Are you two friends? Roommates?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Let It Go, Let it Go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo Credit: Nocookie net)

Interesting Links:
Official Frozen Trailer here.

Online Reviews:
Sydney Morning Herald
Polymic
AfterEllen

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

Coming out of the closet as bisexual

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That is what I originally did.

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

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

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(Photocredit: Deviant art)

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

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

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

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

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

When your girlfriend introduces you as her “friend”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(PhotoCredit: The Feminist Wire)

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