It’s only been a little over a year since I told my parents, and i already feel so much more comfortable with myself. The best decision I made when pertaining to telling my parents – or anyone for that matter, was waiting until I had fully executed myself. I think that if I had come out when I was still questioning my sexuality, and didn’t know if I was bisexual or gay or something else, it would have been a lot harder. If I could give someone one piece of advice when coming out as anything, it would be to accept yourself first, and to be open with your feelings. The second part isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I’m someone who keeps most things to myself, but I think when coming out it’s important to be open and honest.

This is my coming out story, in all it’s glory. It may not be that exciting ,or dramatic, or interesting, but it’s a major event in my life. If you’re in the LGBTQIAP+ community let me know what one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to come out. If you need anything, or just someone to talk to, you can contact me through my contact page, or at the email queerly.texan@gmail.com.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

LGBTQ+ Representation in Music

I love listening to music from queer artists because I feel a deeper connection to the lyrics. Music is universal, and while you can always switch the pronouns out in a song, it’s a whole different experience to listen to queer artists sing about the same experiences and feelings I have. Here are 5 queer artists I enjoy; I hope you’ll like them as well.

  1. Tegan and Sara
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I may or may not be completely obsessed with Tegan and Sara. I saw them in concert in September of 2016, and they were amazing. My all time favorite song is their song , Where Does the Good Go from their album “So Jealous.” I’m not the type to get obsessed with celebrities or have big celebrity crushes, but they are the exception. I mean come on, just look at them, they’re super attractive, and they’re so funny. From what they put out into the world, they seem like good people, and they’re pretty cool.

2. Hayley Kiyoko

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Hayley Kiyoko is best known for her song Girls like Girls, which is super catchy and is something every queer girl can connect to. Earlier this year she released a new album called Citrine , which was a great follow up to Girls like Girls. My favorite songs off that album are Gravel to Tempo, and Pretty Girl.

3. Shura

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Shura is an incredibly talented artist who sings synth pop music. She opened for Tegan and Sara at the concert I went to and is also really good live. My favorite songs off her album “Nothing’s Real,” are Touch, Indecision, and What’s it Gonna Be? She also actively posts on twitter an sis hilarious, especially if you imagine reading all her tweets in her British accent.

4. Mary Lambert

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Her song Secrets was really popular in 2014-2015, and she sings Same Love along with Macklemore. She also recently did a cover of Rise by Katy Perry along with Superfruit, which gave me goose bumps.

5. Adult Mom

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I just started listening to Adult Mom, and they’re great! I love their eclectic sound, and the twang in their voice. The lead singer , Stephanie Knipe (pictured above) identifies as non-binary. Adult Mom is different from most of the music I listen to, and I really like that.

 

Let me know who some of your favorite LGBT artist are below. I’m always looking for more queer artist to support!

– Alyssa