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Posts Tagged ‘transgender’

So. . . when I first saw this blog post from LivLuna, I wasn’t sure how to feel about something called “SlutWalk.” 

If I’m being totally honest, I have to admit that I have been known to call a girl or two “sluts”–without really knowing anything about them, other than how they were dressed.  I always knew it was wrong to judge others like that. . . but what can I say?  I’m opinionated. 

But after reading about SlutWalk and watching the video above, I can’t help but reevaluate my use of the words “slut” and “bitch.”  What they’re saying is true.  Using words like that does make it sound like it’s OK to judge women based on what clothes they wear or how much make-up they have on–and gives people a socially accepted way to discriminate and even abuse women. 

In some cases, the way a woman was dressed has even been used as a defense for rape, and THAT is the kind of stereotyping that SlutWalk is trying to fight against.

The New York Post may think that SlutWalks are “feminist folly” and “idiocy,” but as far as I’m concerned, it has really gotten me to reconsider what words like “slut” really mean.  I’m vowing to think a little more before I speak unkindly of others.

 And I plan to attend SlutWalk NYC on August 20, 2011!

Wanna join in?  RSVP to the Facebook Event.

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Someone recently asked me about my “coming out” story.  I don’t talk about it much because. . . well. . . it’s just not that exciting.  Even my sister’s coming out story is more interesting than mine!

Hell, to be honest, I wasn’t even that nervous about coming out–except to my mom. 

I knew she’d still love me. . . but she had been asking me for years if I liked girls. . . and I always told her “No, I don’t think so” or “Nope, no girl fantasies for me.”

And it was true!  I had never had any interest girls. . . but I hadn’t had any interest in guys either.  Naturally, she was wondering. 

FINALLY, in May of my junior year of high school, it happened–my first real crush on a girl.  I knew I had to tell my mom the truth.

So that Saturday, my mom and I were in her Mustang and she was driving me to my lame part-time job at the public library.  About two minutes into the drive (it only took five to get to the library from home), I finally got up the courage to say something.

“Mom.”

“What?”

“I like Kim.”

“Like. . . what?”  She looked confused.

“I like Kim.  A lot.”  I tried to sound casual.

“Like. . . as a friend?  Or like you wanna date her?”

“I’m going out with her.”

“So. . . you’re gay?”  She put on her turn signal.

“I don’t know.” 

“What do you mean you don’t know?  You like girls, right?” 

“No.  I like Kim.  Beyond that, I don’t know.” 

“You picked now to tell me?” she asked, as we pulled up to the library and she put the parking break on.

“. . . . Yes?”

She gave me a look and shook her head. 

“I love you,” she said, and leaned over to give me a hug.  “Have a good day at work.”

“Love you, too!”  I hugged her and got out of the car. 

That was in 2006, and to this day, she still makes fun of me for coming out the day before Mother’s Day.

“What kind of a Mother’s Day present is that?!”

I’d like to thank my mom for raising me to be such a confident, well-adjusted kid.  I’m nothing compared to some of the other crazies at my college.  =P 

Pretty sure my mom must have one of those in her closet somewhere. . .
 
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So. . . while I was home visiting my family for Easter, my mom asked me this question:

If you found out that there was a drug you could take that would make you straight, would you take it?

I didn’t even hesitate to tell her “No.”

And she was surprised that I wouldn’t want to be straight if I could be.

Ever since I first realized that I was a lesbian and came out, it’s been such an integral part of my life.  While it’s far from being the only important factor in defining who I am, it is still a major part of who I consider myself to be and how I think about myself.  It has affected the decisions I’ve made, the way I have viewed the world, and the person I have become.   

To put it quite simply. . . I can no longer even imagine life as a straight woman.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who would just love to find a miracle “cure” for “the gay”–probably the same people who send their kids to “ex-gay camps” to turn them straight.   

For the same reason I’d never go to one of those camps or programs, I would never want to take a drug or hormone therapy to change my orientation.  There is nothing wrong with me the way I am, and I am perfectly happy being me. 

Pretty well adjusted for a gay kid, huh? 

“Baby, I was born this way.” —Lady Gaga

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Edith Windsor and her wife, Thea Spyer, were together for more than 40 years, and married for their final two years together–until Thea died from multiple-sclerosis in 2009.

Now, Edith is heading the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which unfairly defines marriage as being between a man and a woman under federal law.

Because of DOMA, Edith was forced to pay more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance from her late wife.  As of November 2010, she is filing a lawsuit against the United States of America for a refund of the tax.

This week, the Republicans in the House of Representatives decided to fund the defense of DOMA using taxpayers’ dollars, despite the fact that President Obama and his administration have already stated that they will no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA.

MY GOAL, in the next few weeks is to somehow manage to interview Edith Windsor on her case.  I was able to speak to her on the phone, but was told that she couldn’t do an interview without her lawyers or PR people present. . . so now I’m trying to sift through all the legal mumbo-jumbo and secretaries at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to see if I can get my interview!

Wish me luck!  =P

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There are big changes for the LGBTQ community taking place in the United States.  President Barack Obama just announced that the government will no longer be spending taxpayer dollars to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and allows state governments the option of not recognizing marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships from other states.

However, even before that, in December of last year, the Senate also voted to repeal the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy created 17 years ago by the administration of former President Bill Clinton.  For almost two decades, this policy prevented gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.  It has caused many good soldiers to be dishonorably discharged from the service, and many more to have to hide their sexuality from their superiors and fellow soldiers.

This policy has had such a long history, that I wanted to get a feel for how the typical straight soldier feels about the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” so I interviewed 21-year-old Nancy Feliz.  Nancy is an ammunition specialist in the United States Army, and has been serving for almost four years.  She may be straight, but she had a lot to say about DADT.

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What made you want to join the military?

Feliz:  I grew up in a household where my father made it clear a woman is to stay at home, cook and clean, and the man is to work and all that other stuff—so a very sexist home. And it was me and my three other sisters and my one brother, and he was catered to, so I’ve always been more aggressive. I tell my mom sometimes I should have been born a boy, because I’m just more of a tomboy. And I just told my dad that I’m going to join the army, and he actually didn’t speak to me for a year and a half after I left because of it, and he doesn’t like seeing me in my uniform. But I joined because it was something that I wanted to do and I wanted to prove to him anything that you can do, I can do better.

How do you feel about the repeal of DADT?

Feliz:  I think that’s the best thing that’s happened in the army just because it takes away the way that we think that just because you’re gay you can’t serve your country. Sexuality doesn’t have anything to do with how you serve your country, because I’ve known girls that are gay and those are the ones you trust the most. Sexuality does not tell someone you can’t shoot someone, you can’t defend, you can’t have your battle buddy’s back, so I’m glad it happened. I feel like they should have the right to be whoever they want, if they choose to serve their country. It’s not something that many people wanna do, so why should we try to take that away from people who wanna do it because of their sexuality?

Why do you feel like it’s really important?

Feliz:  Because I feel like it’s not fair. We’re telling Americans you have this freedom to be what you wanna be, to do what you wanna do. And here we are fighting for that freedom, and yet if someone is gay, they can’t serve our country. So you’re restricting us from being who we wanna be. I feel like, if I have the right to be with a man, then any other gay person should have the right to be with whoever they wanna be, and it not dictate if you’re allowed to serve your country or not.

Why do you think that DADT lasted as long as it did?

Feliz:  I think it lasted as long as it did because of the way that it was instilled in our minds to think of—like in my English class, “masculinity”—it was perceived that if you’re gay or a woman, you couldn’t serve your country. The women thing passed before, because it was more of an acceptable issue, whereas gay, it was hard to accept. Now, in the 21st century, we’re more open-minded to things, and we’re able to accept who you are, no matter what—no matter what you like or any of your preferences.

How do you feel that people within the armed services will handle the repeal of DADT?

Feliz:  I feel like in the woman’s aspect of it, it’ll be accepted—doesn’t matter if you’re a lesbian or not. When it comes to the men, you still have men that are more closed-minded and are still, “Oh my god. You’re gay? I don’t want you looking at me in the shower.” But I think it’ll be accepted. Like I said, we’re more open-minded, so if we can deal with it outside of the military, it shouldn’t be a problem inside the military.

Is there anything else you want to comment on about DADT?

Feliz:  This had to happen, because I know a lot of gay women that are good soldiers.

Can you tell me about some of the women who you know that are gay in the army?

Feliz:  During my training, I befriended two women, and they ended up falling in love with each other. And one of the girls was the best female in the whole unit. She was a sharpshooter. I ran faster than her, but she was the second best runner. She did all of the pushups like the guys did. She did all the situps. She was very smart—so she had all the qualities that you would want in a soldier. She’s someone you could trust, she was someone that I know that if I need her to have my back, she would have had my back. Whereas we had these straight females that—how we say in the army a “typical female”—that doesn’t want to do nothing, that feels like, “Oh, I’m a girl and I can’t break a nail.” So I feel like, having her there and a lot of other gay girls that can be a woman and can also know how to—I’m not saying be a man—but also know how to not care if she breaks a nail if she’s going to have my back. I’m honestly very pro gay in the army.

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