A real life desperate housewife

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I have entered the land of the housewife… it’s a wild, untamed land that apparently is devoid of social rules when engaged in conversation with two lesbians.

Let me rephrase that, Cee and I went over to the house of our daughter’s friend. We had appies and wine with our daughter’s friends mom. We had a lovely time, but I couldn’t help but wonder, why the hell does the woman stare with such “blue steel”  brown eyes at me? “Blue Steel” was code for I want to eat you like a sushi buffet. Was she staring at Cee the same way? Was there something on my shirt? Or… I came to the realization that this 45 year old desperate housewife was hitting on me!

The reason I didn’t come to this conclusion sooner, was that I hadn’t really been expecting to be hit on and it had been awhile since someone openly flirted with me.

As the wine was poured and appies devoured, we spoke about our lives with lively candor until deeper subjects about family and personal lives were unearthed. We touched on lighter subjects about our lives first, then more personal aspects of being LGBT. Conversation gave way to how I discovered I was gay, then of course came the three letter word that usually only adults comfortable with one another speak of. Sex.

For some reason, people who were strangers an hour ago, feel it’s ok to speak of your sex life when you fall under the LGBTQ umbrella. It’s like there’s this insatiable hunger for knowledge that people outside the umbrella don’t know – and they feel it is ok to overstep regular social constructs to get said knowledge. Oh yes… she went there.

It’s been awhile for me– having a stranger ask about my sex life — so I was slightly caught off guard. Cee seemed to handle it better. I kept to one word answers mostly. “Who goes on top?” “Who wears the strap on?” Questions hung in the air like little cartoon bubbles. Her insatiable curiosity would be obvious as to why she was asking the questions. We had a barsexual ladies and gentlemen!

She assured us she was no barsexual, that she had had a threesome (which somehow included her husband watching but not participating?-which I think would be classified as having sex with another woman and having him watch, but I could be wrong…) Bingo. This lady totally wanted to fool around with us. I was more sober than not at this point and tried to steer the conversation off the topics it had settled to.

It was flattering knowing that if, and it’s a big IF we wanted to, we could. But we politely steered the subject to more lighter topics. I mentioned to Cee we should be going as I had to work the next day. “No, no, we couldn’t stay in the spare room,” I told her. Was I growing up? Being responsible? Yes. For everyone involved.

Later, Cee told me that that sort of thing happened all the time. “What sort of thing?” I asked. “That people just see me as bisexual and assume I want to have sex with everyone.” I thought about it. That didn’t sound fair. I didn’t assume Cee would want to have sex with everyone–but then I remembered— once upon a time, I didn’t date bisexuals for that reason — because they could fall in love with anyone. A stereotype I’m glad that I have seen myself break. Just because someone identifies as bisexual, does not mean that they will sleep with anyone and everyone.

Last night, I was flattered. But this morning I was glad that I woke up next to the love of my life. That’s what matters. And if nothing else comes of this friendship with our daughter’s friends mom besides being our daughter’s friends mom, so be it. Maybe we made a friend along the way. We could always use one of those.

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I kissed my girl and I liked it

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Sorry for the long break from my blog. After a long hiatus, I’m back!

This will be a short blog post. So, for the record, I’m “out” to any coworker who asks. I work in healthcare. The other day I was visiting a friend in hospital who had complications after surgery. My partner Cee was there with him. Cee’s the type of friend you want by your side. She’s fiercely loyal and will stay with you when no one else does or is able to.  She was by his side all day while he awaited scary test results.

I came into the emergency department where I sometimes work, and grabbed some supplies for our friend. Often times the nurses in emerg are too busy with other things, so I thought I’d help them and our friend out.

On my way out the door, I gave Cee a kiss on the lips. I felt the gaze of several nurses on us. I smiled and left. It felt great to be able to be myself. With Cee’s love, I feel untouchable. Our love is love. We’re just like any other couple. For those that read my blog, you’ll know that this was a big deal for me. Just years ago, I couldn’t even begin to talk about my life outside of work to coworkers because I built a big wall with homophobic fear in my mind. Sometimes I think that the wall I built out of fear is greater than the actual size of homophobic fear out there.

Have a great day everyone.

Six years of breathing air out of the closet

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Six years ago as of April 15th (which landed on Easter at the time), I came out of the closet. It hadn’t happened the way I wanted to. I had been a member on the Empty Closets Forum, click here, and looked for support from an amazing online community of LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly people around the world. I had already told a few of my closets friends from high school and at college and for the most part I felt the support-because it didn’t change how they saw me which I was grateful for. But I was gearing up to eventually tell my family.

I was at my parents house for Easter weekend. I was discussing my long distance relationship with a girlfriend to one of my friends and I thought my parents were out of ear shot but apparently not. Midway through a conversation, my mom comes into the room and angrily comments on what we were discussing. Not knowing how else to respond, I stated that yes I was likely going to marry a woman and I wanted to have elephants at my wedding. My mom stormed off and my friend politely excused herself to go home.

womenpride

(Photocredit: Candygurlz)

So at dinner that weekend, in front of both my parents and my younger sister, I stated that I was not heterosexual. I had written a letter (which I thankfully still have), stating that it was difficult for me to accept myself, let alone tell anyone that I was more different than the average person. I told them my struggles and dating different types of men wondering what the problem was, whilst knowing that deep down I was the issue, I was not heterosexual. I originally came out as being bisexual because I thought that my emotional connection with men, but not sexual connection with them would have been enough and that I was just more attracted to them. I shamefully also thought that being bisexual would have been easier to tell people than flat out stating that I liked tacos as opposed to tacos and hot dogs.

It didn’t go well. There were periods of silence, there were days of non stop bickering and yelling. My sister felt scared to tell her friends her sister was a homo for fear of losing friends in high school. I came home one day to find my mom on the phone with an old friend from high school telling her that I needed to talk to a priest and start Conversion Therapy which led me to arguing, promptly packing clothes into a back pack and driving off to live with friends for a few days.

It was rough and a very lonely period. My friends got me through it. Reading people’s stories and vlogs on the internet got me through darker days.

When I was suddenly brave enough to venture out and find “my people” (like minded people in the LGBTQ community), I drove 2 hours from home to find gay events in another city. I found like minded friends. I found people that were just like me, with stories of heartache and inspiration. I realized that it gets better. I realized that you could be yourself and live a fulfilling life and be accepted by good people if you surrounded yourself with positivity and people who were accepting of you.

As the years passed, the questions about “boyfriends” and “grandchildren” dwindled from my parents and were replaced by pronouns such as “girlfriends”. Parents became more willing to meet my girlfriends that I deemed serious relationships. I went through many girlfriends that I thought would be serious but ended up being short lived relationships which was hard on my parents who thought that I would never find happiness.

I have learned so much in the six years that I’ve been out of the stuffy closet I called home for many years. I learned that I don’t have to adhere to gender roles (no one should really but it seems more prevalent in heterosexual relationships). I learned to accept that people would hate or dislike even if you kept your mouth shut and they didn’t know you personally. I learned that my love was different but that didn’t make me less of a person. I learned that I can dress however I want to be portrayed by how I view myself. I learned that I love short hair (not every lesbian does, but I do). I learned how to smile at people who scowl at me when I hold my girlfriends hand in public. I learned how to stand up for myself to people who would say rude things about LGBTQ or people in small minority groups. I learned that I want to be an advocate for LGBTQ rights even though I live in a country that allows things like same-sex marriage and equal spousal support because many countries still struggle with these basic human rights. I learned to speak about my experiences to others who struggle with theirs in attempts to let them learn that they are not alone, and that “It does get better”. I learned to flirt with women-flirting with men was easy-it’s a whole different thing when you suddenly have to flirt with women and you are attracted to them. I learned to become comfortable in my own skin while having sex which was never really discussed while I was growing up. I learned and developed a positive body image (in high school and part of college I had eating disorder issues)-because when you’re happy with how your life is going- you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I began writing a memoir detailing my life in high school, my mental health and sexuality and I hope to publish it to help others deal with their own issues. I learned that if I want to change the world into something more positive, I have to be someone to stand up and do something – volunteer, share links on social media, and talk about things that need to change.

I have learned so much in six years about myself, my hobbies/passions, my career, my friendships and relationships. My confidence has grown and I am starting to shine as an individual. I don’t think that would have happened had I not accepted myself, taken a risk and come out of the closet. It’s a scary thing to admit to the world-let alone yourself.

Just remember, “It Gets Better”. Happy Easter/long weekend for whatever you believe in in this world.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

EmptyClosets Forum
It Gets Better – Youth LGBTQ
Human Rights Campaign
The Trevor Project

First World Lesbian Problems

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1. Sharing a closet
I filled a closet before settling down with my fiancee. She filled a closet before I moved in. We were both forced to downsize. It’s still a full closet even with closet organizers. Trying to sort it out was painful.

2. Sharing bathrooms
We try to use separate bathrooms but with three kids, things get mixed up. Hair products and toothpastes go missing often. That’s just something we live with. Communication is key here. This is also why we buy toothpaste and toothbrushes from the dollar store.

3. I get mistaken for Cee’s daughter
This has happened more than once or twice. Sometimes when we go out, people ask if I am Cee’s daughter. This could be due to the fact that I am half a foot shorter than Cee or our age differences. Never the less I cannot seem to win on this one. Maybe when I’m older and more wrinkly this problem will solve itself. Hm.

4. You get asked, “Who’s the man?”
There is no man in the relationship, that’s the point… if I wanted a man, I’d be with a man. I think the point people try to get in this question is, “Who is top or bottom?”, which if asked to a heterosexual couple would likely be met with raised eyebrows or some swear words.

5. Trolling for books
You have to decide whether or not you will troll for Sarah Water’s books and be labelled a lesbian, or troll for books in the other sections and asked why you’re there.

6. PMS
It happens. Sometimes there is shark week in the house for two weeks, sometimes you sync up to your partner and it lands on the same day.

7. Discussing crushes
When your friends, who may happen to be heterosexual, discuss their manly crushes, you zone out and begin dreaming of Robert Downey Jr, Colin FarrellEllen Page. Emma Watson. Cute. But it can make you feel a little left out at times.

8. When your car breaks down
Agh. Your car’s light went on, so you go consult the manual, then you remember that despite the stereotype you are not the lesbian who knows how to fix a car. Facepalm.

9. Tactfully discussing your private life at work
This is something I go by with my gut. I am starting to share my life now, because anti bullying rules were recently put in place where I work to show how serious managers are about staff feeling safe and welcome. I could have used this new rule at my old places of work where I did not feel welcome by the snotty 40+ aged women who spoke as if they were fresh out of high school. But now that my new places of work are welcoming, I am finding it easier to speak about my life, even with a few of my older clients.

10. Straight men..
Who want to bang you. I am not a piece of meat. And I am gay. Please respect that just like you. It’s likely you don’t want to be shagged by a gay man.

11. Shopping
For some of us, the mall is a vortex of pain and shame. We don’t fully fit mens or androgynous clothes yet we try to wear them because that’s what we feel comfortable wearing. Then you sometimes get odd looks from the teenager who folds clothes at the store, but you have to look past them. Grab that shirt you love and get out of there. I always tell Cee, she’ll find me in the camera, tea, or book store.

I won’t be home for Christmas

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Christmas isn’t about commercialism (as companies may hype it up to be).
Christmas isn’t about the alcohol (as alcohol companies may try to play it up in advertisements).
Christmas isn’t about the food (even though food is an important aspect of life).
Christmas is about love, support, friends and family.

So while I have that with Cee, my parents and sister will not be a part of Christmas this year. This year will be the first year that I’ve not gone home to be a part of our nuclear family. Now that I have Cee in the kids, Christmas has changed. Christmas is about the kids. Christmas for adults is more about having love and support and a fun time watching the kids play during a magical season that comes just once a year.

My parents don’t quite seem to see eye to eye with me on this one. Since before I could remember, Christmas has been about the kids When that was me, I was thrilled to be able to unwrap something in front of the Christmas tree that my dad had sought out and harvested himself.

As the years have passed and I have grown older, my wants and wishes have changed from material things (which though still nice), to things that cannot be bought. I want love, support, kindness and acceptance. Some of those things I have realized the past few years that my parents are not able to give. They say they love me but I do not feel it in my heart. Love that is placed under condition and with the expectation that material goods can be given as love instead of kindness and things from the heart seems cold and hard.

A few days ago, I received a courier package from them. Inside a card for me were several gift certificates to several stores. While they were nice, I felt anger. I had told my parents that I wanted to go to therapy with them so we could work out our issues and get rid of the toxic relationship that still sweeps between us. Instead I was given gift cards and no more mention of therapy. This saddens me. My friends tell me I should give them an ultimatum of “go to therapy with me or don’t contact me at all” kind of deal. That seems so harsh to say to someone who brought you into the world and raised you. Yes they raised me, but it still doesn’t give them the right to treat me, or Cee the way that they do and still expect me to be there for them. I could care less about material goods. If I want something that bad, I will go out and buy the friggin thing myself.

I am deeply hurt. A part of me is missing. There is a void in my chest. I guess it’s taken years but this past year, I’ve realized that my parents can’t give me the type of love I need to receive. I can’t seem to move on because they keep opening up old wounds and don’t try to change the way that they view/say things. The depressions and hurt and anger I feel after speaking with them leave me crying in bed for hours. This affects Cee and the kids and has to stop.

This Christmas will be different. I will not have turkey dinner with my blood family the night of Christmas eve or unwrap presents with them. I will not have Danish smorgasbord Christmas morning. Instead I will be with my chosen family watching the kids gleefully unwrap their gifts. I will focus on their beautiful smiles and warm laughter.

I have to somehow accept what I will do if my parents don’t accept therapy. I plan on sending a photo album of my life from when i was young up until now to my parents since they really do not know me. Every time I’ve tried to allow them to get to know me I get criticism or passive aggressive back stabs and comments. Cutting them out of my life, while harsh is something I may have to do for my own mental health. I can’t keep crying and feeling a void in my chest every time I converse with them because they can’t love me like I just want to be loved. That may be a soon approaching reality. For this year, I won’t be home for Christmas. I will be forging a new path in the snow.

How to love and keep her

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Over the past year, Cee and I have been through a lot of ups and downs. We’ve learned a lot about each other and ourselves through our experiences. As a couple in one year, we’ve faced two car accidents, my depressions, and her unknown health diagnosis. It hasn’t always been bad though. Our highlights have included going to Mexico, spending a beautiful summer together and getting engaged.

On this post I want to share some things I’ve learned from our experiences and our relationship that may help readers with their relationships. These points may not all apply to you and they are in no particular order.

1. Love her as she is 

You fell in love with her as she was. Maybe there’s points about her you aren’t as fond of (like impulsive speech , which is an ongoing fault of  mine), but you don’t stop loving her. She is a human being,  the woman you fell in love with because of her strong,  beautiful  spirit. Remember to love her because she isn’t perfect not because of an idea you have in your mind. It’s hard at times to remember this point when you’re staring at one another with raised voices about some disagreement or personality clash, but you have to remember it. It’s important.

2. Remind her she’s beautiful 

Tell her she’s beautiful in the morning just as she’s waking up. Tell her she’s beautiful when she’s PMSing. Tell her she’s beautiful with and without makeup on. Just remind her that she’s beautiful often. Women have enough issues with body image society places on us. She will love and appreciate it, but be genuine of course.

3. Surprise her

Keep the love alive. Make her something special if you’re creatively inclined. Buy her little trinkets if you aren’t creative. I bought a wooden box from Michaels and painted a Gerber daisy on it. She loved it. She thought it was the sweetest thing. Now we keep our memories and little notes we pass each other in it.

4. Be present

This is one thing I still struggle with. I’m not sure if this is a personality or ADHD issue but I still struggle with it. I have to force my mind on task. This is easier to do when I have taken my ADHD medication but I find distractions still linger. Mindfulness is tougher to learn than I thought. But with awareness comes knowledge of my faults. Being present in each moment is an important skill to learn. When you are present with one another you are fully aware and engaged with one another in what they are saying, and feeling.

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate!

Talk about everything. If she is your love, you should be able to talk about everything under the sun. You may not agree on some things but you still have to communicate. Talk about your likes, dislikes, fantasies, dreams, what happened at work, your black sheep position in your family tree, how your coworker was a dick today, or how supportive your friends are. Don’t shut down and refuse to talk. Communication is one of the pillars holding up your relationship, don’t stop communicating.

6. Appreciate little moments

Life is made up of a long strand of moments we call memories. Find joy in the sorrowful moments.  Appreciate and be grateful you have each other. Appreciate times you snuggle and stroke her hair. Appreciate the times you laugh out loud. Appreciate making up after a disagreement or fight. Appreciate the bad times so that you can reel in happiness during the great times. You only get some chances once. Appreciate them.

7. Show interest in her interests

I’ll never forget the times when Cee showed interest in my photography and artistic side, I was thrilled. She understood that art was a big part of me and my life. She wanted to show me that I was welcome in her home (when I uhauled), by setting the garage up into a creative space for me and the girls. I have an area for my paints, and my easel.

I do my best to show my interests in her by encouraging her to run the local youth group and cooking (which she loves to do ). I also encouraged her to go back to school for something she feels will make a rewarding career.

8. Trust your partner

I learned this one the hard way. There was a time when I got a bad vibe and went through Cee’s phone. She hadn’t had a lock on it. I discovered some texts from an ex and felt jaded about it without even bringing it up till days later. Instead of just letting go and trying to trust her by not going through her private messages, I broke our trust temporarily which hurt our relationship for a bit. This is where communication comes in. Speak honestly and openly using “I feel” statements when discussing your feelings about love and trust. You’ll both feel better knowing you discussed things.

9. Accept her friends

Her friends may not be the usual types of people you would spend time with had you not met her. You may not agree with them at times but you have to put aside your views sometimes. If her friends get along with you and vice versa your relationship will sail more smoothly.

10. Compromise 

Sometimes you will have to compromise even when you feel you are right in your views and feelings and your partner is not. It’s crap sometimes but there will be times you have to compromise on things you initially refused to compromise on. Just let it go, apologize if need be and communicate. I can’t stress communication enough.

Just try to remember these points and learn from your mistakes. I hope these points will be some of the keys to helping you with your relationship.

The sky is falling

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I haven’t posted in a long time. Life gets busy when you’re busy trying to be a parent, a partner, a lover (not a fighter), a photographer, and someone who tries to do the right thing.

Firstly, I have some expected good/relieving news. Cee and I are engaged! It started out with Cee telling me that she had a surprise for me midway through a week in October. I had a feeling that surprise might have been an engagement ring seeing as our first year anniversary together was fast approaching on the horizon. I had no one to look after the youngest child, so I had to let her tag along with me when I went to the jewelers. Cee and I had already picked out the ring that she wanted months earlier so I knew exactly what to pick. In eager excitement, I bought the ring, had it shined up and kept it in the box. I told the youngest that she’d have to keep a secret until I asked her mom to marry me.

That night at dinner, the youngest blurted out, “We went ring shopping. She bought you a ring,” to Cee. I was so upset. I realized my mistake in taking her ring shopping with me but I hadn’t really had another opportunity to get the ring before our anniversary, so I’d had no choice really.

Cee took it well and smiled and tried to calm me down, telling me “She’s only 6.” I recognized that that was true and that there were worse things that could have been blurted out. This was good news that needed to be shared. So on our anniversary, Cee surprised me with several gifts and cards. She had spent a day making a scrap book of all our memories of a year together with pictures and quotes that she’d made with the oldest child. Tears started falling as I cried happy tears while opening it. It made me so happy that she’d spent time and thought and put it into a book of memories of our year together.

At the end of the gifts, she pulled out a small ring box, and proposed to me. I reached in return to grab the ring box I’d bought for her. We both slid each other’s rings on one another. I bought Cee a sapphire surrounded in diamonds set in white gold. I have a green Peridot set in silver. They both suit us individually so well.

I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t want the night to end as we dined at the Italian eatery sharing stories and memories of our year together.

Secondly, there is some other good/relieving news about my scattered thinking. I have been seeing my doctor for a while telling him my symptoms, as has Cee. I advocated on going to get tested to see if I qualified for a diagnosis to explain my scattered thinking, disorganization, impulsivity and inattention. I was referred to a psychologist who put me through a slew of tests. I took a personality assessment, an impulsivity computer test, an IQ test and some memory tests. Cee was to fill out an assessment on my impulsivity and scattered mind. I scored quite high on those both by a self assessment and by hers. I scored high on the impulsivity (stupid X on the screen!) test. I scored 115 on the IQ test but scored low in working memory and processing speed.

Basically the tests indicated that I have Adult ADHD-PI which means that I have Inattentive ADHD. I’ve had these symptoms all my life, but it’s only been the last few years that I’ve realized that they have been getting in the way of living to my fullest potential. So now that I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve felt relief knowing I’m not stupid, just that i’m wired differently. I’ve started treatment and my home and work life have definitely improved now that I can be more present.

Now… the bad news. The sky has started to darken and it has nothing to do with the winter season. I am afraid that the love story that is being written by the universe has started to enter a darker period (even if only temporarily).

A month ago, Cee has started to develop some strange symptoms. She’d had some fuzzy spots start to appear and darken her vision in her right eye. She hadn’t told me for fear that I’d (possibly rightfully so), freak out. When she finally told me, I told her to get to the doctor immediately. The next day while I was at work the doctor immediately referred her to an ophthalmologist, someone who specializes in eye health. By the weekend of that first week, Cee had to go to the hospital every day for three consecutive days to get IV steroids pumped through her body in an effort to regain her sight. Her diagnosis was optic neuritis which means that the myelin sheath around the optic nerve in the eye has been eaten away and/or isn’t firing properly. Optic neuritis is one of the first possible symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

I had to watch Cee take oral Prednisone (steroids) after her three days of IV steroids were over. She walked around with pitting edema (fluid filled feet, legs, and hips). It looked so painful. She didn’t feel beautiful anymore. That was so hard to see.

Her symptoms seemed to get better with her vision returning partially in her right eye. About a week ago she started experiencing some numbness in her right side along with migraine headaches. She had to go to emerg and listen to a doctor talk about MS, and testing that they would likely do. She has to go for an MRI soon to see if there are any visible lesions on her brain and spinal cord. She was prescribed an old antidepressant that also blocks nerve pain because tylenol and advil didn’t even touch the migraine headaches.

Cee’s friends have been great. They have loved and supported us unconditionally. My few friends seem few and far between. It seems like they’re tired of hearing bad news so they simply turn their phones off if I need to vent or need some love and support. Perhaps the age gap between Cee’s friends and mine is too great. Maybe friends my age are too busy living their happier lives while Cee and I face a dark cloud upon the horizon. I will do my best to stuff my anger and numb feelings away, and learn to cry more often. I always feel better after crying, but sometimes I just can’t seem to do it. I hope we make it out of this cloud soon and into a few rays of sunshine, even if the dreaded diagnosis is MS after all. I have to learn to live, one day at a time. We only have one day at a time. We have to live for the now and take steps to make sure the future is as bright as possible.

Green with envy

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The lead performer and host for the local Disney drag show that I photographed last month was invited to dinner at our house last night. Cee made a delicious manicotti, baked chicken, salad and appies.

We had never met Dee in person as a male. We’d only ever met Dee as a performer when he was dressed in drag as Aly so we weren’t quite sure what to expect upon meeting him. He had just finished work as a makeup artist and he came right over after his shift. Last night, his coworkers all did makeup according to the seven deadly sins. Dee’s deadly sin was envy, he was quite literally ‘green with envy’ in his appearance. Dee sprayed his hair green, covered his face with green makeup and designed spider webbing up his neck.

Upon entering our house, I welcomed Dee with a hug and was given a big hug. Cee’s youngest daughter was scared at first and retreated to her tablet. The other two oldest kids easily introduced themselves and familiarized themselves with Dee. Cee’s youngest soon warmed up to Dee. We had a lovely dinner with wine. We had bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate Cee’s son’s football teams undefeated game streak. It was a lovely evening filled with love, laughter and acceptance.

Family_Portrait_(Photocredit: Teaching Kids News)

Dee made a comment on his Facebook page about feeling so welcome in our house which made Cee so proud. Dee mentioned that he had completely forgotten he was different in our house which was so accepting of him, makeup and all and that everyone treated him with respect and kindness. Cee felt slightly sad that she hadn’t recognized it in the moment that her kids carried on easily with Dee without hesitation despite his differences as a person. Cee mentioned that we’d had many different types of people through our door as guests but to have such a wonderfully unique individual in our house and have her kids have such good rapport made her quite proud as a mother. From my perspective, I’ve been the odd individual who has always been quite aware of my differences my entire life (for a variety of reasons) and I see it as always being the outcast until proven otherwise. I also felt quite proud of Cee, her parenting skills and our kids because this just proves that the kids will be quite the allies in the LGBT community, able to accept everyone not despite their differences, but because of their differences without question. Acceptance of others no matter how different they may be should be something any parent should be proud to have taught their children and I hope that one day this will become the norm.

The happiest Lesbian couple

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A few weeks ago, Cee and I attended a drag show in our community. The drag show theme showcased Disney characters. All the drag queens and kings did Disney characters. It was incredibly popular and the performances were amazing. Some of the performances showcased 101 Dalmations (Cruella Deville), Marry Poppins, Frozen (Elsa), Snow White and the 7 Dwarves (Snow White), Alice in Wonderland (Alice). Katy Perry was also featured a couple times which wasn’t Disney themed, but she still made an appearance.

The show was 19+ so it was an adults show only. I had inquired a week ahead of time to the lead drag queen if I could photograph the show. She got back to me and said that yes that would be great and that I would be paid. My first photography gig was to be a drag show! I took my external flash and camera to the show and had a great time. Cee and I were allowed into the show free of charge because I was photographing the show.

During the night I was asked if I was Cee’s partner which I responded, “Yes”. People who often meet us remember Cee the most because she is the most outgoing of both of us. However, I am known for my quiet manner and my passion for photography. I am a shutterbug. Apparently Cee was asked if she was my partner throughout the night as well. It seemed that people knew us even though we had no idea who they were.

Some of the gay men attending asked if we were still together and doing well. I said that yes, we were going to get married. Cee had some gay men and women approach us and tell us that we were the “It couple”. The “It couple” apparently meant that we were quite happy in our relationship and that we were “something” in the local LGBT community. That made me feel happy not because I wanted to be somebody in the eyes of others, but because others could see how truly happy we were. It also made me think, why were we an “It couple”? Although it made me happy to hear we were called an “It couple”, solid together, it made me kind of sad and wonder why we were an anomaly in a solid community. Was it because we were mysterious and hardly spent time in the local LGBT community and therefore were exempt from the local drama, or was it because people were truly happy for us? Or was there another reason that other people couldn’t find the happiness that we seemed to have found? Why couldn’t other people have found the happiness that we have found? Why are we as a couple such an anomaly in a community that strives for acceptance and personal happiness but can’t seem to find it? Happiness in a partnership shouldn’t be so hard to find, but apparently it is in the 21st century. Hell, I thought I wouldn’t never be in such a great partnership, never mind half of an “It couple” label, but apparently that’s the case now.

I’m just happy that we’re happy, and one of the happiest couples around, (LGBT label or not required). Some of the only things that we require of one another is: open communication about anything, trust, love, appreciation of the other, time spent together and empathy. Those are the secrets to a loving relationship and I’m so glad I have that with Cee.

Women-holding-hands lgbt

(Photocredit: Hoopla)

LGBT parenting

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I am the step mother to three beautiful children. They are my partner’s biological children, but over the last year, I have come to see them as my children as well. In the beginning of our journey, the children and I tip toed around one another. We had to learn our boundaries and where we fit in the lives of one another. This is something I’ve never experienced before. With the help of my partner, I learned which boundaries to uphold, which lines to cross, which ones to not. Over these hurdles and through learning experiences I still feel like I’m learning every day. I believe that part of parenting is that you have to just be there, simply show up, and do your best. You don’t always get it right, all the time or every day, but as long as one continues to try and grow, you’re doing something right.

samesex_parentss(Photocredit: Media files)

Last weekend my partner, (whom I’m nicknaming Cee), had to go to work so I had to juggle and get the kids to some events and appointments. The youngest had to go to two birthday parties, one right after the other. I made the mistake in letting the youngest choose what she wanted to wear that day. Normally I would put my foot down and take away her tablet until she listened if she didn’t listen the first few times I told her to do something. That day I was tired, distracted by other things and didn’t put my foot down. So she went to the birthday party in a mismatched outfit (something I at times struggle with myself), and I went home.

Something that I’ve learned about parenting is that other parents will judge  you on your appearance and the appearance of your step child. I should have had the forethought to this before, but I didn’t. About a year ago, before I got to Cee, she still lived in a heterosexual relationship, therefore she didn’t feel that she was being judged as harshly by the other parents except for the usual judgement that comes with being a parent from other parents. Once we became a couple, she felt that she had suddenly became judged 10x more harshly because she had a same sex partner and as a result, the youngest wasn’t invited to as many events or birthdays. The homophobia and judgement that comes with being in a same sex partnership isn’t every easy and it gets better once you find your niche in the community; However, with kids, homophobia is never fair as it affects them, whether they know it or not. As a result, some friends may not be able to come over, or the kids might not be invited to certain events or birthdays because the ideals the parents hold are ignorant or they lack open mindedness.

So when I came to pick up the youngest from the birthday party, I felt like I had all the eyes of all the children’s parents on me. My mind flew in a flurry as I tried to ignore the eyes and tried to be polite to the other parents and children. My hope was that if they saw a gay woman being polite and kind then ideals might change and the youngest wouldn’t have to face and repercussions for having two moms. Of course I could have slightly fubbed that up because part of being a good parent is that you set boundaries and tell the children what to do-that day, of all days-I had let that slide. Her hair was wild and curly and her outfit didn’t match. It wasn’t fair, but all I could do was realize my mistake and make a promise to do better the next time. That’s all that you can do when you’re a parent: learn, grow and try to do better next time, even if there is added judgement involved.

Judgement in the LGBTQ community

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I’d like to discuss a more serious topic today.

People like to judge. Everyone does it, from judging what you like, to what you don’t like in food preferences, colours, hobbies and people you prefer to spend time with. People need to fit things into specific categories in order to understand them and see where they fit in our lives, this leads to us acquiring biases about things. Judgements align with these biases that we carry from a young age. Unless something occurs to an open minded individual that smashes stereotypes or their judgements, the judgements will remain; We must remain open minded about our biases, judgements and be willing to see things from different points of view in order to allow our judgements to fall to the wayside.

People who identify as LGBTQ become accustomed to feeling judged negatively and may actively fight against societal biases. One thing that some people may not know about though, is that individuals within the LGBTQ community (worldwide) fight against discrimination and judgements within the LGBTQ community. These forms of discrimination and judgement may come in words, veiled sarcasm, dirty looks etc.

For example, many lesbians or women who identify as gay and lesbian tend to hold ideas and biases against bisexual women. It is probably due to the fact that some bisexual women can date men and women happily which leads to gay women feeling the pressure about competing with straight men for the women to date. It is a lot easier for someone to be in a heterosexual relationship than in a same sex relationship, according to society. Heterosexual relationship couples do not get the odd looks, dirty looks, whispers, calls, or ignorant language. Many lesbians see it like that. I used to see things like that, worried that I would date a bisexual woman and she would break my heart and leave me for a man because that was easier than dating me.

My partner broke that mold for me. She identified as bisexual and had never dated a woman before. I had to banish my past trust issues with bisexual women and deconstruct my biases and judgements. I realized that although the gay and lesbians get discriminated against, the bisexuals get discriminated against more. My partner has been discriminated on by lesbians before at events that we’ve both attended to and now she feels left out like she doesn’t fit into the heterosexual or the gay community. I told her that’s not the case and that we will go together and leave together if such discrimination does happen to her. Our local Pride is happening this week which is why I bring this topic of events up. I told her that I support her and if she feels discriminated against, I will call said person on what they said or did and we will leave.

My girlfriend loves me for me. If she left me for a man, it would have a series of reasons attached to it, not because of my parts. Same things if I was dating a gay woman, if she left me it wouldn’t be because of my sexual parts, it would have a series of reasons attached to it. We need to move past these hangups we have in the LGBT community so we can be stronger as a united force fighting for the freedom of Human Rights.

bisexual(Photo Credit: Social science wiki)

Everyone in the LGBTQ community deserves to shine as an individual in the community that was built in order to shelter them and allow them the freedom of individuality in a world where discrimination is rampant. We need to be more aware that we’re inclusive not secluding anyone. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve freedom to be themselves in this world?

Asking the readers and subscribers

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I have been looking into my stats and blog hits recently and I’m asking the readers, what would you like to hear more about? I love hearing from readers who like to share their comments, experiences and input. Please let me know.

What would you like me to blog about more? Add your name if you feel like it, and where you’re from in the world.

world

(Photocredit: gov library)

Photoshoots

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Recently at the urging and encouragement of my love, I entered a photography/art contest. My fiance has been so good to me, encouraging me to pursue my passion for photography and turn it into a side business. Because I struggle with organization and focus at times, she always encourages me no matter what I may be feeling.

The contest was Pride related. I toyed with the idea of doing artwork or photography. I decided to go the route of photography because I felt I could match the contest outline better.

I called up a drag queen whom I had met years ago at  his first drag competition. He agreed to do it for his own publicity and to help me out. I called two same sex couples who were friends of mine, one was a male couple and the other a female couple.

They all agreed to the terms and I went for it. I had never done formal portraits outside our family so it was a good learning curve in order for me to gain better confidence. It gave me experience getting the subjects comfortable in front of the camera so they that I could get the subjects into positions and shoot for an hour or two per session.

camera2

 

(Photo Credit: http://photography.aicdedu.com.au/images/camera2.jpg)

I’m still working on my Photoshop skills. So once I am happy enough with my skills photo shopping people, I will start charging money for new clients, build a report and clientele,  get business cards and compile my portfolio. I’m so excited.  I feel so lucky that my partner is so supportive of me and my passion. I’m excited for the next stage of life and to see where this passion will lead me.

 

 

Not the only odd thing on the block

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So my neighbourhood/ development that my gf and I live in has its own Facebook page. I’m assuming this makes it easier to chat with each other about neighbourhood potlucks,  street parties, selling things and sharing news.

One of our neighbours made a post the other day about their neighbours tenant. It was a public rant about how disturbing their neighbour’s behavior was plus the name and address of the accused. My gf and I had a good laugh at first. “Guess we’re not the weirdest people on the block now,” my girlfriend commented. Prior to this some of the neighbours on our street (but not all in our development), had stopped talking with us as soon as they realized I was dating and later cohabitating with my girlfriend, hence why we now seemed just like old news almost a year later. At least people were accepting enough to not post about the same-sex couple on the block now.

So to get to the point, neighbourhood gossip is that one man renting in our development likes to rent out escorts or prostitutes. The neighbours can’t report him because police need graphic evidence that he’s doing transactions with the ladies. One neighbour piped up that they had seen a pimp in hand with a debit machine.  Wow pimps use debit now?

So I’m not sure if this is all true, but public shaming aside, it seems like someone isn’t happy with the new guy’s choices in life. I know being gay is not a choice. Using prostitutes is a choice. But I feel like how the angry neighbour went about this issue was not the way to go. The angry neighbour clearly has been stewing about this for far too long. As amusing as this first was to read, I feel like the angry neighbour should have tried to use cameras and video footage if continuously calling the police was not helping before trying to publicly shame someone on social media. And I agree with the other neighbours, I don’t want prostitutes in the neighbourhood where my step kids live. What do you think?

Going to my second prom

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Many of us get to go to prom in high school. Some of us get to go to two, Maybe even three for a select few people (at least some in my high school who were invited one or two years in addition to their graduation year.) But not many people get to re-live their prom when they are older, wiser and maybe more out of the closet about who they are. Although, I admit I could be wrong about that, because now it seems more people are coming to the realization about their sexual orientation at earlier ages. As a result of being more open at younger ages, they are more open about being true to themselves and are therefore on their way to a more positive and healthy life before the generations before them.

I fit into the generation that came after the generation that is now open to who they are, and where they fit on the gender and sexual orientation spectrums from early ages. So when I see the LGBTQ youth being completely honest and open, it makes tears of happiness form.

I’ve been volunteering biweekly with LGBTQ youth the past few months. I was recently invited to the LGBTQ youth prom for teens aged 15-18. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of these teens having a safe place to be free to be themselves, free from discrimination and bigotry. I remember knowing of a couple gay teens in high school but sexual orientation was something that was never openly talked about or discussed in high school as a whole. Therefore, it was never really necessary that a diverse and LGBT friendly prom was required or thought of.

ss prom(PhotoCredit: Cdnet; Note, not my girlfriend and I, but these two look pretty happy.)

I was asked to photograph and chaperon the event. I have loved photography since I first held a camera when I was 11 years old. That hobby developed into something more serious over the years which has transitioned to thoughts of pursuing a career on the side of my day job as a photographer and designer. When friends or events are going on, I do my best to capture them.  When I was asked to photograph the prom, I jumped on the idea. More photographs to use in my portfolio and more images to use to practice my techniques and editing are always welcome in my eyes.

I thought my first prom was going to be my only prom. This prom happened eight years ago. I remember having no one to go with as a prom date. All of my friends had their boyfriends, girlfriends or some beautiful friend that wanted to go with them. I didn’t. I had made a bit of a friendship with the Czech Republic exchange student so I ended up asking him. I wasn’t interested in him sexually, but I knew that I didn’t want to be the only one in my friend group without a date. Not that my friends would have cared if I had shown up single or taken. Later on in the night he had tried to get in my pants but I politely but firmly shut him down. Never did I think that I would get a second chance to take someone I really wanted to, to a prom.

This prom was almost a decade after my first. I watched the teens dance with their dates, and friends and smiled. They had shy smiles, while they held hands swaying during the slow dances, and wide eyed magic glittering their eyes during the fast dances. They had their first prom be the magical dream that everyone probably hopes a prom will be.

Even though I was an adult chaperone and was not fully one of the attendees dancing with their date, I still felt that it was like I had a second chance at a prom, in a way. It was perfect. I dressed as I wanted to-not in an overpriced dress I had intentions of wearing more than once-but a suit and tie. I was taking the love of my life. I had a smile plastered on my face the whole night. Sometimes life is funny, in that it brings you back to memory lane, just in time to help you form new, more positive ones.

LGBT youth

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I remember once upon a time as I was realizing I was not a member of the heterosexual majority. There was a brief window in time when I was in a period of self discovery where I was an LGBT youth attending university. I had an intro English class about long stories. A girl my age named Meg sat next to me one lecture. She sported a bald head, bright eyes and seemed intensely curious about life. After class she invited me to hang out with her. She led me past the room of the university’s newspaper and into a room that was decked out in rainbows and had bulletin boards plastered with notices and sheets depicting human rights and gay friendly messages. I immediately went quiet and withdrew into myself like a turtle from harm. I had lost the ability to speak.  Who did she think I was? Gay? I was not gay! I told her I had to leave and never looked back.

I had felt bad about what I had done. But I had felt homophobia that had come from within. I was not afraid of gay men but when a gay woman had approached me, I had fled because I knew that on some level I was different too. I was not ready to accept that yet. Apparently I had a lot of internal homophobia that I had to peel away in the next few years.

Recently I started volunteering my time with a local LGBT youth group. One of my exes friends asked if I would be interested. I said I’d love to help out if I could. I have volunteered two nights so far (missed others due to illness) and I enjoy it. Most nights there is a topic that we discuss. The coordinator sometimes brings speakers or activities to the youth group.

Last night there was a large turn out of a dozen youth ages 14-20 who showed up. It was amazing to see how many youth had reached a place of acceptance of themselves and others at such young ages despite the possible pressures from family, peers and society.  We spoke about homophobia, growing up, the impact of words (such as dyke, queer and the contexts behind them.)

It made me smile. It gives me hope. The future is brighter with these new generations who will hopefully bring more acceptance into society.

Family woes

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In the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to catch up on bills that I have wracked up in my absence of the trip to Mexico with my girlfriend. I apologize for my lack of attention to this blog. I have also been facing some family woes. I’m not sure if this is because my family still feels ashamed of me for being gay, and they’re trying to be ok with it or they’re just very flawed and not able to open up to how others feel.

Image(PhotoCredit: Everyday feminism)

 

As soon as we touched down from Mexico, my mom decided to publicly out my girlfriend on Facebook. My girlfriend was out to her close friends and a few family members, but by my mother publicly stating, “Hope you had fun in Mexico with YOUR girlfriend” (yes the ‘your’ was capitalized in the post), it was blatantly stated that my girlfriend had a girlfriend she was dating. My girlfriend had wanted to save the news for conversations in person where it was her news to tell, not for someone to tell it for her on a public platform like Facebook.

Outing is the way that some people feel it is their news to tell if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer etc. Of course it does not only apply to sexual orientations, it can apply to any number of things such as announcing big news, or conflicts with others. For this topic I will refer to Outing as the Outing of one’s sexual orientation or having a same sex partner. If you’ve ever been outed you will likely know how horrible it feels when you aren’t ready for the present people or person being told to hear the news. Being outed is a violation of trust, it’s a violation of boundaries, and it hurts. Now some people may say that they didn’t out someone they had cruel intentions; some people don’t have cruel intentions and it comes out in conversation. Those cases are when you approach the person relaying the news, tell them how you feel and ask that they respect your wish to remain silent about their news.

Then there are cases where the person attempting to out someone means to cruelly get to someone by relaying the news that the person discussed was not ready to discuss. That was the case for my mother publicly outing my girlfriend. And it hurt a lot. I knew right away that that was her intention. My girlfriend didn’t see it that way at first and so she wasn’t sure what had happened until one of her family members left her a voice mail who appeared hurt at having not been told in person. Having lived with my manipulative mother most of my life, I have known that’s what she intended to do-cause a ruckus and somehow hurt my girlfriend and I.

My girlfriend has done nothing wrong. In fact she has brought a gift for my parents each time she has visited. My mom snubs her, and tries to talk over her in an attempt to speak with me. When I call her on her rude behaviour (via Facebook), because I just cannot handle her childish behaviour in my face. I always get a sob story from her, told that I am ungrateful, or told that my girlfriend is going to ruin my life. I have tried explaining and sharing all the wonderful things that have happened in my life since being with my girlfriend but my mother eisn’t having any of it. And who knows what my mom tells my dad about us because he’s always on her side even when I am simply trying to stick up for myself and my girlfriend.

My parents have not liked my girlfriend from the start. I don’t know if it’s because she has kids, or if it’s because I’m so serious about this relationship that I moved in with her and the kids. I shouldn’t pretend to know the reasoning. Some of it might be because I hardly visit her and dad anymore-but to be honest my visits with my parents were getting fewer and farther between visits. My girlfriend is cut off in conversation in front of others. My mother is incredibly rude to her face. And I can’t deal with having my self esteem hacked at with a blunt machete that leaves rusted wounds that only time away from them will scar and heal slightly before the next visit and then do it all over again. My life has been like this even before I met my girlfriend. It’s only now that I realize what I have to do.

I have been working myself up in an attempt to write a letter about my feelings, how violated, and hurt I’ve felt. The letter will include how I hope to be treated from now on. It will also include how I hope we can learn how to communicate without abuse, go to counseling together etc. And it will give an ultimatum. Thoughts about writing an ultimatum has left me a mess the past few weeks. I go from feeling fine, to crying and leaving the room, wanting to be alone and sometimes lashing out at my girlfriend for something she doesn’t deserve. I don’t know how else to do this but try to salvage some sort of a healthy relationship, healthier boundaries and if they aren’t up for it, sever the ties. It hurts. I know what I have to do. But doing it is the hardest part. I love my parents, but I need to love myself and those in my life more in order to be toxic free. I need to love myself and my girlfriend more in order to be happy and more at peace.

Buenos Dias!

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I haven’t posted a lot lately because I’ve been getting ready to vacation in Mexico with my girlfriend.  And now we’re here. I just finished day three in Mexico. We booked an all inclusive vacation in the beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta. I’ve never been on a tropical vacation before so this has been a treat. To do so with the love of my life has been nothing short of amazing.

Puerto Vallarta is beautiful.  Our plane landed and we descended onto the tarmac to board a bus to the airport. From there we bused to our hotel. Culture shock hit when we really hit the highway. Buses sped past us on either side with a mere inch. Mopeds,  ATVs and pick up trucks full of the locals sped past and changed lanes at a dizzying pace like rapid fire. I wouldn’t want to have to get a drivers license here as I’m afraid that would be putting my life into the hands of others. I’m surprised there doesn’t appear to be more road rage here. Back home people would have been honking,  flipping the bird etc. I suppose if one were to grow up here you’d become accustomed to the pace.

We were welcomed into our hotel which has a beautiful atrium where plants and vines dangle from the upper levels in the main plaza. A waiter greated us. My girlfriend gave the man a tip and cervezas (beer), were brought to us immediately.  I have never been in an all inclusive resort but the service is amazing here. It is great how tipping brings such swift, and smiling service.  It saddened me a bit realizing that tipping a small $2 in Canadian but 20 pesos to them was a quarter of what they make a day. We are so fortunate to live well off compared to most of the world.

My girlfriend,  who is much more outgoing than I has made it easy to speak with the locals. We met a couple young people who work at the resort. We bought a night out to a nightclub called Senor Frogs for $40 Canadian each. This included our cab ride to downtown Puerto Vallarta, our way in, free drinks and a party that should have lasted till 5am. We were tired by 3am but we enjoyed a night of body paint,  glitter,  the company of some Mexican gay boys, lively Spanish club music and watching a bikini contest. The friends we met were very accepting of my girlfriend and I as a couple.

My girlfriend tells me this often but I am starting to learn that stereotypes do not always apply. Case in point: we befriended a fellow Canadian who worked in an oil rig the first evening. He looked like the typical douce bag with a lot of money to blow and an attitude to go with it. But he showed us he wasn’t a bad guy. He was friendly,  respectful and fun. I’m learning first impressions based on biases aren’t always accurate.

I have to say my more disappointing moments was last night when I became black out drunk.  Having 30+ drinks will likely do that to anyone. I made a fool of myself but the people I spoke with they next day said it was ok because “This is Mexico”. I regret not remembering when I apparently asked my girlfriend to marry me in our hotel room. *Facepalm* One of the most memorable times in someone’s life and the person asking should at least remember saying something that significant,  no? That was not how I pictured asking her to marry me. I have played with the idea in my mind before but doing more romantic things than be black out drunk. *sigh* I will work on this. My girlfriend is amazing and I know she deserves a better proposal.

Today we had the experience of taking a bus to Bucerias. Bucerias was a beautiful fishing village. The main strip, roads and buildings appeared war torn and broken. Mexico seems to be a mosiac of the richer more tourust places and the real third world sections. We wandered down to the beach at a liesurely pace. My girlfriend was patient with me being a shutter bug and snapping photos of everything. We ate a spicy mango which involved the peddler chopping slivers off the pit with a machete which made the mango look like a flower. He then squeezed lime and sprinkled chili flakes on it.  We drank a fresh coconut on the beach as well. We are both nursing sunburns (even though we wore sunscreen). We met Mark Jacobs (not the designer), and his dog Lou who loved it when we threw a coconut into the surf for him to fetch. We capped off the day with a bucket of cervezas (beer), seafood, nachos and real guacamole!

We took a cab back and had a quiet evening.  Tomorrow we’re heading out on a bus tour of Puerto Vallarta. Maybe we’ll find Old Town,  a tattoo parlour, the Blue Chairs (the gay district) or some new adventures. I look forward to it.

My 5 Year anniversary

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… of being out of the closet has rolled around.  I remember it well. How could I forget a significant period of upheaval,  emotion and life changes?

I remember speaking with one of my friends whom at the time was very close with me. My mom overheard our conversation,  tempers flared and the news was out. Rather than blatantly tell everyone I let my mom tell my sister and dad. I wasn’t able to face other horrible reactions.  But they came nonetheless. My mom and sister who used to hug me while saying goodnight suddenly stopped hugging me. Because of ignorance,  they worried I was suddenly attracted to them. I fought daily. Mean insults were hurled. Our relationships became more toxic. I took up smoking cigarettes regularly at work.

Fast forward to now. My family knows and I believe accepts me for being gay. At times I wonder what life would have been like if I had waited to tell my family till I was out of the house for good. When I came out years ago, I did so on Easter. I had been attending college and I went to live with my family every summer in between each school year.

The first year was definitely the hardest. I chopped my beautiful wavy hair off a few weeks after I broke the news to a shaggy pixie cut. I loved it. I felt so liberated.

I started dressing more comfortably.  This involved experimenting with different clothing styles. I tried out dressing like a butch and found it wasn’t quite my thing. But I realized that I enjoy cross dressing and rocking a tie some days.

I loved my short hair. I played with my hair and started doing more funky styles. When my hair was longer I kept it in a ponytail most of the time because I didn’t want to bother with styling it. With short hair I felt free, fun and spunky and I enjoyed styling it.

I stopped trying to be uber feminine and fit the circular mould that I as a square would never fit in. This caused conflict with my parents but I was an adult now and as time progressed, they realized I was my own person and they couldn’t make me do anything.

I learned that what I looked like on the outside by not conforming to the standard of feminine beauty most women do makes one an outcast. People look at you differently when you have short hair,  don’t wear much makeup (or any) and you wear comfortable/slightly masculine clothing.

It was a wakeup call. I don’t think I’d been terrible to people before coming out, but I definitely began becoming more empathic to others afterwards. I now knew what it was like to be an obvious minority. I knew what it was like to be judged for something many knew nothing about or didn’t understand. I knew what it was like to feel hurt and have friends and strangers alike be disgusted with me because I made a choice to follow my heart.

As the years passed, my family has come around. I have made new friends. Many of my old ones have stuck by me, and funnily enough they ended up being gay too! A couple friends who appeared to temporarily leave have also returned and apologized.

I have had a few jobs since.  I have settled into a long term career that may last awhile till I can think of something I may wish to pursue after furthering my education.

I have had several same sex relationships in the five years I’ve been out. I have had long and short ones. I learned how to be a better partner. I continue to learn how to communicate more effectively instead of shutting down or running away as those are my default settings it seems. My girlfriend seems to be an expert at communication even though she assures me it’s taken her a long time to get where she is now. I believe she is my soulmate and I want to marry her some day.

I’ve become involved in the gay community. I attend local events, and Pride every year. I feel so great every pride being able to live freely from discrimination or the thought of it for a day/week/weekend.

Life has definitely changed in 5 years. Some of it was an uphill battle. But I didn’t stop working at it.  I’m grateful to those people who stuck by me through the years. But now I can say it does get better. It did get better.  Life is better now.

Things that made me realize I was not straight

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I have been working on a memoir and even though I’m not sure if I wish to publish it one day, it has been triggering memories in sweet succession. Some of my memoir revolves around discovering myself, my sexual identity, my sexual orientation and learning lessons by overcoming obstacles.

1. Watched two friends kiss
It was a day I would never forget. I saw two of my (female) friends kiss one night after work. I was awestruck and amazed. I felt sexual urges towards them thay I hadn’t felt towards any of my high school boyfriends. At the time wondered,  “Is this how attraction is supposed to feel?”

 

2. I was nervous around other women

So maybe this one isn’t obvious for others, but for me it was obvious. I could talk to guys and males easily in a friendly manner. When it came to women (especially ones I was attracted to), I clammed up and found it difficult to speak to them easily before I learned how to flirt with them. No wonder. I was attracted to them!

 

3. I wasn’t able to understand my female friends

My female friends would go gaga over their boyfriends in high school saying things like “Oh my gosh I love him so much. Our chemistry is amazing.  When you have sex it will be amazing.” I was still a virgin till university. As a high school virgin, I still didn’t understand the chemical attraction they had to their boyfriends until I first crushed (big time) for a woman in university.

 

4. I wasn’t fully connected to then men I dated

I was often detached from the men I dated. I was friends with them but I still felt like I couldn’t give all of myself to them.  No wonder because I kept having female crushes on my female friends and other women I met.

 

5. Denied I was attracted to same sex

I denied my sexual orientation for a long time to the point where I struggled with alcohol abuse, binge drinking, anxiety and depression. I put myself in some dangerous situations.  As time passed, my heart, body, and soul knew what it wanted in order to be happy. So I finally had to stop denying that part of me and come clean to my loved ones and the world.

Life is too short to live unhappily or not living a life true to yourself.

I’m detoxing

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..from my vibrator.

Note: This post is about my sex life.  If you’re uncomfortable with that, quit reading now.

In the past, I had a high sex drive. I learned how to pleasure myself. Having grown up in a home that taught that it was inappropriate made me refrain from masturbating till I was about 19 years old. Once I discovered it I was in love. I could have sex with my partners and get myself off whenever I wanted to. It was great.

Moving to the present… mid 20s. I was faced with a diemma. I was starting to lose sensitivity in my neather regions. I was choked. How was I supposed to feel pleasure? Was it part of aging? Was I broken? I compensated by buying a high powered USB rechargeable egg shaped vibrator with 6 different settings.  I was set.

My partner at the time wasn’t hot on the idea. She kept getting upset that she wasn’t able to please me any other way. We used to have fights about it. She blamed my vibrator.  I got mad. But ultimately she was right. Who could compete with a vibrator that vibrated at 1000th speed as fingers or a tongue?

Fast forward to the present, I have had troubles with sensitivity and pleasing myself. I dodmt wamt to admit my vibrator might have something tp dowith my issue. My most recent ex was chatting with my girlfriend about this issue. My ex said “Take the thing away from her if you want things to improve in that area.” So my girlfriend did.

The first few days were tough.  I went through withdrawals. Several times during the day, I wished that I had my vibrator because I couldn’t feel pleasure any other way and my sex drive was high. But now thar I’ve detoxed, I’m pleased to say that sensitivity has returned and I am not broken.

Sexy Sports Bras and Lingerie

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So my girlfriend loves her lingerie. She has so many beautiful sets of lingerie and lace bras that crowd our underwear and bra drawers. I am now beginning to build my own collection of sexy lingerie and bras that

When we first srarted dating, my attitude towards bras and underwear was “they look nice and sometimes I’ll wear them but they aren’t necessary.” In other words, I could take them or leave them. My undwrwear didn’t have to be sexy but if they were, cool beans. I also am trying to break the habit of wearing sports bras. I wore them for comfort and for support. My B/[sometimes C] cups need them! And hey… it encourages me to go to the gym. Going to the gym with lingerie not that sexy after a sweat filled workout session. And sports bras can be sexy! Right..? …

Well my girlfriend was tired of me wearing sports bras all the time. In the past she had explained that she couldn’t understand why I would wear things that weren’t so sexy and confident inducing. To prove a point, she turned the tables on me.  We were making out, and when I went to remove her shirt, she was wearing a sports bra. “Not so sexy now hey?” She had a playful smirk plastered on her face. I couldn’t help but laugh. I deserved that. I love her witty side.

“I see your point.” I remarked.

“So can we agree sports bras are for gym only?”

“I’ll try to remember that.”

“Sports bras are offensive.  You should dress up your girls.”

Spring has sprung!

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At this point in the new year, I’ve started to feel the gloom of winter lifting. My energy has improved, I feel a spring in my step, I’m more productive in work and daily activities. I feel like socializing more. It’s the time of year when I shed winter’s dreary cloak. Spring has sprung!

spring-15

(PhotoCredit: Nhlifefiles)

Gardening has also been on my mind. Since I have completely moved in with my girlfriend and her kids (yes I pulled a Uhaul), we are now in the process of buying new furniture, gardening, and turning a portion of the house into an art studio. My girlfriend has been gracious in making me feel very welcome and a part of the life of her family. She has told me that I also deserve a spot in their lives to run wild with my creative side. In addition to writing I also love to paint, draw and do photography.

The other week, I planted some flowers into pots outside the front door, some vegetables and lavender in the back yard pots. I love being able to beautify the home and make it feel like home. It’s a beautiful home filled with plants, a lovable cat, energetic and loving kids, a caring, intelligent and beautiful woman – and me! I feel so blessed. I’m a bit late on the Spring Equinox (March 21/22) but Happy Spring!

Are you two friends? Roommates?

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The other day, I crossed the Canada/US border with my girlfriend. Something I’ve noticed is that the US border agents are pretty serious. I mean they have a serious job of making sure terrorists, traffickers, drug runners and other criminals don’t enter their country. And that makes sense… but I am not trafficking or a terrorist.

When we were speaking with the US border agent, we were asked the usual questions. “Where are you coming from? Where do you live? Where are you headed?  Why are you headed there? How long will you be?” And… “Are you two sisters? How do you two know each other? Just what is your relationship? ” Wait. What??

Is it because I seem close with my girlfriend?  I mean when you’re dating someone of course you seem close to them. You’re best friends. You laugh, cry, love and support one another. How would you not be close?

But these questions and the manner of questioning were said in a malicious and probing manner. I looked to my girlfriend and the border guard.  “We’re friends.” If there’s something I’ve learned upon coming out and being true to yourself is that sometimes you have to lie and sacrifice the truth in order to remain safe. Is it ideal?  No. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it upsetting? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to live a life of just being able to be honest (not just when asked) and tell everyone you meet that the love of your life is the person you’re with no matter what biological sex they are? But it seems to be a problem even in the 21st century even when world countries and states (in the US) slowly pass Same sex marriage laws.

Silent vieled bigotry in the form of questions such as “How are you two related?” Are things we face. Had we answered honestly who knows what the border agent would have done of said.  Would we have been turned around and told to stay in our country and denied entry to the US? It’s possible. As a border agent who has powers of deciding who enters her country, who knows what she could have said to deny us the power of entry simply because she didn’t like the look of us.

Anti-hate laws aren’t exactly formed into the US constitution or laws like they are in Canada. And even if they were, from my experience, I’ve found homophobic or ignorant people find other excuses to use in order to spread ignorance and homophobia. Is it fair? No. It reminds me of the closet door I have come through and tried to keep open. It reminds me that sometimes it’s safer to lie because I am different than the majority. It reminds me that some people will never approve of who I love and I try not to let it reflect on me because I know in my heart that I’m not a bad person. But this is why we continue to fight for human rights and stamp out bigotry and ignorance. We do so one person at a time, educating them about ourselves to show that the only difference is that we love someone of the same sex. Our love is otherwise the same. We still want the same things that other couples want: health, happiness, love, support. Maybe one day ignorance will die off or at least be a distant,  faded memory. I hope I get to see such a day.

Let It Go, Let it Go…

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I watched Frozen with my girlfriend’s youngest daughter today. I had heard good reviews from a few friends, gay and otherwise. I had read reviews online that either praised or dragged the movie through the [metaphorical] mud. It seemed that there are underlying themes that some people find horribly disgusting. Some of the themes I read about made me snort in laughter. After the laugh was over, I shook my head in disbelief because I really didn’t think Disney/Pixar had some of those things in mind when they made the film.

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Photocredit: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131103205459/disney/images/6/66/Frozen_castposter.jpg)

So I decided to find out for myself. This is my review/opinion of Frozen. Spoilers included (for those who don’t like to be spoiled, look away).

This movie doesn’t exactly involve the typical Disney story of Princesses where boy meets girl, falls in love, someone disagrees but true love prevails and they go happily ever after riding into a forest/sunset or living in a castle etc. I’ve liked that the past decade or so has shown Disney taking different directions in their most recent films by including people of different races, species (Finding Nemo), toys, heroines, and time periods. It has also started showing people from all walks of life and for that I am grateful. Life doesn’t exist in a set parameter or box. There is one large canvas and it’s a webbed mosiac and we are all a part of it while remaining individual within it.

Frozen starts off in a castle where we are introduced to Elsa and Anna. Elsa is the older sister who has special powers and it’s later asked if she was cursed or born with them (note: the famous question many people ask is if you are born or choose to be LGBT). When an accident happens, Elsa is told by her parents to not associate with her younger sister Anna. Anna grows up wondering why all of a sudden Elsa has lost touch with her. Their parents also shut the closet-I’m sorry, gates to keep anyone from knowing anything about Elsa or her powers.

Later on, when it’s time for Elsa’s coronation as Queen, she ends up exposing her powers to her kingdom of Arendelle due to being unable to control her powers (likely do her fear of them). Due to self hatred, fear and persecution from her subjects, and the neighbouring kingdoms, Elsa isolates herself after plunging her kingdom in eternal winter.

Anna seeks out her sister to put an end to the winter, reunite and attempt to understand her sister. Thus, an adventure ensues.

Themes like unconditional love, infatuation, self hatred, self love, friendship, and forgiveness flow and interweave throughout the story and are conveyed by the various characters.

I’m not saying that the story was meant to be a template for all LGBT people. I think people are allowed to pick and choose what they want to see from the story. To me, it was a story of misunderstanding, conflict of self and love. As a gay woman, I feel I identified mostly with Elsa. Not because I have special powers (but that’d be rad if I did!), but I feel that I know what it’s like to be shunned for who I am by family. I know what it’s like to feel afraid-terrified even-to be myself for fear of being judged by my family and society in general. I know what it’s like to know that there are parts so different about yourself, and feel so alone because you don’t know anyone around you who shares common ground with you. I know what it’s like to feel self hatred and choose to be alone than show your differences for fear of being persecuted. And finally I know what it’s like to be loved unconditionally for all the parts that make me me.  Conceal, don’t feel is something I don’t have to do anymore.

It’s the 21st century. Isn’t it time we Let It Go and just accepted that everyone is different, show some unconditional love and focus what’s really important? Learn tolerance, love yourself (and others), and practice forgiveness.

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Photo Credit: Nocookie net)

Interesting Links:
Official Frozen Trailer here.

Online Reviews:
Sydney Morning Herald
Polymic
AfterEllen

Well Behaved Mormon
Response to Well Behaved Mormon from a Gay Dad

Flirting with women (when you’re a woman)

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Ok ladies, here’s flirting 101.

1, Make eye contact
Show your beautiful eyes to her. Maybe catch her eye from across the room. Who knows, maybe she’ll happen to catch your eye back! Generally while flirting, it’s a good idea to hold her gaze a bit longer than normal, then avert, then back again to let her know you’re flirting.

2. Smile
Flash those teeth! Smiles convey confidence, a happy personality. It also shows that you’re more approachable. <- This is important. Flirting with someone who looks miserable doesn’t work well. If you’re shy, smile. If you’re not shy, smile. Someone might just attracted to that smile.

3. Talk to her
This is a given. If you want to flirt or chat with her, you have to start talking to her. If she doesn’t make the first move, you have to. This can be difficult if you’re a shy, quiet person. (I know). But if you make the first move I can guarantee at least you won’t be wondering “What if”. I learned that I would rather live a life of “Oh well’s” after trying than wondering “what if” and not trying. As an introverted, and at times socially awkward person I’ve found that helps motivate me.

3. Listen
When you’re talking to her, listen to what she’s saying, not what you want to hear. Be polite. Listen to her.

4. Ask her her interests/hobbies
This shows you’re interested in her and her likes. Maybe you’ll find out things that you two have in common to get the conversation rolling.

5. Make sure you’re showered and dressed nicely (good grooming is important too except some ladies like the messy hair look)
Presentation is important. Try to be well groomed and put together. You might just meet your soul mate or next girlfriend running to get groceries for the day.

6. If you’re good at humour, play that card! 
Pull that card out of your sleeve and use it. Most women love to laugh. They will do almost anything to surround themselves with people who make them laugh and feel alive. If you are witty or you have a sense of humour, try it out. She may just be enamoured.

(PhotoCredit: Some e cards)

7. Get a little closer
Stand closer to her and show her that you’re open and receptive to her. Don’t cross your arms, that’s a signal that you’re not interested.

8. Have fun
You win some, you lose some. Through trying you will learn techniques, things that work, things that don’t. And just have fun. Be yourself, and own it.

“My tampon lied!” and other amusing moments in a same sex relationship

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Disclaimer: If you are grossed out by bodily functions, I suggest you stop reading this post now.

I never really gave it much thought to how different a same sex relationship would be  before I began dating women in my early 20s.

Dating a member of the same sex brings new challenges, laughable moments and shared understanding. When you date a woman you can expect to share clothes, share perfumes, makeup, hair products, skincare products and at times bodily functions.

Today was one of those days. My tampon lied! It said my period was over but it was in fact not… as made apparent to my girlfriend and I later. Sometimes tampons can’t be trusted and you have to give mother nature more time but in the heat of a moment who has time to patiently wait to verify that sort of thing?

So that was embarrassing for me, and later amusing. Thankfully my girlfriend isn’t shy or shocked by things like that. It wasn’t like I shared a bloody breakfast similar to the bloody mcMuffin in OITNB. I’m sure that things like that (not the Bloody mcMuffin) happen in same and opposite sex relationships. But at least in same sex relationships, the other partner is more likely to be understanding.

Anyone have any amusing or brave stories you wish to share? Put them in the comments section.

Gifts women love

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What do all women love? Is it chocolates? Whipped cream? Flowery love notes? Or flowers? I would guess flowers and love notes. I haven’t had luck with number two, as one ex girlfriend I surprised with dessert by spraying myself with whipping cream didn’t go well. I did so only to find out that she didn’t like whipping cream. Ouch. Well a girl can try.

Flowers, (provided the woman of your affections isn’t allergic and does not hate them) can be a great gift and way to show your affections for her. Every woman has her preference for which type of flowers she prefers and those that she does not. When you get to know a woman you might want to ask which flowers she loves. Tuck that knowledge away and remember it.

I remember going on a road trip with a friend of my girlfriend’s. She wanted to surprise my girlfriend with flowers and jokingly bought her a carnation. When we picked up my girlfriend from the airport, I found out that she indeed did not like carnations and found it cheap. I suppose I can understand why.

The other day, I was discussing flowers and gardening with my girlfriend when I jokingly said “I should buy some carnations”. Her response: “Do not buy carnations. That is like saying ‘my love is worth $1!’ ” She was genuinely upset and I laughed because I had meant it as a joke. She wasn’t impressed. I reassured her that I was joking.

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Photocredit: Dick Miller Florist)

Personally I like all flowers but everyone has their likes and dislikes. For the record, I don’t see my relationship as being worth $1. Our relationship is priceless in my eyes. Flowers are just a way to convey my affection for her, and a method of brightening her day. And who doesn’t love being reminded that they’re loved?

Coming out of the closet as bisexual

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That is what I originally did.

I originally tried to deny the fact that I was attracted to women altogether for several months after finally piecing together some pieces the summer after I graduated from high school. When I went to university, I could not deny it. I had female crushes on professors, and a few of my classmates and females in my dorm. So I attached the label of bisexual to myself because I thought it would somehow be more acceptable if I did so for when I eventually came out to friends and family. I still dated boys, and crushed on girls. Guys appealed to me because I understood them, their moments of immaturity, their love of things nerdy (not as many females like nerdy things). Guys didn’t appeal to me physically, but their personalities did and that’s why I held onto that label still despite fully feeling my head spin whenever I crushed on a female.

Years later, when I decided to come out, I came out as a bisexual woman because I thought that dipping my toes in the heterosexual and homosexual world at the same time (metaphorically speaking), would somehow be more accepted than being lumped into the homosexual category. It was easier in respects to most of my friends. But it wasn’t as well thought of by my family. My family didn’t take me coming out [of any closet] very well. One of my coworkers called me a fence sitter. Uh… ouch? He was a jerk and just jealous that I wasn’t attracted to him though.

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(Photocredit: Deviant art)

I was called me a slut by a family member. That was lovely. When I told my family I preferred women (still trying to get closer to the truth without giving up the label that I might be slightly straight), I was told “You are disgusting and you would be perfect if you weren’t gay.” I couldn’t win either way. So I finally gave up and came out fully as being a lesbian.

I don’t think some people truly understand what bisexual means. It does not mean whoring around and sleeping with everyone. Anyone can do that whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transexual, pansexual, intersex etc. Sexual orientation does not determine if someone will be promiscuous. Unfortunately when some people think of any sexual orientation other than heterosexual they immediately think of sex and somehow think we have wild sex lives. Wouldn’t that be nice? 10 STD’s, a messed up heart and plate of drama for 1 please. *sarcasm*

So I apologize to the bisexuals out there. I did use that sexual orientation label as a metaphorical stepping stone for fully coming to terms with admitting I was gay to myself and to the world. I apologize. I didn’t mean to make it harder for those who are truly bisexual. I know that some people don’t even think that your orientation exists. That is really unfair and I’m sorry that some of you have to face that. I know that you face scrutiny from the heterosexual and homosexual sides of the sexuality spectrum. You may be scrutinized by the heterosexuals because they don’t understand why you enjoy the same sex. And the homosexuals might judge you because they think you can enjoy perks of hetero normative society while batting for the same team. That is not fair. However you love is how you love and you should be allowed that right. I mean don’t go crushing hearts for the manipulative pleasure, that’s just plain mean. But whomever you fall in love with good for you. Don’t let go.

I thought it would somehow be easier to categorize myself as such while denying the fact that I was truly gay all along and this wasn’t right of me. I let homophobia damage my self and that is never a good thing for anyone of any sexual orientation.

LGBT movies on my to watch list

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This year I’ve made up my  mind to try to catch up on more LGBT movies. This isn’t to say I will ignore any films that do not have LGBT characters or story lines, I am simply going to watch more of them. As someone who is part of a minority of the world, it is sometimes comforting to watch story lines and films that depict similar lives to your own while you are consistently surrounded by films that don’t necessarily speak to you and how you love.

Alright. For the list…

1. Blue Is the Warmest Color
I have read mixed reviews of this film. It’s the story of two young women who fall in love.
Trailer here.

2. Reaching For the Moon
A writer goes to Brazil in order to escape and try to find inspiration. She finds more than she bargained for. Let’s hope there’s a happy ending?
Trailer here.

3. The Dallas Buyers Club
This one had several nominations for the Academy Awards the other night. It is set in the 1980’s when the AIDS scare was rampant and an electrician sees the need for AIDS medication after being diagnosed himself.
Trailer here.

4. Boys Don’t Cry.
Born as a woman, Teena Brandon adopts a life as a male and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska. I haven’t seen this one even though it came out in the late 90’s because I was just a kid back then.
Trailer here.

5. Concussion
Abby, a lesbian who is hit with a baseball thrown by her son, receives a concussion. After her concussion, she becomes a prostitute for other women.
Trailer here.

Use of Pronouns: “I”and “me” to “us”, “we” and “she”

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Somethings that’s been on my mind lately has been the use of pronouns. People use pronouns in the English language without really thinking of them. “I” and “me” signifies singular uses where one flies solo and does something alone. “Us” and “we signifies something more of a partnership, friendship or relationship. When it comes to relationships, pronouns often change and are used on a more regular basis.

When someone is involved in a heterosexual relationship, one rarely has to think about the pronouns that they use with their opposite sex partner. In the case of a woman dating a man, she would say, “My boyfriend and I went___ last weekend.” In same sex relationships pronouns might be used liberally if someone is not closeted or depending on a situation (for instance someone not being “out” at work). “We”, “us”, and “our” becomes a normal part of reference to us and it might be used instead of “My boyfriend” or “my girlfriend” because it might feel awkward or if one isn’t sure of how the other person will respond to the subtle or blatant use of pronouns that differ from the hetero normative end of things.

I remember when I first struggled to come out about my life and live as honestly as possible. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take me when I revealed that I wasn’t exactly like the majority of people. I was rejected by some friends, a couple of them close. That hurt. And as time progressed, I learned to surround myself with supportive people who didn’t see me as any different than them. I was just me.

Before I came to that point of confidence in my life and friends, I would carefully censor myself with use of pronouns. If I was asked about my dating life, or what I was up to, I would censor my speech after thinking about what I was going to say. I used a lot of “we”s, “they” and “our”s instead of “she”, “my girlfriend”, and “partner” in an attempt at feeling out the situations ahead of time or to avoid awkward or stressful situations. I don’t feel ashamed at being gay anymore. That time has long since passed (thankfully). I know it is not an illness, or something I need to be cured of. I am simply attracted to the same sex.

Image(PhotoCredit: CdnUrbanIslandz)

I still find myself doing so at times when I feel self doubt the situation I’m in. But over time it has become less and less and I’m able to say, “she”, “My girlfriend”, “My lady friend”, “my babe” and other terms with endearment devoid of shame.

I’m dating my wonderfully beautiful, caring, intelligent, funny and hardworking girlfriend right now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad I am no longer “me”, but a “me” in a “we” partnership. I’m glad I’m not afraid anymore of having to censor my pronouns. Hearing “us”, “ours” and “we” makes my heart sing a little and I can’t help but smile.

It’s a gay life after all..

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It seems like some people have pictures in their mind on what it’s like to be different types of people. I think this goes for people of different races, cultures, and those in different careers. We use these ideas and ideals on how things (might/could) work to make sense of our world. We base these things on our experiences and things we’ve been told. These can form stereotypes or ideas on what it means to be a part of a subculture, culture, gender or race.

Sometimes these things can be hurtful to me. I sometimes find they can be amusing and sometimes they aren’t worth provoking a reaction for.

I have a deep and fulfilling connection with my girlfriend. We connect on all levels. Our relationship is based on mutual love, trust, respect and support. There are no things that I feel the need to hide from her, unlike some of my relationships I have had in my past. I feel so blessed knowing that we are part of a unit and team. She won’t judge me and I won’t judge her.

Well the other day we were discussing the lives of lesbians. I am the first woman my girlfriend has dated. Although she falls in love with the person, she has just never fallen in love with a woman before. She was saying that her friends were so surprised that the lives of lesbians weren’t so over the top. I asked what she meant. I think she was basically saying that some people think that the lesbians have a more wild and kinky sex lives than the average person, with more threesomes, possible swinging and less vanilla (if you know what I’m saying.)

I was surprised at hearing this. Maybe this is why people have such issues with gay people? If we as a group are perceived by shows like “Queer as Folk” or “The Lword” then I suppose I can understand where these preconceived images are coming from. I’m not sure on what it’s like being gay elsewhere in the world or if it’s more wild and kinky in other parts of the world but where I come from – or rather where I currently live there is a small gay scene but we don’t line up and swap each other around faster than one showers. These images, while amusing because I know the people who had them would not be amusing to someone who is ignorant to what it’s like living a “gay lifestyle”. (I hate that term lifestyle. More on that topic another day.) But education is key. If we are to shatter the stereotypes that are damaging and can at times cause hatred on an intolerable level (in some parts of the world more than others), we need to educate people on how we simply want to live, love and laugh. We don’t want to indoctrinate children or convert people “to our side”. We don’t want to take away religious freedoms from those that believe in religion (by the way, some gay people are religious). We just want to live and have the freedom to do so.

Our partners in the GLBT community may look different in that they are at times same-sex partnerships but other than that, there are no differences.

We all want to live, love, hope, dream, and have support in a partner don’t we? That’s all I want. If that’s gay, so be it.

Responses I’ve gotten to coming out

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One thing I’ve learned in the exploration and realization of my sexual identity, and sexual orientation is that Coming Out isn’t just a process that you finish once and then you’re done. Unless you’re Ellen DeGeneres in which case probably everyone who knows about her sexual orientation via her Tv shows that she’s starred in or hosted knows about whom you’re attracted to.

These are some of the responses I’ve gotten over the years in telling someone or people that I’m gay.

1. Oh… well I’m not gay!
That’s good for you. I wasn’t hitting on you but good for you.

2. That’s… good for you.
This is usually followed by an awkward pause from whoever made the response to you.

3. When did you decide to become a lesbian? 
Um, it was a Saturday. Yep. A saturday and it was a new moon that signified new beginnings.

4. Cool. Can I watch?
No.

5. “Do you think I can join you and… your girlfriend?” or “Can you join me and my girlfriend?”
No.

6. So like… do you do… *makes scissor motion*
Yes I make arts and crafts but not in the bedroom.

7. Did a guy hurt you?
No.

8. You’ve not had me. Hahaha.
No. And you’ve not had my purple friend either. Haha.

9. *silence*

10. Do you date gay men then?
No. Being gay signifies same sex relationships.

11. Do you know Ellen DeGeneres?
Got her on speed dial.

Sometimes Coming Out requires patience, for yourself and to refrain from face palming yourself to the point of leaving marks on your forehead. People may start to question why it looks like someone has hit you in the forehead or eye from face palming so much. But it could be worse. To some people you are the first gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans person that they have met. They may be completely in the dark about sexual orientations other than heterosexuality. Sometimes you have to remember that.

To the very least, coming out is an amusing, disclosure of your identity that will never end. And that’s alright with me. I could live in fear of leaving my door with my partner. I’m glad I will never face that.

5 Things I wish I knew before I came out

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Lately, I’ve been on a roll with lists. I’ve been typing them on my blog, I’ve been writing more lists on my refrigerator… hell, who doesn’t need lists? If you’re as forgetful as me at times, then you definitely need lists, whether you plan on blogging about the contents in said list or not.

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They are in no particular order.

5. I wish I knew of successful gay people in real life. 
Sure I had heard of Ellen DeGeneres. She was one of my favourite celebrities I had looked into when exploring my sexuality and when I was realizing I wasn’t exactly a Kinsey 2, 3, or 4… But when it came to people I knew in my every day life (ie: not celebrities), I found it difficult to know many successful gay people. I worried that being gay was a sentence that would make me lead a life of being unsuccessful and discriminated against. I was happily wrong. 

4. Women are not necessarily easier to date than men
I wouldn’t change it for the world. They are not necessarily easier to date. Sure they don’t generally burp, fart, or make rude disgusting sounds like some men do, but I think every sex has its own set of pros and cons. As does every person because people are complex creatures, we can’t all be neatly tucked into boxes.

Because I hadn’t dated women in high school, I was a bit later in the game in learning how to date women, what was expected and what it meant to be a part of the LGBT community, in a larger heteronormative type society.

But if there had been a guide book on how to date women? I would have been all over that mess like a lesbian viewing the Lword. Oops. That was me.

3. That I would learn so much about myself
I honestly believe I have become a better human being since realizing I was gay, and being my most honest and authentic self. I think we all ultimately choose whether to be a good or bad person. Despite the things that happen to use, we ultimately choose how to live our lives. I have learned so much about myself. Facing discrimination from family, work, strangers and society has taught me that I have to live life for me. The alternatives aren’t worth exhausting my time, energy and emotions with. My self worth is stronger because of some of the things I’ve faced because I know that I am living for me, not anyone else. I deserve to be happy, just like anyone else. And I think more before my actions now than I did in the past because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of hate, ignorance and bigotry.

2. People may dislike you simply for living authentically
And that’s ok. If they are not harassing you (verbally or otherwise), then leave it at that. If you wish to educate them as I have for a few people, then that’s great. Education and information can banish ignorance and bigotry. If it does not then the issue is out of your control and you have to leave it at that. People will believe what they want to in the end. They will like you or dislike you for any number of reasons. I have become accustomed to hearing things within ear shot, having glares thrown my way or people unsure of how to take me at times. I just had to become accustomed to it. There are some days when I still feel the brunt of ignorance, but I have to remind myself of how happy I am and how the closet door will only hide my clothes from now on.

1. I wish I had known that “It does get better”. 
I had grown up in a very traditional family, living in a small town with no real media access to different groups or world issues. When I was piecing my identity and sexual orientation together, I tried to keep things on the down low, and only tell very close friends things that I thought about and was experiencing. I was fortunate to have some friends that did not judge me from the beginning. This helped in knowing that some people would stick by my side unconditionally.

I believe that having supportive people around you while you’re discovering and realizing that you are gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans etc is essential. It is necessary. The world is a scary place without community and friendship. Once I started living an authentic life,  I could begin to start new jobs, make new friendships and date women and just be me. Being me was the best feeling in the world because I could look in the mirror and smile knowing I wasn’t hiding from myself or anyone else.

6 Signs she’s into you (when you’re a bisexual or gay woman)

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So you’ve got this girl that you’ve been eyeing at a live band show, concert, work, your coffee shop, or other location. How do you know that she’s into you you may ask? I have to say that I found it incredibly easier to date men when I knew that they were into me, even though I knew I wasn’t interested in them (I went through a period of serious blatant denial that lasted years). But when it came to women, I had a tougher time distinguishing and separating being friendly and flirting. I have come to realize that some female friendships also involve flirting on a playful level and the parties don’t even have to identify as bisexual or lesbian-this is when it gets confusing for those of us who are interested in them.

So based on my experience, I will give you the signs (that I’ve learned) that she’s into you. It doesn’t always work but these are some of the best ways of knowing.

1. Eye contact:
Eye contact is one of the best forms of communication we have as human beings. It’s used to convey emotions, intentions, and it’s used for other things that we need such as seeing and perceiving our world. When it comes to relationships, friendships or otherwise, eye contact is great to convey how you feel about someone. Have you ever noticed that you tend to look at your friends a little less than if you looked at someone that you had a crush on or someone that you love? When she’s into you she may lock eyes with you longer than she would anyone else, and her eyes might come alive. Or she may do the opposite, realize you locked eyes with her at the same time and nervously avert her eyes and seem embarassed.

2. Stance
How is she standing or sitting in relation to you when you’re communicating? Is she facing you with arms at sides, arms crossed. Is she trying to sit closer to you or move her hand closer to yours? When she’s into you she’ll try to close the gap/distance between you both and sit or stand close to you in any way possible. If she’s not into you, she’ll turn away slightly or stand a bit further away from you. Body language is key.

3. Tone
Does she seem nervous or playful when talking with you? Both can indicate that she might be flirting or interested in you. This is more true when she acts different around you than she does her friends or other people she knows.

4. How does she feel about gay or LGBT topics?
Bring up something gay related in the news. Bring up the topics of the L word, Tegan and Sara or other LGBT topics and feel her out on these subjects. If she seems to not really understand what you’re discussing, then it’s possible she doesn’t play for your team. If she does know what you’re talking about, great! There’s a better chance that she’ s tolerant, and at least accepting.

5. Touch 
Is she a touchy feely person by nature? You know what I mean and you might have even had a friend that could be considered touchy feely. Does she openly express herself using touch to everyone she meets and is the same to you? This scenario might be difficult to distinguish. But if she’s touchy feely with everyone else, but not with you that might be an indication that she’s interested because she doesn’t know how to be around you.

If she closes the distance between you with her body or her hand and you find her getting close and touching you or your hair in a gentle way she may be flirting with you and letting you know she’s interested.

6. Let her know that you’re gay/bi!
If you are brave enough or know her well enough, casually get a conversation going, and drop something about an ex girlfriend or mention, “That woman is hot. I wish I could date her”, or something along those lines. That way she will get a general idea that you are interested in women and she won’t have to do the dance of trying to guess your sexual orientation which is a good thing because she’ll be more up for flirting if she’s interested as well.

I hope these tips help if you’re wondering if she’s into you. If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to post in the comments!

My favourite gay websites

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Today’s post is about my favourite LGBT websites, vlogs and blogs that I have come to enjoy for the past several years since before I officially came out. 

Pop culture:
Dorothy Surrenders: It’s written by (I’m guessing, a lesbian or bisexual woman), who has the penname of Dorothy Snarker. It’s a blog about all things women, pop cultures, gay or otherwise. Definitely check this one weekly. This blog with have you laughing or attempting to print out some of the photos she posts.

After Ellen: A blog about all things gay (though mostly lesbian)

AutoStraddle: A blog about pop culture and all things Lesbian related.

Support:
Empty Closets: A great forum for discussion on anything gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans related. There’s even a support area for family of LGBT people. It’s a great resource for preComing Out and post Coming Out. It really helped me in the past.

PFLAG (Parents/Friends of Lesbians And Gays): Support for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning or their families having a tough time.
PFLAG Canada
PFLAG USA

Human Rights Campaign: A nonprofit organization that has been working on helping LGBT people have equal rights across the world. They are usually recognizable as the blue square with the yellow = sign.

The Trevor Project: A crisis line and website for LGBTQ youth who might need support.

Facebook Pages:
Have a Gay Day A site supporting LGBT people.

YouTube:
The BeaverBunch: Some of the sweetest queer people on life as a gay, bi, lesbian or trans person. They have a topic each week, and every day of the week, one of them uploads a video speaking on the weeks topic.
GaysoftheWeek: Each week a topic is chosen. Every day of the week a gay man speaks about the topic.

Hope you had a great weekend. If you have anything you want to add to this post, just post in the comments section.

Confessions: Two women kiss in a bar…

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…more often than not, they are not gay women. They are barsexuals. From my experience, (and I say my experience because of course this is not a blog about knowing all facts, just my experience as a gay woman,) when two women kiss in a bar, they are generally doing so to attract the attention of men. I’m not speaking about women in gay bars or lesbian bars. I’m speaking of your average club, or pub. I’m speaking more so on the night club or strip club sect of bars.

I can’t rememer where I heard the term barsexuals. It was years ago before the Tyra Banks episode where women who called themselves barsexuals were featured. But basically this is what “Barsexual” means. A barsexual is a straight woman that kisses other women for the attention of straight men.
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I remember when I was single how irritated this would make me as a gay woman. How is a gay woman supposed to differentiate their dating opportunities from those who are actually interested in the same sex to those who aren’t interested? The answer: Very carefully. Sometimes I get it wrong, but I would say that with more experience with dating women and fine tuning my gaydar, *fiddles with electronic gadget in my phone* I can learn to get it right more often.

The weekend prior to this one, I was at a night club with my girlfriend and some friends. I’m not sure if it’s a thing for people who aren’t gay to break the boundaries and try to fire up and attract someone who is gay to fondle and “play with them”, or if it is just my experience. I had friends of a friend we were at the club with, attempting to sit really closely, give me lap dances, give me kisses… And that’s great. Really. But I wasn’t single. And I am still not single. I have boundaries and I did my best to make them clear in a polite way by pushing them aside and moving over in the booth that I was sitting at. I love my girlfriend, so much. I am not going to mess up what I have with my lady with some woman who is likely a barsexual to have 5 minutes of fun fondling someone’s breasts and making out with them at a club, much to the chagrin and entertainment of other barsexuals and men around.

For me, being a gay woman has been hard enough. To fight for expressing and living as honestly as I can, while facing discrimination, learning the rules of dating the same sex while trying to find your niche and place in the world that doesn’t openly accept you (at least not fully), is so hard and downright exhausting sometimes. But when you face the opposite, where everyone accepts you but either misinterprets you or assumes you don’t have any boundaries and attempts to break them even though they know you’re dating someone, I find that a hard pill to swallow. To me, that isn’t fair for anyone. Although I do know of some women in hetersexual relationships that are allowed to have flings with women of the same sex because for some reason, “that’s not cheating”? How is that different? Is it because another woman is less of a threat to your relationship?

Just some food for thought. I like to keep barsexuals out of my boundaries. As a single gay woman, I prefer to play with women who actually want to go home with me (bisexual and lesbian women who aren’t looking for a side to another relationship). As a gay woman who declares herself in love and taken, I’ll keep my lady by my side.

Another celebrity comes out as LGBT in a moving speech

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Another celebrity comes out as being part of the LGBT spectrum. In a moving speech that speaks of how insidiously our society strangles us with ideals, and that the media and society attempts to box and categorize us into how we should be as people, Ellen Page comes out as being gay.

(PhotoCredit: DailyMail)

I have been following the young actress since her early days in film. Although I try not to focus on celebrity gossip too much, I did find it interesting that she insisted on keeping her life private through dodging questions and not fully answering questions about her private life in interviews. But then again we all have a right to keep our private life private so who are we to judge? For those of you who are reading who may identify with the LGBT spectrum, you will likely understand why someone chooses to remain in the closet for reasons not understood by those who tend to identify as heterosexual.

For those of you who don’t understand, I would like to explain it. Imagine putting pieces together of yourself, your likes and dislikes that you realize make you different from others. Now imagine that you don’t fit the mould on what society says, that you should get your opposite sex partner (girlfriend or boyfriend), raise a family, have grand kids, grow old together. But… you find yourself attracted to your best friend of the same sex. It’s not because you choose it. It is the same type of bond that your friends seem to be having with their partners of the opposite sex. They just want to hold one another, kiss, grow, learn, laugh and love together. And you do too, but you’re just different. You might try denying it, but that makes it worse. It can bring on depression, unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to cover up the fact that you think you’re flawed and society says that people like you are disgusting and invalid. How low would you feel if you faced that every day?

Coming out takes courage. Some of us have the luxury of living in countries where we don’t have laws condemning us to a life of abuse by society, family, friends, strangers, and imprisonment. Some of us don’t and I feel saddened knowing this is a reality for some people out there. For some of us, even though the laws are on our side, the people in our lives aren’t and we are disowned, threatened, and harassed, even today in first world countries. And I believe that until we are all equal we should attempt to make this world a better place for those who are not considered equal.

I will leave it at that. Ellen Page’s speech is worth the read (or watch). Human Rights are everyone’s priority (or should be). What courage. I hope things just keep getting better for her. The video of her speech gave me shivers and caused tears to flow. I hope you enjoy it.

Ellen’s speech is on You Tube.
Other References:
Just Jared: http://www.justjared.com/2014/02/14/ellen-page-comes-out-as-gay-read-her-speech-here/
CTV (Full text of speech)http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/ellen-page-comes-out-as-gay-maybe-i-can-make-a-difference-1.1687811

Canadian Cities showing solidarity and pride

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(Photo Credit: The Straight)

Several Canadian cities have started flying the LGBT pride flag outside their city halls in a stance of solidarity for Pride and human rights. For those of you who might not know, Russia is crunching down on human rights and adopting stone age homophobic laws, rules and regulations towards anyone who is, appears to be, or helps advocate for LGBT rights. Gay and lesbian people have been beaten, bullied, killed and raped while the government turns the other cheek. President Putin and other government officials have been behind the laws that discriminate and incriminate people who advocate for LGBT rights. The anti-gay propaganda law states that those who are gay are negative influences on minors. Fines are being passed out. Protesters have been beaten and thrown in Jail. These are scenes caught on cameras from journalists around the world. Some Russians have sought asylum and assistance elsewhere in the world.

Enough of the negativity. The cities in Canada have decided to show their solidarity for human rights and LGBT people in Russia. Toronto may not have (due to Mayor Rob Ford openly declaring his homophobia), but cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and St Johns have flown pride flags that will fly till the end of the Olympic games. The Canadian way of showing solidarity and pride isn’t very aggressive. It shows that Canadians stand for equal human rights no matter their sexual orientation. Some may say that sexual orientation has no place in the Olympic games. Back when the Olympics started they also may have said that different races never had a place in the Olympic games either. I think we fight against one another too often as is in this world. Stand in solidarity for human rights. We all deserve a place in this world.

Reference: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/06/canadian_cities_to_fly_gay_pride_flags_in_olympic_protest.html

Lesbians love sports and the Super Bowl

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Well not all of them. I can’t say I’ve ever fit the stereotype that some people seem to hold that states that their idea of a lesbian likes sports and manly hobbies.

Ever since I was little I prefered to climb trees and do my share of outdoor activities like hiking and hunting with my dad. I did not however have much interest in sports. PE was not my favourite subject. When it was my turn to kick the ball, I missed or lacked coordination. When the ball was coming towards me, I ducked, or made sure to get the heck out of the way.

I am more of an artistic and creative person in my hobbies. Therefore, when my girlfriend mentioned the Super bowl, my reaction was, “Oh yeah. Ok.” She raised her eyebrows and ask if I was coming to the Super Bowl party that was one of her friends were hosting. It was supposed to be a small shindig with just their family and ours. I told her I wasn’t really into sports and it didn’t really interest me. But I agreed to go for the company, commercials, [cheerleaders] and food.

I admit I did have fun. I didn’t really understand what was going on during the game but the rules were explained to me. Aside from the fact that it appeared that the Broncos weren’t even trying, it seemed like a good game for the Seahawks. I settled into a food coma right before half-time and had a short nap.

All in all it wasn’t bad. It’s not really my thing, but I enjoyed the social company, the food and watching the funny commercials. I guess I’m not really “that” lesbian. I don’t fit that stereotype of what some people think a gay woman looks like, and that my friends, is ok.

Family acceptance

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Alright, I’m back. I need to resume this blog and continue. I’ve been off on a month-something hiatus due to stress and things that have come up in life.

I would like to speak on the topic of family acceptance and how important it can be to validate your relationship, and make both partners involved feel at ease with one another. I use the term opposite sex couples because not all opposite sex couples are generally heterosexual. Some people are bisexual in an opposite sex relationship. I shouldn’t generalize and say most opposite sex couples are accepted by the family of both partners, but I do think that they generally have it easier. Both opposite sex partners feel validated and accepted by society as a whole for the most part. Opposite sex couples don’t have to work as hard to feel validated by society when they want to hold hands, have moments of affection, or do things that any other couple wants. Every couple wants to feel accepted and left to simply living their life without the hassles of discrimination or prejudice.

Last Christmas (2013), I spent Christmas with my parents and my sister. I wanted to spend it with my girlfriend, but I also didn’t want to get involved with her family dynamics. She was having family from out of town come to visit-family that didn’t know about our relationship. She wasn’t ready, and rightfully so. I don’t blame her. This relationship we have formed is new to her. She’s never dated a woman before. I remember back to when I was 20 and was more or less outed (after several times of me denying it of course). One day I decided to roll with it and it lead to disastrous fall out and endless fights and screaming matches with my family.

Today, several years later, is a different story and my parents love and accept me. But it’s taken them awhile. They’ve met several of my ex girlfriends and now refer to women when they ask about my dating/social life. I admit it was definitely a rocky road. My family was conservative, I was offered with conversion therapy and I had a friend on speed dial who let me crash at a moments notice.

My girlfriend is an adult herself so I know that she might not face such drastic things, but I still hope that things will go well for her if she deals with the negatives of coming out simply because she has fallen for a woman-me. Growing up, I realize that sometimes we also create families outside of blood ties. Those are important to remember as well, I don’t know where I’d be without the bonds I’ve made in the past. I know my girlfriend has good family ties that aren’t bound by blood and that’s essential during tough times-if we should face them as a couple together. We may be in for a rocky ride but we can do this together.

Image(Photocredit: Woman of Worth)

When you have androgynous hair

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When I was growing up, I always considered myself as a tomboy. Although I did not enjoy sports like most tomboys generally do, I dressed like a tomboy and was squeemish of all things pink and frilly. I think gender is something that children are socialized with as they grow up in order to control how society functions. Some females feel very feminine, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they feel like being feminine some days and masculine other days. I think the same should go for men, although I don’t think it’s as easy for men to be seen as feminine because they would be seen as unmanly and get a lot of flack from men who see them as unworthy. I think that needs to change. I think it is changing though as our world begins to accept a diverse range of people in this world.

It has been awhile since I was called sir. I have had my hair cut into a faux hawk and funky pixie in the past. At the moment it is a bit more of a shag. I wear makeup on occasion. I don’t dress very feminine but I wouldn’t say that I would be considered butch either. Some people may know what I’m talking about. I am comfortable being me.

Today of all days (I was wearing foundation, eye makeup etc which I don’t usually go to town with), I was addressed as sir. I’m not sure if the lady wasn’t paying attention or she just thought that I was a male. Maybe she’s never run into someone who doesn’t adhere to strict gender guidelines. I’m not sure. I corrected her politely and she profusely apologized and wished me happy holidays.

To be honest though, I feel like my gender changes depending on the day. I know not all lesbians (or even some of those who identify as heterosexual), feel this way, but I do. Sometimes being addressed as the opposite sex happens when one portrays themselves as the other sex or somewhere in between the two sexes in how they dress themselves or show themselves to the public. I’ve learned to accept it and not take it as an offense.

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(Photo Credit: Media AppAppeal)

The world is not a black and white puzzle. It is a mosiac. Find your own niche where you belong.

10 Things NOT to say to a lesbian

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There are more than 10 things every lesbian detests hearing. I’m going to say again, that I do not stand for every lesbian, therefore my opinions are my own. But I do know that I am not the only lesbian that has faced hearing the things I’m about to discuss and talk about. Some of these things make my blood curdle and I sometimes have an Ally McBeal moment where I picture the one who said said statement being slapped or disappearing through a trap door in the floor.

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(Photo Credit: TrendsUpdates)

They are in no particular order.

1. You must have been hurt by a guy.
I’m not sure why people (mainly guys) think that women are attracted to other women because they were hurt by a man. Let me flip this around for you. If you’re a guy, and you were hurt by women in the past, does that make you want to “switch” teams and fall in love with men? Not likely.

2. You’re too pretty to be gay.
Please let me smash a stereotype for you. Not all women who are gay or in a same sex relationship would fit into the ‘ugly’ category according to you. Don’t objectify us in a form of pseudo flattery. This statement means that you thought all lesbians or women who liked other women were ugly? Where has your mind been? Gay women are not gay because they think they’re ugly and can’t snatch a man. They’re gay because they have the same sexual and romantic responses that you do towards the opposite sex.

3. Can I watch you and your girlfriend?
I can be found with a scowl whenever I hear this. Yes, heterosexual male, please let me put myself on a pedestal while you film us with instagram or our iPhone. I’m not a sex object. I am not an object you can jerk off to. I am not a third wheel looking to join your heterosexual relationship as a third wheel either. Go back to your heterosexual “lesbian” porn. I love myself more than being your sex object.

4. You are living in sin. You need to repent and come back to heterosexuality.
I personally do not adhere to any religion for the reason that I find hypocrisy to outnumber the good qualities that religions hold. But that is not what I wish to get into. If you choose to believe in religion that is great. Please do not tell me that a part of who I am is wholly evil. We are all human. We all do bad and good things. Homosexuality is not evil, it is simply a part of me just as heterosexuality is a part of you.

5. Don’t flaunt your gay lifestyle at me
Please calm down sir or mam. I am bombarded by heterosexual images and have been since I was born. Is heterosexuality a lifestyle or is it just a part of you? If I am just me and holding my girlfriend’s hand in public, that is the same as you holding your opposite sex partner’s hand in public. You are just being ignorant. Gay is not a lifestyle, it is a sexual orientation.

6. When straight men say: “You don’t have real sex. You should try me.”
This one makes me laugh. What is real sex? Sex to me involves intimacy, and things done in the bedroom to (generally) lead to climax. You don’t think two females can do that by getting creative and using what they have or shopping online? If they are in love leave them alone.

7. You can’t be gay. Your relationship doesn’t lead to procreation.
I’m sure there are enough people to procreate the world. If you haven’t noticed it is already overpopulated several times over. There’s always adoption options, surrogacy and invitro. And for some people maybe they don’t want kids. A relationship and family is not only about having children whether the couple is homosexual, or heterosexual.

8. I can’t be your friend. You might flirt with me. 
To the heterosexual women: Oh hun, if I was interested I would let you know, but I’m not interested in bigots. To the men: I’m sure heterosexual men feel the same way when they think of the fact that a gay man might treat them the way they treat women.

9. Wow. Being gay sounds so much fun. I wish I was gay. 
This is sometimes said by well meaning females but really I don’t think they’ve thought this subject through. Homophobia still runs rampant throughout the world, even in countries where same sex marriages or civil unions are legalized. We have to even worry about countries we travel to because same sex couples aren’t safe in some countries as heterosexual couples would be. I don’t think you’d like to wish being bullied, harassed by homophobes, outcasted or sometimes have to worry about your safety because of who you love. Why would you wish that?

10. ?
Well I left this one blank. If anyone has something to add do so.

Favourite Romantic Comedy: Imagine Me & You

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It’s the name of an old song. It could be a pick up line… and it’s one of my favourite romantic comedies.

When I was discovering my feelings for the same sex and finally coming to terms with them, I didn’t have a lot of support from friends, or family. I was scared in this new unfamiliar territory lost. I kept my feelings to myself for the most part, and I only told a select few people. I searched for movies, shows and books that would show that I wasn’t the only one to have the feelings that I fostered. It was like my secret. I sought out shows like the L Word, and any same sex relationships characters because I sought out people or the portrayal of people whom I identified with.

Imagine Me & You is one movie that I immediately fell in love with. It wasn’t trashy. It wasn’t degrading. It was heart wrenching. It was sweet and it drew you in. There wasn’t outright homophobia, but there was humour and wit. It’s set in Britain. The protagonist, Rachel, has been with her fiance for several years. Something happens to her and she is forced to make a choice. I’m sure you can guess what the choice regards but I don’t want to give too much away.

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Here’s the TRAILER.

I was so excited when I saw that my package containing the video had come in the mail that I told my girlfriend we had to watch it. What’s your favourite romantic comedy or gay show/movie?

When your girlfriend introduces you as her “friend”

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Something I’ve realized as a lesbian, is the fact that you will most likely date a woman who is closeted at least once.

My girlfriend is not closeted from everyone. Her close friends and kids know that she’s dating a woman (me). The rest of her friends do not. Her family does not. Work does not. It’s probably best that some of those mentioned do not know that we are dating. It is still early in our relationship. This is a whole new world for her. She has dated men for her whole life up until we met. She has met and been with women, but for some reason she decided that I had a place in her life. As soon as we recognized that we had both fallen for one another, we grabbed our invincible stars and dashed through the metaphorical Mario level of seeing stars and being love struck while the rest of the world blurred by.

For most heterosexual couples, introducing the person you are dating is simple: “Darrin, this is Sarah, my girlfriend.” That’s part of the privileges that heterosexuals have. Things go a bit differently when you date a person of the same sex who isn’t out of the closet as bisexual or gay. Introducing you as their partner isn’t always an option. Sometimes this is a safety issue because you’re not in a safe place to come out of the closet (ie: you live in a very homophobic country or rely on others who are homophobic). Sometimes it’s because you’re unsure of how the other person feels about you and you don’t want to damage rapport with the other person. Other times, it’s because your world has just topsy-turvied and you flipped over into a new realm of existence that you are struggling to make sense of dating someone of the same sex.

I have dated a few women where I was their first girlfriend. I am used to this. Sometimes it doesn’t make it easier to hear you introduced to friends as their friend. When the conversation carries into dating realms and your girlfriends friends ask her “Have you met any nice guys?” and she will reply with “No.” I admit it is a bit hard to hear her talk like that and trying not to feel like you were a kicked puppy. After all, when you love someone, shouldn’t you have the right to show that person to the world like any other couple? But I know that her situation is one that I was once in years ago when I was first trying to find myself as a person so I am able to empathize.

She pulled me aside the other day after a similar conversation and told me that she was sorry that she wasn’t able to be brave, yet but she felt that she had a lot on the line. I know how she feels in a sense. I am not asking her to be selfish on my part and introduce myself as her girlfriend to the public yet. I know the courage to do that seems impossible to muster. Even now, I feel out people and introduce myself to them accordingly. If the topic of dating comes up I do not tell everyone I speak to that I date women, I just don’t see the point of putting the effort in; I am pretty intuitive and I can also perceive if people will positively or negatively and so I’m not honest with them all because I have had some pretty nasty and scary responses to being honest.

I told my girlfriend that I loved her and as long as she was honest with me, and the close people in her life then that was good enough for me. I know that she loves me in return by her gestures, behaviors and words. She shows her love for me. I feel it. That’s all I need.

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(PhotoCredit: The Feminist Wire)

For now, I leave the figurative closet door open for when she’s ready, however long that may take.

Running into a (straight?) ex of yours

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I experienced this today. I ran into an ex of mine. I was out in the city running errands. I recognized my ex as a cashier at the store I was in. I was tempted to pull the guy behind me in line and tell him to go next when she annouced that she was ready for the next person. That would have been childish, I know.

I stepped forwards, and said hello to her. I was all bundled up in winter clothing. My ex was ringing some purchases into a till. I kept my head down and hoped she didn’t see me. Was this childish of me? Perhaps. Maybe she didn’t recognize me.

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(PhotoCredit: IvyLeagueInsecurities)

Years ago, she was the second female I ended up dating. We were friends while I dated someone else. When my relationship ended, we became closer friends. We started dating soon after. She went through the whole, “I love you. I’m gay, be my girlfriend.” to “You’re never there for me” (we lived over an hour apart). Our relationship progressed and in the second month of dating I met her parents who seemed nice but couldn’t believe their daughter was dating a young woman instead of a young man. We went out together on dates,held hands and did all the other things couples do. Some people where we lived called us dykes when they saw us holding hands (I love how mature men can sometimes be). Some guy tried to tell me to grow my hair out to be more beautiful. My girlfriend then stopped texting me. Communication became very difficult and she was not able to have conversations face to face. It became a very dysfunctional relationship, and our communication was so poor she was not even able to speak with me via text about her feelings. It was “I dunno” every time I asked a question even when I was trying to be gentle asking things. When I asked if she wanted to break up, it was “no”. I don’t want to assume she cheated on me, but I know that I couldn’t deal with a relationship like that. When she told me she needed a break finally, I was able to grieve. Hey, I was young, and it was my second same sex relationship. Kind of intense. She left me with “I need a break” and I knew what that meant even though it should have been said like “I am breaking up with you” to show finality.

Well anyway, I said hello to her. To me, she looked the same. I wonder if she recognized me, if I would look the same to her? I think some times we are snap shots in the lives of one another for a reason. We are there to teach each other things about ourselves, other people or find meaning in different ways. She played a snapshot part in my life, and now I can say that I am not the same young woman that I was when I dated her years ago. I know that I’ve grown.

Sometimes I think back and wonder how my exes are doing. Most of my past relationships involving exes that left me heartbroken, I still wish them well. They played a part in my life. I played a part in theirs. We went our separate ways and have (hopefully) grown into something better.

You and me + three: Dating a woman with kids

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As soon as I knew that I was falling for the woman I’m dating now, I knew my life would be different. I am not only dating her, but I am dating her children as well, in the sense that I am an adult involved in their lives.

I have never felt so conflicted. I feel inadequate, stressed and blessed simultaneously. There are times when I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I am in my 20s, and I still haven’t fully reached my dreams or what I want to do as a professional in this world. I am dating a woman who is older. I am dating a woman who knew what she wanted when she decided to have three beautiful children with her ex while I was still in high school.

Years ago, I had a feeling that I would never want children. I definitely knew that I would not be the one to birth them. I never and to this day still do not have that “Oooh, I want to make a baby” urge. I do not want to wait 9 months, carrying a baby in my womb and feel it grow inside me. Perhaps that has to do with my gender identity as being a tomboy or perhaps I just do not have that urge. I never really did even as a child. I would always play house as the provider. I’m happy for my friends who want to have kids and ultimately decide to take that courageous leap towards parenthood.

I’m not sure if I do not want kids of my own because I feel that I have lost the genetic lottery with some health problems I am battling or if it’s just lack of maternal instinct, or simply because I just want to change and impact the world in different ways. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above.

When I first began seeing my girlfriend, my instincts told me to cut and run because I wasn’t ready to handle acting like a second parent when I still have my own things to deal with and dreams that are waiting to be achieved. I fell hard for my girlfriend, and it was more intense than any connection I’ve felt with someone. We talk about everything. We share everything. We have incredible intimacy. We are both intuitive care givers so we both try to care for the other on our bad days and celebrate on the great days. I have not had the level of intimacy and care in past relationships that I have had in this one. I feel like I have a spring in my step. I melt and feel my heart skip a beat when I hear her laugh. Her smile is contagious.

Her kids are great. I always hear, “You missed dinner the other night. Where were you?” and get hugs. They always ask me to colour with them, watch videos on YouTube etc or go do things outside.

We still have to approach the issue of telling her children about our relationship. Some of them are old enough to understand what’s going on. The kids watch Glee and know that gay people are the same as any other person (which is great). My girlfriend has told them that I am gay. The kids know that I stay over quite often but it doesn’t seem to be an issue to them.

I was worried that it was going to be an issue to them seeing as I am a woman and I didn’t know how they would react to that. My girlfriend has raised them to accept other people and be compassionate even if they might have differences which is so great to hear. I have dated the odd woman in the past who had a child, but it was usually only one child. The other parent was usually in the picture and the kids would often be taken by the dad occasionally. This is a bit different. My girlfriend is a single mom, so the kids are with her 24/7 (unless at school). This makes things interesting when it comes to children coming into the room unannounced, or needing time from their mom. I am learning the boundaries of a different sort of relationship and it is a bit of a learning curve. But I love my girlfriend, and I am beginning to also have feelings for the other three people in my girlfriend’s life.

It’s a different kind of love. It’s one that I was not anticipating, but I am liking this different kind of life and I find that I miss it when I don’t see them all for several days.

Let Me be Straight With You: “This is my friend. She’s gay.”

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Sometimes I shake my head.

How many times have I heard this in the past? Some people have no tact. Some people think that somehow everyone must know my orientation when I am introduced to them by one of my friends. In the past I have had to pull aside my friends and tell them, “Look, I appreciate that you accept me for me. But please do not introduce me as your gay friend. I am a person. I am (insert name here). That’s it. If it’s my wish to tell people that I am gay, then I will tell them.”

Tell the world that I like chicks. Please.

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(PhotoCredit: troll)

I had this chat with another friend the other day. I do not encounter this situation as often anymore; Now that I’m getting a bit older people seem to have some sort of tact and at least do not discuss this in front of me when they discuss me to their friends.

It’s not that I’m closeted. In fact, I’m not. I’m out. I’m not ashamed of being gay anymore. I’m open and people that know me, know that I’m gay. Granted, I’m not “Ellen open” because let’s face it, I’m pretty sure the whole world knows at this point. That’s what happens when you’re a celebrity and it’s broadcast around the globe.

Straight people don’t introduce their friends like this: “This is my friend Bob, and he has sex with women.” That’s basically what you’re doing when you introduce me as your gay friend. Why can’t I just be your friend? And add the full period stop, and cut.

My sexual orientation is not the most interesting news of the day or your day. It is not news to be broadcast. I am not your pet. I am not your play thing or your five o’clock news. In fact, after several years of living life as an open lesbian, I have learned that in a world that still sees heterosexuality as the norm that I will have to come out as being gay for the rest of my life because it is news to people. For me it is a reality. It is a price I pay for living honestly. It is worth it in the end because I will be true to myself. But I don’t disclose my sexual orientation to everyone I meet because I don’t see it as necessary and sometimes I just don’t see you as being worth the effort (not everyone is pleasant to people who identify as having a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality). I just want to be able to come out on my own, on my own terms rather than people immediately thinking of how I have sex before they get to know me as a person. My sexual orientation is only part of my identity as a person. I am me.

Image(PhotoCredit: Rlv ZCache)

Lesbians and the Uhaul

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What do lesbians bring on a second date? I think I hear the screech of a uhaul’s brakes. The stereotype that lesbians bring a uhaul to the second date stems from the fact that women tend to move fast when they date other women. I’m not sure why this happens. Perhaps our emotional bonds with other women burn on overdrive and we become attached once we find out we have things in common, have the same social expectations, and similar experiences. We fall head over heels, profess our love and talk about the future because we are… well women.

Women talk about everything from our thoughts, our feelings, and our goals, to our dreams and failures. When you get two who decide to date, fall in love over a period of time over lattes shared and erotic sex sessions that leave you reeling, feelings are bound to form. Men (many that I know) tend to hold back on these tidbits of information. I’m not sure if it’s because women are socialized from birth to take care of others and give into their emotions more than men but it’s interesting to contemplate.

I am getting off topic though. In the past I have contemplated the lesbian uhaul stereotype and if it applies to me. In my every day life I like to work, pursue creative hobbies and see my friends. A few days a week I will see my girlfriend.  I am finding that my current relationship moved fairly quickly. I’m not sure if it’s because I fell harder and love this woman more or if it’s another reason altogether.  I have barely slept in my own bed for the past couple months that we’ve been seeing one another. My girlfriend offered me space in her room to put things such as clothes and toiletries so I’m set for when I stay over. Am I becoming a lesbian who fits the stereotype? Maybe.

When I told her of the stereotype a month ago, she laughed at me and told me it was silly that gay culture had so many rules and stereotypes. When I jokingly asked if she was asking me to uhaul this month she told me she just wanted me to know that she wanted me to feel at home. I have told her that I am not ready to make the serious move into her place this early on (we’ve dated less than two months), but that I will consider it in the future.  I am not ready to give up my identity as a 20 something woman living life and pursuing art in my free time. I feel that I will lose my identity if I do that at this point in time.  As long as I keep communication lines open about my needs and wants, just as she does then I feel we’ll be ok.

uhaulNo, I am not in this photo. Nor is my girlfriend.

(Photo credit: FeministDating )

I am gay, but this introverted artist is not ready for the uhaul. The number to the uhaul company is somewhere in my mind but I’m not sure where. When I’m ready I’ll recall the number and uhaul will gain another lesbian requiring their services. Until then uhaul…

10 Myths about Lesbians

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Growing up, I had never seen a lesbian.

I didn’t know how they looked, acted or what it was like to live as one. I had never even heard of the term lesbian or gay till some time in elementary school or high school.  I grew up watching two channels, and reading books from the library. I did not grow up reading 50 Shades of Grey or other sexy books like those teens growing up now a days seem to, but there was the occasional heterosexual teen romance fiction novel that I bought. I did not have Ellen. I did not have Glee. I had no access to anything gay until I heard about a lesbian character in Friends and then Will and Grace came around just as I was going into high school. A few of my friends came out to me in high school and against the wishes of my family I continued to spend time and hang out with them. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, they were my friends after all. They’d been there in my childhood and as a teen that wasn’t going to change who they were.

Today I’m going to talk about 10 myths that gay women face. Some of these myths were things I once thought too until I realized that I was in fact gay as well. They are in no particular order.

(Photo Credit: Someecards)

My personal favourite:
1. Which one of you is the man in the relationship? 
This is generally asked by heterosexual men but I have been asked by some heterosexual women as well. As Ellen DeGeneres puts it, “That’s like asking which one is the chopstick and which is the fork.” Both people in the relationship are of the same sex. There is no man in a lesbian relationship. But if you’re asking who “wears the pants”, well by this point, you should know that even in heterosexual relationships, gender does not imply ones ability to wear the pants or not wear the pants. Women or men can wear the pants. This isn’t the 50s. We don’t have to adhere to strict gender stereotypes.

2. You’re gay? You don’t look gay?
Oh… Maybe I should um work on that so people can tell? I don’t understand why people think I should adhere to a strict image of what they deem to look gay to appease them or fit the mold of what being gay “looks like”. Perhaps this question is born out of curiousity or plain ignorance but this needs some education to shine the lights on things that aren’t normally discussed. When this is discussed, I sometimes respond with sarcasm, and sometimes I ask them what gay looks like to them, then I work on breaking down the myths so that the one posing the question can open their mind a bit more and realize not all gay women fit stereotypes.

3. Lesbians uses dildos and other sex toys to fill the void of men. It’s not real sex unless there’s a penis.
FALSE. There are many ways to have sex, fuck and make love. Please get your brain out of your glutes. Not all sex needs to have a penis involved, sorry to burst your bubble.

4. Do butch lesbians always date femme lesbians? Why don’t femme lesbians date men?
Not all butch or more masculine lesbians date femme lesbians. Femme lesbians don’t always date butch women. They can be attracted to whoever takes their fancy, be it butch women, androgynous women, fellow femmes and even those lesbians that don’t categorize themselves into gender specific categories. Lesbians date lesbians; this means that sapphic women date other women who are also interested in women. Heterosexual women and some bisexual women date men.

5. Lesbians hate men.
Not all of us hate men. I know some nice gentlemen. I dislike how some men treat women and question me incessantly about things I do not wish to discuss regarding sexual orientation and that is when the bitchy lesbian rears her head from the recesses of my mind and gives him a word or two. But if a guy isn’t ignorant and sexually harassing me, and pushing my buttons, then I’m cool with him. Don’t be an asshole, it’s not a good look for you.

6. Lesbians are attracted to all women
This is a funny one that I discovered when I began coming out. Sometimes, when you come out to a fellow woman, they become uncomfortable. You can see how uncomfortable she is with the conversation in the way her eyes widen and search for the door, and the way she puts distance between you and tries to not make it look too obvious.
Yes, sometimes lesbians are attracted to women, but not all of them, just as you are not attracted to all members of the sex you are interested in. We have standards and our own likes and attractions. We won’t act on all of them obviously, but we are looking for love too, and generally bisexual and lesbian women fit the bill (at least for me). Even if we are attracted to you and let you know, be flattered and leave it at that, the same way you’d respond if a guy told you he was interested in you.

7. You’re just waiting for the right guy to come along. Lucky me!
Um… no. I am not gay for pay like the women in pornos. I am not gay to attract men who witness me holding my girlfriend’s hand, or giving her a bit of affection in public. We do not make out in public, but the odd kiss here and there is nice. If that is how you feel about trying to inject yourself into a lesbian relationship, maybe you should grow some real balls and go to a class teaching respect and morals. Lesbians truly fall in love and sleep with other women. Perhaps you have been watching too much heterosexual porn with the actresses in their sexy lingerie and long (eeek) finger nails where they get all excited for the man to come in and join their party.

8. All lesbians are fat and ugly. 
Really? Do you know any lesbians? We do not always fit into certain boxes. Some of us are larger. Some of us are smaller. We fit every body shape and size just as anyone of any other sexual orientation. We are not ugly. Be more considerate of others. Everyone regardless of their race or sexual orientation fits every size and has different appearances.

9. Lesbians have short hair
Some do. Not all do, that’s a bit of an exaggerated generalization. I like my short hair. I consider myself to be a lesbian who identifies as slightly masculine but that’s more where I fall on the gender spectrum, not the sexual orientation spectrum. I do not usually wear button down plaid shirts and drive a pick up truck, but I wear graphic t-shirts, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, jeans, sneakers etc most of the time. You get the picture.

10. Lesbians just need to shove their lifestyle down our throats
Excuse me? Whoa… I do not want to shove my… wait, so by living my life openly and honestly that’s shoving it in your face? I have grown up seeing heterosexual relationships my entire life, people holding hands, falling in love, dating, etc and I do not consider that being shoved down my throat. I just want to live my life according to who I am sexually attracted to. Where is your mind anyway?

There are many more myths and stereotypes I could add, but I will leave that for another day.