Please Rescue Me From My Homosexuality!

UPDATE: Take a moment and report her Facebook page as hate speech, including her posts. Maybe Facebook will remove her. Hate doesn’t belong on social media when so many children use it and will be affected by it.

https://www.facebook.com/theactivistmommy/

The other day a petition came across my Facebook feed about this woman who goes by the name Activist Mommy who has a facebook page where she spews her sugary coated hate. Her name really should be the Anti-Mommy or the Anti-Christ Mommy. Seems more fitting than to be labeled an activist. She’s also anti a lot of things including science, abortion, etc. She’s all things ridiculous.

I signed the petition and moved on. Then today I discovered the new rainbow reaction on Facebook and I thought I should find her page again to share some rainbows with her. There is something about trolling bigots posts with rainbows that tickles me. You won’t ever reach these kind of people and usually it’s best to just ignore them but sometimes you just gotta stand against that kind of hate. Kill them with rainbows, I mean kindness as they say.

Then I read her post about the Columbus Pride parade advertising that she was going to save some homosexuals by saying that she’s “looking forward to interviewing many of my homosexual friends in Columbus, Ohio.” In the post she further states that she’s going to interview and befriend all the homosexuals. I wonder if she will be like Kirk Cameron and bring a camera crew? She loves homosexuals and doesn’t care if she makes some enemies (from the people she says she will become friends with) that they need to hear the truth she thinks she’s speaking.

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This woman has mastered passive aggressiveness. Someone should give her a PhD in it. The Anti-Christ, I mean the Activist Mommy insists she loves us gays. I mean why else would she use the term homosexual to describe us? No ally in the history of queer allies has ever called their friends homosexual. Only people who feel uncomfortable by gay people or even worse are bigoted.

She doesn’t understand why she’s getting trolled with so much hate. All she’s trying to do is Jesus duty to save us from eternal damnation. I mean how could anyone think that had anything but a loving touch to it.

Anti-Mommy… gosh I’m having a hard time using Artistic Mommy… does the typical compare homosexuals to sex addicts, the fornicators, the adulterers, the porn addicts, etc.

We’re the petty, small-minded ones because we’re calling out her sugary bullshit. How dare we imply that she hates homosexuals. Why else would she troll us at the pride parade telling us what we need to hear.

Honestly I’d rather have someone call me a faggot to my face because at least they’re honest about it. They don’t hide behind a sugary coverup. You can pour a dumptruck full of sugar onto an ounce full of shit but you can smell the stank.

The stink they’re trying to cover up has nothing to do with homosexuality. It has everything to do with their own fears, insecurities and hate. To keep all of that negativity at bay they anchor themselves to a false idea of what God and Jesus is. The only way they will feel good about that choice is by convincing everyone else that their way is the right and only way.

I know all of this because I lived it for so many years. I grew up in a family full of people like this. People who felt it was their god given duty to save me. My father is one of these people. He’d go up to strangers telling them that they needed to accept Jesus Christ in their life or they’d go to hell. It didn’t matter the situation either. One time at a funeral he cornered my sister’s friend trying to save her.

That kind of hate destroys, including the sugary coated kind. I grew up hating myself because I was brainwashed in believing that I was going to hell for being gay. It almost destroyed me. You just don’t get over having your own father tell you over and over that you’re going to hell. While strangers and other family could escape his wrath, I couldn’t.

Children, teens and even adults kill themselves over this kind of hate. The age of Trump has brought out all the bigots. He is their king and now they feel even more justified in spreading their hate like shit on crackers. So I’m torn. I believe in free speech. I don’t know what the appropriate action is for someone like this lady. Ultimately she deserves love and she needs it. She’s lost and delusional. She has two young children and I can’t imagine what they’re having to endure.

Yes people like this are a dime a dozen. I think what upsets me about people like this isn’t about the hate they spread but the damage it does. I know countless people are enduring the pain I did. It breaks my heart that I can’t rescue them. They are the ones who need saving and I don’t mean by berating them.

Some will say to just ignore people like this and for the most part I do. There’s the argument that while her speech is vile it is still free speech. I believe in free speech but I also believe in standing up. If you’re going to spread your hate in a public forum expect that others will stand against you. There are consequences to hate. Now while I think speech should be speech that doesn’t mean I believe we should give them the stage like some universities have done for people like Ann Coulter or Milo what’s his name.

At what point does silence turn into acceptance and tolerance. When you stand up to people like this woman you’re standing up for those who can’t do it themselves. When she shares her sugary hate on social media it will eventually show up in the feeds of teens who are struggling and getting bullied. How many children have to die from bullying both from other children or adults before people wake up.

Did you know that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24? Here are some other facts about teen suicide.

• Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers. [2]

• In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25. [3]

• LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. [4]

• 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9-12) seriously considered suicide in the past year. [5]

• Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average. [6]

So that’s where I draw the line. I refuse to sit by and let this hate destroy others. Having to grow up in this kind of hate doesn’t ever leave you. So while many survive these horrific situations they grow into adults who struggle greatly. It’s taken me twenty years to heal and I’m still processing layers.

I’ve struggled to cope as an adult. It was easier for me to literally escape from that hate including my father. All these years I knew the hate that was out there in this world. I didn’t need to look any farther than my own family. I thought I escaped it but in reality I’m still living in parts of that house still. I was reminded this the night that Trump took the election. I was devastated. I knew what was at stake and the lives that would be lost from his hate.

It was surreal seeing all the people go through what I did for so many years. People not realizing the kind of hate that’s out there. It’s one thing to know your family is filled for of bigots but it’s another thing to know there are millions of them. It almost scared me into the hospital from suicidal thoughts. It was this gigantic flashback.

For the next two months I was paralyzed by my fear. I wasn’t just reliving that night but all the nights from when I was a teen. I live in a rural area and I would find myself questioning (in my head) others who I would encounter in public. Is this someone who voted my rights away? If they find out I’m gay will they verbally chastise me or worse attack me? I’m 6ft, 400lbs and have a big beard and even I feared being found out. I didn’t hide like so many years, well after a while.

Another dangerous aspect of hate speech is that it’s usually attached to some belief of discrimination. It’s one thing to believe whatever you want to but another thing to vote away my rights… or take them away… or deny service to me… So hate speech is a double edged sword.

Most in our country were awoken to the level of hate out there in our world. There was some relief to that fact knowing that you weren’t alone. It’s so easy to think that is all that’s out there. When you grow up surrounded by hate you get tunnel vision. If the people who are suppose to protect you and become the ones who hurt you how else is a child supposed to know anything but that.

You get to a point where you don’t trust anyone. It’s this weird state of living between the world of a victim and survivor. Which is why something like gay pride is so important. There is safety in numbers. It’s not just to have a good time. I still to this day find myself weary in places where heterosexual men are like sports bars. Instantly I become that scared child having to endure my father’s hate. So it was just easier for me to stick with people I knew were open minded.

I saw time and again people posting about removing facebook friends because of Trump and his army of hate. I didn’t delete one person. I had weaned these kind of people out of my life long ago. Maybe I’m missing out by not being as open to different ideas but it’s how I stay safe. It’s easier said than done to be accepting of all ideas when those words are stones to you. I also don’t think it applies to ignorance or hate. People are literally scared for their life and many have died because of this hate. There are those of us who don’t have the luxury of taking these risks.

So I think there is nothing wrong with eliminating people in your life like this or limiting your time with them. Sometimes you have to love people from afar.

I’m a strong believer that good things can come from bad things. It can be extremely tough to see this, especially if you’re living it. After I got over the shock of Trump I started to see all the wonderful supportive people coming out of the woodworks. There were way more of the lovers, than the haters. Just recently I saw a picture of a pride section at the Kroger in a conservative small town. That’s progress. You don’t know what that does to a person who has grown up hating themselves. It’s a bright light in a dark world. To many it’s just cardboard and paper, and others an abomination.

I’ve always lived life with the philosophy of doing good. You can be the person who lifts someone up. I’ve always been open with my struggles. Some have questioned why I’ve shared so openly. I don’t do it for them. At the end of the day if my struggles can be a lighthouse to someone else I will feel better. If I can save one person I know my life will have been meant for more than all that hate, misery, tears, blood and pain.

I won’t lie I’ve not got my life figured out. It’s a lifelong battle. I’ve struggled with dark days of depression. I fight daily with these demons. People like the activist mommy are not my demons, nor do they affect me. I’ve given people like her power for so long. They’ve rented space in my mind for most of my life.

The activist mommy speaks of freedom. To read her posts and the comments supporting here reminds me just how free I am. That I can read her posts and not feel any pain. I’ve had a lot of practice and I still get caught up occasionally.

For so many years it was easier to hate my father and be angry. It wasn’t until my Mom died five years ago that I realized how much destruction the anger has caused and how much he still controlled me. I say past tense because recently I cut those ties after some realizations. The grief softened the anger and I discovered a world of hurt. Through that hurt I wished for the father I always wanted and deserved. I even thought he had changed. Years ago he apologized for how he stated, the way he approached Jesus to me.

My mom was my lifeforce. She was my rock and when she died I went floating into outer space… so I grabbed onto the closest life force I was born with. I had my heart broken all over again recently. I had seen his posts on facebook about all things alt right. Anti this, anti that. A total trump lover… So it started to wake me up again. It was directed at me this time but it still stung. Still I thought maybe he wouldn’t turn on me this time. Maybe this time would be different.

Since my Mom died in 2012 I’ve struggled to survive. It’s been nearly five years and I’m not even 1/4 back to where I was before. In the last year I’ve almost been homeless three times. Through it all I fought through the grief and I’m finally on the outside looking in. For someone with PTSD that is extremely difficult to do. While I might not be emotionally unstable all the time I still struggle daily.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to live in a world where I no longer have the one person who was there for me. The world seemed to dark and scary for me. I had a lifetime of pain, suffering and misery that I almost ended it all in 2013. I didn’t really want to die, I just wanted relief and didn’t think I would ever get it.

It’s so much easier to judge someone else than it is to have empathy for what the person has endured. I think that’s what bothers me the most about this kind of hate is it reminds me of the kindness I wished I had more of. Often times I feel like a fuck up. The person who can’t be stable. Some days I don’t hate myself and those days are wonderful. I’m starting to have more of those happy days but I have enough of the others to mess with my mind.

I’m the end result of this hate. So many grow up into flawed adults who’ve never had the chance to heal and cope with the pain they’ve endured. It’s been twenty years and I still can hear my father’s voice yelling that I was going to hell and telling me that I was going to die alone in the hospital of AIDS. Those are words you never get rid of. You learn to detach the power cord but they’re still there.

Sometimes I just want to yell bloody murder. Will someone see me for who I am? and not the person they want me to be. For too long I didn’t think I deserved anything good, including love. So while I might still hate parts of myself I now know that I deserve wonderful things including kindness and love. I still struggle with believing I will find it but that’s just another thing I’m dealing with.

I wish people like the activist mommy could see our pain. See all our tears. I have to leave the situation knowing that they’re flawed and can’t see anything but their fears.

How do you combat someone like the activist mommy? Say what you want to her. Troll her with rainbow reactions but do something more than that. Reach out to someone you love who is struggling or even not. Someone in your life who is lgbtqai. They’ve probably just as scared as I am with the world we live in and could use the support. Just a simple I love you and I’m there will do. That’s what pride really is about. It’s celebrating our freedom from this hate and celebrating what being gay is all about… love and fabulousness.

I’ve never really questioned whether I was gay or not. For the most part I have loved being gay, it’s what makes me special. Though I’ve not always seen it as a gift. There was a time I tried to hide my fabulousness. I had guys make me less because of my femininity saying things to me like you’re too much like a girl, like that was a bad thing. So I tried to fit in. It was easy to do in the bear community with my size and facial hair. It wasn’t until I dressed in drag that I finally felt in touch with the person I was born to be. It was the first time that I had ever felt beautiful. Honestly I feel more like a woman than I do as a man. I recently have been describing myself as queer. It’s been rather liberating.

I’m learning to embrace who I am. So if you’re reading this and you’re going through something similar… hang on… weather out the storm. There are kind people out there. When you see people like the activist mommy remember like Glinda the good witch says, they have no power over you. If you’re living in this hell reach out to someone at school, a friend… A great resource is the Trevor Project if you can’t find anyone locally. They will help anyone including adults. You can always send me a message here as well too.

I’m with you and some many of us are. I will fight for you until I die. I’m learning to fight for myself but I will always have time for you. We’re worth it.

So activist mommy you have no power over me and others like me,  so be gone… <throws a proverbial bucket of glitter>

Huggs

SOURCES:
[1] CDC, NCIPC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2010) {2013 Aug. 1}.  Available from:www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.

[2] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

[4] Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.

[5] CDC. (2016). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[6] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.

 

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What it Feels Like to Be Gay

 

Have you ever been made to feel less because of who you are inside? The feeling that you’re not good enough for God’s love. It’s not simply that God doesn’t love you but that you deserve the pain inflicted upon you. That’s what it feels like to be gay.

Ever been denied service because you’re straight or gotten the crap beaten out of you because you kiss the opposite sex? Have you hid being straight to keep yourself safe? Were you ever pushed to tears because you’re seen as different, abnormal and strange? That’s what it feels like to be gay.

Has someone ever told you over and over again that you’re going to hell for being straight, to the point where you have recurring nightmares of going to hell? Did you ever lose your job because you’re straight? Were you denied housing based on the fact that you’re heterosexual?

That’s what it feels like to be gay. Many of us have lived this hell for a good portion of our lives. Hearing these states pass these harmful laws has reminded me of it all and I can’t help but feel ill. It makes me angry, furious actually. I feel so helpless wanting to do something to fix it and knowing that I can’t. Well not to the degree I want to help, like stopping these laws from passing.

Like how are states like North Carolina going to enforce these laws. Are bathrooms going to have attendants where you’re forced to show identification? There is no way to enforce these laws. Will anyone have the nerve to stop a trans woman from going into a woman’s room? This is where the law is dangerous. Laws like HB-2 give businesses and organizations the right to discriminate however they please. It doesn’t just stop at the bathroom. Anyone that is deemed as different could get told to leave. So if you’re a man who’s feminine or a woman who’s masculine you could be targeted even if you don’t identify as LGBT.

Republicans are just using this the bathroom issue as an excuse to do whatever they want. They can’t stop gays from getting married now so they’re desperate to control us however possible. It’s a gigantic slippery slope from restroom patrolling to denying service for being LGBT. Before you know it, medical staff will start denying us care.

This isn’t the first time a law like this was introduced. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that a Governor would sign a bill like this into law. I thought to myself businesses in other states made it clear that they’d pull out if a similar bill was passed in their states. Thankfully that woke each state’s Governor right up but sadly that didn’t happen with North Carolina. Now that HB-2 has passed it gives other states the confidence to follow suit, just like Mississippi has done.

HB-2 is legalized segregation. Plain and simple. Now businesses can turn away whoever they want. Are you a gay couple wanting to enjoy a nice weekend at the local B&B? Sorry you can’t because the owners don’t rent to faggots. It’s not just wedding cakes, so many aspects of life that we can be discriminated against.

One of the most harmful aspect of laws like HB-2 is the message it sends the world. It’s like throwing coals into a house already on fire. The message is that’s perfectly acceptable to hate another human being. Can you imagine what the LGBT citizens of North Carolina and Mississippi are going through now. They have to live in fear of being treated less. Like will this be the day I get told to leave a store?

Gay people struggle enough. When will the fear-mongering stop? These people are inflicting their fears onto others causing them to live in real fear. It’s like their chicken little screaming the sky is falling and then they pick up the stones on the ground to throw at us.

I have lived through religious persecution and it damages your soul. I was told over and over that I was going to hell to the point where I started believing it. Still to this day I’m very disconnected from my spirituality. That’s the true abomination, that these fear-mongers are taking away God’s love. They don’t have any right to it but that doesn’t stop them. Yes, we have marriage equality but these laws prove that for many life hasn’t gotten any better.

Just recently a gay man was in Miami on vacation with his partner. While out to dinner he was beat black and blue just for giving his boyfriend a simple kiss. His life was forever altered because of someone else’s hate. This happens more often that I’d like to think. Transgender people are killed at alarming rates and often times they’re forgotten. In 2015, at least 21 transgender people were murdered. During the first six months of 2015 there were more deaths than in the previous year. Teens are killing themselves are alarming rates for being bullied and being different. Laws like HB2 chip away at their already fragile self esteems. It sends the dangerous message that they’re not worthy. It get’s better is difficult to hear when you’re living in hell. Many of these children live in households full of hate to then look in the news that their state has passed a law confirming that they’re not worthy of love or life.

One of the issues with laws like HB2 is that it forces people look at how we view gender. There are these social norms of what it’s like to be a man and a woman. If you don’t fit that mold then you’re made to feel less. You’re seen as abnormal. Having to deal with something connected to gender forces people outside their comfort zone. I’ve read through various comments about transgender using public bathrooms and I see people freaking out. When in reality they’ve been sharing the bathroom with transgender people for a very long time. The excuse used for passing these laws are that they don’t want men sharing the restrooms with their wives and daughters. This law would actually force trans men to use a woman’s restroom based on their birth gender. Their worst nightmares will come true and there’s nothing that they can do because they wrote it into the law books.

Misogyny is so deeply woven into our society that when something doesn’t fit that mold it brings up a red flag. Like what’s so wrong with a boy who wants to play with a doll or a girl who wants to play with a truck. Who says a man can’t wear a dress or a woman a suit. It’s society that does. Many have this strict view on gender when in reality gender is a lot more fluid than anyone realizes. That’s why so many have a problem because we’re forcing them to face their fears and insecurities.

Now more than ever we need our allies. Hearing that the White House has made their restrooms gender inclusive has given me comfort. Obama is one of our biggest allies. In a world that’s shaky and unsure it helps to have such strong allies. These religious zealots are desperate and willing to do whatever necessary to keep their beliefs safe even if it means harming other people. That’s why it’s so important to vote to ensure that discrimination isn’t legalized. Eventually these laws will get overturned by the Supreme Court but for many they don’t have the time to wait. That’s the sad reality. So if you question why we have gay pride or why we need inclusive restrooms I hope that this posting will show you why.

That’s what it’s like to be gay…

Important Tips For The LGBTQ Community on How to Stay Safe When Out in Public

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After the recent hate crimes that have occurred recently in Columbus and New York City I thought it was important to write about how those in the LGBT Community can stay safe while in the public. Especially during the months of Pride, including June for Ohio, it is extremely important to be aware because of increased visibility.

This Friday many people in the Ohio area will be wearing Pink to show support and solidarity to the three young men who were involved in hate crimes yesterday. This goes for anyone who is a survivor of a hate crime.

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Here are various tips and suggestions I found on the internet including the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization in Ohio. Everybody deserves to be safe. Safety and support are important rights entitled to everyone! Did you know that more than half of LGBT people are concerned about being the victim of a hate crime?

BRAVO has recently received multiple reports of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. The incidents have occurred in the vicinity of LGBT establishments both in the Short North area and on the South side. Several of the incidents have involved both physical assault and robbery. BRAVO has good reason to believe that these attacks are anti-LGBTQ motivated.

According to Gloria McCauley, BRAVO Executive Director, “BRAVO believes that these incidents underscore the importance of a renewed discussion and action on hate crimes against LGBTQ people. Sadly, we know that hate violence is intended to send a message of hate and to instill fear throughout the entire community. Hate crimes are largely under-reported or not reported at all, and people are left feeling alone and vulnerable. BRAVO is a great resource – we are asking people to call and report – we can help.”

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Awareness

Awareness is the first line of defense. Stay alert of your surroundings. A criminal’s primary strategy is to use the element of surprise. Project a “force presence” when walking alone. True self-defense begins long before any physical contact.

Use your peripheral vision. Often times we focus too much on what’s going on in front of us, when threats could be lurking from all sides. Scan areas that look deserted but could be harboring predators, such as parking lots.

Avoid distractions such as mobile phones, mp3 players, PDAs, etc. Consider the fact that using headphones or your phone while you’re out in the public will lower your awareness of your surroundings.

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Asserting Boundaries

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. “No” is a complete and powerful sentence! Use your words, alert bystanders and frighten (not anger) an assailant. State your boundaries, don’t ask because they are your right and you don’t have to ask for them. Be direct, assertive in your communication and use body language to show that you are serious, including giving eye contact.

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Body Language

Body language is important. A person who is confident, walking upright and briskly, is less likely to become a victim. There may be times when it’s best not to walk through a group of people. Cross the road to avoid contact. Boundaries are very important. Be direct and assertive in your communication. Empowerment is the first line of defense and goes hand in hand with your body language.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

Don’t let your guard down or become comfortable even if you are in a gay friendly area. Hate crimes happen anywhere, including areas known for being very accepting like for example the Short North. Remember that these areas border college areas as well. One of the attacks recently in Columbus was in front of a gay bar.

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Trust Your Instincts 

Trust your Gut. Use your sixth sense. If something doesn’t seem right, listen to your intuition. Don’t ignore it, even if it seems silly. If you feel uneasy or if someone gives you a creepy vibe, get out of there.

Use A Buddy System

Use the buddy system by traveling in groups, especially at night. If you are out at a public place don’t hesitate to ask for others to walk you to your car, including the staff.  When going out in the public, especially at night, tell your family, friends or colleagues of your plans. Leave a trail.

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Parking/Walking in Public

Park as close to your location as possible and in well lit areas, even if it takes you longer to find a closer spot to your location. Park under a light at night if you anticipate it will be dark upon return. Stay away from unpopulated areas, as much as you can… Don’t take shortcuts if it means walking through a dark alley or where there is little foot traffic.

Note where you parked your car for a quick and safe exit. Have your keys ready.

ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Do not stand back in the corners of the elevator. Be near the front, by the doors, ready to get off or on. If you get on the elevator on the 25th floor, and the Boogie Man gets on the 22nd, get off when he gets on. Don’t ride the elevator with him if you are not comfortable.

Parking Structures

When parking in a parking structure, park as possible to an exit ramp or near the attendant’s office. If possible, choose a lot that is well-lit and park in an area well-lit as well. Avoid parking garage stairs and elevators, these provide traps that benefit predators by isolating you. Walk in the center of the ramp and aisles, with your whistle and keys ready. Keep your finger on your car key’s emergency button.

Make sure you lock your car when you leave, even if it is a short while. Look around and inside your vehicle before you unlock your door and get in. Lock your door immediately and start your engine right away and get the car moving as soon as possible. If you are being followed while driving, go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn. Don’t hesitate to call 911. Do not go home or pull over to the side of the street, as you may lead your potential attacker to an area that may be easier to harm you.

ALWAYS keep warily scanning 360 degrees around you.

Offering Assistance

If someone asks for help like to jump a vehicle, don’t follow or go with them. Offer to call the police for assistance. If the person is in a car while doing so, keep a safe distance and don’t be afraid to walk away and go into a public place. Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt, being a good samaritan doesn’t mean putting your boundaries and safety at risk. It is okay to say no! You can offer assistance in a more public place.

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Have A Plan

Have a plan. If you are in a state of panic it may be difficult to formulate a plan but if you already have a plan set in your head, you will be likely to react well under severe distress. Fear can cause a person to freeze up and panic. Having a plan ahead of time will help with this.

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Use Your Voice and Body

Being verbal is one way to fight back, use your voice. Yell fire or scream “NO!!!” at the top of your lungs. Act like a crazy person if you have to by causing a scene. Carry a whistle or some other alert device. Run away, yell for help, throw a rock through a store or car window–do whatever you can to attract attention.

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Know Your Limits

Know your limits when planning on using substances including alcohol in public including watching your drink. Buy your own drinks. If you feel you are too intoxicated to walk, especially drive, home call a friend or a cab. Being intoxicated limits your impairment.

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Protect Yourself

Keep personal items close to your body. Don’t display money or expensive jewelry.

Take a self defense class, not only to learn the skills to protect yourself but to also help you with your confidence. There are many different organizations that offer self defense classes but many of them are for women only. Contact your local anti-violence organization in your area to see if they have any resources for self defense for the LGBTQ community.

If you can afford to pay for self defense classes I did find an organization called Pragmatic Self Defense in the Columbus area that offers one time classes reasonably priced. I have never been here, so I can’t testify to the results but the website says they have a money back guarantee. I believe BRAVO is your best bet due to their classes are related to LGBT Self Defense but I wanted to give others options.

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Specifically for those in the Columbus, Ohio area The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) does offer self defense training for free during various times during the year. They just had a class that ended recently. If that is something you are interested I would recommend calling to show interest and see when the next class will be scheduled. BRAVO also does self defense training classes for small groups as well on a case by case situation. So if your group wants to get together and learn some new skills contact BRAVO with interest. Again all the work they do is for free.

Their contact number is 1-866-86BRAVO (866-862-7286). BRAVO also has a helpline available for resources at the number above. Their helpline is staffed weekdays from 10AM to 4PM, and Sunday through Thursday from 6PM to 10PM.

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Being Followed?

Cross the street more than once if necessary, vary your pace and change direction.

Go as quickly as possible to the nearest place where there will be other people, such as a service station, fast food outlet, or house with lights on.

Go quickly to a well-lighted place with lots of people. Do not go home. You don’t want the person to know where you live.

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If You’re Confronted

There is no set way to respond as every situation is different. A person may first talk to you to lull you into a false sense of security, then try to intimidate and frighten you into submission, before attacking. Your positive actions in the first few moments of any confrontation are the most important.

Display a confident manner, hold your head up, pull your shoulders back, stand tall. Use words like “No”, “Stop”, “Leave me alone”. Talk loudly and assertively. Be prepared to physically defend yourself. You are allowed to use force and hurt your attacker in self defence.

The most vulnerable parts are eyes, nose and genital area. Scratching an attacker’s face can help identification later on. Be prepared to use items you are carrying to defend yourself with, such as your handbag, briefcase or umbrella.

Keep making lots of noise to attract attention to yourself. As soon as you can, go to a safe place and dial 911 and ask for the Police.

Again Go quickly to a well-lighted place with lots of people. Do not go home. You don’t want an attacker to know where you live.

Escape

If the assailant wants you to go with them somewhere, do everything in your power to prevent a predator from taking you to a secondary crime scene. Once he gets you alone, there may be no way to escape. If that means yelling or screaming, DO IT!!!

Fight to escape, do whatever possible to distract the assailant. Use your primal moves- strike the eyes, throat or groin. Use the hell of both your palms to clap him hard on both ears, which will disorient him.

Get to a safe place. Call someone you trust. Seek medical attention.

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Report The Incident

If you are in immediate danger always call 911!!! If you have been the victim of a hate crime and/or assault (even if it was minor) please contact your local police, as well your local anti-violence organization. A list can be found here:

http://www.avp.org/storage/documents/2013.3_ncavp_memberlist.pdf

In the Ohio area you can contact Bravo at 866-862-7286.

Write down any and all of the details of the crime as soon as possible. Include the perpetrator[s] gender, age, height, race, weight, clothes and other distinguishing characteristics. If any threats or biased comments were made (such as anti-gay epithets), include them in the report.

While reaching out for help and reporting the hate crime might be scary it’s an important step in healing and recovery. Reporting these crimes help organizations gather information to help identify trends in violence that affects LGBTQH communities. These organizations like BRAVO need to know about and document the full scope and impact of violence, regardless of whether people choose to report to the police.

All reports to BRAVO are confidential and may be made anonymously. All BRAVO services are free.

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Get Support

Don’t suffer alone, there are a lot of resources out there to get the support you need and deserve! Allow for time to heal, you’re not alone.

You’re a survivor and what happened to you was not your fault. Recovering from any kind of assault takes time. Healing is a process. Consider joining a support group, seeing a therapist or taking a self defense class. Your voice is very important and afterwards you may find it difficult to use it, so finding a way to let your voice be heard will be crucial for healing! You can contact your local anti-violence LGBT organization for more information.

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What Would You Do If You Witness A Hate Crime?

If you see a hate crime in progress call for help, 911!!! Offer support, get involved. There is safety in numbers. If you see someone about to walk into a dangerous situation, offer to walk them to their car. Again listen to your gut and offer a helping hand. You could be the difference between the safety of another human being. Don’t be a passerby, think about if you were being assaulted. DO SOMETHING!!! It is understandable to be fearful of a situation and wanting to keep yourself safe as well but there are many things that can be done to assist someone in trouble.

During an episode of “What Would You Do?,” ABC staged a hate crime to see if anyone would stop.  In the scenario a hispanic male was being attacked by three men. During the two-day experiment, a total of 99 people came upon the fight. The majority, 67 people, didn’t get involved at all. What would you do in a situation like this when someone was being targeted for being gay? It’s important as a community to talk about these issues in order to stay safe.

As a reminder these tips I have included are suggestions for staying safer. Regardless if you follow these tips or not, and find yourself involved in a hate crime know that it is not your fault. I found many of these tips on the BRAVO website, as well as many other websites related to public safety.

You deserve to be safe. No one deserves to experience violence, whether from a stranger, acquaintance, family, friend or lover. You have the right to safety and support.

Remember we are all in this together. If we stay a solid front love will always conquer hate!

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Obstacles The LGBTQ Community Must Jump

Recently George Takei commented on his facebook page about how many people on his page were sick of people talking about gay issues and it brought up something that I have been thinking of for the last few weeks.

Many on this page have commented that they are “sick” of people talking about gay issues, or simply “don’t care” if someone is gay and would rather they would kept it to themselves. I find this disheartening. There may come a day when we need not come out of the closet, and need not remind others of the terrible violence, inequity, and ostracism that LGBT people face daily simply because of who we are and who we love. But that day is not here, and more importantly will never get here, unless people continue to step forward and offer themselves as examples, often at great personal cost. I am called “faggot,” “degenerate,” “queer” and “homo” by misguided people every day of my life, even on my own page, but this does not discourage me. It only reminds me of how far we have to go. Once upon a time I was called a “Jap” and put into a prison for four years with my entire family, for no reason other than who we were and who we looked like. It is my life’s mission to fight against the dark forces of fear and intolerance that could ever lead again to such an injustice. Thank you for taking the time to listen. The next time you feel fatigue from hearing about LGBT issues, ask yourself this: Do we live yet in the kind of society where violence, hate and prejudice is not an issue? Until we do, be part of the solution, and stand always for justice and equality for all people.

As far as we have come, it is a realization that we have a lot further to go. I often wonder why do so many have such a problem with homosexuality? In the end I believe it is the unknown that scares people the most. We live in a world where we feel we must conform to something and for many that is religion. If we are told something, then it must be so. Passed down from one generation to the next.

I was watching The Golden Girls, my nightly tradition, and I was kind of taken aback by the fact that even Blanche didn’t quite understand what being gay meant. I mean dimwitted Rose is a given. Then I started to think what was being gay like before the Internet. I have to think that the Internet helped kick start the gay revolution. It is still hard for me to believe that people back then didn’t have any concept of homosexuality.

I think that is the main problem today. Those who spout off about gay people keeping quiet probably don’t even know anyone who is gay or if they do they are themselves are triggered to face the facts. Once you get to know someone who is gay with an open heart, how could you take away their love and happiness???

People get caught up in the argument that it is a choice. I often wonder how many would chose a life filled full of hate, discrimination and the potential for great harm. Even those who chose to live the straight life, usually end up so miserable they have no choice but to come out of the closet. People would much rather please their own beliefs even if it means making someone living a lie and when that happens it usually hurts everyone around them.

Being gay, you have to give up a lot. Not only do you have to live in fear of being discriminated against but it’s always in the back of your head what if the one time you show your true colors and someone goes ballistic on you. You see it on the news often enough to make you fear that outcome. When I go to a new area I find myself cringing and holding who I am in. Granted I am a big guy but if you have a group of people come at you, I don’t stand the chance. If you don’t think that is possible, look at the recent outbreak of hate crimes in New York City.

Thankfully nowadays many teenagers are coming out at an early age but even now they are faced with reticule and hate. Look at how many of these children are killing themselves. How many others face bullying on a daily basis even if it isn’t extreme. Words can do a lot of damage. They are like little stones, that do their damage one little crack at a time. If you throw enough of them, they will shatter your self esteem into a million pieces.

It is bad enough when we have to face this kind of hate from the world but another thing when it comes from within our own families. You don’t have to be told that you are going to hell that many times before it wears you down. You might can handle hatred from your peers and strangers, and even your own family but God is another story. If that is all you have ever known, how do you know there is anything else out there in this world.

I recently discovered how much I wanted a family of my own and what a great loss that I am almost 37 and am without a family of my own. For years I had convinced myself that I didn’t want or need children, figured it just wasn’t meant to be. I gave up on the idea, especially after I have struggled in finding a mate to settle down with. I have become accustomed to having things taken away from me and what it boils down to is love.

I grew up hiding who I was. People during my time weren’t out in High School and they certainly didn’t take their same sex to the prom. I didn’t get to do the whole dating thing, nor did I get to do the whole bringing my boyfriend home to meet my parents. Holding who you are in, is like keeping a fire within a confined area… all it does is damage. That flame is meant to shine.

Another thing that many try to take away from gay people is our spirituality. Whether you have any personal experience with spiritual abuse, all you have to do is watch the media to see the damage church going people cause. Sure not everyone is as extreme and hateful as the Westboro Church but it all causes harm. At least they are upfront and honest with their hate. So many others do it in silence or sit back and don’t do anything when they are faced with that same hate.

While 12 states plus Washington DC have legalized gay marriage, we still have 38 states to go. Plus with DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) so far in tact, without federal recognition we still will lose out on many rights. Not to mention that in many states gay people can be fired from their jobs and lose their housing all because of their sexual orientation.

With the hate crimes that have been committed recently in Columbus and New York City it also goes to show you how many have had their own security and well being put at risk. Imagine going through life having to watch your back and live in worry that someone might try something.

What it all boils down to is human rights and the lack thereof.

Many gay people lose their biological families for being gay. They are kicked out and treated less all due to the gender they love. To expect someone to change something that is so tied to who they are inside is like telling someone to change the color of their skin, it is impossible. Sure people can hide and repress the feelings but eventually it will come out… usually in an explosive way.

Look at how many teens kill themselves over being gay, as well how many homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. For many the discrimination and hate follows them all the way to home. Everyone has the human right to feel safe but often that is the first thing that gay people lose.

Some will try to say that being gay is abomination, a curse and a sin. While being gay doesn’t always make your life easy, I wouldn’t change it at all. Being gay is a gift from God and those who don’t see that are delusional! They don’t see the true meaning and message of this world. While many of us weren’t born into families that validate and accept us, I have learned that it doesn’t mean we can’t have the families we need. For many gay people they have had to go outside of their biological family for the support and love they need. Their friends have become their family and support system.

Some will try to take away things that aren’t theirs to take, like spirituality and God. These are things they don’t even have the power to take, yet that doesn’t stop them from trying. The key is for us all to stick together and stand up, as a solitude front. They might not listen to one voice or try to drown us out but when that voice gets amplified it will knock them to the ground.

The time has come for us to take back what is our for the keeping and that includes our safety, spirituality and families.

The World is Your Oyster!!!

So in therapy yesterday I had the realization that I am capable of doing anything I want, as in my dreams are a reality. This was a monumental moment for me, as previously my dreams were clouded over by extreme doubt. Anything is possible.

Without dreams your world becomes a very dismal place. Dreams are aspirations, where you want to go.

In the world we live in it is very easy to have your dreams turns into nightmares. If you listen and believe the naysayers you will always live your life in their shadows.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

So shine brightly, even if everyone around you is trying to turn off your light. The harder they try to pull you down, the brighter you need to shine your light. Everyone has that light, some just chose to not use it.

I have been thinking deeply about that, those who choose to let their light shine in a positive matter versus those who hide their light and try to drag others down. Prior to my Mama dying I was the person in the middle, hiding in the shadows. I let other people extinguish my light. I felt broken and useless.

Now I realize I was only scared, hiding from the light. The light will protect me and the darkness only hurts me. Seeing my Mama battle her illness and the bravery she had facing her death, gives me courage to come out of darkness. I want to live my life in honor of her. I want to make her proud.

Last Sunday I watched the Super Bowl. I usually only watch it for the commercials but this time I actually watched the game. When I heard the San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver say that no gay person would be welcome on his team, I instantly wanted the Ravens to win. He went on to make other homophobic comments. Previously some of the players of the 49ers made a “It Get’s Better” video in regards to anti-bullying. Now two of the players who are in the video linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga have denied making the video. Then when they were showed the video with them in it they said they didn’t realize the aim of the production was to fight the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

This is a perfect example of someone not being lead by their light rather by their fears and hate. Anybody who is in the public eye has a great opportunity to make a difference, especially with children. Those like Culliver are only wasting their opportunities.

Thankfully there are those unlike Culliver who stand up to injustice and embrace their light with courage. Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens Brendon Ayanbadejo is a prime example of someone embracing their light by coming out in support of equality. For someone in the sports world to stand up to the rampant homophobia and fear that exists is a true act of bravery.

Brendon has vowed to use the Super Bowl as a platform for marriage equality and anti-bullying, saying “This isn’t a fight for gay rights, this is a fight for human rights.” Now this a true champ in my eyes.

After winning the Super Bowl XLVII he was interviewed in a video produced for The Respect for Marriage Coalition, where he spoke out in defense of  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

“Being the first pioneer publicly accepting same-sex marriage in the three major sports was difficult at first but the more people scrutinized me and ridiculed me, the stronger I became for the issue,” Ayanbadejo told Simmons, who has also been praised by a number of advocacy groups for his own defense of LGBT rights. “It was like lifting weights; the resistance made me stronger, stand taller and speak louder for LGBT rights!”

Brendon urges others, “Join me and the majority of Americans who support marriage equality — it’s the right thing to do.”
Think about how much good he is doing for the gay community but it goes much further than that. His light will travel to many unexpected places, touching those who so desperately need to hear his message. Ayanbadejo’s message isn’t just for gay people but everyone as his message of acceptance is universal. Plus the courage he exhibits by standing up and doing the right thing, even when it brings him heat, is another way that he is making a difference.
Just like in Marianne Williamson’s quote The Deepest Fear, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So I am making a conscious effort to embrace my light fully, even if that means taking heat for it. There are so many people out in this world trapped in the darkness and need that light to help them out of the dark. I am no longer that scared little boy, stuck in the bedroom where the bad things happened. I am a strong, loving adult with the skills to rescue myself when need be. I must constantly remind myself of that.
You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are capable of greatness. You deserve so much in your life. You are lovable. You matter. There are people out there who embrace all of that and more. Those who share their light with others. Not everyone in this world are leeches. If you find yourself surrounded by them venture outside your world. Trust me it isn’t an easy task when you are consumed by darkness but the more you try the better it will get. At first the light will be frightening but the more you embrace the light the more comfort it will give you.
As a good friend of mine pointed out it isn’t about perfection but persistence. Keep at it. If you fall down, get back up and keep getting up even if it takes you a while. Healing is about the journey, not the destination. Keep moving forward even if it is one small step at a time. Taking a step backwards is not the end of the world, just take another step forward. Falling down doesn’t mean defeat, use it to fuel your flame to power you.
Embracing yourself for who you are and the light you possess takes practice, especially if you have hid it for most of your life. I remind myself that I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday… We will get there… Together!!!
The world is our oyster, now it is the time to go out and get it!!!

Take a Stand and Let Your Voice/Vote Be Heard!

With Election Day upon us I am reminded the importance of letting your voice be heard. I also am sadden that so many people feel like not only does their voice matter but that it doesn’t count. I can relate to this as I have felt this at various times in my life. A person’s voice is a gift that no one truly can take away. Though in the world we live in, it is easy for that voice to be taken away. I have heard countless time in response to voting, my one voice will not make a difference… Or it is just one vote… Sure if you look at the grand scheme of thing it might be easy to justify that but I don’t think people realize how much impact one person can have. Not to mention how many other people in the world are saying the exact same things??? You add up all those votes, and that is A LOT of votes that don’t get counted!!!

As a survivor of sexual abuse, my voice has been something I have always struggled with. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. The world tells you that you can’t, and you start believing it… Well I am here to tell you that you CAN!!! If you look for it, there will always be someone trying to bring you down. That is how they get power, by living off the fears of others. In this world we live in today that is why it is so important to vote because there will always be someone trying to take away what is rightfully yours. Especially with corporations being able to throw unlimited amounts of money at campaigns it is ever so important for every VOTE to be heard. When you don’t vote, not only our you hurting yourself but the rest of the country and future generations. If everyone voted that could, can you imagine how different the face of politics would be???

Which reminds me of something… One common thing I hear via facebook is people talking about how tired they are hearing about politics and/or that they stay out of politics as a whole. I wonder if any of these people think about a time in our country when women couldn’t vote, as well as black people. Look what these brave people had to endure just to get the rights others had taken from them! When I hear someone complain I just want to let them have it by telling them how they have taken this right for-granted!!! Part of me understands, really I do… but there comes a point in life where you just have to STAND UP!!! The alternative is letting people bulldoze your rights, and they won’t think two seconds about doing it. If you don’t think that is possible you really need to do some research. Just look at some Republicans views on legitimate rape. Who would have thought in 2012 we would have candidates that still believed in that craziness??? That is what happens when you don’t vote. Craziness gets elected into office. Vice President candidate Ryan believes in a lot of this malarkey. When the cares of a belief system are put way above humans, that is when you have a major problem. There is nothing godly about that.

Which brings me to gay rights. Some people just don’t get what the commotion is about and why we are so against Romney. They choose to see their beliefs as free speech and gay rights as a platform. It is fine to believe in whatever you want, it is when you begin to vote on laws that take away rights of that said group that it becomes a real problem. Our country has a history of taking away rights from a minority. How can we ever be a land of the free, if we vote on rights of a minority??? Sure if it isn’t in your backyard, you might not understand the severity of an injustice until it starts to creep onto your door step. I wish for once these people, who are against gay rights, could see the damage their votes have on our community.

Say what you want about Obama but he has made leaps and bounds in regards to gay rights. Just because we have made progress it doesn’t mean that we can stop the momentum… because there will be those who will try to take away those rights we should have had from the start. Rights like being able serve our country openly… Having hate crime laws in place to protect us… Having a leader who sees that gay rights is a human right, not a platform. A leader that is willing to stand up in support of gay marriage, knowing the heat he would get from the opposition. Whether you are gay or not, these are all signs of a true leader. Romney has made it clear where he stands on gay rights, as clear as Romney gets… and he is not on our side.

He has made a public declaration:

Even Mitt Romney is dumbfounded that their are gay families. I am sure that is how he sleeps easier at night, by creating a world where there are no gay families that will be affected by the rights he takes away. Am I the only one who sees these declarations as being as dangerous as they really are??? Especially the part of creating a presidential commission on religious liberty!!! It reminds me of the McCarthy hearings.

This message of this blog entry ran loud and clear this morning. I was up late writing this post and saved it as a draft to finish in the morning… As I was on facebook, as I always am, I noticed a post that a facebook friend (who happens to be gay) of mine was tagged in… It was a voting guide on the issues for Obama and Romney…

With the image below, was this:

For those of u still on the fence, this helped me a lot, found it at the tanning salon, not endorsed by either party!

As I looked closer I noticed this was published by the Family Research Council… My intent was to educate others so that they were informed who was sharing this information that wasn’t all factual or unbiased… So I commented on the post to advise that this was published by the FRC which is a very anti-gay organization that has spent a lot of money against the LGBT community… I also stated that in 2010 the FRC spent $25,000 lobbying Congress to not condemn the Uganda “Kill The Gay’s” bill.

This above picture was tagged with at least eight other facebook friends. Think about how many people saw this picture?

Obviously my attempts to educate were not seen as that, and I was osterized for posting my comments. One person even went as far as saying I came there with my agenda? Eventually all the comments were removed in regards and all the people tagged were also removed… This person also said that she had very close friends who were gay, that she supported fully… Which I never debated…

She took it personal and her response really made it clear how she truly felt… Anyone that is a champion of a gay person wouldn’t keep something like that up on their facebook… knowing who was behind it… But that is another story…

After she removed all my comments she posted this:

“Hopefully this takes care of stupid ppl! Please just read and think for yourselves about what issues apply to your beliefs and who sides closest with those!”

In this propaganda just a few of the blatant inaccuracies:

ENDA is listed as being based on sexual behavior

They label DADT as Military Social Engineering

This is an example of the importance of standing up and letting your voice be heard… This is what happens when you don’t. When you don’t take a stand, you allow those who belong to the FRC to lobby rights away from others… Taking a stand can be as simple as not voting for a candidate who is anti gay… Or posting your thoughts on facebook, etc…

People in office who believe in crazy things like legitimate rape, get in office because they are voted in office… As goes with people who are homophobic. During the times we live in, we need every vote we can get that will stand up to this craziness… Without the voice of the people, laws and politicians are voted in by a select few…

A majority should never be allowed to vote on rights of a minority but it happens all the time. That is why it is so important to let your voice be heard and take a stand! If you wait to long, your votes might be voted away and that will be a very scary day… Trust me, I have been there and it isn’t a good day at all…

So I encourage everyone to take a stand and vote with their hearts, thinking about how their vote will effect the world around them. Be the champion for someone today.