Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I Couldn't Have Said It Any Better

Please read the article I have linked below, then read my additional comments.


Wow! This is extremely powerful. I couldn't have said it any better. As a life long Christian myself, the one thing I would like to add, is this. If as a Christian, you truly believe that homosexuality in all its forms is a sin that damns all homosexuals to hell then you also need to remember that the Bible says the wages of ALL SIN is death. That means God doesn't pick one sin out that is worse than any other. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God, and deserves death and separation from Him. Hitting your younger sibling gets you a one way ticket to hell, just as if you had murdered them. Alcoholism and gambling addictions are sins too, according to the Bible, however, most Christians would say, "but those are diseases." 


My point here is, Man, not God, has chosen to make homosexuality an unforgivable sin. I have researched deeply into the subject and believe there are several factors in the act of the translation of the Bible and societal views at the time these translations were made that have shaped modern Christian's views on homosexuality that are simply not true. 


Martin Luther found the same issues true when it came to the translations regarding indulgences. Even the Catholic Church has changed their teaching on them. Luther's findings are now widely accepted by all Christians. Could it be that the same thing has happened when it comes to the translation of the Bible in terms of homosexuality?


Finally, I would ask the same as the author of this wonderful post. Truly listen with a totally open mind and the intent of seeing our side, without immediately shutting down our opinions because you don't want to find out you may not be right. 


I believe the Bible is Living Word, and if you pray for God's discernment on any matter you might actually learn what He really thinks, instead of what you have always been told He thinks. I have done this already and I know that God loves and accepts me just the way I am.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Coming Out At Your New Job, Is It Safe?

As many of you know, I came out to my family on February 13thof this year and turned 52 in March. Not everyone was totally accepting but it could have been far worse. With time the family members who are having difficulty accepting it will mellow. They still love and accept me as a person and I don’t expect them ever to agree with my life style choices, but it will be nice when they are able to control their distaste for it and no longer show disgust openly and make hurtful remarks.

When I came out to my family I chose to stay closeted at work for many reasons. I have been employed by my current company for 17 years and have been with the same work group for 11 of those 17 years. Of the 35+ people in my current work group there are at least 6 LGBTQ employees, not including me. Some are open about being LGBTQ and others aren’t. As one would expect with today’s corporate climate of anti harassment, there aren’t any real issues.

However, I still chose to keep my sexuality to myself. I don’t want to have to continuously explain myself and my bisexuality to people who more than likely will be genuinely interested and anything hurtful they might say would be unintentional and born out of true ignorance. 

The second issue is my job is very visible to the entire company because I am the point of contact for any issues with my department so most of the 800 plus people at my company know who I am, or have at least heard about me. This means once it is known that I am bisexual the news will spread like wild fire, which will amplify the first issue exponentially. 

Its not that I am uncomfortable with myself or my bisexuality. Its actually quite the opposite. I want to educate people about bisexuality in an effort to eliminate bi-erasure and biphobia because I feel it is very important I do so. My only concern is that because of the visibility of my position in the company I fear I will be inundated with interest and questions. If, like me, you read everything you could get your hands on when you realized you were bisexual, you will have read time and time again that many people are just tired of having to “come out” to everyone they meet on a daily basis, and it can get tiring having to do so.

I had said, if I ever got another job I would start by being “Out” from day one. I really do want to be proactive when it comes to Bi-visibility and I figure it will be easier to do so in smaller doses. This seemed like a great idea at the time, however, things may be changing quickly in my life and it has caused my anxiety to rear it’s ugly head again.

I have been looking for another job for a few years now without much luck for many reasons out of my control. Last week, however, I interviewed for the job of my dreams and was told they will be calling me this week to schedule as second interview with senior management. At this point things are looking very good. While I have yet to be extended an offer, it is likely one will be forthcoming. So that means its time to put my money where my mouth is regarding being out at work, and I would be lying if I said I was anything but scared.

The job would be with a brand new company, in a totally different industry than I currently work. I didn’t find this job through networking so I know no one that could give me the 411 on how the company views LGBTQ workers. Furthermore, from everything I have read previously, being out as gay or lesbian at work is met with far more acceptance than being out as bisexual. The horror stories I have read say that being out as a bisexual at work could mean that your upward mobility is often slowed, if not stopped all together. I have also read articles of employees being openly harassed for their sexuality and management allowing it, just like the stories you heard back in the 70s and 80s about being openly gay and lesbian at work and being fired for it.

I have been under employed for almost 20 years now. This new job will be a God send, if I am able to get it. The salary is exponentially larger than my current salary, and I will actually be able to retire some day. I will also be able to provide for my disabled adult child after I am gone. Both of these things were not possible in my current job. So you can see why I am a bit apprehensive about doing anything to jeopardize my situation.

I have determined my best course of action will be to proceed with caution, holding off on being the “Biggest and Best Bisexual Activist” I can be until I am certain it is safe for me to do so.  In the end, when deciding if coming out is something you should do, it is always best to do a risk assessment with safety being your utmost concern. Safety can mean different things for different people. There are also many factors one should take into consideration; do the people you plan to come out to have control over your basic needs, such as food and housing? Will coming out put you at risk for emotional or physical harm? Will your current relationship change drastically or possibly end if you come out? Or as in my case, will being out at work have financial repercussions for me and my loved ones? 

A very wise gay friend of mine told me to make extremely certain I was ready to come out, “because once you say it, you can’t ever take it back.” It was his way of telling me to weigh my options and make certain I fully understood the very real risk involved before I actually pulled the trigger and said the words, “I am Bisexual.”

Because of this I did as he suggested. By the time I was ready to come out to my Pastor, I knew there was a very real possibility I may be asked to leave the church home I loved dearly. I also realized if they didn’t want me as a bisexual then it was no longer the church I needed to be a member of. It would hurt but I was ready if it did indeed happen. By the time I was ready to tell my family, and more importantly my parents, that I was bisexual, I knew they may no longer accept and love me for who I really was and that I was ready to remove myself from their lives if need be. That would have been truly heartbreaking but I was ready to do it.

With all that said, I am not ready to risk the financial well being of myself and my family until I am certain there will be absolutely no negative repercussions. While it will be sad not be to able to fight bi-visibility and bi-phobia on a larger scale, it will certainly be the safest thing for me to do. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Did Attending My First Pride Out Me At Work

When I came out to my family in February of this year, it was my intent to stay closeted at work, so to speak. The main reason was because I have worked at my current location for over ten years and I have a very high profile job. Many people know who I am, even if I have yet to meet them, they call me by name. Truthfully, I didn’t want to deal with the flood of questions that would most certainly come, in addition to dealing with no longer being as accepted by people that had once liked me. I realize I wasn’t practicing what I preached on my blog, and take full responsibility for not being open about my bisexuality so that my openness will create visibility and acceptance for bisexuals the world over. I am, however, human.

My plan was not to purposefully go out of the way to come out at work, but if it happened organically I wasn’t going to stop it. I am also not so stupid to think that running in LGBTQ circles now that I would never accidently bump into someone from work. I work for a large company with many very out and proud people, in addition to people who don’t shout it from the roof tops, but they aren’t hiding it either.

As Pride rolled around this year I began to get excited. I wanted to go very badly, but I didn’t want to go alone. Many of my gay friends who would have willing allowed me to go with them weren’t able to attend this year. I had a few offers from people of the Bear group I belong to but they were all from men/couples I haven’t met before and that would be awkward at best.

Then surprisingly my son comes to me and says, his friend, who is trans, had invited him to go to Pride and could he go. It was his friend’s first Pride also and they didn’t want to go alone either. I said, I didn’t care and asked him to tell them about me and that it was also my first Pride, and would it be ok if I went along. I would even drive. Everyone was agreeable so we hopped into my SUV on Sunday afternoon and went.

To be honest, after all of the things I have read and been hearing, I thought I would be met with a Pride that was very gay centric with no Bi visibility or representation at all. I was very wrong and pleasantly surprised! Every booth had bisexual gear of many different varieties for sale. Flags, T-shirts, hats, pins, and more.

Even more to my surprise, I also saw attendees wearing bisexual flags, shirts, hats and pins too! I couldn’t believe it. It was so different from what I had been lead to believe would happen.  The one thing that didn’t catch me by surprise was that I saw no men wearing anything that would label themselves as being bisexual, and that made me sad. I would have, but I was newly out and didn’t have anything like that yet.

Then it happened, not fifteen minutes after I arrived, I saw a gay man I work with. He was sitting behind a table that looked like it was supposed to be there for a group who had come to market themselves, but there wasn’t any sign and no pamphlets to be handed out. When our eyes met his got wide as a pie plate. In order to take control of the situation, I said, “Hey, how are you? This is my son and his friend.” He must have still been in shock from seeing me there that he didn’t say anything in response.

I wanted very badly to know what he was thinking and if my plans to stay closeted at work were now a memory. I then told myself I knew this was likely going to happen and it may happen again before I left. Plus I must have subconsciously decided to come in hopes that I would no longer have to hide at work.

I had been on medial leave for several months before this and had been released for work two weeks after Pride. The whole time I was walking around, I wondered who long it would take for the news that I had been seen at Pride to circulate around the company. After all, I was presumed by everyone I worked with to be straight and this would be big news. There wasn’t a thing I could do to stop it now so I had better work at accepting that I was no longer straight at work. I even started to have a dream that everyone was standing around me when I walked into work that first day, and they all wanted to know if I was gay.

Well, the actual day came that I was to go back to work. The second person I saw when I walked in the door was the same gay man who I had seen at Pride. Oddly, he got this weird look on his face that was a combination of fear and uncertainty, like he knew this terrible secret about me and it caused him actual pain because he knew it. I acted like nothing was wrong, because indeed nothing was. It truly didn’t matter to me any more. I suppose it was mean of me not to qualify why I was at Pride and what my sexual identity was when I bumped into him.  To be honest, it isn’t any of his business. It was then that I knew there was a great likelihood he had told no one he saw me there.

I chose not to say any more to him about it because I don’t need to justify myself or my family members to anyone. (By the way, my son is straight.) Doing so, might also make it look like I have something to hide, which I do not. If he, or anyone else asks me why I went to Pride I will say that I took my son and his friend, and will answer any follow up questions truthfully. However, I don’t plan to offer any extra information either. Which means I can use bi-invisibility and the fact that I have always been straight passing to my benefit. I might get asked if I am gay, but I would be shocked if anyone asked me if I am bisexual. 

It has been a whole week since my first day back and no one has said a word to me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a bit relieved about it. When it came to my family not knowing it felt like I was living a lie. Now that they know, I no longer feel like I am being held down by the weight of this huge secret. I have always been someone who shares a great deal of my life with the people I work with, but that doesn’t mean I tell everyone I meet everything about me.

I am currently looking for a new job and have decided when I get one I am going to be open about who I am from day one. I have no plans on introducing myself by saying, “My name is Tim. Nice to meet you, and by the way, I am a bisexual male.”  I will, however, toss bits and pieces into conversations that will hint at the fact  I like men as well as women.

In the end, I still may have been outed at work, and no one has had the courage to ask me about it yet. If they do, its totally fine with me. The only thing left for me to do is to remember not to act like a “Bulldozer Bisexual,” and bite their head off when they ask me about it. I am still the face of bisexuality them and in an effort to represent our community in a positive light I need to be on my best behavior.

By the way, the coolest thing I saw during my first Pride celebration was when I looked down. The street was covered in glitter, how cool is that?!

 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Phallocentrism The Slayer Of Dragons

While visiting LGBTQ spaces on the internet this last week I learned a few new things. First of all, I had been hearing about Unicorns, more than usual, and wondered in a Facebook group what the male equivalent was given male bisexuals seem to be far rarer than both female bisexuals and unicorns. I was told, to my delight that male bisexuals are called Dragons, which are just as magical and just as rare as any unicorn you come across.

Secondly, and even more importantly, I discovered a term and it’s definition, for why male bisexuals are even more scarce than hen’s teeth. I mean, I know why but now I have a fancy $17.00 word to toss around that describes it eloquently, in stead of using several paragraphs. That word is:

Phallocentrism- a doctrine or belief centered on the phallus, especially a belief in the superiority of the male sex.

This one word, combined with many an ignorant man who possesses a less than secure image of himself, and a dash of internalize homophobia is the main contributing factor in the lack of out bisexual men, and the number of closeted bisexual men not willing to make themselves know on surveys.

The term was created in 1927, but I fear the actual belief system, which is now so aptly named, has been around since before the time of recorded history. This belief is so widely held that society and even parents begin begin grooming their male children almost from birth. All one needs for proof is to look at the gifts given to parents for their new baby boy. Sports gear, trucks, trains, tractors, war hero action figures, and matching outfits with similar male themes. You will never see dolls, tea sets, princess outfits, or play cookware sets, and most certainly nothing pink!

As male infants become toddlers they begin to hear things like, “Boys don’t cry.” “How’s Daddy’s little man?” and “Don’t hit girls.” They begin to watch cartoons where male characters are always the heroes who save female characters, or dads going to work to earn a living while women stay home to take care of the kids. When they get to school other boys will tease them by calling names like “sissy,” or “you throw like a girl.” By the time they reach Jr High and High School the names grow up too and become “Fag” and “Cocksucker.”

It is by this time in their young lives that without actually ever being told outright that men are stronger and meant to be in charge, and anything less is feminine and weak, they come to know it all for themselves intuitively. I have heard many LGBTQ males say the first time they were called fag or faggot; they didn’t know exactly what it meant but they knew it wasn’t good and called their maleness into question.

When I was in High School, in the early 80s, I had yet to realize I was bisexual, and the term Gaydar was quickly become part of the modern lexicon. I knew what gaydar was and I thought I had a very good one. What I failed to realize then was the only way someone can be certain someone else was a gay male back then was if they were unable to hide their femininity in any way. I have since learned there are far more gay men in the world who are straight passing, and unless they tell you, you would never know. I have lost count, in the last ten years, of how many times I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out someone was gay and I had had no earthly idea they were.

While I wasn’t overly feminine in High School I wasn’t exactly masculine either. I sang in Choir, I was in the drama club and acted and sang in all the school plays. Not only was I bad at sports, I hated them. Even without a limp wrist or a lisp I was still accused of being less than manly on occasion and it was never a pleasant experience.

In addition to societal conditioning, the 80s brought the HIV and AIDs scare making it even more undesirable to be part of the LGBTQ community. Which didn’t help because gay men already had a bad name. This, however, was nothing new. My parents were shown films in health class that were PSAs of a sort warning against homosexuality, and what would happen if you fell under their spell because gay men were all pedophiles.  I have seen some of these myself on YouTube and they are truly repugnant.

So it stands to reason that men about my age and older would haven been brainwashed into thinking that the very last thing on earth you want to be seen as is anything less than society’s view of what a Man’s Man should be. Given that all men have a certain level of internalized homophobia because of these factors they are going to be far less likely to come out as bisexual because it is much easier to hide your same sex attraction and camouflage yourself in a heteronormative marriage.

I was very confused growing up because of my same sex attraction. I figured I was still ok because I wasn’t gay, since I still liked girls. I subconsciously buried my same sex attractions so deeply that I was in complete denial about them until I turned 48.

Yesterday I read an article quoting a study in which bisexual men where only 19% of the LGBTQ community while bisexual women made up 78% of it. I would really like to know what the actual percentage would be if all the bisexual men would stand up to be counted. I would say these figures are fairly accurate given that I saw many bisexual women at my first Pride earlier this month and no openly bisexual men. I was there without any LGBTQ gear on so there may have been some other men there who were hiding amongst their gay male friends and/or partners, or with female partners. 

The good thing about this whole epidemic is recent CDC Studies over the last few years have shown huge increases in teens of all genders who openly identify as bisexual. I dream of the day when my grandchildren have children in a world where it won’t be any different to by bisexual than it will be to be straight, and no one will care. Until then we all still need to do our best to be the most visible unicorns and dragons we can be to help that day happen. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

I Will Not Drop The B!

****** I have recently found out that the article I read and posted below was instigated by 4Chan and alt right anti LGBTQ activism group trying to divide our community by stirring the pot with false information. I am a bit embarrassed to say that I did not fact check the information prior to writing my post, and even more red faced that I have responded in a way that they had anticipated.




I just read this article   https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/06/15/drop-the-b-bisexual-lgbt/ and I couldn’t be more frustrated and upset! Why must I change how I identify because it makes you uncomfortable, REALLY?!

First, lets look at the most widely accepted definition of Bisexuality given to us by Robyn Ochs:

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

Note that it states, “more than one sex and/or gender.” It doesn’t say, “two sexes and/or two genders.” To be fair, this definition is not any different than for Pansexual. It’s just worded a bit differently, but means the exact same thing in its spirit.

I personally identify as bisexual because that’s the word I feel best fits me and it make me feel good about myself. Who better than me would know exactly feels right to me than me?

In the 60s, 70s, and 80s when not only organized religion but society in general, told everyone in the LGBTQ community we made everyone uncomfortable and we needed to change our ways or we would be imprisoned and damned to Hell, we fought back with a vengeance. We said, “We exist, and we aren’t going anywhere.” Furthermore, “Not only do we exist, we want to be treated no differently than anyone else, because we deserve it!” In that fight to be acknowledged, we were jailed, and some of us were even killed because of who we were. While we have come so very far from those days, we still fight battles because the war is not yet over. Why is it possible then that some of us are still experiencing the same thing, but from members of our very own community, with the hashtag DroptheB?

The people behind the Drop the B movement assert that the “B” acronym excludes people who don’t identify in the gender binary. First of all, I have already discredited this fear by including the current definition of Bisexuality from Robyn Ochs. Secondly, our community was built on the fact that we no longer care what other people think of us and we are going to live as we choose to, and everyone else can go jump in the lake for all we care. So why is this still an issue? Let me explain it a different way to help you understand.

For the sake of argument, lets say there are two dairy farmers. The first farmer is in his 60s, he has 40 dairy cows that he and his son milk by hand twice each day. He grows enough feed on his 100 acres of land to keep his cows fed. His farm equipment is far from new but he is proud of what he has and keeps everything he owns in good working order and looking nice. While he isn’t wealthy, he is able to provide for himself and his wife, and pay his son enough so he can support himself along with his wife and children.

The second farmer is in his early 30s. He now owns the farm he grew up on after his father’s untimely death. Because he has a college degree in business, he was able to quickly turn his farm’s small dairy farm into a major corporation. He uses electric milking machines to milk 1,500 head of dairy cows twice each day, he refines and bottles and distributes the fresh milk in his onsite dairy, and grows enough feed for his heard on 10,000 acres of land with the very latest in farm technology and equipment with the help of 60 employees. 

By all outward appearances you would say this young farmer had it all. But what most people don’t know is that when he was a boy growing up on the little farm, just like the one the first farmer still owns, his father beat him daily, in addition to verbally abusing him which emotionally broke his spirit. Because of this the young farmer wanted nothing to do with anything that even remotely reminded him of his father.

When he went to town for supplies he would meet up with the men he had grown up with who all owned farms like the first farmer. They would joke with him because he had gotten too big for his overalls, and was now too fancy to be part of their crowd. He knew they must be jealous of his success and felt bad because they had not been able to do the same thing with their own farms, but it still cut deeply and brought up those old feelings from when his father had abused him both physically and emotionally.

It bothered him so much so he began to believe small farms were a blight to the future of farming and he used his influence and power in the state government to try to make it more difficult for small farms to exist by making it more difficult for them to get loans and grants from the government. He even tried to buy the first farmer’s farm and couldn’t understand why the man wouldn’t sell. He tried to convince him that large dairy farms were the wave of the future and he had no business in trying to keep his small farm afloat any longer because dairy farming just wasn’t done that way any more.

The first farmer couldn’t understand why the young farmer felt the way he did. His little dairy farm certainly wasn’t a financial threat to the young farmer. The land his farm was on didn’t prevent the young farmer from milking his larger heard nor was it land that connected to the young farmer’s acreage, and buying it made no sense as far as he could see. Furthermore, why shouldn’t he be allowed to farm his farm the way he always had? He wasn’t hurting anyone and he was able to provide a good life for himself and his family. 

What the old farmer didn’t know was the young farmer felt threatened by the older farmer. When the young farmer told people he was a dairy farmer he wanted them to view him as he was, a large business owner with money and influence, not like the old farmer and the men who he had gone to school with who were also small dairy farmers. This was all because he cared too much what other people thought of him because of his previous life experiences which caused him to have deep sense of self-hatred because of his past trauma.

So all of this begs the question, whose responsibility is it to make the young farmer feel better about himself when he sees other dairy farmers who farm differently than he does? First of all, no one would blame the young farmer for feeling the way he does once they found out what caused him to have those feelings in the first place. However, if he chooses to wallow in self pity and self hatred because of his past that is his issue and no one else’s. Nor is it anyone’s responsibility but his to come to terms with his self hatred and work through it to the point where he will no longer care what other farmers think or say about him.

How many people do you think would help him if he tried to eliminate all of the small dairy farms in his state if he told everyone that small dairy farms made him feel mistreated and unsafe because all people thought, when he told them he was a dairy farmer, was of the small farm he had grown up on and not the big mega farm he owned? Not too many, I would guess.

That’s why this whole Drop the B movement is so ludicrous. Why is it my responsibility to make you feel comfortable about how you identify, because I identify differently than you? I have written before about how my life became much simpler and more stress free when I stopped caring what everyone else thought about my life choices. This whole issue stems from people’s inability to except themselves and their differences. I am not shaming them for not doing so. Many if not all of us in the LGBTQ community have had these very same feelings and dealt with them accordingly. However, it I should not have to suffer because of your self hatred.

One of my favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln is, “You are as happy as you make your mind up to be.” If these people chose to stop having a pity party about the fact that they are LGBTQ and how poorly they have been treated over the years, and get the counseling they need to finally feel good about who they are, they will no longer be upset about what others think of them. They will finally be able to say, “F you, and the horse you road in on!” I know who I am and I don’t care what you think, say, or do, it doesn’t effect me at all. 

No matter how hard these people try to change how others think and act, the only true power they have to elicit any lasting change is within themselves. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Real Cause Behind School Shootings

I have been contemplating this post for some time now. Admittedly I have some fear about what responses it would bring and how it will be received by my readers. I finally decided it is an important enough issue, which I feel strongly about and therefore I had an obligation to write this piece.

Recently the US has experienced an uptick of multiple school shootings. Because of this, Liberals have once again been ranting about the need for gun control. As a little “r” Republican, I have never believed this to be a solution to the problem for many reasons which I won’t get into now. What I will do is discuss what I believe to be the root cause for these shootings that have been largely overlooked by liberals and conservatives alike, in favor of their own self serving agendas.

As I have said before, I come from a long line of educators, and was even married to one. My father was a teacher, principal, and a superintendent during his career.  Because my father was the principal while I was in school during the 70’s and 80’s I was bullied on a daily basis. More often than not, I came home in tears because of it multiple times e ach week. I hated school and I often pretended to be ill in order to stay home when things got to bad.

Because I was six-foot-tall at age eleven, I was often perceived to be older than I was. The school where my father was principal, was in a small town and the elementary and high school buildings were connected by the cafeteria, with the junior high being in a separate building.

In the 70’s it was still acceptable for principals to spank students as a punishment, and my father had a paddle hanging in his office. On more than one occasion my father would spank an elementary student, and his high school age, muscle bound brother would beat me up in revenge. I always assumed it was because he must have thought I was older because I was so tall. However, that may or may not have been the case.

Luckily, I was raised by educated Christian parents who were concerned about my emotional well being and would talk me through my feelings in an effort to lessen the harmful effects on my self esteem. Let there be no misunderstanding, this was a full time job for them given the amount of bullying I experienced.

Despite their best efforts, I still ended up with feelings of depression, anxiety, and zero self worth. The one thing I did have was their constant urgings that I was worth something, and not only did they love me but God loved me also. Looking back, I believe their efforts were the only reason I never went over the edge, or had a breakdown. All in all, it took many years of counseling as an adult to reverse the effects of my bullying.

At age 27 I was diagnosed with A.D.D., Depression, and Anxiety. Knowing this, I was extremely lucky that things hadn’t got any worse than they had for me when I was being bullied. Who knows how bad things could have become. My father had a shotgun and a rifle to hunt with in our home they were kept in the back of his closet and were never locked up. I knew how to use them, and where he kept the ammunition. It is only by God’s grace I never chose to use them on myself or others. It was a three block walk to school so I would have been able to take those guns with me without anyone knowing it before it was too late.

While reading accounts of the latest school shooting in Texas, I saw pictures of the teen responsible for the shooting. In these pictures one could plainly see he was wearing a Bisexual Pride pin on the collar of his t-shirt. I immediately thought to myself the bullying he endured must have gotten the better of him. My thoughts went back to my childhood and the bullying I some how managed to survive, and my heart broke.

A few weeks after which I read a story about two high school students, who with the help of ACLU lawyers, sued their school district for discrimination not only from other students but by the principal and other members of the faculty. These students had been made to read the bible in order they might see the error of their ways, and were also told they were going to hell, among many other forms of hate and discrimination by people who were supposed to be their advocates not their aggressors, and students alike who were allowed to do so.

There are countless articles and studies proving that LGBTQ teens suffer from a myriad of mental health issues which are either caused by or at the very least exacerbated by bullying at school and online, via social media. What makes bullying via social media so much worse it that teens never get a break from it. When I was being bullied in the 70’s, as soon as there was distance between me and those who bullied me, I was able to get a break from it. In addition to having parents that worked hard during those times to counteract the negative effects of the bullying I was able to muddle through.

I have seen accounts recently where teens can’t get away from the bullying because once they leave school it starts up on Facebook and other social media apps. I also believe there are teens who are more willing to bully via social media because they are less likely to be caught, and they are disassociated from the act because their victim isn’t standing in front of them. My mother has always said that bullying is really hard for a teacher to stop because in most cases they and administration have to witness it before they can do anything about it. The bullies themselves know this and work very hard at doing it during times when they won’t be seen by adults.

In my opinion, as you may have been able to piece together, the only way to lessen the amount of school shooting is not to restrict the number of guns, but to crack down on bullying. The fact of the matter is, if guns aren’t available these emotionally unstable teens who have decided to harm others will find another weapon to use. Cain killed Able with a rock. Timothy McVey used fertilizer to make a bomb, inmates make knives out of sharpened toothbrushes. If someone wants to cause harm they will find a way to do it. Furthermore, most of the guns used to commit crimes are not obtained by legal means to begin with. So lets work at preventing bullies from pushing other students to the point were they feel the only recourse they have is to harm others in order to make their pain known to the world.

You may be thinking, but he said bullies work hard at making certain to only bully when adults aren’t around. Yes, I did. We will never be able to prevent 100% of the bullying, but we will be able to make it so difficult for the bullies that it should prevent them from pushing someone over the edge to the point of suicide or committing a mass shooting at their school.

I have thought long and hard about many measures which could be put into place in schools with little or no cost that will make a major difference to the war on bullying, as well as, other measures and laws that will make it much harder for bullies to commit their crimes, as well as serving as a deterrent because of the consequences . Frankly, this should have been dealt with a long time ago. After all, we have laws preventing people from sexually harassing others in the workplace, bullying at school is no different an offense.

Here are some of the things that can be done, which will be far more effective than gun control at alleviating the problem:

1.    Make all adults, not just educators, employed in schools, mandatory reporters of bullying like they already are for physical and sexual abuse, with stiff penalties and fines for non compliance.
2.    Make it mandatory for every school to record all incidence of bullying with the state and federal governments. This way parents who move their children to avoid punishment will be found out.
3.    Train counselors to recognize the symptoms from the effects of bullying, and give them the tools to help students who are victims.
4.    Offer, state provided, free professional counseling to both the victim and the bully alike. Those who bully are often in emotional pain and distress themselves and are acting out because of it.
5.    Require as many adults as necessary be present at all times in locker rooms, bathrooms, hallways, or any other location where students would normally be unsupervised. 
6.    Use audio and visual recording devices to capture evidence of the bullying, in addition to having adults present, as suggested above.
7.    Start a program to educate students, from kindergarten through 12thgrade, on the effects of bullying, as well as the consequences to those who bully others.
8.    Make cereal bullying a criminal offense, with harsh penalties. This will hopefully make teens think twice when their own actions could put them in juvenile detention or prison, and at the very least prevent them from getting into college or making them ineligible to play college sports and become scholarship recipients.  
9.    Make Cyber Bullying a criminal offense, with harsh penalties. That way, law enforcement can get involved when kids are being bullied after hours.
10.  Hold school administration and staff criminally liable when they try to force their personal religious beliefs on students, for turning a blind eye to bullying, or secretly instigating it from behind the scenes.
11.  Take away government funding from public school districts who violate anti bullying laws.
12.  Make private schools criminally liable for these same actions as well.

In addition to all of these things there are still a few changes that need to be made in regards to gun control:

1.    Make it illegal for non-military or non-law enforcement to own automatic weapons. These weapons are not meant for hunting.
2.    Make a more concerted effort to rid the streets of all illegal fire arms, given these are most often the guns used to commit crimes.
3.    Require an in depth psychological evaluation in order for anyone to purchase any fire arm.

In the same way that you can’t blame forks for making people fat, you can’t blame guns for school shootings. Just as you should treat the mental and emotional side of those who have problems with obesity when you also help them lose weight, we must also treat the large issue of bullying in this country if we have any hope to see an end to it.

In closing, given that LGBTQ teens are at far greater risk of being bullied than non LGBTQ students, and many of us as adults in the LGBTQ community were bullied when we were in school, it is time for us to become vocal advocates in the war against bullying in this country. Americans need to hear from adults who have been the victims of bullying in school and just exactly what it is like. Including how it pushed many of us to attempt suicide. We also need to hear from the parents of students who succeeded in taking their own lives.  We must  wake up Americans to the long term effects of bullying on the children of this country.








Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wedding Cakes and Classrooms – We Want the Whole Story

Over the last few days I have been reading many articles discussing the outcome of the Supreme Court Case; Masterpiece Cake Shop v. the State of Colorado. I have yet to read the entire story anywhere. The most I have been able to find is that the owner of the bakery suffered some form of harassment because he wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple. However, no specifics have come to light regarding the type of harassment mentioned. 

By not reporting the entire story, including the details of the harassment the baker suffered, the media has created a shit storm of controversy based on ignorance from both sides of the issue. The Religious Right sees this as a big win for their side, even though SCOTUS has stated its decision was not based on the baker’s right to refuse service to LGBTQ patrons. The Liberal Left is now crying in their beer because they feel like the country has turned on them and their kind, and the civil liberties we have gained will be washed away entirely, not to mention it has presumably has all been caused by the fact that Donald Trump was elected.

If I understand SCOTUS’ statement correctly, this case does not set a precedent for future cases regarding discrimination of the LGBTQ community because of the oddity of the circumstances in this trial. Furthermore, I believe as does Ruth Bader Ginsberg does, that a wedding cake is a wedding cake regardless of the sexual orientation of the two people getting married. I also believe if you choose to be a merchant who pays taxes to the US, you don’t get to pick and choose your clientele.  Furthermore, I wonder if the ruling would have been different had the said harassment not happened.

Additionally, the freedom of religion act was put into place in order to protect those people who choose to practice their religion safely without harm. It does not, however, say that you are able to use your religious beliefs to harass or harm someone else, and Christ most certainly would not have approved of this type of behavior either.

Please be wary of jumping to conclusions without all of the facts in these matters, especially when being viewed through your present biases and beliefs, regardless of which side of the issue you fall.

Today I read the below article about a teacher being forced to resign because he refused to call a transgendered student by their preferred name. I am posting the link so you can read it for yourself.


As a Bisexual Christian and cisgender male, I whole heartedly respect transgendered people, but I am still at a loss after reading this article. For me the article doesn't give the complete facts for either side. 1) What is causing the trans female to not feel safe? To me; feeling "not safe" means she feels in danger when she is around this teacher. Is he threatening her? Is he trying to convert her to his Christian way of life, by harassing her? 2) Why was the district not happy with the teacher using last names only? If the teacher insisted on calling this student "Mr." Last Name, instead of Ms. Last Name, I can see this would still be an issue, but the article doesn't give that information.

Jesus spent the majority of His time on earth with what modern day Christians would consider "Sinners." He always treated them with the love and respect they disserved regardless of their sins. So I can't understand why this teacher feels like his Christian beliefs give him the right to treat someone differently because they believe different than he does. The Bible I read says, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." God clearly says It isn't for us as Christians to decide what God will or will not except when it comes to sinfulness. Furthermore, treating people from the LGBTQ community differently, i.e. as a lesser person because of what someone deems God will be disapproving of and is not what Christ taught, nor would He have wanted us to do so. He preached we should all treat each other with the same love and respect He shows us. Lastly, Christ came to earth and died on the cross so that all are freed from the grip of sin, death, and eternal damnation to Hell.

Additionally, I find it epically maddening that this is the face of Christianity which most of the world sees, because it is not how the majority of Christians believe or act. For example, Fred Phelps from Topeka Kansas who traveled the country picketing funerals of service men and women with signs saying, “God Hates Fags!” First of all, God doesn’t hate anyone, nor would He ever label anyone with such derogatory terms. Secondly, what most people don’t know is Fred Phelps’ church was an independent ministry, and most of his followers were close family members. The ironic thing is that he was also a civil rights lawyer. How conflicted can one man be?

God also warns Christians to be wary of false prophets and says in 2 Timothy Chapter 4 verses 3 and 4:

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

I believe it is time for Christians to stand up to those who are twisting God’s words in an effort to educate the community we live in that what these people are saying is not at all what God has taught us, but it is these individuals own misinterpretations of the Bible.

As far as the transgendered student's safety goes, if the only thing causing them to feel unsafe is the fact this teacher will not call them by the name which they feel best suits how they feel inside, they need to toughen up a bit. Expecting everyone will always treat you with the respect you disserve, and making a stink about it every time they don't is being a bit of a cry baby. If your emotional state of being is so fragile that not being called by a name you identify with causes you emotional distress, it might be a good idea to seek professional counseling. Not because you are broken due to being transgendered, but because you need help dealing with your own internalized transphobia. Which has nothing to do with the other person's behavior.

I know how confused and conflicted I was growing up in a home, where both of my parents were church workers, and trying to deal with my conflicting sexual and romantic attractions towards both males and females. The only way I was able to cope was to stuff the feelings so far down inside of me they never saw the light of day until I was 48 years old. I will never be able to imagine, or understand the difficulty of dealing with gender issues is, and my heart goes out to anyone who does. It took me three years of counseling with a secular and spiritual counselor before I able to completely deal with my issues. Never once did I ever blame anyone for my own insecurities because I knew where they lay, deep within me.

My birth name is Timothy. Ever since I can remember people have always called me Tim. From a very young age I have hated being called Timmy. My parents told me I asked them, when I was very little, not to call me Timmy so they switched to Tim. I am currently 52 years old and on occasion people still call me Timmy at work. In most cases, when I ask them to not call me Timmy because I don’t like it and I am no longer 3, that’s the end of it. However, there are still people, who after being told multiple times by me not to, still insist on doing so.

I no longer identify as a 3-year-old, and haven't for many years. People who insist on calling me Timmy, after being asked not to, are at the very least being disrespectful of my wishes and at worst, just being an asshole, plain and simple. Every time someone calls me Timmy I feel very disregarded. It is as if they are trying to force me into an identity that I believe no longer depicts who I am. 

Do I feel unsafe? No. Is it frustrating AF, absolutely! It tells me they have no regard for my wishes and don’t care how it makes me feel. While this is a form of manipulation, control I can still over come the other person’s unwanted behavior because I am confident in who I am, and am emotionally strong enough to handle their disrespect with out becoming emotionally harmed in any way. There was a time in my earlier life, when I was not able to handle things like this as easily as I do now. My father was the principal and I was harassed and beat up daily. It took lots of counseling for me years of counseling to overcome all of the self hatred that was programmed into me by the bullies I endured. 

Because of this I can understand who someone might feel emotionally unsafe. However, the world is a cruel place and you will never completely be able to avoid behavior that is damaging. It is far better to strengthen yourself in an effort to ward off the adversity which comes your way rather than expecting everyone to walk on eggshells around you. I no that sounds a bit harsh, but it is the reality of the world.

That said, if it turns from minor disrespect to harassment and or harm to you emotionally, physically, financially and the like, definitely stand your ground. Sue if you have to, and take to social media to make the world aware of the horrible injustice that was done to you. Strengthening yourself emotionally and spiritually will help you to better understand when someone is really infringing on your civil rights, and you will be more likely to gain the respect of others, as well as their help.

In the end, I believe both sides of these arguments need to grow up a little. Yes, there are still times when it is worth speaking up for one’s rights, and when it is warranted, I will stand right next to you regardless of which side you are on. However, if you are being petty just to make a statement and prove your point, regardless of the side you are on, helps no one and most often makes matters exponentially worse.