Thursday, February 19, 2015

Give Me A "B!" "B!" What Does It Spell? Bisexual!

The only person who seemed to understand bisexuality was Sigmund Freud.  He theorized that we were all born bisexual and that our sexual orientation was a continuum. Freud believed that later we became either straight or gay because of the relationships around us.

Bis Often Left Out of LGBT Considerations

Yet, despite Freud's theories, both straights and gays criticize bisexuals rather than being allies of them.  To them, it's not a real sexual term.  Straights consider them gay.  Gays want bis to make a choice, as if they are indecisive about their orientation.  Heterosexuals think they are promiscuous as they must be having more sex with both males and females. Bisexuals can't win.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimates, based on its research, that bisexuals comprise roughly half of the total LGBT population or approximately 4 million Americans.  This statistic is slightly more than than the number identifying as gay or lesbian. However, bis are often left out of speeches, news releases, and news reports that allude to LGTs, according to Ellyn Ruthstrom, the former President of Bisexual Resource Center in Boston who says there are few bi political leaders except for Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and now Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, age 54.

With Democratic Governor John Kithaber having stepped down due to an ethics scandal involving his fiancee, Brown became the first openly bisexual governor on February 18.  Oregon is no stranger to gay candidates.  Tina Kotez, House Speaker, is gay as is Mayor Sam Brown. Married to Dan Little, Brown spent six years as Oregon Secretary of State and another eighteen as Senate Majority Leader in the State Legislature.

Pinning Hopes For BI Community

With Brown in office, the bisexual community is hoping to be included in many civil rights' campaigns that LGT communities have promoted.  Some of Brown's work during her eighteen years in Oregon's State Legislature was aimed at boosting LGBT rights.

Of course, some day when minority groups have equal rights, one hopes that a politician's sexual orientation shouldn't be mentioned nor should it matter.  But for right now, it does.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Keeping Up With A Kardashian Ex

As a rule, I do not keep with the Kardashians.  I find them self-serving.  However, I have been noticing over the past year that Kris Kardashian Jenner's ex-husband Bruce Jenner has been transitioning on the reality series. Sixty-five year-old Jenner is now wearing diamond stud earrings and has his long hair in a ponytail. He looks different.

The Gold Medal winner in the decathlon of the 1996 Montreal Summer Olympics and the former Wheaties spokesman, Bruce will soon have, thanks to E! and GLAAD,  his own Reality Series documenting his transformation. Kris Jenner, his third wife, didn't respond very positively upon first being told (on camera) about her former husband's gender transformation. (Bruce has had two other wives and has children with his second wife Linda Thompson.)

Supporters of Jenner

Kim Kardashian, the star of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, says she supports her step-father's "journey." More importantly, so does Bruce's mother, Esther Jenner, who told the Associated Press "I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce when he reached his Olympic goal in 1976, but I'm more proud of him now. It takes a lot of courage to do what he's doing. I'm at peace with what he's doing." (

Like most straight parents of LGBT children, Esther found the news came as a "shock.  It's hard to wrap your head around it." Bruce wanted his mother to know about his identity and realized that she might find out first through the press.

He told her, perhaps to soften the blow (?) as many LGBT kids feel they are disappointing their parents, "Mom, I'm still the same person.  I'm still going to race cars, I'm still going to fly airplanes, and I'm going to get my helicopter's license."

A Straight Mother's Unconditional Love

Bruce is fortunate that his mother is so loving.  She will cushion the blow that the President of the International Transgender Certification Association, gender therapist Carol Clark, feels is inevitable. "Someone like Bruce Jenner is going to have a lot thrown at him.  Some people will support him, but even some people in the transgender community may criticize him.  "Whether he likes it or not, he is going to be the face of this issue, and there will be a lot of drama around it."

As it has been proven with studies of gay children who are not accepted by their parents, LGBT children are at higher risk for substance abuse, depression, even suicide. His mother's acceptance will give him strength to stand up to his critics.  


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Try to be the Fairest of Them All

We are well into the school year. This means that along with the 3 R’s, parents and school officials are seeing bullies. In fact, According to 2011 data from The Institute of Education Sciences (http://mces/ed/gpv/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719, nearly one-third of middle and high school students report being bullied and cyberbullied.

“It’s Him, Not Me!”

Nobody thinks that their child is a bully. It’s always someone else’s child who is calling other kids hurtful names.

Like Parent, Like Child

Hate and behavior begin at home.  While it may seem incongruous that a lesbian or gay child would bully others, sometimes they do, particularly if they are in the closet, and want to thwart a bully from targeting them. For whatever reason, you don’t want your child to be a bully or be bullied for that matter.

Here are some ways you can lessen the likelihood of your child being a bully:
Be a Good Example

Make sure your own actions are friendly, compassionate and courteous.  If you do slip up, be sure to admit your mistake and point out to your kids how you could have reacted differently.
Mirror the behavior you seek.  Don’t act like a bully yourself.  Do you yell a lot or use verbal threats?  Do you try to manipulate your child with physical violence?  Avoid nagging, threats, and bribery.  Those anti-social behaviors have no boundaries and will follow your child to school and other haunts.
Does your child act like a  2 year-old?  Me, me, me!  Does he/she throw a fit? Threaten? Is uncooperative and mean to siblings?  Is he controlling?  Do you throw “hissy fits?”
Criticize his behavior, not him. Don’t be afraid to discipline. Children need to know that if they violate the rules, there will be consequences. It’s important to squelch bullying behaviors the moment they appear instead of writing them off as a “stage” or “normal part of childhood.”
How do you react to your friends?  Do you hold “grudges,” try to seek revenge when you feel you’ve been wronged? Do you curse at other drivers? Slam the phone down on advertising sales people? Are you curt to waiters?

Talk to Your Child About the Effects of Bullying

How does your child talk about others? Does he/she call them “lame,” “gay?” Does he/she make fun of them or gossip?  Does he hang out with a group you don’t believe are nice and respectful of others? Explain how labels hurt feelings!  Encourage empathy for people who are “different.”
What do bullying behaviors look like? These behaviors will not be tolerated in the family!
Make sure your kids know that bullying is hurtful.
Have the Talk About Cyberbullying
Talk to your child about not becoming a cyberbully herself.  Let her know that comments and posts, even offhand ones, can make people feel bad.
Emphasize to your child that she will become part of the bullying if she passes on hurtful comments or laughs at or talks about the victim.
If your child is a bully, you can help teach them other ways to feel powerful.  Give plenty of opportunities to be competent and valued and send a clear, consistent message that picking on people in any way is absolutely not right.  Let the child tell you what should be the consequences if people are hurt and listen enough to hear whatever need in their life they are filling with being a bully.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fashion Then And Now...

Despite the fact that I grew up in a house with Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily, I looked like a “Glamour Don’t.” “You always have the wrong shoes,” said my oldest sister.  But because of my mother, who was creative with a needle and thread, but was otherwise staid, I followed fashion, and still do.

So, it was with interest that I looked at the pictures from the Paris fashion shows last week in The New York Times, January 29, 2015,  and was intrigued by the headline “Fluidity in the Idea of Gender.” Rick Owens had models with tunics that could have been for either sex, but just in case, you were wondering, he stuck a keyhole next to the model’s privates.

Recently, Miucci Prada recently showed clothes neither feminine or masculine on both men and women. Co-designer for Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, stated that “if you can change aesthetic values, you can change the values of society.”

It’s Tough To Be Pigeonhold

The idea that sexuality is fluid, of course, dates back to Alfred Kinsey who says sexual orientation is a continuum and even further to Freud who says we’re all born bisexual.  More recently, Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Professor of Clinical and Developmental Psychology at Cornell University and author of The New Gay Teenager, 2005, says that most of the teens he interviews don’t like being labelled. “These new teens know they’re not totally straight, and they don’t want to be. Most are okay with it.  Some are thrilled with their sexuality, but don’t see why they must therefore label themselves as gay.  Yes, they are sexually attracted to other girls or other boys, perhaps ever so slightly. Maybe their feelings are romantic, but not sexual, or sexual, but not romantic.  That’s not bad. It’s natural. It gives them an edge, a certain mystery.  It sets them off from their peers-and from us adults.”

Last summer, I went to a 70’s party which included 70’s disco and 70’s food.  For an evening, I dressed as Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, complete with wire-rimmed glasses, pantaloons, tie, vest, man’s shirt, and fedora with pilgrim- type shoes. No make up was visible. “ La-di-da,” as Diane would say. Following Rick Owens’s aesthetics,  I didn’t look feminine or masculine.  My sexual orientation could have been questionable to strangers. But sometimes, it’s fun to look “fluid,” as the designers know.