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This Thanksgiving: Proud to be the T in LGBT

November 26, 2009 By: Lauryn Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

FallLeavesAt one time I thought I really liked holidays.  Over the years as we have lost family, I realized that what I really liked was the time off to spend with family and friends.  Today I give much greater thanks for my family than ever before.  I have truly learned what it means to have others you can connect to in heart, mind, and soul.  My own journey is one that is unique, as we each are unique.  I have been amazingly blessed to have been able to continue to have all of my family as close allies through my entire transition.

I am sure over time you will all hear my full story but on this day of Thanksgiving I want to especially focus on my family.  I consider my family to be all of those that I feel near and dear to, both my nuclear family and my family of choice.  In my family we are bonded and we are very close.  We stick together and although we fight we always stand together against the outside world.  I think this is true with my family of choice as well.  I am using the family of choice term to identify those to whom I feel a special closeness within my band of friendships.

The friends I have are from many places and are as diverse as the rainbow.  I feel very close to my friends at church, they accepted me and saw God’s blessing in me.  I also have many friends in the T community, some of which I bonded with very quickly, Michael Brown being a good example.  Others are in the L, G, B, or H alphabet soup.  I feel blessed to have very close friends that I can depend on who happen to be lesbians, gay or heterosexual (ok some are actually U-unknown).  I am very proud to be associated with each and every one of them.  I sometimes wish I could feel less like a T and more like a “woman” with them but that is really the fault of society as a whole.

I get up almost every day and think today has to be the day that I just go stealth.  Then I get dressed and do it all again being proud of my friends and accepting that they are proud of me for being T.  The relationships are mutual but we don’t always agree.  Sometimes I think they are too gay and they think I am too T, but always we love each other.  I know that I should be more angry or more hurt when gays bash Ts or even worse, just forget us altogether.  It just really isn’t in me to strike back because there are so many wonderful gays, lesbians, and others that I proudly call my brothers and sisters!  I truly believe that each of those I hold close stand with me, and when we are together the haters do not matter.

I am very thankful for all of my family and friends today, I love all of you.  I especially love my partner of 27 years and my 2 children.  The boys have now grown into young men and they have been supportive every step of the way.  It is actually my eldest son who pulled us all from the closet, and as I tell them now, they all had to transition.  I had been transitioning for many years but now it has been their turn.  They have transitioned better than could have been imagined, I am thankful for that as well.

In closing I want to share a blog that my son wrote only a day or 2 after meeting Lauryn for the first time.  Both of my children got their intelligence and writing skills from their other parent, I am also thankful for that blessing.  This short statement expresses what I hope, and believe, much of my family feels, both nuclear and by choice.  I am proud to be the T in LGBT because of the love the L, G, and B have shown and that they continue to demonstrate every day.  Today, I am blessed and I give Thanks!

Dear T – by Mark Farris

I am writing to you because you have been left behind, because you have been pushed into the wilderness alone. There has been a lot of ground made on the part of the L, G, and B but alone still stands the T. The conservative right, have grown to accept the L, G, and B as mere lost souls.  They are lost souls that need to be “saved” by God’s grace to free them from their chains of self identity.  The T though is still being accused of having a diagnosable disorder, one that with time and patience can be cured.  The Conservatives raise the claim that God created humans as man and woman, forever to be separated as one or the other.  They claim that the perfect union of these two sexes comes with marriage and marriage alone.

At one point the slaves of this country were considered to be nothing more than beasts of the field. The African American population with time rose up to meet their oppressor.  With time people began to accept them as humans.  At one time women were nothing more than domestic robots that were to do as they were told, and leave the rest to men. With time they rose to meet their oppressor.  With time the glass ceiling fell away in small pieces here and there.  People however came to accept them as humans.  At one time homosexuals were viewed as the cause for the AIDS virus.  With time it was realized that the AIDS virus was affecting the whole human race.  Slowly but surely they were not blamed any more.

It is time for people to realize that the L, G, B, and T are all people.  God created man and woman, Genesis 1:27 “in his own image, male and female.”  This is the passage quoted by the conservative right.  The claim made is that God purposely created men and woman separately to be different from one another.  This language is not present here.

God created humankind in his likeness.  The use of the pronoun “his” is used as the label given to God by the original translators and writers of the texts.  There is no language to suggest what gender God is.  God is a being that created human in the likeness of self.  Woman and man were created to complete the picture of human kind.  Humanity would not be complete without both woman and man. The T, you represent both aspects of humanity.  You are the full representation of the image of God.  There will come a time when even the T will be accepted, and there will come a time when accepting both genders will not be viewed as a disease but will be viewed as a blessing.

With this blessing I would like to stress, that I am a heterosexual that is in support of this cause of this fight. I will not stand silent any longer. All I ask is that the LGBT people unite not only within themselves but unite with the H, the heterosexual population.  We as heterosexuals are not disadvantaged by not being T, we in many cases choose to challenge our gender in different ways.  We all must accept our humanity.  We all must accept each other as a member of humanity.

We must unite together, with a creator in mind.  The road is long, but it is a road that needs to be walked down.  I hope to do my best to fight this fight, with the resources and skills that I have.  We must not be hung up on the labels of “male,” “female,” “gay,” “straight,” but we should unite together under one label, one soul, humanity. God is not a man or a woman, God is not gay, or straight. God created an identity for all living things.  I hope this message finds you well T.  With courage you shall rise up and shall break the closet door down. “After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:”Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” With devotion and hope, Mark Farris.

Why Would You Say That – Really?

June 03, 2009 By: MJ Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

reallyWhen I was a shop steward and a union activist (not so very long ago) I fought for the rights of my co-workers and myself.  We had a contract between our Union and the major corporation we worked for – and as shop stewards our purpose was to make sure that the rights of not even of one person were violated under that contract.  Another side of that same purpose was to educate and assist our co-workers so that no union members knowingly violated the contract either.  More importantly we worked really hard to try to resolve issues before getting to the point of needing to file grievances or other types of legal complaints.

There were dissenters within our membership who felt from time to time that the Union was handling things wrong and they were entitled to their opinion.  My fellow stewards and I found that communication and compassion was a very important part of what we did.  It was a job I gladly volunteered for and, although it took a significant amount of my own time, I’m still glad I was a part of that.

Saying things about other people when you don’t really know … – now I’m thinking you are likely wondering how in the world I jumped to this topic.  Well, it has to do with what I have already mentioned and with what I am about to mention.  In the Union activism there were things that were said (by members of management and also by some co-workers) – that were not very nice – and there were whispers and rumors and other unpleasant references.  In the matter of the other issue (which I will get into shortly) the notion of saying something without really having first hand knowledge has been and still is a very great problem.  Sometimes the right to saying some of these things is protected by law – meaning that the person making the statements is protected by law – under certain circumstances.  The laws and the circumstances vary by state, country and province.  I may have left out a geographic designation or two in that description but I hope you get the idea.

Making a statement about an individual (or a particular group of people) can be as innocent as saying “(so and so) is as silly as a goose” or as hateful as words and phrases I feel are not appropriate to print in a respectable forum such as this.  When somebody makes a statement or accusation about another person (or group of people) and, for example –  the statement or accusation is false and damaging to that person (or group) – the law can possibly become involved depending on where this action takes place, etc.

As a shop steward when I was told by some that my actions were foolish or were going to hurt the company or other similar things, I either defended my actions with facts or just did not answer to what was said.  Some of the co-workers I represented were told things by their direct supervisors which simply and contractually were not correct – my initial response was to advise the co-worker what the correct information was – then mediate an agreement with the supervisor to resolve the situation.  Sounds relatively simple and sometimes it was – but sometimes it grew into the grievance process and sometimes even further than that.

Now I’ve just about come to that other issue (I really am getting there).  First though I want to say that I am now a gay activist, and also that I fully believe in the freedom of speech – as protected by the Bill of Rights – and here it is:

Article – the third [Amendment I]:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yes the law in this country is quite specific.  I really do wonder though, why anybody would really want to specifically say anything that would hurt another person – or a specific group of people – in any way.  I would like to look at these issues from the following point of view:

  • Everybody I have ever met has feelings (emotions) – some people hide those feelings more deeply than others – some people are quite pronounced with their feelings – and many are somewhere in between.
  • I don’t understand why one person would want to purposefully hurt the feelings of another person – publicly or privately.
  • I don’t understand why one person would want to purposefully hurt the feelings of an entire group of people – publicly or privately.

Then there is this;  I don’t understand  … how in any way or form of being – one person could claim to know what another person is feeling in terms of attraction toward someone of their own gender or toward someone of the opposite gender.

Now … I think you might know where I’m going with this.  Some heterosexual adults (or at least some of the adults publicly claiming to be heterosexual) claim to know exactly what sexual attraction feels like for a homosexual person.  I absolutely don’t understand why or how.  I mean even if you cut your finger and I cut my finger exactly the same way (accidentally hypothetically and minor injuries only of course) we are going to feel a different amount of pain, the bleeding will take a slightly different amount of time to stop and the healing will be different.  Your worry or concerns about the cut and the details of it will be different from mine, you might use a different type of bandage than I do or you might not even use a bandage at all.  The list of differences can go on and on and on.

Just looking at an example like that, which doesn’t even deal with heterosexuality or homosexuality, I’m hoping I have  made a point here – that you don’t feel absolutely what everybody else feels.  Nobody does. Things just don’t happen like that.  So – if you are heterosexual and I am homosexual (which I am – a lesbian, in fact) there is really no way that you can accurately tell me who I am attracted to sexually (or in any other way) any more than I can tell you who you are attracted to sexually (or in any other way).  So ……  why in the world (just using a commonly used saying here) would you insist that homosexuality is a choice?  Why in the world would you say that I am really attracted to persons of the opposite sex (and that I am really a  heterosexual) but that I have decided I would rather be with somebody of my own/same gender?  I mean – free speech laws/rights and all that considered – you have the legal right to say it – but why in the world would you want to say that – really??  To my way of thinking  – well it just absolutely makes no sense.  I am homosexual and (as a lesbian) I am attracted to ladies.

Well wait a minute, though, using your logic does that really mean that even though you are heterosexual you are really attracted to persons of your same gender but have decided instead to stick with persons of the opposite gender ?????

Thank-you !

About the Author: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com.  Her work can be found under the LGBT Notable News Happenings.  She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King. She has been an invaluable resource as a reader and idea bouncer-off-er [yeah, that’s the word we are using] and we are pleased to have her as part of the team!