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.