A Duty to Come Out

Jian Ghomeshi started a debate on Tuesday on Q about whether LGB people have a responsibility to come out and act as role models. The debate was in response to Rick Mercer’s rant last week about the suicide of James Hubley. In his rant, Rick told gay people that they had an obligation to come out so they could be role models for youth. Interestingly, Mercer was chastised for not overtly coming out overtly in his rant. He responded asking how many times does a man have to come out before it sticks. I have never heard Mercer come out. However, I did think he included himself in the group responsible for providing role models.

I agree with Mercer. I have always argued that LGB adults have an obligation to be role models. We need to be out publicly. The more public our role, the more people we come into contact with, the more obligation we have to be out. I understand that for many people there may be a price but the ironic thing is that when you come out and remove the power and the fear things will generally work out fine. There is power in numbers – the more of us who stand up and come out the fewer stigmas there will be over time.

I do not, however, support outing.[1] I think people need to be in a place where they feel comfortable coming out. I just hope they do it sooner rather than later.


[1] That’s not entirely true. I support outing politicians who are gay and who actively do things to harm the LGB community. Particularly those politicians who are engaging in homosexual sex covertly.

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Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hope

This is such an amazing video. It gives me hope for the future. However, I worry about a disconnect between talking about acceptance and actually integrating it into one’s worldview. Even though the pink shirt campaigns have existed for a couple of years, school bullying is still occurring at a high rate in schools. While I completely support events like this flash mob, I wonder what the students’ understanding of acceptance really is. If one were to ask some questions about how acceptance plays it in their daily lives.

For those of you with children what do you see?

Enjoy the video!

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How to kill a conversation

Today, Deb and I were at Safeway picking up a few things. We were doing our usual shtick, teasing each other. This time it was about the deviled ham[1] I had put in the cart. Deb, as a new vegetarian (again), was mocking my choice. I then made a comment about not teasing me, to which, the cashier piped up and said: “isn’t that what friends are for?” I then replied: “or partners.” Well. You would have thought I grew a third head. The air turned icy and it seemed to take forever for her to ring through the rest of our groceries.

After we were in the car we had a discussion about what had happened. I feel the need to challenge people’s assumptions about us. I have been doing it for a very long time. I resent the fact that people believe they can make assumptions about our relationship. Sometimes they see us friends, other times it is as sisters. People just never think outside of the box and consider that we might be married. I think this fact is exacerbated by the fact that we are women. Women, outside of heterosexual relations, are rarely seen as sexual beings.

All of this, of course, is about discourse. As long as we live in a hetero-normative society these kinds of assumptions will be made. We are all so busy assuming everyone is heterosexual that we do not recognize different sexual orientations. Along with the discourse of heterosexuality goes the rampant homophobia within our society. Where we live, there are not as many LGTB people as there are in Vancouver. We live very close to the bible belt and the views which are predictable of neo-Christians.

What is the answer? Well, we need to begin to challenge heterosexist views. Not everyone is heterosexual. By assuming everyone is space is not given for people to be different. This lack of space creates huge problems for youth who are different. Without role models youth have difficulty seeing LGTB people living happy, productive lives. Queer people need to become a positive part of the general discourse, i.e. magazines, TV shows, stories etc. Perhaps if we incorporate more images of queer people into our media we will start to see some positive change. Every time we challenge people’s assumptions, we start to break down barriers and make room for different kinds of relationships.


[1] I told her to blame Wander Coyote’s deviled ham sandwich picture.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 8:15 pm  Comments (4)  
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I am angry, so very, very angry

I am about to rant. If you object to calling it like it is or profanity then stop reading now. You have been warned.

I need to talk about fat oppression. Yes, you read it correctly, fat oppression. Let’s define fat oppression:

From Dictionary.com, here is the definition of fat: having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese: a fatperson.

From Dictionary.com, here is the and the definition of oppression:
1.
the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel,or unjust manner.

Putting it together? Fat oppression is cruel and unjust treatment of people who have too much flabby tissue. Like racism, there is generally a flavor of power being present in the oppression but it is not always necessary. It can be used to discredit people in positions of power when others are trying to undermine them. Wow! What a thing to judge someone on! This can work in many ways. But I digress.

This society thinks it is perfectly OK to systematically denigrate, discriminate and decimate fat people. We are the butt of jokes. If people can’t find a way to tear us down and we are fat then they use that. We get accused of all sorts of things, usually based on assumptions (incorrect at that). Some even have the nerve to diagnose people.

I have had huge issues with my weight and being fat my entire life. What the oppressors don’t know is that I have a metabolic disorder. Yes, there is a medical reason I am fat. I don’t even lose any significant weight when I am deathly ill with colitis. Yet they feel they can use this because this is all they have. So, I am here to tell you the following:

  • Fat people are not stupid.
  • Fat people are not dirty.
  • Fat people do not lack self-control. Point in fact I quit smoking cold turkey 20 years ago.
  • Fat people are not weak; nor are we here to be the butt of your jokes.

I am fucking sick of it. I usually have this shit under control. I am a highly intelligent, well-educated fat woman and I scare the shit out of some people. I scare the shit out of people who see how smart, funny, competent and kind I am.

I am so fucking angry that some people are trying to oppress me simply because I am fat. How fucking stupid can they be? What the hell gives them the right to think that just because they are of a smaller size they are superior? If you think the fat person in front of you is weak, think again. If you think weight is a simple matter of calories in and calories out you are wrong. Let’s judge people on real things – their accomplishments, their ethics, and their values as human beings. Weight, like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation has nothing to do with who we are as people.

If we are not fat ourselves (and half of us are), we definitely know someone who has struggled with weight issues. Maybe it is a friend or a family member. Maybe you are nice and kind to their face but mock them to others because you can. After all, fat discrimination along with sexual orientation and gender non-conformity, are about the only areas of oppression that are still sanctioned in our society. If you don’t believe me, listen to the jokes the oppressors tell sometime.

To the haters and the oppressors out there – I am on to you. So stay the fuck out of my way. I am sick and tired of being denigrated by you because I am fat and a lesbian. I have figured you all out now and I am angry, very, very angry.

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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Dispatches from the Swamp – the Beef Stew Edition

You know it is autumn around here when I start making stew. Personally, I am not a big stew fan because I do not like all the root veggies that Deb does. I hate turnip and parsnips in particular. Plus she likes it really thick which I do not. Anyway, I do make good stew. We picked some blade roast at Hopcott as it was on sale for $3.99 a pound. Their beef is so tender, it does not seem to matter the cut. The beef is melt in your mouth good. The best part is that it is local, no antibiotics and humanely raised.

I made a video (I hate how I look on camera!) for the ‘It gets better’ campaign started by Dan Savage. The hope is that LGTB adults will make videos letting queer teens know it does get better. The purpose of the project is to talk to teens about what they are going through and letting them know there is help out there and hope for the future. Please spread the word.

Our yard is continuing to dry out. We are very hopeful about this process. Our contractor ensures us that we will have a useable lawn once he is done. We have decided not to hog fuel the yard when he is done. All of this is very hopeful!

I thought I was coming down with a cold. I had a really bad 7 or so hours and then it seemed to get better. However, my face is all broken out no doubt as a result of the virus. If you watch my video you will see what I am talking about.

I have to say that the last couple of days have been horrific pain wise. I am not sure why this is happening but I need it to end soon.

The dogs are all good. Madison has been getting a little more anxious lately. She pretty much needs to be with someone all the time. Closed gates really upset her and she takes it out on the drywall. Sawyer is continuing to mature and he is turning into a lovely little dog. Mollie is doing well. The cough medicine worked for her. Bella is also much improved. She seems to be back to her normal self. She is eating like a horse so I am hopeful she will put some weight back on and hopefully re-build her muscle mass. She is not giving Deb or Angelina any grief when they pill her. I got her some grain-free wet food as she was allergic to the other stuff.

Over

My mother is home. I am so tired. I slept until 1:30 pm today. Deb drove her to the airport. The drive turned out to be horrible as the Golden Ears bridge was closed due to a police incident. This made the normally 60-minute round trip into a 3 hour slog.

I cannot believe how tired I am. After working all week and then having my mother here has completely drained me. On a normal weekend I would sleep until at least noon on all three days and maybe longer. I would also have at least 1 day where I would not leave the house, relax and watching tv. I got none of this while my mother was here. I am sure it is going to be a very long week.

The other things that are exhausting when my mother is here are her political views. She is a misogynist. We were discussing the latest sexual allegations against Al Gore. She said that it was probably the woman’s fault. She then explained that ‘all those women’ hang around these men. I asked how that mattered. She believes that because ‘these women’ hang around men like Al Gore and Tiger Woods that they want to have sex.

I challenged her belief by pointing out that just because the women are in their presence  does not mean they give consent for sexual activity and if the women do not give consent then it is rape anyway you look at it. She really did not have an answer for this. She believes that women who hang around famous men want to be raped. This does not surprise me. My grandmother was also a misogynist. She believe that women were incapable of fixing things or making decisions. When my mother divorced my adoptive father, my grandmother took his side. I remember how much this upset my mother.

Then there was the whole discussion on the 2-page spread in the Province about gay-bashing. As far as my mother is concerned, gay men should just take self-defense courses and protect themselves! She then relayed a story about my step-sister, who is very small, and who felt afraid in a parking garage. Apparently she took a course so that she would not be afraid anymore. I challenged her on this, pointing out that it is wrong that men get gay-bashed and women feel the need to take self-defense courses. She further did not understand why the gay-bashings would be hate crimes. Needless to say it was a very frustrating day!

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Closet

I could blog about the budget but that would be very boring. So, instead, I am going to blog about ‘the closet.’ This of course would the metaphorical ‘closet’ which all LGTB people are familiar.

I had my hair cut yesterday. Normally this is a benign activity if one does not want to look like Cousin It. My hair was beginning to take on a life of its own so I made an appointment. I had a great hairstylist who I just found but she went on maternity leave. So they put me with someone else. This stylist was not very bright and clearly did not hear the “I don’t want to lose the length” comment I made when we started, but I digress. Here is the conversation:

Hairstylist: Do you have children?

Me: No, we have dogs.

Hairstylist: How many dogs?

Me: Nine.

Hairstylist: What kinds?

Me: (rattled off the nine dogs names, ages and breeds)

Hairstylist: Your husband likes dogs too?

Me: My partner. Yes, my partner likes dogs.

inane chatter ensues….

Hairstylist: So what does your partner do for a living?

Me: She is an animal control officer.

Hairstylist: (hairstylist to rude women colleague (RW for short) Guess how many dogs this woman has? Nine!!!

RW: Do just really like dogs is that why you gather them up?

Me: Yes, we like dogs and we are involved with rescue.

RW: Does your husband like dogs too?

Me: Partner, and yes she likes dogs too.

RW & Hairstylist: Oh, ok.  We get it. We have gay friends. (much eye-rolling on my part)

RW: So, do you just have an aversion to men? Do you, like, hate them?

Me: No, I do not have an aversion to men. It just is.

RW: I don’t understand it.

Hairstylist: (whisks me away to wash my hair and tells me RW is rude) No shit!

RW: You should colour your hair. You are prematurely grey.

Me: No, I have done that and it is too much work.

RW: But you would look much younger.

Me: That’s ok.

RW: You should have your eyebrows waxed.

Me: Clippers, I use clippers on them.

RW: Well, as an eye brow wax professional, I have to tell you that is not a good idea.

Me: Oh well….

This was one weird conversation! I learned that I am totally incapable of being in the closet even when it makes me and others uncomfortable. I think that is a good thing although I am not sure. Clearly, RW needs a personality. I am not sure if it was because she was bored or she really is just that much of an idiot. Very bizarre!

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 9:58 pm  Comments (8)  
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Hate Crimes

It is really sad that even in predominantly ‘gay’ areas of Vancouver, the LGTBQ community is still not safe. Apparently there was a gay bashing in the west end early Saturday morning. Two men were walking together, holding hands, when they were accosted and subsequently assaulted by a group of 4 men who were yelling homophobic slurs at them.

The police have made an arrest and are considering charging the individual with a hate crime. I am not sure why there needs to be any ‘consideration’ especially when it is so clearly a hate crime. I am not sure why some young men (as they were in this case) feel that it is ok to harass and assault innocent people walking down the street. The area in which the assaults took place (Davie and Hornby) is in the gay village which leaves one to ask why these young men were there if they did not want to come across homosexuals. If gay people are so repugnant to them why would they seek them out? Sadly, the answer most likely is that they wanted to commit a hate crime.

I would like to wish Jordan Smith a speedy recovery. He will have to have his jaw wired shut for 6 weeks as it was dislodged in the attack. I hope his attackers get everything the justice system can throw at them. There should be a special place in hell reserved for those who commit hate crimes.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm  Comments (9)