Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Penguin Agenda #LGBTQI #HAHAT

In honor of the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia I present penguins!

To those who say gay couples are unnatural and that two men have no business raising a baby I present Kermit and Jumbs...proud penguin daddies that adopted an egg abandoned by its biological parents. 

Click here for full story.

Personally, I wasn't aware the 'Gay Agenda' had been translated into Penguinese already. Penguinican?

Read my previous HAHAT blog post here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Evolution of Tolerance #LGBTQI #HAHAT

Welcome to the annual Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia! 

For those new to the hop, it's our online celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17th)!

Click the image to return to
HAHAT homepage

This week is all about tolerance and respect. We're going to have a little fun and give away pretties, but we're also going to have some interesting and informative posts about the LGBTQI community. I hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am. I can't wait to hear what the other 130 bloggers have to say!

For me, IDAHT is about tolerance. The more I hear about the tug of war between conservative values and LGBTQI rights the more I realize many of us are not very good at it. The closest the conservatives come is to say they don't mind that we're gay, lesbian, queer, trans*, bi, etc. as long as we don't talk about it and don't kiss each other in public. Funny, but that doesn't really sound like tolerance. I think it's closer to grudging acceptance of our existance. 

And then there's us...

When we talk about tolerance in the LGBTQI community it's always with an "us" against "them" perspective. The identity of "them" changes from one situation to the next but is usually inspired by some bit of ignorant nonsense in the form of blatant bullying. They say something hateful. We call them on it. They make excuses or offer a weak apology and we move on to the next ignoramus with a microphone. In the worst cases it also involves physical violence and sometimes even murder. 

What about within the community? On the outside there's a pretty little rainbow facade that shows us as one big, happy family united by a common cause. We like to pretend it's real but the truth is it's about as accurate as the whinging over gay-marriage's potential to bring about the fall of humanity. What we really have is a bit of a mess. So what is our responsibility to be tolerant of each other? 

Let's be honest. There is just as much discrimination and elitism within our community as there is outside it. We aren't always very supportive of each other and as long as we continue to pretend that certain letters in the LGBTQI acronym are more important than others we will have a hard time convincing the straight community that we deserve acceptance or even tolerance. 

In just the last two weeks I've heard gay and lesbian vloggers on YouTube broadcast terrible things that according to their video history are typical statements and nobody calls them on it. We don't let outsiders get away with telling a gay teen that their sexuality is 'just a phase' so why do we allow LGBTQI vloggers to say that same thing to bisexuals? We jump all over sports stars and public figures for using "gay" as a euphemism for "bad" or "stupid" but we do it on our own videos on a regular basis. 

The most disgusting phrase I have heard thus far in the battle for equality didn't come from an ultra-conservative politician. It came from within our own community. "Gold standard lesbian(gay)" is the most callous thing I have ever heard anyone say and it came from one of us. The idea that some lesbians and gays have more right to the title than others is ridiculous...not to mention childish. This isn't a contest. 

No, we're not all the same. We have taken many different roads to get where we are but this little oasis should be the one place we can go for support and respect regardless of our differences. Many of us no longer have a family on which to depend. This is supposed to be the replacement but we're not always very good with unconditional acceptance. 

No one should have to justify their sexuality. It is what it is and we of all people should be willing to accept it at face value. Lesbian is lesbian and gay is gay regardless of their past. Bisexual is not a straight/gay hybrid. It's bisexual and their being in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex is not betraying the gay community. Trans* is not just a different form of gay or lesbian. They are their own section of the rainbow so diverse they're actually a double rainbow. 

I'm not saying we should all be besties. We come from different places with different personalities and it's not realistic to expect that we'll all get along, but if nothing else we can understand what it's like to be an outcast in our own community. We all belong here and it's heartbreaking to be told otherwise by the one group you thought you could count on for support.

We can't do much about the way the straight community treats us other than continuing to educate them and be patient with their clinging to the old ways. However, there is a lot we can do for each other inside our rainbow community. I hope you'll join me while you're hopping this week and take some time to gain a better understanding of a section of the LGBTQI rainbow you don't already know much about. Facebook made it pretty clear when they opened up their gender options to include 52 possible labels that we're a very diverse community and we all have a lot to learn. 

Now...on to the fun part!

Win a water bottle just in time for Pride season!

0.6L Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Enter by signing up for my newsletter here. It also comes with a bonus! Everyone on the newsletter mailing list is automatically eligible for my weekly $5 gift card giveaway.
One entry per email address.
International entrants welcome.
Winner will be notified by email at the end of the hop.

Keep hopping...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Is There An Echo In Here? #gay #history

It's funny how a society clings to the same flawed thinking regardless of how much time passes. 

I'm reading a book called Gay Bar about a woman who ran an inconspicuous little bar in Los Angeles in the 1950's...because back then most gay bars were inconspicuous. 

Reading this story inspires an odd combination of amusement and incredulity that certain things remain unchanged inside and outside the gay community despite the passage of more than 60 years.

For example, in the 1950's the US was in a panic over communism, jumping at shadows much the way we do now over terrorism. There were bad guys lurking around every corner and anything different made people nervous. Gays were 'different' and the fact that homosexuality was listed as a mental illness back then didn't help. 

There's still a bit of that ignorance wafting around today in the ultra-conservative circles and conversion therapy groups. Gay people don't need rights because gay isn't a real thing. It's just a result of repressed childhood trauma...and all that ridiculous drivel that was debunked about 40 years ago. 

Back then sodomy was illegal in the US and anyone caught doing it (or even suspected of it) was arrested and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison depending on the state. Boise, Idaho was big news for a while after busting a 'ring' of almost 70 gay men and prosecuting them as criminals. Sound familiar? Apparently Uganda is several decades behind us, trapped in the days of irrational hysteria and superstition. We can only hope one day they'll outgrow it.

The author also mentions 'caste levels' within the gay community back then. Boy am I glad we're enlightened enough that we don't still have that kind of crap happening, aren't you? Can you imagine thinking that certain types of gay men are more acceptable than others and those without a masculine enough voice (or a gym membership) would be outcasts in their own community? Wouldn't that be ridiculous to have struggled through more than 100 years of rejection and bullying only to turn around and reject and bully each other? Thankfully, we're smarter than that now and live as one big happy family where everyone is free to be as gay as they want to be. 

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