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.

Female genital Mutilation

Trigger Warning, this blog post contains graphic content. If you are sensitive to subjects I suggest skipping this particular blog post. 

 

Female genital mutilation… Those words send shivers down my body, shivers that have nothing to do with pleasure and everything to do with repulsion, and disgust. Female genital mutilation is legal, accepted and practiced in some countries in the world, even today. It involves cutting off the root of the female pleasure center, the clitoris so the woman, or girl, cannot feel sexual pleasure. It is incredibly painful, not medically clean (in some cases), and incredibly inhumane.

It enrages me if I think about it for too long. Would men agree to chopping their scrotum or parts of their penis off? I bet they wouldn’t. And yet women are somehow lower class still, in most parts of the world ruled by men who are ruthlessly power and money hungry, which is why things like this still go on. It is ingrained into some cultures because of these beliefs that women should not be sexual, that they are only meant for procreation, but in my opinion, that is not fair. Women, just as any man should have the right to a healthy sexuality.

Why am I posting this on a lesbian blog you may be wondering? Women are an important part of society. Even though they may be considered second class, women are the nurturers, mothers, lovers, friends, intelligent and caring people. That’s not to say that men don’t hold some of those qualities, but it’s to say that women are equal too. Women are human too. And we have a right to be here, feeling safe in our environments and living to our fullest potential.

Sources:
Aljezeera

Huffington Post: Cultural expectations

TPR org: Unicef reports FGM

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.

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.

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

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.

Image

(Photo Credit: Media AppAppeal)

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