Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeling Sad

An intro since I'm writing this at 9 am:

Sometimes you just get down. Feel sad for yourself, annoyed with yourself, awkward with yourself. Sometimes you just can't stand your own skin and wish you could separate from yourself and get away. Yeah, well, if you don't feel like that, I do sometimes.

Anyway, how do you deal with such moments? Go for walks? Hunt for imaginary or mythic creatures? Dance naked or in your underwear to music? Cuddle with a teddy bear, pillow, that special someone, or your pet? When you're sad do you play sad songs?

I love this scene!

Or perhaps you prefer watching funny clips?

There are many ways to channel sadness, loneliness, or heartbreak. Grief, sorrow, and emptiness are feelings that you shouldn't run from. I take the view that you shouldn't try to escape how you feel. Trying to run from your feelings is like trying to escape from a falling anvil. It won't work. Or will it?

No, I'm afraid not. So instead of running from what you're feeling, feel them. Don't "turn it off" as suggested in the Book of Mormon Musical. Some emotions are pain. We all feel them. Feel them so deeply that it hurts and we wish they would stop. Eventually they subside and we feel like we can at last move on with our lives. Grief, in all its forms, isn't something you can truly run from. It's something you have to face. It isn't easy but that's because it's opposite emotion (Joy/Love/Companionship) is just as strong. If you ever wanted to advice from me (I know it's hard to want that from me), go for a walk and give yourself permission to feel grief, hate, anger, and sorrow.

The Declaration of Independence argues that men have the right to, among other things, the pursuit of happiness. That is a road that is filled with sorrow because in order to understand what truly makes us happy, we have to first understand what does not make us happy but instead makes us sad.

So go for a walk. Go for a run. Go for a swim. Listen to music. Sing to your favorite happy/sad songs. Dance like no one is watching or because they are watching. Scream. Yell. Cry. Sit quietly and just feel what you're feeling. Remember, also, that one day, you will feel happy again.

Or you'll end up like this:

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Hey everyone, Tiff here :)

I'm not going to write a post today because I'm not here.
I'm in California communing with the beautiful redwood trees.

Sometimes, you just have to take a few moments for yourself. Even if those moments last 9 days and are spent far away from home.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what I'm seeing.
I'll come back and post some of my own pictures for you--so you can share in my joy, of course.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guest Post: Gender Rules

Since coming out as a man in a transsexual body, I have had some male friends take up the task of teaching me how to “be a man”. Some of it has been very helpful, particularly in the beginning of my transition. It's helpful to have a friendly critique on what to wear or how to walk. But some of these tips have sometimes been a little over-the-top and gender role dependent. Eventually, I've come to the conclusion that at this point, as I am consistently perceived as male, I do not need to take an exorbitant amount of effort proving my masculinity.

Traditional gender roles put too much stock on something that is barely important in determining how we act day-to-day. It is almost funny to me how much we let this idea of gender rule our lives. How funny to hear a transgender person say that, right? But the keyword is “rule.” Gender has been conflated to be synonymous with gender roles, “masculinity” with being male, “femininity” with being female. It determines if we stay home with our children, or if we work to earn money to provide for them. It can determine our hobbies we choose, or don't, which magazines we aren't embarrassed to subscribe to, how we are taught to think about ourselves. And this is so engrained, because it starts from when we are born.

I attended my friend's homecoming talk a year ago. There were two babies being blessed, a boy and a girl. When the boy was blessed, his father blessed him with strength to care for his family and to be a good priesthood leader. When the girl was blessed, she was blessed to serve her husband, no joke, and to always be kind. All of these qualities are wonderful wishes to grant your children, but the gender role binary was definitely in play. Who would that baby girl be told she was? Who would her brother be told he was? What responsibilities would they be given?

Gender roles are continuing to break down in our society, which I view as a good thing. Women aren't as demonized for wanting a career. Men are encouraged to be more nurturing to their children. These are simplistic, but they show an improvement. Being a man, or being a woman, determines very little about our personalities and how we interact with the surrounding world, and we need to stop feeding this myth. Yes, I am a man, and, yes, somehow that is different than being a woman. But this determines very little in my life. I am free to be the person that I want to be, and to lead the life I want to live. As much as I can, in a world ruled by gender, I attempt to reject what is predetermined for me and what defines my “masculinity.”

Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding the "everything in between"

I met a transgendered person today--the first I've ever met.  I didn't even know this person was transgendered until I overheard them mention it in conversation.  (Hopefully I heard right!)  And that was a bit of an epiphany.  I was glad that I got to talk this person a little before I knew that they were transgendered.  I am glad that I didn't know their initial or current gender even at the end of the conversation.

I'm also glad that I saw previous posts written by transgendered people about themselves, transgenderism, and do's and don'ts.  Thanks, friends!

Anyway, gender roles and sexual identity.  I perceive at least three groups of people's attitudes toward gender roles:

1.  Some people have fixed perceptions of gender roles, and feel comfortable filling the roles that they perceive are assigned to their particular gender.
2.  Others have somewhat fixed perceptions of gender roles, but also feel comfortable (and more true to themselves, perhaps) breaking from those perceptions and acting in ways that do not fit with societal perceptions.
3.  A third group has few expectations for gender roles, and is okay acting in whatever way they feel.

Image source:

I think all three groups are fine.

It seems easier to break from societally-based (or perceived that way) gender roles when one comes out ... or at least I've found that this is the case with me.

When I come out, I feel less obligated to watch sports and to be masculine all the time.  For some reason, I feel like the burden of pretending to be a traditional man has been lifted.  Or maybe it's just that I no longer feel like I ought to hide my sexuality behind a cloak of societally-defined masculinity.

It's as if when you come out, sexuality is what it is, and so are gender roles.  How closely I fit the societal "man" doesn't affect (I don't think!) my sexuality.  [Except that most gay guys seem to prefer more masculine men.  But that's for another post.]  My sexuality affects my attitude towards gender roles insofar as it helps deconstruct those attitudes and makes it easier for me to be who I am and participate in what I really wish to--not in what society expects me to.

I love powerful lesbian women and timid lesbian women.  I love happily engaged career women and their housewife counterparts.  Likewise, it's fun to think of a gay guy who wants to work in the home (as a house-husband), raise the kids, etc.  Or to see a career man.  To see a powerful, commanding gay guy and a timid one.  And everything in between.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sex and Gender

Hey, Bradley here.

It's unfortunate that many people confuse the concepts of sex and gender. Sex is purely biological - meaning male or female. Gender on the other hand is socially constructed - whether a person is masculine or feminine. Along with a person's gender identity come all kinds of cultural baggage - sets of expectations of how that individual is supposed to behave in the context of a relationship, in a family, among peers, in business, and in society as a whole.

Someone who is "masculine" is expected to be dominant, prone to rational thought (as opposed to emotional), strong, powerful, in control, authoritative... etc.

On the other hand, someone who is "feminine" is expected to be gentle, submissive, emotional and compassionate, nurturing, delicate, beautiful... etc.

However, the human mind has both masculine and feminine tendencies. I think what causes problems is when men are hyper-masculinized and women are hyper-feminized. Just look down the aisles of a toy store to see the polarization: the boys aisle is full of robots, trucks, things that shoot, or that transform into something. This is perhaps the case because little boys are supposedly more excited by movement. The girls' aisle is full of dolls, castles, stickers, furry things, and things to play dress-up with. This is because little girls supposedly are more excited by how things look, or what colors they are (as opposed to how they move). With such polarization of gender identities especially in children, it's no wonder the boys and girls rarely play together. I mean, it's not as though little Jimmy would want to be caught dead playing at Sally's house with her pink 8-ball and princess castle. Nor would Sally want to be caught dead playing with Jimmy's build-your-own-robot kit and transformers. So boys play with boys, girls play with girls, and there is little room for anyone who does not quite fit either category.

Even into adulthood, we still have this hyper-masculinization and hyper-feminization of the gender roles. So when someone feels they don't fit their gender role the way they're "supposed to", they feel like they have to go to the other extreme - the gays are expected to behave like straight women, and the lesbians are expected to behave like straight men, which causes ALL KINDS of stereotyping problems. Because, clearly not all gay men fit that stereotype, and likewise, not all lesbian women fit their stereotype, (and the bisexuals don't fit EITHER category, haha) and the whole thing is one big tangled mess.

This is why the LGBT community is seen as so strange by the rest of society - because the L's G's B's and T's don't fit cleanly into the boxes labeled masculine and feminine, or even the boxes labeled boy and girl. Then, all the in-between people are seen as outcasts.

And don't even get me started on gender roles in the context of a relationship - why does the guy have to "be the guy" and why does the girl have to "be the girl", and when the couple has two men or two women, why does one of the girls have to "be the guy" or one of the guys have to "be the girl" in the relationship. The roles of dominant and submissive do NOT have to be clearly assigned. The whole thing is just absolutely absurd!

So to recap - sex refers to a person's biology (which is by no means fixed), and gender refers to the way society expects that person to behave, dress, express themselves (which aught to be much more fluid than it is).

So the next time someone asks you "are you a boy or a girl", or even "are you THE boy or THE girl", you can explain all about the difference between sex and gender.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gender Roles: Relax. We Are Who We Are

We're talking about gender roles this week (as if you couldn't guess that). My experience with gender roles is about hazy. Growing up, my parents weren't all that concerned with exactly what boys and girls were supposed to do most of the time. I played with barbie dolls (my mom even bought a Ken doll for us boys, but I still wanted to play with the girl barbie dolls because they had more clothes to dress them up in). I loved playing with toy cars, Transformers, dinosaurs, blocks to build my cities and fortresses and spaceships. I loved movies about Disney princesses and Star Wars. I used to dress up in dresses, wigs, and earrings and dance and role play with my sister. There are still pictures from when I was a little boy dressed as girl (no, I will not show anyone that. That's left for blackmailing purposes by my parents to show whoever the man is that I marry, ha ha!). I was forced to play sports as a child but never showed any interest. I took part in theater and loved to sing in the Primary children's choirs. I don't do either now but have a love for choir, musicals, theater, and dance.

Gender roles is something that never mattered. My only experience with it growing up was that boys have the Priesthood and girls don't; boys do outside work and girls do inside work when it's time for chores around the house. My dad taught my mom how to cook, my older brother was an old woman and a middle aged woman for two different Halloweens.

Growing up in California and Washington state, this idea of a fluidity of gender roles was further influenced. The idea that girls and boys were supposed to be or do certain things was alien or foreign to me. I found it funny and still do that gays and lesbians are supposed to have reverse gender roles. It's funny to me cause I never bought into the idea that straight people had gender roles. Why worry about making somebody act like something? I want to be great at gardening, I enjoy cooking, I love musicals, I love to watch action movies, I love comic books, I think aggression is normal for boys and girls and that fighting is sometimes the only way to work things out, and so on. Girls can wear dresses, so can boys. I think a guy is hot in a kilt and have never cared when a boy wears dresses.

It was only in coming to Utah and going to BYU that I started to see that gender roles really do matter. Girls and boys here have a bizarre need to segregate themselves and define their roles. It's a bizarre obsession to me. A friend of mine won't wear or do certain things if it makes him appear gay or not masculine. Such a strange idea to me. Why worry? Sexual orientation, gender identity, and such are all not important. You like who you like and you are what you are (as in identify). If you're attracted to the male body, great. If you identify as "butch" or "effeminate" or "lipstick" or what not, that's fine to.

Just be who you are, in my view. I think the obsession in Utah, and other parts of the country, with the need to reinforce and shore up American ideas of gender roles is a response to the growing visibility of gays in society. I have met plenty of "femi" straight guys. I have met plenty of "butch" gay boys. I have met every shade of women straight and gay. Why worry? You are who you are. Embrace that. Someone out there will be attracted to it.

My upbringing and mental and social development have all taught me that gender roles are fluid, social constructs, and nothing to worry about. I am absolutely confident that if I had a daughter and she wanted to play sports and kick the asses of annoying boys on the playground, she'd still have as much a chance of being straight (or gay) as any girl that grew up playing dolls, serving tea, and dressing in frilly pink dresses.

To all those caught up in fearing their children will be gay (or straight), I have advice for you: calm down and let your children grow up as they will. Help them develop their interests and be there for them. Don't worry if your son likes playing with Barbie dolls or babies. It won't make him gay or straight. It will make him more sensitive to the needs of babies and even what looks good on the human form. Don't worry if your daughter wants to play sports. Just worry if you can scream loud enough in cheering for them so that you can embarrass them with your enthusiasm and support for them. This is what counts. Love will always matter. Gender roles won't ever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amber's Take on Gender Roles

Man, where do I start?

I graduated from BYU with a degree in anthropology, which has a good chunk of the entire field dedicated to gender roles in different cultures. To summarize, there are different genders and gender roles everywhere, and not all of them are just male or female. There are forms of being transgender and different forms of intersex across the world, and to say that only the western form of male and female is valid is a rejection of the validity of belief of millions of people across the world.

That's the strange thing about our current sociocultural atmosphere of our generation. We are not afraid to build up our own definitions of what culture and love and civil rights and tolerance should be, and we're not afraid to take those definitions and use them in our daily lives. We could have waxed soulful and longing in our coffeehouses and hidden ourselves away out of fear of the thoughts of our fellow men, but no. No, we said. Our ideals of individualism have gone so far and so strong that we can go ahead and start changing the very framework that directs our daily lives.

Why not, you ask. This is normal, why bother explaining it?

It's not normal for everyone in the United States, and it's certainly not normal across the world. While living in India, I realized very quickly just what kind of reaction and what public abuse I would receive if I came out as bisexual there. My project would be compromised and my translators would have refused to work with me. At worst, physical abuse from the community was possible. However, this little story about a couple just twenty miles outside of the town I lived in (Visag) reveals that things are changing across the world, and that the globalization of our ideal of individuality is spreading.

I think the fight for and against gay rights and for equality of genders is only going to get harder. The economic struggle we are all facing isn't going away anytime soon, it seems. As the economy falls, and the ideals of how the markets and wealth should grow fall away in turn, there will be a greater and greater call to return to religion. We may even see a decline in the realism of national art and art that represents the government--as was the case in the empires of the world such as those of Rome, Egypt, Persia, China, not to mention the Ottoman and British empires. Falling from near-perfect realism that reflects the realized dreams of the economy, we would see slightly more and more abstract work that reflects the ethereal nature of what was once ours and no longer is. In the United States, the biggest call will be to return to Christianity and what is considered extreme now may become moderate over the course of the next twenty years if things keep up in the direction they are going. I pray that it's not the case.

All of my life, I have desired to not bear the label of male or female.

With that said, I have never considered myself girly or a feminine woman, not of the thin-boned, transcendent, cute sort that need physical protection and could have a bisexual like me falling head over heels for their lovely graces. I never got to be that girl, physically. I'm built like a giant--with biceps, calf muscles, and a belly twice the size that of my boyfriend. I'm overweight and I'm quite brawny. My dad quickly attained morbid obesity while working hard to keep my family fed while I was still a fetus. I caught that genetic trait, and now in turn, it's hard for me to shed pounds as well. I was a fat little kid in elementary school, and I'm certainly overweight, now. My height makes up for some of it, but there's no denying that I've got rolls where I don't want them to be. I walk with my boyfriend before he goes to work, and while I certainly could be more active, I've gotten more used to the skin I'm in.

It's also forged my personality and my gender expression, in a few ways.

Before I go further, I should explain my interpretation of gender theory. You have gender identity, which is what gender you consider yourself to be. Thanks to my generation's respect of individual self-discovery, this doesn't have to correspond with any label whatsoever. It can be female, it can be male, genderqueer, or whatever you feel is your gender. I personally made up my own gender label, and tell people off the cuff that I consider myself psychologically genderqueer and biologically female. I have lived through many forms of abuse for transgressing against traditional female roles, and that likely won't change. Why I don't psychologically consider myself female will come in another post.

Besides gender identity, there is also gender expression, and sexual orientation. I have friends that identify as males for their gender, express their maleness in stereotypical Anglo-American ways, and have a sexual orientation for other white men. I express my gender in fairly gender-neutral ways, sometimes going a little more butch or a little more lipstick, to use lesbian terms. It's pretty fluid. My sexual orientation is equally bisexual, a three on the Kinsey scale. Some days, I feel more lesbian, and other days, I feel more straight. It's fluid--likely because of the tendency of people raised as biological females to associate sexual relations more with emotional connection thanks to social conditioning.

Should your gender identity or sexual orientation prescribe what roles you should take on? 
(insert swear here) No. Absolutely not. They should be whatever you desire them to be, as long as you're making a good effort to be part of the lives of the people that love you--simply showing that you love them back. Your gender expression and the roles associated with it should reflect what you're comfortable with and what you desire to become and reflect. 

If you feel uncomfortable being in the skin of a female destined for motherhood--reframe yourself! Figure out what you are comfortable in--it's the only skin you have. There's nothing wrong with that skin I described, by the way. It's just not something I was comfortable with. The label I gave myself bears aspects of manhood and womanhood without being either. I'm still trying to figure out what it means. The word itself is derived both from the word amazon and a word I once heard in a dream, where I lived out an entire lifetime as a man in a much different world. I still mark my papers as female just to process information without slowing down the operation and getting questions, but inwardly, this is my own identity. I promise to explore it further in later posts, but to be honest, this is all I can say today. 

Everyone's path in finding what they are--on so many different levels is a tough one and one to be respected. However, this is what I feel right with. I hope that everyone can respect that and that everyone can understand that gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation are not prescribed by what genitals you had at birth. It's not all just a little neat psychological package you can give to yourself and others. If that was the case, what can be said for hermaphrodites or androgynous people? 

I hope my words can help you come further in understanding yourself.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Nearby Support?

Dearest anyone who is reading this,

My mom is awesome. She has since proved to me her awesomeness by being way more accepting than I ever thought she would since I came out. She's read most of the books she can find both on homosexuality by itself and within the church (including Brent's and Brad's). While I've been visiting home before school starts up again we've talked about it on several occasions. She's become way more aware of how other people treat the idea of homosexuality now, but also the double standard for people who don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread. (Everyone at work gives her grief and says she just hates gays because she's Mormon. She wants to yell "my daughter's lesbian for crying out loud", but she respects my privacy).

Anyway, she's asked me about support groups nearby that she could go to or join. I don't really know that much about them (except USGA), but I know there are people out there (you guys) who do. Preferably one that will treat our religion with respect as well, and might understand better where she's coming from. Her main concern is to learn all she can and be able to support me, not politics or bitterness towards the church. PLEASE leave your suggestions in the comments below for any support groups, or other resources (like books and stuff), that might help her out. (PS, we live in the middle of Oklahoma if that makes a difference).

Thank you muchly....

~Bridey J

Gender Rolls

I don't believe it matters what gender stereotypes you fit into. I don't think that determines who you are or your sexuality. Your personality is going to have a much stronger effect on what you like to do than the gender roles people try to put you in. I think gender is important, but not in the way that many people consider it. There's a big difference between gender and the roles the society assigns to them. Because of this belief, I don't think it's okay for some parents to decide that their baby is "gender neutral". I love being a girl! But I'm not going to change my personality to try to fit a mold because I'm a girl or because I'm a lesbian.

Growing up, my brothers and I have never really fit any mold. It was seriously something like this...

I had this baby doll once. It came with a little stroller and a crib and all sorts of stuff. My younger brother used to take that baby around with him everywhere. he would feed it and change it and push it in the stroller...the works. Now he's a giant baseball player. I like to wear pants (no dresses), have shorter hair, build stuff, watch things explode, play sports, go camping, and watch movies where some ass gets kicked. I know a lot of people would say that it's because I'm lesbian, but it's much deeper than just my sexuality. (Me and my brother are very different, but somehow we both still ended up liking girls). Both my parents have been the stay at home parent before, and both have had jobs to bring home the bacon. Both of them love to cook, camp, wear pants, clean the house, and take care of us kids. They're just who they are.

I took a friend to a USGA meeting once and we got on the subject of "looking back, how could you NOT know you were gay?" In the third grade I threw a fit when we had our section on medieval times. We were supposed to do a play and the only real role for a girl was a peasant or a princess. I argued until I got to be the only girl knight (I still have the sword)! On the way home she asked if we thought that if fitting in those stereotypes was what made us think we were gay. I was confused my her question, but I realized that she is the same as I am (in the list above) but is not a bit gay at all. What you like, how you act, and the way you dress are all parts of your personality, not your gender.

People have tried to put me in boxes my whole life. They categorize me as a woman, as a Mormon, or as a gay person. When it comes down to it though, we're all human beings, not boxes. Hobbies don't have genders. Being interested in shopping or wood working does not influence who you're attracted to. I love being a woman, and I love being attracted to women too.

But I often wonder
  • Have you ever wanted to change yourself to better fit a stereotype or gender role?
  • Why do the roles and stereotypes even exist?
  • Do you think there's a statistically significant difference between the amount of straight girls that can change their car brakes and the amount of gay girls who can? If so, why?

But seriously folks...

Gender Rolls are SO Delicious! :D

~Bridey J

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gender Roles

Boys play with trucks.
Girls play with dolls.

Boys are firefighters.
Girls are homemakers.

Boys wear blue.
Girls wear pink.
Gays wear purple. (or rainbows).

Boys go camping.
Girls play dress-up.

Boys have short hair.
Girls have long hair.
Boys are tough.
Girls are gentle.

Boys play football.
Girls play hopscotch.

Boys wear pants.
Girls wear dresses.

Boys wrestle.
Girls have tea parties.

Okay. Obviously there are millions more gender stereotypes. There are a lot of things that people associate with being strictly female, or strictly male. But, what are the purposes of these associations? Do women naturally gravitate towards the color pink? flowers? ribbons and bows? dresses? Are men born to play with trucks? watch football? wrestle? What does it really mean to be feminine? Or masculine? And are these terms even necessary?

A lot of people seem to think that gay men and lesbian women go against the gender norms. If this is truly the case, then is it the fact that they're homosexual that makes them defy gender roles, or are they homosexual because they assume the "wrong" gender behaviors?

What an odd question.

For as long as I can remember, my oldest brother had long hair. He's straight.
My sister has always loved camping and hiking. She also never wore make-up (mostly because she never needed to--she's pretty already). She's straight.
My best friend likes to longboard, rockclimb, play sports, etc. She has short hair and often looks like a teenage boy. She's straight.
My supervisor has long hair, wears pink, and gardens. She's lesbian.

I grew up catching snakes and lizards, playing in streams, building forts, and terrorizing the neighborhood on my bicycle. I had boy friends and girl friends all my life. I wore dresses to church on Sunday and even let my sister do my hair. I enjoy dressing up and looking "girly" sometimes. But, I don't wear make-up because I don't have time for it. I don't wear high heels because they're not practical and they hurt my feet. I like to wear skirts and leggings. I own a lot of pink things. I don't feel like I've ever conformed to any particular gender restraints, neither have I intentionally rebelled against them. I just don't see the importance of saying that boys get to be firefighters while girls have to stay inside and bake. I'm not very good at baking. I prefer to be outside. Is this because I'm lesbian? I really don't think so. There are plenty of women who like to be outside and do "manly" things and they're straight. What do they have to say for themselves?

~live your own truth~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gay Rights, Civil Rights

Hey, Bradley here.

I was talking with a relative of mine about the "gay community" and how people perceive it as a whole. First of all, when people think about the gay community, they think about how lascivious or just how promiscuous it is, but then again, so is the straight community you see at bars, clubs, etc. It's only common sense that not all gays are like that, just like it's only common sense that not all straights are like that. But when it comes to people's gut reactions, it's amazing how people still feel that way about the gays.

In this conversation with said relative, we came to the agreement that we look forward to the day when sexuality is really no big deal anymore. One day, we'll probably look back on this whole Gay-Rights fiasco much like we look back on the Civil-Rights movement and say "What were we thinking?" I really hope we get to that point where people are judged not for who they love, but who they are as a person.

This comparison between the Gay-Rights movement and the Civil-Rights movement has been made quite a bit actually. It's a major stance taken by politicians (like our president for example):

(I hope that link works... embedding was disabled)

If not, it basically went like this:

Obama: I would support a civil union with all the same legal rights as marriage.

Reporter Guy: But doesn't that sort of sound like the "Separate-but-Equal" argument?

(separate-but-equal, of course, being a reference to the constitutional doctrine justifying segregation)

Obama: It's my job as President to focus on the tangible rights of people, not necessarily to change the attitudes of people.

His actual words are much more eloquent than my shabby paraphrase, but the sentiment is there - that civil unions with all the rights of married couples certainly gets the job done; let the churches and voters decide what to make of the attitudes towards same-sex couples, but "my job as president" is to enforce laws and protect the actual rights of people.

What I take away from this is just how the Gay-Rights movement is comparing itself to the Civil-Rights movement. Whether or not that's a smart move, I don't know. But it's worth noticing.

Again, I hope someday we look back on all of this hullabaloo about sexual orientation just like we look back on the Civil Rights movement and say "What were we thinking... Sexual orientation shouldn't have been such a big deal."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Relax

Have you ever wondered what life would have been like if you had a supportive family concerning being gay? In all the hype and drama on the media about being gay, I think most people forget about some of the little things that matter in parents not supporting their gay children.

Have you ever gone on an amazing date with that special girl or boy and just wanted your parents to call (or you call them) to ask how it went and what you thought and what you two did? Have you ever wished you could be able to have a long drive with your father or mother and tell them about a person you like and how you're not sure to react or what to do and then listen to them give advice and relate their own experiences from when they dated?

I have also pondered what it would have been like to have family that treated their gay children as one of their own. The brother that stands up for their gay sibling when they're being picked on. One of the most painful things I ever and still experience is the shallow nature of my relationship with my family. Conversations are forced at times and avoid the heart of normal healthy conversations. I think, however embarrassing, that asking such questions about the person you are dating or someone you're interested in are important and questions that help lead to a closer relationship.

I have been very fortunate that I have another family in my life that are not bound to me legally or biologically. The parents and child in that family have just been great friends that see me as their son. They ask those questions. They want to see me be happy. They don't care who I marry or like so long as I treat them well and that person treats me well.

And let's be honest here for a moment. All this hating of gays, "love the sinner, hate the sin," and actually being grossed out by expression of love between two people of the same gender is juvenile. I think the last time I thought two people kissing was gross was when I was in the third or fourth grade. Seriously, why freak out? Should I organize a posse of gays to gather around straight couples when they kiss and boo them down? That would be ludicrous! Love is beautiful in all its forms! If I could ask bigots and homophobes one question it would probably be this, "Don't you ever get tired having to hate people?" Oh all right, I'd probably ask, "Don't you hate being wrong so often?"

So, I say to families with gay children, get to know them. Don't get all held up by the gender of their lover. Don't even worry about when they kiss. It's really sweet to watch to people in love kiss. Worry about them being happy and what's going on in their life. Worry about the more important things than the gender of the person. We have more important things to worry about in this life than that. Why not worry about whether the people in your city are eating enough? Why not worry about people suffering from depression or feeling alone?

Love those gay kids. Hug a lesbian! Hug a gay! Group hug/tackle a transgender person. Listen to a bisexual person talk about their life. Honestly, it's better than judging. Soooooo much better. Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home, Silence, More Self-Observance

I just moved a few states over back to where most of this group sojourns and lives for most of the year at a time.  It involved a long drive up with my older brother, with which I had plenty of good conversation, and little of the bad, thankfully. There was a brief moment where gay issues were brought up. I explained that even with my boyfriend, I still could look around and think that a few men and women were attractive enough to date and fall in love with. I'm in love with my boyfriend to the point that I no longer care.

With a little bit of trepidation, he started to explain that he still believed that Packer was right in a controversial talk last October--that being LGBT was all psychological and a choice. I wanted to shut him down, and I wanted to just tell him to not be so judgmental on things that he knew nothing about and to leave my judgment alone. In retrospect, that would have been a logical thing to say, but it would have just started up more anger between us with six hours of driving left to go, less than a foot apart from each other in the gray interior of our little silver Honda Civic. We were separated by little more than water, pretzels, bananas, and our MP3 players.

I sighed, and let out something that I hope I can always remember. "I know your views on it, and you know mine. You know that I don't agree and I know that you don't really want to know much more than that. I would never want to put my beliefs down your throat, and to do so is something that neither of us believe in. Let's just move on, because I don't want to have this argument."

To my surprise, nothing more was said, and I inwardly exhaled a massive sigh of relief.
It's reflective of what my personality and self-expression has been like over the last year. I do my best to avoid fights, confrontations, and anything that might provoke my bottled-up anger to rip out at someone.

I've been very angry at various things for a very long time, and it's all I can do sometimes to just be snarky and to just be sarcastic and grin like I know everything that's going on. I managed to get out of school with few prospects, an intense desire just to run away from everything, and huge frustrations over various things. One thing that frustrated me was that I hadn't found any peace concerning my sexuality. Some days, I'm a nymphomaniac, and others, I feel like a total asexual, and I feel that it could be that way forever. Despite hours and hours of psychotherapy, the thing that brings me peace over getting sexually abused as a small child and being emotionally abused for a good portion of my life is having a boyfriend.

Yay! Sounds like another typical LDS student here in the valley, right? God forbid I go without one, that might mean I'd have to WORK for myself or risk a lower rank in heaven when my mortal coil wriggles off of my iridescent, flamboyant soul!

Man, I gotta lay off the sarcasm thing; it tastes worse than vodka in my mouth.

Being autistic does lead to a lot of problems with self-expression, due to the fact that self-expression is a two-way street. You've got to have an audience for your questions and wondering and yearnings.
But then again, I've just shut myself off in many ways--telling myself that I don't care because I've had so many things happen when I've ended up getting arguments when trying to figure things out or in getting advice.

I moved back here because I wanted a place to call home, not to call 'my folks' house' or 'that house on the curvy street at the bottom of the hill.' I wanted a place where I don't walk on eggshells or kowtow to a god and religion I don't believe in. Somewhere with understanding, acceptance, and care for more than just your dishes or your outfit that you're wearing--real concern for the person next to you simply because you live with them. Some may say that I'm describing a family, but I feel that the family I was raised with was bound by duty and fear--more so than love. If that's what a family is like, yes, I want to have a set of roommates that can resemble a family. I wanted a place to be myself, and I'm just two days away from moving into a place where I'll have my own room and my own silence to question and conquer.

Many of us LGBT people will be stuck in various forms of liminality many times over until we find a place that's safe, warm, joyous, and good to be in. Not only that, there will be many more times where we're travelling in harsh conditions (of various sorts, physical and emotional and otherwise) to keep those places. For some, that may be the house and household of their biological family. For others, it's friends, and for some, colleagues. For my mentor in college, it was his home in Orem, UT and his home in Vishakhapatnam, India that he built brick by brick with his own hands. For some of my best friends over the years, it has been in the locales of internet forums and in quietly sent messages across the wired and wireless expanses.

Good luck in finding and keeping that place that you call home.

Guest Post: Privilege

We all have got something called "privilege". It is the natural product of living in a human society that there will be groups of people given more advantage. Someone who is white in America has more of an advantage, and this is called “white privilege”. A heterosexual couple or person in America also has more privilege than a non-heterosexual person or couple. Environment and culture can affect privilege greatly. For instance, in Utah a Mormon has more privilege than a non-Mormon, who has more privilege than a former-Mormon.

Privilege is more often than not taken for granted, and can be difficult to recognize without a few hints. We aren't used to consistently thinking “How would [minority group] feel right now?”. Privilege, or a lack thereof, has the ability to seep into every part of life- individual, legal, societal. Having privilege is automatic: it doesn't make you a bad person. This quote from “Fannie's Room” puts privilege in perspective:

Having certain privileges isn't about being a "bad" person. It's about being aware that your experience in life is largely seen as a norm, as the standard, even though other people have equally-valid experiences in life. It's about being aware of how some people are the statistical norm, other people are made to feel pathological, wrong, immoral, and unwelcome in certain places because there are fewer of them. We aren't part of the problem just because we're privileged. We become part of the problem only when deny our privilege while promoting the idea that there is only one correct, non-pathological way to live and be in the world.

Some privileges intersect. For instance, you may not feel the threat of death for being transgender, but you might for being gay. In the process of transitioning, I have both gained and lost privilege. At the beginning of my transition, I still looked female (at best, androgynous), but the more I have transitioned and the more I look male, the more privilege I gain. I gained heterosexual privilege (as an individual, and with my relationship with my female partner.) I gained male privilege (but only so long as I am not out to the group as transgender.) I have also lost certain privileges: I have lost any cisgender privilege I had in the past since I have come out as transgender. How I am treated can depend on how “out” I am as transgender.

For many transgender people who are transitioning to the 'opposite' side of gender-- female to male, male to female-- it is a question of how “out” they want to be, how “out” they should be, and how “out” they need to be. Presenting as male and having an “F” indicate my sex on my identification automatically “outs” me. Having a legal name that is obviously female, and consistently going by an obviously male name has the ability to “out” me. I do not have a fully transitioned body, so this makes it necessary to be out to my sexual partner. While studies have found that glb people are happier and eventually safer in their life while they are out, there are indications that trans people are not always happier or safer while out. Trans people are very aware of the privilege they gain when no one knows they are trans.

Takes Up Space has an excellent cisgender privilege list.

Here are a few cisgender privileges from the list:

Information important for me to keep private will not be revealed by:

Pictures from my childhood

My identification

My voice

The language used to refer to me

I expect the privacy of my body to be respected. I am not asked about what my genitals look like, or whether or not my breasts are real, what medical procedures I have had, etc.
I expect access to healthcare.
I expect that medical therapies offered to me have been the subject of rigorous medical studies & approval processes.
Treatments which are medically necessary for me are generally covered by insurance.

A side note about medical necessity: Often the reason used by health insurance companies for denying coverage of any transition-related care is that it isn't medically necessary, despite both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association affirming that these treatments are a medical necessity for transgender people who wish to transition. (Also, often insurance companies will deny any treatment that has a possibility to be related to transitioning- not paying for a prostate exam for a male to female transsexual, or not paying for treatments for ovarian cancer for a female to male transsexual claiming it was a result of taking testosterone)

So, now what-- what can you do if you are cisgender and share in cisgender privilege?

You can try to be more aware of your privilege.

Being aware means making room for people who are transgender, in your language and your actions. It means you take certain actions that recognize the privilege you have, and attempt to afford the same for others. (Perhaps by sticking up for a transman that uses the men's restroom) For cis privilege, it means respecting a trans person as their gender identity, using correct pronouns and names and other gendered language. Because of the nature of transgenderism, there will always be cisgender privilege, but if cisgender and transgender people made an effort to make the world more trans-friendly, my belief is that there would certainly be less of it.

Roz Kaveney has six axioms of trans activism:

1) Display solidarity with all our trans brothers and sisters

2) Build alliances by getting involved as ourselves in other areas of politics

3) Refuse to let journalistic and intellectual attacks on our community go unanswered- we can have and keep the moral high ground

4) Be creative, be smart, be ourselves, and don't let anybody tell us who we are and what we do

5) Refuse the pathological model- we are not sick, just different

6) Refuse those politics- heterosexism, body fascism- that work against all of the above, but especially #1.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Spare Change

When I was in elementary school my brother was in a school play that was about the old west and how it was settled. There was a song in the play that was about how things change and grow. The most memorable line to me was "the only thing that doesn't change is change", saying that change is a constant and will never stop happening. Throughout my life, however, change has changed for me. A big change used to be moving from second grade to third grade, because we started using pens and writing in cursive. Farther on down the road there was the change of moving and learning to start over with new people. Now I've moved so many times it doesn't really matter what state I call home. School has continued to be school, no matter what I'm learning or what kind of writing implements I use. Until now things changed with me as I grew up, but I think I've reached a point where I see change a little differently.

When I think of change over time, the first thing I usually think of is music and video technology. My parents talk about how they were alive before color tv was around. You couldn't watch movies at home before the seventies, but now we can watch any movie with out having to move from our computer or couch. Not to mention that movies theaters are now taking advantage of ALL your senses in all eleven dimensions . We've gone from vinyl records to eight-tracks, cassette tapes, cds, and now music that doesn't even exist in a tangible form. Today I walked into a restaurant and instead of the standard fountain drink dispenser I saw this thing that I can only think of as futuristic. It was as small as a vending machine and it had a touch screen to choose your soda. The number of different sodas and flavor variety combinations must have been a three digit number, in this one small machine. As Dippin' Dots has been trying to tell us for many years, "The Future is Now".

I have to remind myself, on occasion, that it's not just technology that's changing but everything else too. When I was in sixth grade I should have been put in an algebra class, but the school board refused to let me. The same thing happened to each of my brothers and we tried to fight it. Just this week I have learned that the school board is finally allowing sixth graders to take algebra, giving them a possible way to finish high school math requirements before they even make it there. I was glad to know that it was finally put through because of my parents, and other parents and students, fighting for the past twelve years. At the same time I was a bit discouraged because none of the people I was fighting for (my brothers and I) will really benefit from this change, seeing as we're all older now.

Now I am making change happen through the things I'm involved in, like USGA at BYU. I called a friend of mine recently. He was the first Gay Mormon I ever knew, and he truly inspired me, whether he knows it or not. He was one of the first few who attended the Matis Firesides when they were still held in the living room of their home. I told him how things have changed for gay students here at BYU. Now we can be open about who we are, and we're allowed to meet together in our club, or community of friends, on campus. I can now openly stand for the rights of people like me, even when most church members don't understand why I don't think it's wrong. He was blown away by how much had changed in only four years. It made me a bit frustrated though, as I noticed that while these things are changing for the better very quickly, they're not going to change all at once. Things may not get better where I am right now, no matter how hard I try. What I'm doing in my family or community now may not really make a difference to someone until after I'm gone. Then I realize I'm benefiting right now from what others have done before me. They started groups like USGA that now give me a community of friends who understand and love me. Even though things are different now, they will always be another type of different later on down the road. I just hope I'm still around to see it.

~Bridey J

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This weekend one of my best friends got married.
I hung around outside the temple waiting for her to take vows and make covenants and such.
She wore a beautiful white gown complete with a veil.
She and her husband looked gorgeous and happy.
A billion pictures were taken.
Then a luncheon.
More pictures.
Then a reception.

With cake.
And ice-cream.
Music and dancing and laughing
and boredom.
There were presents and family and friends and small children running about.
A lot of people were stressed out.
Some reminisced about the time when they were still young lovers entering an exciting journey together.
Some were bitter that it's not their turn yet.

I kept thinking, I will never have a wedding.
I love traditions. I really do.
But, I also hate them.
I hate how weddings have to be so stressful and expensive.
I love dressing up--because I don't do it very often, but the
re's something about wedding attire that is very different from dressing up to look damn good (not that I don't look damn good in anything...).
My favorite part was the shoes.

Even if marriage is legal (in 7 states right now) I don't want a wedding.
And here's the thing, I don't even know if I believe in marriage.
Is that a weird thing to say?
Of course I believe that it happens (obviously my friend just got married--that makes a marriage). What I mean is, I don't think I value marriage.
A fancy wedding. A large amount of people I may or may not even remember.
Gifts I probably don't want (unless it's money).
Stress. Stress. Stress.
And when it comes down to it, a marriage is just a piece of paper saying that your love is official.
But of course it isn't really because we have this thing called divorce. Another piece of paper that says your love is now officially centered more on hating each other :)

I value commitment. I value relationships and love.
I think that there are other ways to show commitment and love and fidelity.
If ever I come to a point where I want to share my whole life with someone, I think we'll come up with a way to let each other know, and maybe even to share it with others. But it won't be a wedding.

I suppose I must add something about the legality of marriage. Because that piece of paper does mean a little more than official love. It means health benefits and joint taxes and all that other stuff I don't often think about. Marriage is not a religious thing. It is just a government thing--it's a ploy to get people to spend all their money.

Anyway...I'm going to come up with some better ways to celebrate love.
Let me know if you have any good ones.

~live your own truth~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Guest Post: Intro to Transgender 101


It isn't easy to explain being transgender, even though this isn't the first time I've done it. It can be very difficult for many people to understand, because for most people, gender is something we take for granted. Gender is complicated. So, I hope I am here to help along the process. Keep your ears and eyes open and all hands and feet within the cart.

To discuss transgenderism, it's important that you know a few definitions:

-Birth Sex-- Usually male or female, based on your genitals, assigned at birth by a doctor

-Intersex-- Someone who is intersex has a combination of male and female primary (genitalia) and/or secondary sex characteristics (facial hair, breasts, etc)

-Gender Identity-- The gender we each identify as, usually male or female

-Gender Expression-- How your mannerisms, and dress reflect societal understandings of masculine or feminine behavior/dress

-Gender Roles/Norms-- Expectations we have for men and women, rooted in a dichotomous understanding of gender

-Sexual Orientation-- The gender(s) we are attracted to, in correspondence to our gender identity

-Gender Dysphoria-- Classic trans symptom of feeling severe distress over having a body that does not match their gender identity

-Cisgender-- Birth sex matches their gender identity

-Transgender-- Birth sex does not match their gender identity

So, my name is Jack. My birth sex is female. As far as I know, I am not intersex. My gender identity is male, and, like most men, my gender expression is male. (I like to say, “The only thing female about me is my body, but even that's changed since I've been on testosterone.”) My sexual orientation is heterosexual since I am a man that is attracted to women. My girlfriend is cisgender because she was born with a female body, and identifies as female. Because my birth sex does not match my gender identity, I am transgender.

“Transgender” is an umbrella term for anyone whose birth sex does not match their gender identity, and this includes people all along the gender spectrum. Some trans people, like me, feel that their gender is on the opposite spectrum of their body- male to female, or female to male. Others feel that their gender fits somewhere in the middle as both male or female, a mix of the two, or neither. Often transgender people will use hormones or surgeries to better match their body to their spirit, which allows them to live in the world as their gender identity. But there are some trans people who never feel the need to transition fully or at all. Everyone is different.

Trans issues and transgenderism doesn't get explained all in one blog post, so it's likely you will have questions. I hope to be able to follow up to this post in the future. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to definitions and a few basic do's and don't's.


DO use the name and pronouns you are asked to use.
DO respect their privacy
DO educate yourself about trans people
DO be aware of any privilege you may have


DON'T ask what their birth name is
(If they want you to know, they'll tell you)
DON'T ask invasive questions
(How many strangers do you want asking about your genitals?)
DON'T out a trans friend. Never. NEVER, EVER, EVER.
(unless they ask you to)
DON'T offer suggestions to a trans person on how they could look more masculine or feminine.
(If you are asked for advice, it's fine, but otherwise, it's rude. You wouldn't want people offering suggestions on how you could look more masculine or feminine, and trans people are usually acutely aware of how they look and act.)
DON'T police bathrooms/locker rooms

Friday, August 12, 2011


"The Lord doesn't want me to be an activist in the LDS Church, he just wants me to be active."

That's a paraphrase from something I read in an essay once.  I'm not sure, but I think it was a black person sharing his experience in the Church.

I was at BYU when this happened:

Image source:

People were protesting some of President Packer's General Conference remarks in October of 2010.  You can read a write-up by the Salt Lake Tribune here.  They taped their mouths shut and lay around the SLC temple grounds, suggesting that speech like President Packer's leads to depression and sometimes suicide in LDS gay youth.

I remember the talk.  I was sitting in my roommate's sister's family room with her family and my roommates.  I didn't think much of it.  Most of it went over my head.  Or I agreed with him.

I don't think I logically agreed with what the protesters were arguing--I mean, this man is an apostle ... how can you protest what he says?  On the other hand, I remember part of me wanting to go downtown and participate.  But I let myself be scared by BYU.  [Tiffany pointed out BYU's intimidation factor in her comments on this post.]

One of my professors at BYU would say that going from Packer's talk to suicide is an improper logical jump, and rather manipulative.

I do believe that the LDS Church has a long way to go in providing gays with the sort of mental stability that their straight counterparts have.  I had a gay cousin.  [Truth be told, with 80 or so cousins, several of us are probably gay.  At least two of us remain. :)]  Church was not a safe place for him, and he committed suicide.  One probably did not lead directly to the other, but perhaps it contributed?

*Sound the you're being manipulated music.*

I'm not trying to manipulate you.  I promise.  Proof: I'm gay, I'm Mormon, and I'm enjoying life.  A lot.

ANYWAY, what do you think--can we be activists in the Church?  SHOULD we be?  WHY do many gays feel so different in the Church, despite the Church's efforts to love and support them?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Read Some Poems, Dang It!

My mind has been drawn towards poetry recently. No, don't worry. I won't force my own poems to be seen by your eyes (this time). But I did want to share one or two poems that have moved more over the years as well as some other songs that are merely poems sung.

One of my favorite poets is Sappho from the island of Lesbos. I love the poem for the broken way she speaks from it. In all of the surviving parts of Sappho's poems, I feel I can just get lost in her words and imagery. She speaks in such a way that I cannot help but heed what she says. One of the poems that she wrote speaks accurately of how she has become immortalized:

I have no complaint

Prosperity that
the golden Muses
gave me was no 
delusion: dead, I
won't be forgotten. 

Nearly twenty-five centuries later, her words still affect those that read them. She is still known in the modern world. The poem I wish to share is one that catches my heart and holds it still. Sappho speaks in a way that I feel like I can understand. To pine and yearn and yet be happy is something that seems to happen to me a lot these past couple of years. 

He is more than a hero

He is a god in my eyes--
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you--he

who listens initimately 
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast, If I meet
you suddenly, I can't

speak--my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drop with sweat;
trembling shakes my body

and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn't far from me

The last poem I wish to share is hymn, written by Lowrie M. Hofford, that I fell in love with as a teenager while still believing in the LDS Church. It was one that I had asked to have sang at my Farewell. When I read the lines of this poem and listen to it sung by choir or individual, I am still carried back to those years and to that point of my life, a point that seems like a lifetime ago.

Abide with me; 'tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

Abide with me; 'tis eventide,
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee,
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

Abide with me; 'tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

These two different poems speak to me of different views on life and speak from centuries and centuries apart from each other. I find that poetry can sometimes express emotions best. When I was coming to terms with being gay a few years ago, I used to write poems. They were how I dealt with my sorrow and confusion as I wrestled with religious beliefs and how I felt. I don't write poetry as much now but I do write stories and blog posts and short essays now. 

I wish to share a few songs that have also meant a lot to me over the years. Each of these songs helped frame a different period of my life in a way I could not express in words.

So what poems affect you (whether through music or by word only)? Why does it move you? Why does it make you feel or think or act that way? For me, it taps into that part of my being that longs and loves to connect with others, to be understand people around me. What about poems for you? 


Monday, August 8, 2011


A few of my roommates and I were sitting downstairs in silence, when suddenly one ran in from upstairs and happily explained to us how she realized that my bed is directly over the downstairs closet. This was met with much laughter and friendly poking fun at Bridey for being a lesbian. Closet jokes are always a fun past time in my apartment. My friend Brandon always says that closets are scary because it's dark and there are skeletons in there.

I've never been quite sure where the phrase "in the closet" came from, so I did some investigating. It originally came from the phrase having "a skeleton in the closet" which is thought to have come from the fairy tale of Blue Beard, where he leaves for few days and his wife discovers a secret closet full of his dead past wives and he makes it a point to add her to it...(

Now it means "A secret source of shame, potentially ruinous if exposed, which a person or family makes effort to conceal". From this less creepy source is where the connection with the meaning of a gay person "coming out" came from. They are not ashamed any more, is what I take it to mean. Well what ever it means I'll leave you all with this...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vegetarian, not to be confused with Vagitarian...

Last summer I had a lot of people ask me if I was vegetarian.
I thought this was rather odd because I didn't consider myself vegetarian at all.
In fact I still don't.
I eat vegetables.
Is that weird?
Do I eat more vegetables than normal?

I confess, I don't really like meat all that much.
It's good. Sometimes. Depending on how it's cooked.
I love meatloaf. The good kind.

But, for the most part.
I really love to put spinach in my smoothies.

And I like to eat sprout-tomato-yellow pepper-grape sandwiches.

Okay, so maybe I am a crazy person.
But, I'm not a vegetarian.
As much as I love to label things, I can't put a label on myself when it comes to the food I consume.
I hate to limit myself. I like to be flexible.
I think that food is such a weird thing for me and it changes all the time.
I eat what I eat according to my circumstances.
When I'm buying my food and preparing it, I tend to eat stuff that looks like the above pictures.
Otherwise, I eat whatever is free.

Now, as far as "vagitarian" goes...that might be a label I'm okay with wearing.
I mean, come on! I'm LESBIAN.
There are some labels you just can't escape. :)

~live your own truth~

Friday, August 5, 2011

Advice (#2)

Jeremy's post inspired me to do the same--to answer the questions he asked, which are:

What would you say to your younger self? If you're a college student, what would you say to your sixteen-year-old self? What advice would you give? Any warnings?

Image source:

Dear Sal,

Have you read On the Road yet?  If not, you'll love it.  I think you read it next year.  Anyway, I made a small list of things I want you to know.

1.  You don't have to experience everything.  It's not necessarily worth it to know what drinking feels like or to know what sex feels like.  You don't have to go on a mission.  (This 25-year-old version of you went on a mission, and it was an incredibly positive experience--one of the best of your life--but it also threw some wrenches into your psyche.  There are other positive experiences you may have if you decide not to go on a mission.)  There is wisdom in knowing that you don't have to experience everything to understand what is important.

2.  Become friends with time.  The moments, hours, and months of pain you've felt (and will feel occasionally in the future--probably forever) will always pass.  You just have to wait them out.  But this will get better, I promise.  If you're in a rough spot, give it a few months.  Then you'll probably find a completely new you who feels better and knows better how to live well.  Don't be afraid to feel your pain though, either. In doing so, you'll work through it, and thus you will be able to move on.  Don't be afraid to get help working through it.

3.  Things get way better.  I write this from your 25-year-old self, and life is wonderful.  You are open about your sexuality, and you have helped to change people's perspectives on what it means to be gay--in a positive way.  Being open about this thing you don't control has made the world a better place.  You have lots of friends who love you for you, and you have plenty of gay friends--even gay Mormon friends!  And there have been a few guys.  Have you kissed that guy from junior year yet?  Yeah, that was gross.  Other kisses have been WAY better than that.  Look forward to it. :)

4.  Don't let yourself feel pressured into going to BYU.  In fact, as you, I'll advise you not to go to BYU.  It's not a good place for gays.  Your parents may pressure you into going, and even if you go, it will not appease their pressuring.  They will continue to pressure you in other ways.  Screw it.  Go somewhere else, even if it means you have to sit through a few months of your parents being disappointed.  Even if it means you have to take out some loans.  Live your life the best you know how--not the best others think they know how.  

5.  Trust in God.  But do it in a very personal way.  You don't have to live by external standards of perceived worthiness to receive personal revelation.  God will answer your prayers.  Whenever you feel ready to start praying again, give it a try.  Maybe you'll learn something.

6.  I know how stressed you are about telling your family.  I'm not sure if I should tell you how it goes.  But I guess I will.  I came out at 18--maybe you will, too.  Your siblings, they'll be good to you.  Mom--she will be really afraid at first, and will stress you out with a bunch of stuff about how deceased family members and God can help you overcome this--what she believes to be evil.  That language will hurt.  But she will change.  She will eventually warm up to your partnering up with a guy.  Dad--he'll freak out.  He will cry.  He will try to take you to a change therapist (don't go), and will continue to buy into that sort of psychological garbage for years.  Even now, your relationship with him is tenuous.  But nevertheless, it's probably better here (at 25) than it is there (16).  Don't worry about his crap, though.  If he chooses not to respect you and your experience, that's his problem.  But guess what?  You have wonderful, wonderful friends.  They help fill gaps in family acceptance.  They will want to meet the guy you're dating.  They encourage you to be good and to learn from yourself.

That's enough for now.  This list makes me laugh a bit, because most of it is wisdom for now, too.  So much to learn from myself.  You teach me too, you-16-year-old-me.  I continue to learn from how open you are about everything.

You're doing great, bud.  Just hang in there.



P.S.  Check out this book: My Name Is Asher Lev.  It's a good one.  So is The Chosen.  They're about learning to be brave and to reach into yourself for the confidence and answers you need.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

No Hetero

Bradley here,

Just a short post today. I was just thinking about the phrase "No Homo" and how silly it sounds. If you don't know what I'm talking about, heres a video basically explaining it:

No only has this phrase caught on in the rap industry, but it has crept into everyday speech amongst straight "dudes" (you know the type).

In light of this, I've decided to start using the phrase "no hetero". Its used thus:

"So I went to this big Gay party last friday night. I went with my best girl friend - no hetero."

Okay... so maybe it won't catch on with quite the intensity of "No homo", but hey - it's really fun to use in mixed-orientation company. =P haha, people give you the most sideways stares.

I love you all! No homo.... er, No hetero.