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.

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Sexy Sports Bras and Lingerie

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So my girlfriend loves her lingerie. She has so many beautiful sets of lingerie and lace bras that crowd our underwear and bra drawers. I am now beginning to build my own collection of sexy lingerie and bras that

When we first srarted dating, my attitude towards bras and underwear was “they look nice and sometimes I’ll wear them but they aren’t necessary.” In other words, I could take them or leave them. My undwrwear didn’t have to be sexy but if they were, cool beans. I also am trying to break the habit of wearing sports bras. I wore them for comfort and for support. My B/[sometimes C] cups need them! And hey… it encourages me to go to the gym. Going to the gym with lingerie not that sexy after a sweat filled workout session. And sports bras can be sexy! Right..? …

Well my girlfriend was tired of me wearing sports bras all the time. In the past she had explained that she couldn’t understand why I would wear things that weren’t so sexy and confident inducing. To prove a point, she turned the tables on me.  We were making out, and when I went to remove her shirt, she was wearing a sports bra. “Not so sexy now hey?” She had a playful smirk plastered on her face. I couldn’t help but laugh. I deserved that. I love her witty side.

“I see your point.” I remarked.

“So can we agree sports bras are for gym only?”

“I’ll try to remember that.”

“Sports bras are offensive.  You should dress up your girls.”

Gifts women love

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What do all women love? Is it chocolates? Whipped cream? Flowery love notes? Or flowers? I would guess flowers and love notes. I haven’t had luck with number two, as one ex girlfriend I surprised with dessert by spraying myself with whipping cream didn’t go well. I did so only to find out that she didn’t like whipping cream. Ouch. Well a girl can try.

Flowers, (provided the woman of your affections isn’t allergic and does not hate them) can be a great gift and way to show your affections for her. Every woman has her preference for which type of flowers she prefers and those that she does not. When you get to know a woman you might want to ask which flowers she loves. Tuck that knowledge away and remember it.

I remember going on a road trip with a friend of my girlfriend’s. She wanted to surprise my girlfriend with flowers and jokingly bought her a carnation. When we picked up my girlfriend from the airport, I found out that she indeed did not like carnations and found it cheap. I suppose I can understand why.

The other day, I was discussing flowers and gardening with my girlfriend when I jokingly said “I should buy some carnations”. Her response: “Do not buy carnations. That is like saying ‘my love is worth $1!’ ” She was genuinely upset and I laughed because I had meant it as a joke. She wasn’t impressed. I reassured her that I was joking.

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Photocredit: Dick Miller Florist)

Personally I like all flowers but everyone has their likes and dislikes. For the record, I don’t see my relationship as being worth $1. Our relationship is priceless in my eyes. Flowers are just a way to convey my affection for her, and a method of brightening her day. And who doesn’t love being reminded that they’re loved?

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.

Use of Pronouns: “I”and “me” to “us”, “we” and “she”

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Somethings that’s been on my mind lately has been the use of pronouns. People use pronouns in the English language without really thinking of them. “I” and “me” signifies singular uses where one flies solo and does something alone. “Us” and “we signifies something more of a partnership, friendship or relationship. When it comes to relationships, pronouns often change and are used on a more regular basis.

When someone is involved in a heterosexual relationship, one rarely has to think about the pronouns that they use with their opposite sex partner. In the case of a woman dating a man, she would say, “My boyfriend and I went___ last weekend.” In same sex relationships pronouns might be used liberally if someone is not closeted or depending on a situation (for instance someone not being “out” at work). “We”, “us”, and “our” becomes a normal part of reference to us and it might be used instead of “My boyfriend” or “my girlfriend” because it might feel awkward or if one isn’t sure of how the other person will respond to the subtle or blatant use of pronouns that differ from the hetero normative end of things.

I remember when I first struggled to come out about my life and live as honestly as possible. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take me when I revealed that I wasn’t exactly like the majority of people. I was rejected by some friends, a couple of them close. That hurt. And as time progressed, I learned to surround myself with supportive people who didn’t see me as any different than them. I was just me.

Before I came to that point of confidence in my life and friends, I would carefully censor myself with use of pronouns. If I was asked about my dating life, or what I was up to, I would censor my speech after thinking about what I was going to say. I used a lot of “we”s, “they” and “our”s instead of “she”, “my girlfriend”, and “partner” in an attempt at feeling out the situations ahead of time or to avoid awkward or stressful situations. I don’t feel ashamed at being gay anymore. That time has long since passed (thankfully). I know it is not an illness, or something I need to be cured of. I am simply attracted to the same sex.

Image(PhotoCredit: CdnUrbanIslandz)

I still find myself doing so at times when I feel self doubt the situation I’m in. But over time it has become less and less and I’m able to say, “she”, “My girlfriend”, “My lady friend”, “my babe” and other terms with endearment devoid of shame.

I’m dating my wonderfully beautiful, caring, intelligent, funny and hardworking girlfriend right now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad I am no longer “me”, but a “me” in a “we” partnership. I’m glad I’m not afraid anymore of having to censor my pronouns. Hearing “us”, “ours” and “we” makes my heart sing a little and I can’t help but smile.

Responses I’ve gotten to coming out

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One thing I’ve learned in the exploration and realization of my sexual identity, and sexual orientation is that Coming Out isn’t just a process that you finish once and then you’re done. Unless you’re Ellen DeGeneres in which case probably everyone who knows about her sexual orientation via her Tv shows that she’s starred in or hosted knows about whom you’re attracted to.

These are some of the responses I’ve gotten over the years in telling someone or people that I’m gay.

1. Oh… well I’m not gay!
That’s good for you. I wasn’t hitting on you but good for you.

2. That’s… good for you.
This is usually followed by an awkward pause from whoever made the response to you.

3. When did you decide to become a lesbian? 
Um, it was a Saturday. Yep. A saturday and it was a new moon that signified new beginnings.

4. Cool. Can I watch?
No.

5. “Do you think I can join you and… your girlfriend?” or “Can you join me and my girlfriend?”
No.

6. So like… do you do… *makes scissor motion*
Yes I make arts and crafts but not in the bedroom.

7. Did a guy hurt you?
No.

8. You’ve not had me. Hahaha.
No. And you’ve not had my purple friend either. Haha.

9. *silence*

10. Do you date gay men then?
No. Being gay signifies same sex relationships.

11. Do you know Ellen DeGeneres?
Got her on speed dial.

Sometimes Coming Out requires patience, for yourself and to refrain from face palming yourself to the point of leaving marks on your forehead. People may start to question why it looks like someone has hit you in the forehead or eye from face palming so much. But it could be worse. To some people you are the first gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans person that they have met. They may be completely in the dark about sexual orientations other than heterosexuality. Sometimes you have to remember that.

To the very least, coming out is an amusing, disclosure of your identity that will never end. And that’s alright with me. I could live in fear of leaving my door with my partner. I’m glad I will never face that.

My favourite gay websites

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Today’s post is about my favourite LGBT websites, vlogs and blogs that I have come to enjoy for the past several years since before I officially came out. 

Pop culture:
Dorothy Surrenders: It’s written by (I’m guessing, a lesbian or bisexual woman), who has the penname of Dorothy Snarker. It’s a blog about all things women, pop cultures, gay or otherwise. Definitely check this one weekly. This blog with have you laughing or attempting to print out some of the photos she posts.

After Ellen: A blog about all things gay (though mostly lesbian)

AutoStraddle: A blog about pop culture and all things Lesbian related.

Support:
Empty Closets: A great forum for discussion on anything gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans related. There’s even a support area for family of LGBT people. It’s a great resource for preComing Out and post Coming Out. It really helped me in the past.

PFLAG (Parents/Friends of Lesbians And Gays): Support for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning or their families having a tough time.
PFLAG Canada
PFLAG USA

Human Rights Campaign: A nonprofit organization that has been working on helping LGBT people have equal rights across the world. They are usually recognizable as the blue square with the yellow = sign.

The Trevor Project: A crisis line and website for LGBTQ youth who might need support.

Facebook Pages:
Have a Gay Day A site supporting LGBT people.

YouTube:
The BeaverBunch: Some of the sweetest queer people on life as a gay, bi, lesbian or trans person. They have a topic each week, and every day of the week, one of them uploads a video speaking on the weeks topic.
GaysoftheWeek: Each week a topic is chosen. Every day of the week a gay man speaks about the topic.

Hope you had a great weekend. If you have anything you want to add to this post, just post in the comments section.

Confessions: Two women kiss in a bar…

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…more often than not, they are not gay women. They are barsexuals. From my experience, (and I say my experience because of course this is not a blog about knowing all facts, just my experience as a gay woman,) when two women kiss in a bar, they are generally doing so to attract the attention of men. I’m not speaking about women in gay bars or lesbian bars. I’m speaking of your average club, or pub. I’m speaking more so on the night club or strip club sect of bars.

I can’t rememer where I heard the term barsexuals. It was years ago before the Tyra Banks episode where women who called themselves barsexuals were featured. But basically this is what “Barsexual” means. A barsexual is a straight woman that kisses other women for the attention of straight men.
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I remember when I was single how irritated this would make me as a gay woman. How is a gay woman supposed to differentiate their dating opportunities from those who are actually interested in the same sex to those who aren’t interested? The answer: Very carefully. Sometimes I get it wrong, but I would say that with more experience with dating women and fine tuning my gaydar, *fiddles with electronic gadget in my phone* I can learn to get it right more often.

The weekend prior to this one, I was at a night club with my girlfriend and some friends. I’m not sure if it’s a thing for people who aren’t gay to break the boundaries and try to fire up and attract someone who is gay to fondle and “play with them”, or if it is just my experience. I had friends of a friend we were at the club with, attempting to sit really closely, give me lap dances, give me kisses… And that’s great. Really. But I wasn’t single. And I am still not single. I have boundaries and I did my best to make them clear in a polite way by pushing them aside and moving over in the booth that I was sitting at. I love my girlfriend, so much. I am not going to mess up what I have with my lady with some woman who is likely a barsexual to have 5 minutes of fun fondling someone’s breasts and making out with them at a club, much to the chagrin and entertainment of other barsexuals and men around.

For me, being a gay woman has been hard enough. To fight for expressing and living as honestly as I can, while facing discrimination, learning the rules of dating the same sex while trying to find your niche and place in the world that doesn’t openly accept you (at least not fully), is so hard and downright exhausting sometimes. But when you face the opposite, where everyone accepts you but either misinterprets you or assumes you don’t have any boundaries and attempts to break them even though they know you’re dating someone, I find that a hard pill to swallow. To me, that isn’t fair for anyone. Although I do know of some women in hetersexual relationships that are allowed to have flings with women of the same sex because for some reason, “that’s not cheating”? How is that different? Is it because another woman is less of a threat to your relationship?

Just some food for thought. I like to keep barsexuals out of my boundaries. As a single gay woman, I prefer to play with women who actually want to go home with me (bisexual and lesbian women who aren’t looking for a side to another relationship). As a gay woman who declares herself in love and taken, I’ll keep my lady by my side.

Another celebrity comes out as LGBT in a moving speech

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Another celebrity comes out as being part of the LGBT spectrum. In a moving speech that speaks of how insidiously our society strangles us with ideals, and that the media and society attempts to box and categorize us into how we should be as people, Ellen Page comes out as being gay.

(PhotoCredit: DailyMail)

I have been following the young actress since her early days in film. Although I try not to focus on celebrity gossip too much, I did find it interesting that she insisted on keeping her life private through dodging questions and not fully answering questions about her private life in interviews. But then again we all have a right to keep our private life private so who are we to judge? For those of you who are reading who may identify with the LGBT spectrum, you will likely understand why someone chooses to remain in the closet for reasons not understood by those who tend to identify as heterosexual.

For those of you who don’t understand, I would like to explain it. Imagine putting pieces together of yourself, your likes and dislikes that you realize make you different from others. Now imagine that you don’t fit the mould on what society says, that you should get your opposite sex partner (girlfriend or boyfriend), raise a family, have grand kids, grow old together. But… you find yourself attracted to your best friend of the same sex. It’s not because you choose it. It is the same type of bond that your friends seem to be having with their partners of the opposite sex. They just want to hold one another, kiss, grow, learn, laugh and love together. And you do too, but you’re just different. You might try denying it, but that makes it worse. It can bring on depression, unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to cover up the fact that you think you’re flawed and society says that people like you are disgusting and invalid. How low would you feel if you faced that every day?

Coming out takes courage. Some of us have the luxury of living in countries where we don’t have laws condemning us to a life of abuse by society, family, friends, strangers, and imprisonment. Some of us don’t and I feel saddened knowing this is a reality for some people out there. For some of us, even though the laws are on our side, the people in our lives aren’t and we are disowned, threatened, and harassed, even today in first world countries. And I believe that until we are all equal we should attempt to make this world a better place for those who are not considered equal.

I will leave it at that. Ellen Page’s speech is worth the read (or watch). Human Rights are everyone’s priority (or should be). What courage. I hope things just keep getting better for her. The video of her speech gave me shivers and caused tears to flow. I hope you enjoy it.

Ellen’s speech is on You Tube.
Other References:
Just Jared: http://www.justjared.com/2014/02/14/ellen-page-comes-out-as-gay-read-her-speech-here/
CTV (Full text of speech)http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/ellen-page-comes-out-as-gay-maybe-i-can-make-a-difference-1.1687811

10 Things NOT to say to a lesbian

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There are more than 10 things every lesbian detests hearing. I’m going to say again, that I do not stand for every lesbian, therefore my opinions are my own. But I do know that I am not the only lesbian that has faced hearing the things I’m about to discuss and talk about. Some of these things make my blood curdle and I sometimes have an Ally McBeal moment where I picture the one who said said statement being slapped or disappearing through a trap door in the floor.

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(Photo Credit: TrendsUpdates)

They are in no particular order.

1. You must have been hurt by a guy.
I’m not sure why people (mainly guys) think that women are attracted to other women because they were hurt by a man. Let me flip this around for you. If you’re a guy, and you were hurt by women in the past, does that make you want to “switch” teams and fall in love with men? Not likely.

2. You’re too pretty to be gay.
Please let me smash a stereotype for you. Not all women who are gay or in a same sex relationship would fit into the ‘ugly’ category according to you. Don’t objectify us in a form of pseudo flattery. This statement means that you thought all lesbians or women who liked other women were ugly? Where has your mind been? Gay women are not gay because they think they’re ugly and can’t snatch a man. They’re gay because they have the same sexual and romantic responses that you do towards the opposite sex.

3. Can I watch you and your girlfriend?
I can be found with a scowl whenever I hear this. Yes, heterosexual male, please let me put myself on a pedestal while you film us with instagram or our iPhone. I’m not a sex object. I am not an object you can jerk off to. I am not a third wheel looking to join your heterosexual relationship as a third wheel either. Go back to your heterosexual “lesbian” porn. I love myself more than being your sex object.

4. You are living in sin. You need to repent and come back to heterosexuality.
I personally do not adhere to any religion for the reason that I find hypocrisy to outnumber the good qualities that religions hold. But that is not what I wish to get into. If you choose to believe in religion that is great. Please do not tell me that a part of who I am is wholly evil. We are all human. We all do bad and good things. Homosexuality is not evil, it is simply a part of me just as heterosexuality is a part of you.

5. Don’t flaunt your gay lifestyle at me
Please calm down sir or mam. I am bombarded by heterosexual images and have been since I was born. Is heterosexuality a lifestyle or is it just a part of you? If I am just me and holding my girlfriend’s hand in public, that is the same as you holding your opposite sex partner’s hand in public. You are just being ignorant. Gay is not a lifestyle, it is a sexual orientation.

6. When straight men say: “You don’t have real sex. You should try me.”
This one makes me laugh. What is real sex? Sex to me involves intimacy, and things done in the bedroom to (generally) lead to climax. You don’t think two females can do that by getting creative and using what they have or shopping online? If they are in love leave them alone.

7. You can’t be gay. Your relationship doesn’t lead to procreation.
I’m sure there are enough people to procreate the world. If you haven’t noticed it is already overpopulated several times over. There’s always adoption options, surrogacy and invitro. And for some people maybe they don’t want kids. A relationship and family is not only about having children whether the couple is homosexual, or heterosexual.

8. I can’t be your friend. You might flirt with me. 
To the heterosexual women: Oh hun, if I was interested I would let you know, but I’m not interested in bigots. To the men: I’m sure heterosexual men feel the same way when they think of the fact that a gay man might treat them the way they treat women.

9. Wow. Being gay sounds so much fun. I wish I was gay. 
This is sometimes said by well meaning females but really I don’t think they’ve thought this subject through. Homophobia still runs rampant throughout the world, even in countries where same sex marriages or civil unions are legalized. We have to even worry about countries we travel to because same sex couples aren’t safe in some countries as heterosexual couples would be. I don’t think you’d like to wish being bullied, harassed by homophobes, outcasted or sometimes have to worry about your safety because of who you love. Why would you wish that?

10. ?
Well I left this one blank. If anyone has something to add do so.