Dear Parents

It’s not your fault, your child being gay has nothing to do with your parenting skills, or because you didn’t buy them that one toy they wanted when they were 5. 

They were born that way.

And no, your genes are not to blame.
Let’s face it. it’s no one’s fault, because it’s not actually a bad thing. There are so many things which a child could do or be – addicts, vandals, members of a gang, pregnant/parents at a young age, before they’ve even had a chance to be children themselves. Being gay does not belong in this list.
You don’t want them to be gay because the life is tough? well, everyone faces their own struggles everyday. Yes, in certain places being gay is even more of a struggle, where hurdles can be found everywhere: in their personal life and even at work. So be a parent and support them more. They’re going to need it, don’t be part of the club which makes their life an even harder one. 

You have a problem with your child’s desire to get married and have children? it’s unnatural?

Who decides what is unnatural? Biracial marriages were unnatural just 50 or so years ago. Would you still consider it unnatural? 

Do you really think God (or whoever you believe in – if at all) would be opposed to love? Love is love, no matter the gender of the adults involved. Is it consensual? if it is, then great, it’s love. 
And not all heterosexuals can have children ‘naturally’. That’s what IVF techniques and adoption are there for. Does that make them any less of a parent? Not in the slightest. The same applies to a gay person who becomes a parent. It is the way you parent them, even today, which will show them how they should raise their own children.

Keeping my Identity

One of the joys, and also pains, of knowing open-minded people, is that when you inform those people of your gender then they are more likely to accept you. The price for this acceptance, particularly for those people who don’t understand/never knew about non-binary or genderqueer etc is that they will be asking you questions. Which you should generally answer, because lets face it, at least they’re trying to learn more. And it’s way better to learn from you, rather than from a clap-trap source online.

Recently, I made friends with someone with quite a scientific mind. This means that this person is open minded, but even logical. And as most of us know, gender is not the most logical in the world, it’s a personal experience which we present and express in our own way. But I wanted to try teach this person about gender, because in this person’s field of work, chances are they would meet someone who is gender variant.

The issue is that this person has been following stereotypes. For example, if you like pink then you’re a girl, if you like wearing dresses you’re a girl. If you enjoy ties and fast cars you’re a guy. And then this person got more complicated. This person knew of women who for example: did not like pink and enjoyed playing sports, and so concluded that possibly I was more this way.

Naturally, I explained that no, my hobbies and interests don’t affect my gender, my gender is internal. Yet, this is still something which needs to be explained further.

This got me thinking about my gender and identity. If we look at the stereotypes, women and men generally perpetuate these stereotypes, and even if say, a woman enjoys sports, there’s still something feminine about her. So I started to reevaluate myself.

I evaluated my expression, my hobbies, likes and dislikes. And yes, there are some things which are effeminate, but there are others which are masculine too. However, since I am AFAB then instead of viewing these as masculine, then they merely view it as a sign of lesbianism. Which means that till this day, people still confuse sexuality and gender. And that is not a mentality which is easy to change.

In the end, I once again reached the acceptance that I am, in fact, non binary. Despite my likes and dislikes, the way I express myself, the way I walk and speak. None of that matters, cause my core is non-binary.

The rest is just me expressing myself. 

Being Valid


  

To be honest, I’m terrible around the LGBTQ community (I’m not going to speak about the I – Intersex part of the community because I’m not intersex).


At first I always put it down as me being awkward around people. Until I realised that I could actually interact with people who were cis or non-heterosexual with ease. I could also interact with people whose gender identity or sexual orientation I was not aware of.


But put me in a room of LGBTQ people and I freeze. I feel awkward. 


Did I look up to them? after all, they were people who came out. I’m out too for the most part, but I would automatically assume that these people came out before me. So maybe I saw them as my heroes, but after spending time with them I would be able to calm down.


That never happened.


I tried joining my local LGBTQI group but I just could never interact. I didn’t contribute with my opinion on issues I could contribute on. So what was going on? 


I didn’t feel *gay* enough. I didn’t feel *queer* enough. And I feared their judgement. 


Was this way of thinking my fault, or theirs? I would say both.


It’s my fault that I feel like I’m not a valid member of the community. I need to learn that the way I feel and express myself are good ways, so long as I’m myself. I need to learn that just because I don’t identify as trans* it doesn’t mean that I’m not non-binary. 


But it’s also the community’s fault for being so aggressive. I can understand the need to fight for one’s rights, to have to justify one’s emotions because the *normal* people can’t get it. But it’s this aggressiveness which makes it so hard for someone to join that community, to say ‘here I am, in all my glory’.


It’s also the community’s fault for not fighting against the stereotypes which they themselves can perpetuate. Am I expected to look and act gay? and is there a point where I become *too* gay or queer to be accepted?


I’ve realised that I could never be part of the queer or pansexual community, and I’ve accepted that. But it’s still a very difficult thing to accept, after all, we’re all looking for our place in this world. 

Mental Health Awareness Week

So it’s Mental Health Awareness Week until Sunday, and since I’ve been quite ‘off the radar’ I thought, what better time to come back than this week?

You see, the reason I’ve been AWOL is because I’ve been battling my anxiety for the past few months.

I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. Probably even before then. I started self medicating from a young age. To spare you the messy details there was alcohol, smoking, drugs, self harm and suicidal ideation involved. But back then I had no idea that it was because of my anxiety, I just enjoyed the feeling of relief, those few moments when I managed to get out of my head.

Those moments were short lived, and so I started medicating more frequently, until I realised that I was going too far. Ok, I didn’t realise it by myself, I met someone who made me realise that self medication wasn’t the way to go.

So instead I immersed myself in meditation, spirituality, philosophy and learning. And that gave me temporary relief, but it was enough to get by. I still had no name for the emotions I was feeling.

It was only last year that I finally realised that what I was feeling wasn’t regular stress, but actual anxiety. I started having fainting spells because of all the stress and anxiety I was under, I stopped being able to sleep, my mind was making me see horrors in the dark. I became paranoid about the slightest thing. However, thankfully those moments would pass, and I would forget all about them. I figured that I was only experiencing the ‘normal’ amount of anxiety, and that once I did what had to be done, then the anxiety would go away. I still had no idea that what I had wasn’t ‘normal’ but an ‘extreme’.

Then from November till January I was under a lot of stress due to University work. I was constantly on the go. If I was on the bus I was working, when I got to work and I had nothing to do, I would be working on University things, or on work related to the student organization I was a member of. I was constantly on the go. And even though that gave me a lot of pleasure, I was constantly running on a high. It was as though I was running away from something. I lost touch with myself in the process.

After many restless nights, when the horror movies in my head became too much to handle, nights when I literally felt as though I was dying, I started to research. I realised that I definitely was not having a normal reaction to anxiety. It turned out I was having a normal reaction to anxiety, but it was my anxiety which was not normal.

I had a mental health issue.

But I didn’t accept it.

Yes, I could tell myself that I’m anxious, but I refused to seek help. I would handle it the way I always did. I started drinking again. I would tell myself that it helped me focus on my assignments, it was just a method to relax.

But the anxiety didn’t go away. Months started passing, and sometimes it would calm down, and I could sleep, and I wouldn’t keep checking over my shoulder to see if someone was following me.

But then it would just flare up again.

And finally, after about three nights in a row where I felt I was going to die, when my chest hurt and I would cry without control, and I finally admitted that yes, I needed help. I sent an email and made an appointment at the counselling unit the very next day.

Best decision of my life.

I’m still in therapy, but I already feel better. I still have anxiety, therapy doesn’t automatically take away the anxiety, take away that fear. But I’m starting to learn more about myself. I thought I was a very self aware person, but now I’m realising that the self medication was stopping me from being in touch with myself. And now I’m learning about myself, the good, the bad and the ugly. And I’m learning how to live with my anxiety, instead of expecting it to magically disappear.

So what’s my point? My point is that mental health is an important thing. One of the most important things we have. And it’s ok to have a mental health problem. It’s actually more common than you think. According to recent statistics, 1 in 4 of us have Anxiety, and 1 in 3 will have depression. So if you think of all the people you’ve met recently, you’ve definitely met someone who had anxiety, and another who had depression.

So during this week, please try find out as much as you can about mental health, particularly how you can help someone with a mental health problem. How to be there for someone. And if you have a mental health issue, then seek help. Find a friend you can confide in, or make an appointment at your nearest counselling unit. It’s actually not as scary as you think it is.

Mind your language

This should come as no surprise, but language is a very strong tool. You can use to make someone feel great about themselves… or you can use it to break them. Most of the time, you may do the latter without even realising it.

This is especially true for people with gender identity disorder, also known as gender dysphoria.

Let’s take someone who was born biologically female and thus raised that way, but who does not identify as female. This person may identify as male, or non-binary or whatever. It doesn’t really matter at this point. The point is that that person’s gender identity does not correspond with the identity people keep trying shove down that person’s throat. [from here on I will use ‘she’ as a pronoun for simplicity’s sake]

And here I expect people to gasp and say, ‘I don’t do that!’ or ‘I’m very accepting!’ Well I’m sure you are. But say this person, for some reason or other, cannot be open about her identity. So instead, she tries to keep dysphoria at bay by dressing as androgynously as possible without people realising the truth about her gender.

So instead of binding, she cuts her hair short, she wears baggy pants and baggy shirts to cover up the curves she hates so much. And all is ok for a while. Until:

‘You would look so pretty in a dress!’

BAM! dysphoria. People are imagining her in a dress, she ends up imagining herself in a dress…and it’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and wrong.

She laughs it off and says ‘No, I prefer my pants’.

then:

‘Why don’t you wear make up?? You’d look so pretty!’

Again, dysphoria strikes back, and she wonders, why don’t I have facial hair? Why do people want me to wear make up? Isn’t the way I look enough?

then:

‘You should let your hair grow out, it would suit you more!’

She touches her shaved hair, and reminds herself why she doesn’t let it grow. Because long hair, flying in the wind makes her feel feminine, makes her look feminine.

You may be saying these things innocently. Maybe you *Care* about her, and you want her to look ‘pretty’. The thing is, you’re assuming that your view of what would make her attractive is the same as hers. Every time you ask her to wear a dress, or put on make up, you’re saying ‘you are not enough, the way you look is not something I like. Please change’.

You may not realise it, but every time you make a person feel inadequate, not only is that verbal bullying, but if it’s a trans* person then you’re basically triggering off dysphoria. Stop obsessing over these makeover shows, you have no right to dictate how a person looks.

So the question is, but how will I know if I’m going to cross the line ? Fair question. You’ll know if you pay attention. Is your friend always in pants? then assume that they’re not gonna wear a dress. If they want to wear a dress, then they will. They don’t need you to tell them.

Same with make up, same with skirts, same with contacts vs. glasses, same with hair length.

Unless the person comes to you for advice, don’t give it.

Babies with two biological same-sex parents could become a reality in just two years · PinkNews

“A stem cell research breakthrough has revealed that in just two years same-sex couples could have their own biological children.

Researchers from Cambridge University have discovered that it is possible to make a baby using skin cells of parents of the same sex.”

If this isn’t amazing I don’t know what is! Loads of years ago scientists succeeded in joining two mice ova and created a baby mouse which was strong and healthy. So we always knew that this could be a reality.

However, let’s just wait and see what the ethics board/religion has to say about it…you know that they go against anything new.

What’s your opinion on this? Is it great that same-sex couples can have children which are biologically related to both of them or are we playing with nature too much, especially since we don’t know what it can lead to?

via Babies with two biological same-sex parents could become a reality in just two years · PinkNews.

Magic Mike (2012)

Ok this isn’t an LGBTQI movie, but it’s a bunch of half-naked men… I’m sure there are plenty of you here who are into that. I mean, have you SEEN Channing Tatum’s abs?

What I like about this movie is the fact that it is the men who are being objectified. Which makes a nice change from women being seen as sexual objects to be used. These male strippers take off their clothes for women’s pleasure. Females are even presented as sexual beings! Because, you know, women have libidos too.

Mike (Channing Tatum) is an amazing male stripper, who helps the new kid learn the tricks of the trade. Like how to take his clothes off and move his hips and dance sexy.

I’m not going to say that this movie is the ‘women’s sexual liberation’…far from it. If you read into it you’ll probably see the male superiority complex (‘you got the cock, they don’t’) ….so watch this movie on a night off, when you just want to watch a bunch of guys dance while half naked.