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.

Cydney’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?

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.