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.

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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

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.

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.