Reblog: What Makes A Good LGBTQ* Ally?

Recently, I had the honor of submitting a little something for a friend’s blog post on the topic of LGBTQ* allies, and how important they are to the community. You can read Zuul‘s full post (and I highly recommend that you do), and all the great responses, below. Enjoy! Continue reading “Reblog: What Makes A Good LGBTQ* Ally?”

Never Feed the Fucking Trolls

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

WARNING: Strong language.

Hello, friends. I have a general rule for myself when it comes to dealing with internet trolls: DO NOT interact with them. Don’t. Just don’t do it. Lately, I have been having a hard time abiding by this rule. With the current state of politics and the presidential race, as well as the women’s rights movement (International Women’s Day was just a few days ago), various LGBT rights movements, and other pro-equality movements going on, our nation has become a nation divided in the ugliest of ways. I am very upfront with my political and moral views, and most of you know than I am an Agnostic Atheist, who believes in equality for everyone. I am not only an LGBT ally, but also a Pansexual woman, and member of the community. I am also a feminist, and a Liberal. I don’t really care if you dislike me for those reasons, because your close-mindedness does not effect me, and I don’t want you in my life if you choose to judge me based on those facts. For just these reasons alone, I have been judged very critically by complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about me, and who throw wild generalizations at me, and that isn’t fair.

I have been called everything from a libtard, feminazi, fag lover, and so much more… all because I believe in basic, human rights and equality for everyone, which apparently, is an awful thing. Who knew?

For the last several days, I have been engaged in a handful of online comment wars, spanning across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Sometimes, I am guilty of being a bit of an instigator, but more often than not, I simply voiced my appreciation on a topic. I am not a troll. I do not scour the web in search of things that I wholly disagree with with every fiber of my being, just to jump into the comment section and spew ignorance and hatred on the subject. I also rarely skim through comments in search of someone who supports said topic, just to call them names and trash their opinions. I don’t make a habit of fucking attacking people on a personal level just because I disagree with something they say on the internet.

Apparently, I am a minority when it comes to this sort of behavior, because people online are fucking assholes. Shocking, I know!

Recently, an LGBT/equality page that I follow on Facebook posted the following picture:

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This graphic was posted on International Women’s Day, and while it did received a ton of praise from the LGBT community and its allies, it also received a lot of backlash from a lot of people who knew very little on the subject, and really had nothing of value to input other than “Fuck Caitlyn Jenner!” or “Until you’ve had a child you’re not REALLY a woman.”, both of which have nothing to do with what was said. The latter isn’t even a correct statement.

I posted the following two comments beneath the photo:

comments

Both comments received more positive feedback than negative, but there were a few people that had apparently just had a bad day, and wanted to tear everyone on this page apart for no reason. There were even a few commenters that were clearly fake accounts, created for the sole purpose of trying to hurt other people who disagreed with their views. Others had nothing of value to say other than calling me ridiculous names, or paraphrasing the Bible in all caps, WHICH AS WE ALL KNOW MAKES YOU SOUND SO MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT.

Why? WHY? What could you possibly get out of doing something like that? You are about as unlikely to change my way of thinking as I am to change yours, and that’s why I don’t waste my fucking time.

On a day that was for celebrating ALL women, there were feminists who wanted nothing more than to point out how they felt that trans women weren’t women, and gave them no support at all. There were civil rights activists, and #BlackLivesMatter activists, talking about how trans people, as well as the LGBT community in general, did not deserve rights, let alone to be recognized in a holiday. This lead me into several, one-sided, heated “debates” (I can’t even really call them that, because only one side had anything logical to contribute) across all of my social media platforms, that I let get to me. I couldn’t stop.

I let these trolling, immature, ignorant, terrible people get to me. I broke my own rule. And boy, did it get me fired up.

How can people actually think like that? It is 2016! How can you still have so much hate in your heart that you think it is okay to hurt people like that? I’m not even a member of the trans community, but as a woman who has struggled with her sexual identity for many years, I can certainly tell you how hard it is to KNOW that you one thing, but have everyone around you tell you that you aren’t, for a whole list of bullshit reasons. What if you were black, and people told you that you weren’t black enough, because of your eye or hair color? Telling you that you weren’t what you KNEW you were, what you were meant to be, because you didn’t look like it on the outside? That would hurt. You would be stuck feeling like you don’t belong on either side of the tracks, and it would tear you apart.

No one deserves to feel that way.

There are people who use sources like the Bible to back up their behavior, thinking that they are doing their god’s work in tearing down and hurting these people, because they disagree with how they live their lives, and that is WRONG. But even more wrong are the people who have absolutely no reason to hate these people, and choose to anyway.

Hatred is a choice.
Sexuality, gender dysphoria, and race are not.

If you want equality for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, but not for your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, then you want privilege. Not equality. Those are not the same thing.

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

I’m so done. Back to my happy place.

Jan

[Just now, as I finish writing this, I am reading the comments beneath Ingrid Nilsen’s latest video on public bathrooms and gender identity, and it is honestly making me want to scream and rip my hair out. I fucking hate people.]

5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2

Hello, friends! I recently posted a blog entitled 5 Pictures, 5 Stories, which people really seemed to enjoy! I really like going through old pictures, and reliving memories of the past, so I thought that I would do it again. So here we go, 5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2.

1. New York, New York
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Back row: April, me, Danielle. Front row: Barbara, Kat, Theoni.
The summer after my junior year in high school, I had the amazing experience of going to NYC with several of my soon-to-be senior friends in the Upward Bound program. This also happened to be the weekend that the final Harry Potter book in the series was being released, marking the end of our collective childhoods, and we all bought it, and basically all finished reading it that weekend. It was amazing. I struggled so hard, because I was the first person to finish the book, and I wanted to talk about it SO badly, but I had to wait. This picture was taken in Central Park, the day after the release. I still in contact with all of these wonderful ladies, and I miss them all so much.

2. Manduca Sexta
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The summer before the summer that I went to NYC, I had an internship in the Biology department at the University of Southern Maine (I was part of the UB program for 4 years total). My boss was a very tall, very nerdy man, who was obsessed with Harry Potter, and we got along amazingly. I also worked with a young woman named Muna, and another guy… whose name I can’t remember. My main job, every day, was to take care of the Manduca sexta caterpillars, in all of their various life cycles. Every day, I would:

a) Scrape the eggs off of tobacco plant leaves leaves from the moth cage, and put them into little containers with slices of wheat germ loaf (which I also made).
b) Take out the hatched eggs from the days before, and transfer them into bigger containers with more food.
c) Take the even BIGGER caterpillars from the days before that from their containers, and put them in even bigger containers with food.
d) Take the biggest caterpillars, which were ready to begin their chrysalis stage, and put them in wooden blocks with holes drilled in them, and store them away.
e) And finally, take the oldest blocks, with the already formed chrysalis, and put them in a giant moth cage. However, I was not allowed to open the moth cage myself, because the dust on their wings was dangerous to inhale, and at my height, they would fly directly into my face. My very tall boss handled that part.

The best part was that all of this was for cancer and tumor research. Something about how the caterpillars go from having multiple eyes within an eye (sort of like a fly), to two eyes as a moth… or something… I never fully understood it, but it was an amazing experience, and I loved it so much. I enjoyed the work, and keeping meticulous records on all my little bug friends. I wanted to be a forensic entomologist for the longest time, and being able to work closely with scientists and these insects was an amazing experience.

3. Dancing Kings
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These are my friends, Julien and George. When I was accepted into the Upward Bound program as a freshman, which is pretty uncommon, I had a hard time making friends. As an upcoming sophomore, I was a whole year or two younger than everyone, and my awkwardness and shyness didn’t help me connect to anyone. Until I met Julien and George, who were two years older than me, and best friends. They were both genius level intelligent, and I still have no idea why they chose to befriend me, but I’m not complaining.

We had very similar interests in music (Julien introduced me to the Foo Fighters, George introduced me to Pink Floyd), books, and video games… including DDR. I had been playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for only a year, mostly in the privacy of my own living room, when I met them. We started a DDR group in the lounge, and spent all of our free time playing. They were both incredible, and pushed me so hard to be good at it. This picture was taken at the Friends and Family Night Talent Show, which I was too afraid to enter. They KILLED it. That was the last summer I spent with them, as they went to  different school, but they helped me become more confident in myself, and also helped me get on a healthy track with my weight loss. I lost 45 pounds between my junior and senior years, and I owe it all to them.

4. Little Sister
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This is a picture of the last time I ever saw my little sister, Desiree. The picture was taken at her 4th birthday party, the summer that I left for college. Desiree had been taken from my father and his girlfriend, along with her other two girls, and had been adopted by a woman named Amy, and her husband. I was not able to visit them often, and was fed a lot of bullshit reasons as to why. In 2012, I flew to Maine as a surprise for my mom, and had planned to visit them, but my grandmother, who had known of my plans all along, told me that I could not. According to her, despite my sister knowing she was adopted, she would not understand who I was, or how we were related… yet she understood who our grandmother was, and she was allowed to visit frequently. I was so angry. This beautiful girl is 11 years old now. Maybe I’ll get to see her again at her wedding. Who knows? I also now have a 4 year old sister, who was also taken from my father, who I may never see again as well. Family

5. Relay For Life
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I had the honor and privilege to participate in our local Relay for Life event for 3 summers in a row. Kyle’s grandmother and mother both have teams, and Kyle had been doing it since he was young. His grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, as is mine, and my uncle died of a brain tumor, and I wanted to be a part of this so badly. This picture was taken in the summer of 2014, when I was 3 months pregnant, at the last Relay event that I attended. That is our stand in the background, which was boxing themed, to match the Relay theme of “Finish the Fight“.

We had our snow cone machine set up, which Kyle and I manned every year, as well as trinkets for sale, and a boxing ring and props for pictures. This was the first year that the event had to be held indoors, due to weather, and we had to fit our tent inside the hallways of the high school. The turnout was still great, and we ended up raising the second largest amount of money out of the two dozen teams there. Kyle’s mom joined a nursing program that same year, and we had to say goodbye to our Relay team. Hopefully we can do it again in the future, especially after this incredibly emotional year, where we have already lost so many to this disease. Fuck cancer!

Thank you for reading, friends!

Jan

Three Day Quote Challenge | Day Two

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Ernest Hemingway
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The Challenge

Hello, friends. Welcome to day two of my ‘Three Day Quote Challenge’! You can read my quote from day one by clicking here. For today’s quote, I chose this one by the famous Earnest Hemingway, who I learned quite a bit about in high school and college. I like this quote, because it is so simple, and so powerful. I’ve dealt with trust issues throughout most of my life, stepping from issues with both of my parents, as well as my own insecurities with friends, and within relationships. I’ve been hurt, but haven’t we all? It’s taken me a long time to learn to trust again, and it was scary.

No one likes being hurt. But you can’t go through your entire life being afraid to trust those around you, especially the ones you choose to let into your private life. If you don’t give them your trust, then why should they give you theirs? Being hurt, and being betrayed, is a part of life, but it makes you stronger. And smarter. Smart enough to see the signs of when someone isn’t worthy of your trust. Don’t life your life in fear, take the leap, and choose trust. If you don’t trust anyone, you will drive those away who may be worthy of your trust, and your heart.

Here is a recap of the rules of this challenge::

  1. Post in three consecutive days.
  2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.
  3. Challenge three different bloggers per day.

Just like yesterday, I would like to nominate the following three individuals to participate in the ‘Three Day Quote Challenge’, if they so choose:

  1. Jess
  2. Annette
  3. Matt

I really hope you guys will participate, and share with your internet friends some quotes that have had an impact on you in some way. If you can’t, that’s okay, too! I look forward to reading your posts, and to sharing more quotes with you all!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Three Day Quote Challenge | Day One

I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
― Maya Angelou
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The Challenge

Hello, friends. I am so pleased to tell you that I have once again been chosen by the lovely Christina, over at Just Blue Dutch, to participate in another fun challenge, this time, the ‘Three Day Quote Challenge’. For the next three days, I will be posting a quote with significant meaning to me, and maybe it will help some of you out there as well. I will then be choosing three special followers each day to participate (only if you want to, of course).

For today’s quote, I chose to share with you the wise words of Maya Angelou. This quote is significant to me, because it hits the nail on the head on self-acceptance and self-love, and rings so true for me, personally. I’ve spent so much of my life blaming myself for mistakes of the past, things that I did out of ignorance, and didn’t know any better. I’ve had to forgive myself time and time again, and tell myself that it is okay to make mistakes. This quote has also helped me accept that I am who I am, and that is okay. Just because I may not be someone else’s idea of perfection, doesn’t mean that I’m not perfect just the way that I am.

Now, here are the rules of this challenge::

  1. Post in three consecutive days.
  2. You can pick one or three quotes per day.
  3. Challenge three different bloggers per day.

I would like to nominate the following three individuals to participate in the ‘Three Day Quote Challenge’, if they so choose:

  1. Muma On the Edge
  2. Anndelize
  3. Lady CAS

I really hope you guys will participate, and share with your internet friends some quotes that have had an impact on you in some way. I look forward to reading your posts, and to sharing more quotes with you all!

Thanks again to Christina for inviting me to do this challenge, you guys should definitely check her out, she is such a wonderful person.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan