Last post for 2016 and maybe… for good

So, it’s coming to the end of the year. So much has happened; from the same – sex marriage debate here in Australia, the U.S. Election and of course, Orlando. This year has seen a lot of fear and division in the LGBTQ+ community, with people like former Order of Australia, Catherine Mcgregor, lashing out at the mainstream LGBTQ+ lobby. This year showed that as an ally, one shouldn’t assume anything about a member of the LGBTQ+ community and how all LGBTQ+ people are individuals, just like anyone else.

The shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, willl stay with me, as it would many others. The aftermath bought usual debate about Islam and so on, but, also, members of the LGBTQ+ community spoke out. Prejudice and violence against the LGBTQ+ community came into focus. As I wrote at the time, the ONE place where many LGBTQ+ people went to feel safe was targeted. It exposed, I think, who the allies are and homophobia, bi – phobia and transphobia, etc, in it’s ugliest form. Not only did you have the gunman, but also people praising the shooter. Not all were Muslim, either, mind you. Luckily, there was a backlash against them.

 

So, that’s what’s been happening in the last 12 months… well some of it. Next year, I hope for the ‘culture wars’ to calm down, or even better, to cease completely, (I can dream, can’t I?).

Now, I want to talk about the future of this blog. Will this be the last post here? I don’t think so, but, I’ve got another blog prepared to start next year. It’s going to have similar content to what I post here, PowerGirrrl and News, Views and Ramblings. I’m hoping to take it to the next level, ie. upgrade the domain, and so on. Technically, I could upgrade the domain of this blog (and the others), but I always classed this as just an amateur blog, just a start. Hopefully with the next blog, I can start off on a less amateurish, more professional foot.

 

I’d like to thank all those who’ve supported this blog. Special thanks to Bryan Patterson of Faithworks. Bryan, your encouragement, comments and tips have been valuable. Thank you. ūüôā

So, how much longer this blog will be up for, I’m not sure. Some day, I’ll post a link to my newest one then feel free to check that out.

 

Hope all of you have a great day/ night and a great 2017. ūüôā

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YouTuber and ‘Christian’ extremist calls National Geographic editor to be ‘burned at the stake’

Well, the heading is self explanatory. This may be distressing to some readers. Hope this gets a severe backlash.I’ll be honest, if you ‘stood in solidarity’ and claimed ‘we are Orlando’ after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June, then please condemn this and stand in solidarity with the 9 – year – old covergirl for National Geographic. All homophobia, bi – phobia, trans – phobia, etc, NEEDS to be condemned!

YouTuber calls 9 – year – old trans girl a ‘demon’ and says National Geographic editors should be burned at the stake

 

 

Rosie Waterland and LGBTQ+ writers

Contributor to the Mamamia Women’s Network, comedian and author, Rosie Waterland,¬†came out as bisexual on Facebook last Tuesday.¬†Of course, she has the support of the Mamamia staff, including founder, Mia Freedman, which is great. According to a snapshot of her Facebook post, the response to Waterland’s coming out has been positive.

I think this is great. In the past, I’ve ummed and ahhed about taking my blogging to the next level, but a part of me hasn’t felt… normal enough. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true. American women’s site, Ravishly frequently feature articles from members of the LGBTQ+ community, which is great, but here, not so much. Until now. And for that, I’m grateful.

It should be said that Mamamia isn’t the only publication to have an openly LGBTQ+ contributor. Josh Manuatu has writteen for The Spectator Australia and Catherine Mcgregor has written for Sydney’s ‘The Daily Telegraph’. It’s still great to see Mamamia have and embrace an LGBTQ+ columnist that has articles published frequently on the site.

 

This shouldn’t matter. I know, I know, but when you are under – represented – due to sexuality, race, disability or gender – sometimes, you can’t help but wonder whether you can fit in that industry. Also, it’s great to have allies speak out in the media in support the LGBTQ+ community, and throughout this year, I’ve emphasised the importance of allies and how we shouldn’t take their love and support for granted. But getting representation in the media from someone LGBTQ+ is something else. It’s a face, a person, an idenitity, that represents (to an extent), what LGBTQ+ rights issues are all about. Now, whether Waterland opens up further about her experiences as bisexual, that’s up to her. She doesn’t have to say anything else, if she doesn’t want to. I think her initial ‘coming out’ on such a public forum is enough.

 

So, where do we go from here? I hope that it gets even easier for LGBTQ+ writers to contribute to the media – as themselves. I’m hopeful. Kudos to Mamamia and good on Rosie Waterland for coming out. As herself.

Cate Mcgregor lashes out at LGBT community and why I’m sympathetic to gender non – binary people

Former Group Captain and Order of Australia, Catherine Mcgregor¬†has lashed out publication Sydney Star Observer and the LGBT community, labelling them “capricious”, “discriminatory”, “narrow – minded” and “totalitarian”.She also opposes calling non – binary people “they” without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria:

I do not support bullying of trans or gay kids more than I support bullying of Muslims or Christians or fat kids or rangas. But you don’t just wear a nose ring and demand to be called “they” in the absence of a diagnosis.

Mcgregor isn’t the only trans person to criticise pronouns such as “they” when describing gender and the idea that gender is non – binary. American YouTuber, Blaire White, also a transwoman,¬†totally rejects the idea that there are more than two genders:

Content Warning: coarse language

When I read Mcgregor’s article, I was conflicted. I still am. As a cis – gender female, I will be the first to say that I have no idea what Mcgregor or White have gone through. Mcgregor has said publicly that for her,¬†the struggle was becoming too much.¬†She says that she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria – an acute distress over a person’s gender identity and sex not matching up. The latest Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), has used the term “gender dysphoria” instead of Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which has has been applauded as being a step to destigmatise trans people.

However, I’m not willing to say for certain that gender non – binary people are making their identity up as a political statement, like White suggests, or whether they (collectively), vary in political persuasions just as people in any other group.

I’m not willing to say that gender non – binary people are making it up, because, until very recently, that’s how many people viewed asexuality. In my teen years, two health professionals told me two myths about asexuality – one was that it doesn’t exist and another said it was a phase that people grow out of. The first isn’t true and the second isn’t true for most asexual people. Asexuality was classed as a part of hypo sexual desire disorder (HSDD), until the¬†DSM V was modified.¬†The idea that asexuality is a phase, doesn’t exist or is a mental disorder has left many asexual people feel confused, broken and isolated.

However, science is slowly proving that asexuality may be a legitimate orientation. According to¬†Lorri Brotto and Morag Yule,¬†research indicates that, like homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, epigenetics seem to play a part in determining whether someone becomes asexual. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I think this is huge! Now, in terms of gender, I understand that there has been some¬†research on cross – sex (MtF/ FtM) transgender people’s¬†brain structures¬†and differences have been noticed. Genetics may also play a part. An identical twin is more likely to identify as trans if his/ her identical twin identifies as trans. This research has only been very recent. In the past, I’ve looked up research on non – binary gender identities¬†and there’s basically none. That’s not to say that non – binary/ agender people don’t exist and anyone who identifies that way is making it up. What I’m saying is, let the science catch up. Until then, I still don’t understand why people are still getting their knickers in a knot over the pronoun “they”. What’s so hard to call someone that if “they” prefer it?

What do you think? Am I wrong? I’d like to especially like to hear from trans/ gender non – binary people about this. Feel free to comment!

Is it necessary to get rid of heteronormative language?

I know it’s nearly Christmas and I wasn’t planning on writing something this heavy, but I think it’s something that needs to be said – again.

Is¬†this really necessary?¬†According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian government workers are being told not to use cis – hetero – normative¬†language, particularly around LGBTQ+ clients. OK, I’m cis – gender. I have never questioned or struggled with my gender identity, so I’d like to hear some views from trans and gender – diverse people about this. Is it really necessary for people to avoid cis – hetero – normative language around you? I mean, sure, it’d probably help if they don’t assume, but is it possible for you just to say “actually I prefer the pronoun X”. Also, when dealing with LGBTQ+ couples, just use a gender – neutral noun like “partner” or another term the couple themselves prefer. Is that so hard?

In regard to relationships, in Australia, marriage is still legally defined as between one man and one woman. I have heard of some parents, other family and friends of LGBTQ+ people¬†blocking their ears at marriage ceremonies¬†in protest of the current definition of marriage in Australia as celebrants are mandated by law to state the current legal definition. I sort of understand that. The issue of same – sex marriage is very real and personal for many people in the LGBTQ+ community and allies. I get that. But I don’t see how adjusting language completely will help combat homophobia and trans – phobia or fight for change in marriage laws. In fact, as I’ve said many times before, I think it’ll end up backfiring on the LGBTQ+ community – even if (when?) – ¬†same – sex marriage is legal.

 

But I wonder whether it goes deeper than that. Is it still treating LGBTQ+ people like “the other”, so to speak? Does it help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community to have bureaucrats to impose an acceptable standard on the rest of society when it comes to simply interacting with the LGBTQ+ community. Shouldn’t we be able to speak up for ourselves? Can’t we say, “this is my partner” or “I prefer the pronoun ze, hir, or they?”. Or even for some asexual/ aromantic people, “this is my queer – platonic partner”?

In the aftermath of the Trump victory in the US, Brexit and the rise of One Nation here, one thing is made abundantly clear – people are tired of being ignored, being lectured at and having bureaucrats dictate what is acceptable. People are tired of feeling guilty and walking on egg shells. Stand up for your rights and the rights of others, by all means. But what is happening now isn’t working. Or, it may seem like it’s working now, but don’t be surprised when people continue to rise in revolt – possibly leaving the people that are¬†meant to be protected¬†even more vulnerable.

Six months since Pulse Nightclub and other thoughts

Trigger Warning: queerphobia, Orlando shooting

How time has flown. It’s¬†been over six months since the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida where 49 innocent people were massacred by a reported supporter of Islamic State. 53 other people were injured and the gunman was shot dead by¬†police.

This caused a media circus. On one hand, you had politicians and media personalities downplaying the role of Islam in the shooting and the hostility between Islam and the LGBTQ+ community. On the other hand, I believe there was a downplaying on the fact that it was an attack directly on the Latino/Latina/ Latinx LGBTQ+ community. As I wrote at the time, a number of American LGBTQ+ bloggers expressed how shook up they were. The¬†one¬†place where LGBTQ+ people have gone to meet up¬†safely for the past 40+¬†was targeted. Not only that, but what wasn’t acknowledged by most journalists and commentators, was that this was only the latest violent attack against LGBTQ+ people. No one in Australia mentioned¬†the man arrested in Santa Barbara, who planned to attack the LA Pride event. Luckily, the event went without any issues. In the US, these were only the¬†latest¬†(at the time), attacks (or would – be attacks) against the LGBTQ+ community. MSNBC reporter, Rachel Maddow listed a number of hate crimes aimed at LGBTQ people since Stonewall in 1969. Apart from a deadly arson attack on a New Orleans club in 1973,¬†most of the attacks didn’t end in fatalities.

 

Most people showed solidarity to the LGBTQ+ community at the time after Orlando, which I think should be acknowledged. I think ¬†Owen Jones made a mistake when he attacked Sky News’ journalist, Julia Hartley – Brewer about how she “didn’t understand” the impact of the attack. What if she (or Mark Longhurst) had LGBTQ+ family¬†or friends. Most people could feel for the victims in¬†Orlando. I couldn’t imagine the anguish of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, etc of LGBTQ+ people that night. That would’ve made them feel vulnerable as well.

 

Unfortunately, the attack also brought out the worse in people and exposed who homophobes really were. Pastor Steven Anderson from Tempe, Arizona, made a video stating that it was “good news” that 50 gay people had been killed. Pastor Roger Jimminez from Sacramento, California made similar sentiments. These people were not mentioned in Australian media, but did receive backlash. Anderson’s¬†PayPal account was shut down¬†and he has been banned from preaching in a number of countries, including the UK. Jimminez’s video was taken down from YouTube for hate speech.¬†Also, Christians have spoken condemning Jimminez’s words. I’ve got to say, that after watching the video of Anderson’s comments on Orlando, it shook me up and made me wonder whether same – sex marriage was worth the risk.

 

The reaction on social media, like I wrote at the time, was overwhelming. I saw memes from friends and family that expressed solidarity and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. That was comforting, given my own struggles accepting my own identity. At least now I know¬†that I won’t be losing too many friends over what I write here.

 

So, what about the future? I hope that 2017 will be a safe year for everybody. I hope that LGBTQ+ people can be themselves safely. Globally, and even nationally, we have a fair way to go (in some countries, obviously miles to go). I’m quietly optimistic about Australia, although I do have some reservations. I hope that in the future, the livelihoods and well – beingof LGBTQ+ not have their existence be treated like never – ending political ping – pong. I also hope that the voices of LGBTQ+ people will continue to be heard and listened to. I hope that people also listen to mental health workers who are concerned about the well – being of LGBTQ+ people, rather than just brush them off as ideologues. If you are a supporter of same – sex marriage, then support same – sex marriage, but don’t use LGBTQ+ families as pawns to gain politically. I, for one have had it.

To all those who have stuck by me and other LGBTQ+ people, thank you for your love and acceptance. ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧

 

Anyway, that’s my rant for today. I may post again before the end of the year, I may not. If you don’t here from me, hope everyone has a happy Christmas and a great, safe 2017 full of love, success and joy.

 

Should the LGBTQ+ community be concerned about Donald Trump?

Watchin ¬†the video below, you’d think that the American LGBTQ+ community has nothing to worry about when Donald Trump becomes US President from next year.

While I get Paul Joseph Watson’s critique, I do think that people do have a right to be concerned, not just about marriage rights, but – among other things – anti – discrimination protections introduced by Barack Obama.

If Trump is for LGBTQ protections, then all power to him. But that does not sooth the fears of LGBTQ+ community, especially when his Vice President, Mike Pence and other Republicans have a reputation of being opponents of LGBTQ rights. Pence himself has been knlwn to advocate for the highly criticised conversion therapy. I, for one will be hoping that all legal rights will stay in tact for LGBTQ Americans.