LGBTQ+ 101

We’re shaking up the meeting a little bit next month and planning a fun educational session! Get ready to learn a little something. You don’t want to miss it as we explore the myths and stereotypes that have plagued the LGBT community for decades in the form of a game of “Mingle”!

august meeting flyer jpg REDO

For now, here are some resources for you to brush up on our topic:

UCLA – LGBTQ+ Terminology

University of Michigan – Lesbian History: Cultural Issues

Huffington Post – Gay Men Stereotypes That Need To Be Challenged

ACLU – Article on Transgender Discrimination

Nine Anti-Trans Slurs to Avoid

Advertisements

Safe In My Hands (new Allstate campaign)

We’re all familiar with the personal property insurance company, Allstate and the deep-voiced African American spokesperson, Dennis Haysbert. Well, Allstate has a new campaign in honor of Pride Month.

Singer/songwriter, Eli Leib, has offered his talents to provide the music for the new commercial. Watch it here:

It’s very sweet. You can download the song for free here.

In addition to providing services tailored specifically to the needs of LGBT domestic partnerships, they are running some hashtag activism, much like our own Straight For Equality photo drive (more on that here). Go here and upload a photo of you and your loved one #outholdinghands.

“Being visible should never leave you feeling vulnerable… everyone deserves to be in good hands.”

PRIDE and Fathers

What a crazy amazing weekend!!

pride 2014 logo 2-1 jpegPFLAG Coeur d’Alene had the honor of marching in the 23rd annual Pride Parade with Spokane PFLAG, and it was a wonderful, colorful day full of laughter, hugs, love and community. While some amateur WBC wannabees paced in their square, sequestered off with yellow caution tape, right at the entrance to the park, throngs of people blocked them with both their bodies and their cheers as floats of proud groups walked past. They waved their message of hate, and we waved our messages of love and family, and we were the vast majority. Even though the clouds loomed threateningly above, nothing could rain on this parade!

WE ARE FAMILY!!

WE ARE FAMILY!! (photo credit: Juli Stratton)

 

PFLAG showed up strong with nearly two dozen marchers– parents, friends, advocates, couples, familiar faces, newcomers, children, a dog and even some supporters from the Unitarian Universalist Church of North Idaho. There is nothing like the feeling of belonging to something great, something meaningful. The parade route covered several blocks of downtown Spokane and there was not a space on the sidewalk where no one stood watching. The best was when a marcher would recognize someone from the crowd and they would run up to hug them, grateful for being surrounded by support and joy. A cacophony of “I love you!” and “We are family!!” and “Out and proud!!” drowned out the hateful amplified voices as we turned the corner to end the parade and enter the Rainbow Festival.

A heartfelt thanks to Spokane PFLAG for inviting us to partner with you in this special celebration!! It was certainly a memorable event.

pflag dad

(photo credit: PFLAG National)

And we also need to thank the fathers. All you dads out there who love your children unconditionally, who are raising your children in an adverse society. Those fathers that nurture us, that worry for us and that sit up nights with us while we talk it out. Whether you’re just beginning this crazy journey of child-raising or if you’re a seasoned professional who has been there through the trials and triumphs– WE THANK YOU! If you were there for us, thank you for listening, for understanding, for being patient.

happy father's day

(photo credit: Human Rights Campaign)

 

 

The 2014 LGBT Pride Exhibit

As many of you know, the local Human Rights Education Institute has been a champion of supporting equality and using trials of the past to create a well-informed future generation. For the first year, during the month of June, HREI has asked for an installation celebrating the history of Pride and the LGBT movement. A rag tag group of a half dozen local LGBT rights activists embarked on this intrepid journey with less than a month to plan.

In short, the result is pretty phenomenal. Wading through a century (and even a little beyond) of oppression and uprising, the culmination of this project saturates a quarter of the display room. Images, stories, memoirs and marches act as guides through the transition from a closeted, hidden, tormented group into an out and proud army clashing with stereotypes and demanding equality.

There will be a reception for the opening of the exhibit on Friday from 5-7PM.

HREI pride history exhibit flyer jpeg

The Human Rights Education Institute is located at 414 Mullan Rd in Coeur d’Alene.

This exhibit was made possible by the partnership of:

The Coeur d’Alene Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity

PFLAG Coeur d’Alene

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance of North Idaho College

with

The Human Rights Education Institute

and

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations

May is National Foster Care Month!

Did you know that there are 400,000 children currently in the United States foster care system, 100,000 of whom still need to find adoptive homes? According to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) more children more gay couples are raising families than ever before, through adoption, surrogacy, and artificial insemination. However, same-sex couples still face discriminatory legal barriers in the effort to bring up children.

allies for adoption

An article in the New York Times in June 2011 posits that a large portion of the legal hurdles same-sex couples face when raising children stems from the fact that marriage is prohibited to these couples in two-thirds of the nation’s states. Only two states (Utah and Mississippi) explicitly bar gay and lesbian couples from adopting. But the inability to legally marry leaves many challenges to both parents having official guardianship of their adopted child. Read the full article here.

PFLAG is in full support of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which strives to nullify the challenges same-sex persons face in the quest for adoption based upon marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

You can help too!

Learn more about what ECDF strives to do here. The, head over the the PFLAG National Action Center to learn about contacting your legislators to register your support for the bill.

family is family

 

 

 

Unitarian Universalists of North Idaho

Q: What do you get when you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with a Unitarian Universalist?
A: Someone who knocks on your door and asks you what YOU believe.

Have you heard of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations? For short, and because meetings are generally on Sunday, we call it “church”. But it’s not like any church you’ve ever been to.

uua logoThe Unitarians promote and live their lives by seven pretty basic principles:

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person

2. Justice, equality and compassion in all human relations

3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to grow spiritually

4. A free (as in uninhibited) and responsible search for truth and meaning

5. The right of conscious and the democratic process, both in the congregations and society at large

6. The goal of the world community with peace, liberty and justice for all

7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

Sounds great, right? No dogma or doctrine. Just guidelines for living life well and respecting the lives you encounter along the way. A church that encourages the concept of “life before death”. Learn as much as you want by visiting their website.

coexist2The local chapter of the Unitarian Universalists has been serving the Coeur d’Alene area with meetings most Sundays, book discussions, dances and socials. I’ve attended a handful of times over the last year because, personally, I love the community feeling of a church without Jesus Christ being shoved down my (and my kids’) throat. Just one woman’s opinion.

If you are interested in learning more about the North Idaho Unitarian Universalists, please consider attending a mixer being hosted by one of the congregations members or sitting in on a service. The meetings are held at the Harding Family Center at 411 N. 15th St in Coeur d’Alene from 10:30 to 11:30AM. Childcare is provided for free most Sundays, and this is one of the most welcoming bunches of people I have ever met!  uuni bbq invite 2 jpeg

The Secret Gay Agenda – Letter to the Editor

Locally, we are dealing with a fraught situation. Several months ago, the city council of Coeur d’Alene voted in favor of an ordinance that protects citizens from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Did you know that ‘no state entity acting as an employer (including the CDA school district) needs to comply with the ordinance’? Well, they don’t, and that’s why Susan Moss is spearheading the campaign to extend these securities to both employees and students of the school district.

city ordinance

photo credit: Jerome Pollo/ CDA Press The community room in the CDA Library was packed with people on both sides of the argument last June. Even with two-minute time limits and calls to avoid repetition, the meeting lasted over 5 hours and culminated in a passage of the policy by overwhelming majority.

There have been some rough letters to the editor to the local newspapers, including those which accuse those in support of the policy change of promoting a “hidden gay agenda”.. Here is Rebecca McNeill’s response:

I can’t believe you found us out. The LGBT community is only pretending to want equal rights and nondiscrimination in public arenas. That’s the front, of course. But really, it’s all about the bathrooms. The secret agenda is: Gaining access to all bathrooms, all the time.

As the bisexual mother of two children in the Coeur d’Alene School District, I only pretend to care about the possible negative side effects of declaring that I’m bisexual in this letter. I don’t really worry about my children, or their future freedom from the discrimination I faced as a student at Coeur d’Alene High School and North Idaho College. Don’t be silly. I’m not worried about whether this statement will affect my ability to be hired as a teacher in the district, or if the next parent-teacher conference I attend is painfully awkward. No, Mr. Finney — you have nailed it on the head. I want to use the boys’ bathroom. I want my kids to attend public school and willy-nilly use any bathroom or locker room they please. I can’t believe you saw through our cover story of wanting “equal rights under the law” or “to not be bullied to the point of attempting suicide.” I just want to watch you pee.

 I suppose, now that the truth has been discovered, I shall carry on with my personal LGBT agenda of making dinner for my kids and watching some TV.

Here is the original link. If you read the comments, be prepared to fume. If you can be at the school board meeting tonight, either in solidarity or to speak out about the need for “adding the words”, please join up!

 

“They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy… Or So They Tried”

Recently, a group of friends and I produced and directed a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Originally performed as a one-women off-off-Broadway show in the 90’s, this play has evolved into a worldwide, billion-participant movement to end violence against women and girls. It was a humbling and extremely rewarding experience.

There are half a dozen plays that can be used as fundraising vehicles for local violence prevention and education programs, but, as a rule, The Vagina Monologues is to be performed only by women. The idea is that only those who possess a vagina can understand the unique sexual and physical struggle that women face in today’s society. In 2004, a monologue was introduced to include those who were not born with the physical female anatomy, but who have come to realize their true gender identity. I wanted to share this with you:

They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy…Or So They Tried

by Eve Ensler

Introduction

As part of Eve’s work to include the voices of all women who face violence, she

interviewed a diverse group of transwomen in preparation for creating this piece. This

piece was performed for the first time by an all transgendered cast in LA in 2004.

They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy…Or So They Tried

At five years old

I was putting my baby sister’s

diapers on.

I saw her vagina.

I wanted one.

I wanted one.

I thought it would grow

I thought I would open

I ached to belong

I ached to smell

like my mother

her sweet aroma lived in my hair

on my hands, in my skin

I ached to be pretty

Pretty

I wondered why I was missing my

Bathing suit top at the beach

Why I wasn’t dressed like the other girls

I ached to be completed

I ached to belong

To twirl the baton

They assigned me a sex

The day I was born.

It’s as random as being adopted

or a being assigned a hotel room on the 30th floor.

It has nothing to do with who you are

Or your fear of heights.

But in spite of the apparatus

I was forced to carry around

I always knew I was a girl.

They beat me for it.

They beat me for crying.

They pummeled me for wanting

To touch

To pet

To hug

To help

To hold

Their hands

For trying to fly in church

like Sister Batrell

For doing cartwheels.

Crocheting socks

For carrying purses to kindergarten

They kicked the shit out of me every day

On my way to school.

In the park

They smashed my

Magic marker painted nails

They punched my lipsticked mouth

They beat the girl

out of my boy.

Or they tried.

So I went underground.

I stopped playing the flute

“Be a man, stand up for yourself

Go punch him back.”

I grew a full beard.

It was good I was big.

I joined the Marines

“Suck it up and drive on.”

I became duller.

Jaded.

Sometimes cruel.

Butch it

Butch it

Butch it up.

Always clenched, inaccurate,

Incomplete.

I ran away from home

From school

From boot camp.

Ran to Miami

Greenwich village

Aleutian islands

New Orleans.

I found gay people

Wilderness lesbians

Got my first hormone shot

Got permission to be myself

To transition

To travel

To immigrate

350 hours of hot needles

I would count the male particles as they died

16 man hairs gone.

The feminine is in your face

I lift my eyebrows more

I’m curious

I ask questions.

And my voice

Practice practice

It’s all about resonance

Sing song sing song

Men are monotone and flat

Southern accents are really excellent

Jewish accents really help.

“Hello my friend”

And my vagina is so much friendlier

I cherish it

It brings me joy

The orgasms come in waves

Before they were jerky

I’m your girl next door

My Lt. Colonel father ending

Up paying for it.

My vagina

My mother was worried

what people would think

of her

That she made this happen

Until I came to church

And everyone said you have a beautiful

Daughter.

I got to be soft

I am allowed to listen

I am allowed to touch

I am able to

To receive.

To be in the present tense

People are so much nicer to me now

I can wake up in the morning

Put my hair in a pony tail

A wrong was righted.

I am right with God.

It’s like when you’re trying to sleep

And there is a loud car alarm–

When I got my vagina, it was like someone

Finally turned it off.

I live now in the female zone

but you know how people feel about

immigrants.

They don’t like it when you come from someplace else.

They don’t like it when you mix.

They killed my boyfriend

They beat him insanely as he slept

With a baseball bat

They beat this girl

Out of his head.

They didn’t want him

Dating a foreigner

Even though she was pretty

And she listened and was kind.

They didn’t want him falling in love

With ambiguity.

They were scared he’d get lost.

They were that terrified of love.

“Othering”

I’ve fallen in love with this concept (as a descriptive term, not because I agree with it in any way). I’ve read several articles from blogger, Micah J. Murray

I and even though since I am not religious, I cannot think from his perspective (that of a progressive Christian) I find my inner monologue shouting “Yes, yes you’ve got something here, Mike!”

I wanted to share with you all one article in particular about a term he coins as the “othering”. How we, as a heteronormative society, isolate and alienate the LGBT community. “They” are something else. “They” are somehow “other” from us. I am in love with this terminology. It brings to the stark front what people do when they say love the sinner, hate the sin. The dichotomy of the statement creates such a cognitive dissonance. It is, as Murray puts it, the most condescending type of love. By othering the LGBT community, we are saying that we are safe if “they” are kept separate from us. But we are all a part of the big picture, the human race. Gay rights, women’s rights, civil rights– it is all HUMAN RIGHTS.

Read the full article on why he won’t say “love the sinner, hate the sin” anymore here.

Go here to read a guest post that goes a little deeper into Micah’s understanding of “othering” and how he came to change.

"my god loves everyone"

“my god loves everyone”