Monday, September 19, 2016

What is Bisexual Awareness Week? Why Have It?



September 19-26  is Bisexual Awareness Week, first celebrated in 1999.  Friday, September 23rd is Bisexuality Day started by three U.S. bisexual rights activists: Wendy Curry of New Hampshire and President of BiNet USA, an American National bisexual civil rights organization, Michael Page of Florida and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas.

Recognized in the United States as well as other countries, it is celebrated with teach-ins, poetry readings, concerts, festivals, parties, and picnics, under the umbrella of a multi-color flag:  pink to signify same-sex attraction, blue for opposite attraction, and purple for attraction to both sexes. Bisexual Awareness Week targets attention to the public policy priorities of bisexual people and celebrates resiliency of the bisexual culture and community. Bi people and their allies learn about history, culture, community,

Bring Attention to a Silent Invisible Group

Co-founded by GLAAD, a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media, Bisexual Awareness Week aims to accelerate acceptance of the bi community. This community makes up more than fifty percent of the LGBT community that perceives “bis” as either straight or gay.  Yet, only a third of bisexuals are out.

Bisexuals are misunderstood.  They are accused of “sitting on the fence,” unable to decide which sex they are attracted to.  They are called promiscuous, “greedy” for sex in a world that wants them to decide on one gender.

But bisexual is a legitimate term; it is sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical or romantic attraction to males and females, especially with regard to men and women.  It’s not just a choice of Hollywood movie stars.

Why We Need Bisexual Awareness Week

Did you know that:

Bisexuals have a disproportionate levels of suicide, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
Bisexual women have a 46% chance of being raped as opposed to 17% of straight women and   13% of lesbians.
Bisexual women have higher rates of sexual assault, intimate partner abuse and stalking. http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2015/9/21/here's-why-we-need-bisexual-awareness-week

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Guilty By Association

Gay Bachelor On Reality TV Show Fired From Job

I never liked Reality TV much.  Not my generation, I guess.  However, when our son watched Jersey Shore, I would occasionally watch as I thought Snooki had a good sense of humor.  I showed a passing interest in Heather Dubrow of The Real Housewives of Orange County.  Not only did she have FOUR children, but hailed from Chappaqua, New York, where we raised a family for twenty-five years.

My favorite reality celebrity, whom I would actually sit an entire show for, was Big Ang who unfortunately died of cancer this year. The star of Mob Wives, Big Ang, with her enormous breasts, lips, and gravelly voice, was highly entertaining.  I miss her!

Finding Prince Charming

Last week, LOGO launched a new reality show called Finding Prince Charming. I thought it would be entertaining and have “eye candy”, if nothing else.  There was little else.

The premise of the show was that thirteen gay suitors would arrive at a mansion where they all would stay to meet Prince Charming.  Think of it as the Gay Bachelor. An interior designer in Atlanta,  Robert Sepulveda, Jr. is the Prince, but disguises himself so he can to know the thirteen contestants better.

They are all tested when they play Truth or Dare, are challenged to create a three-word hashtag to describe themselves.  Sepulveda later reveals himself to the thirteen contestants.  Later, sitting on the edge of the pool, Robert removed his shirt, exposing his six-pack abs  as the aspirants anxiously awaited to lust after his semi-nude body.    B-o-o-r-i-n-g!

High Drama AFTER Show

The show never washed over me.  But the drama that ensued afterwards I found typical of the prejudice that still goes on against gays. Contestant Aaron S., aka Chad, whose hashtag is #flexible, was fired from his job at Michael Graves Team at the Douglas Elliman real estate firm because of his identification with Prince Charming.

Turns out that Prince Charming was a commoner and a former male escort.  Although the show knew this fact beforehand, and vetted Sepulveda , Sepulveda thought it would never be brought up. 

“Chad”, who is a real-estate agent in New York City, tweeted that he was “fired without notice because of liability of my TV venture.”  He claims that his boss knew he was going to be on gay dating show.

Not many jobs would be able to fire you because of your association with a team member who had a nefarious past, but this does happen if you’re LGBT like Chad.

Discrimination

Truth is that you can still get fired from your job for being gay or transgender in twenty-eight states( March 2016).  Religious exemption statues prevent total equality as the LGBT population is turned away from bakers and florists.  Title VII non-discrimination protections apply only to employers of at least fifteen people. It’s complicated!


Reality TV may not seem like the real world sometimes, but what happens when you’re LGBT, is.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH



What is It?

Suicide Prevention Month helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention. National Suicide Day is September 10th and is intended for the public to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicide ideation (thinking about suicide and actually constructing a plan for it) to treatment and resources to prevent them from killing themselves.

NEW SELF-EVALUATION AND REFERRALS ON PHONE APP

On September 10th, there will be a suicide prevention telephone app. introduced.  It will have a step-by-step suicide screening measure that will determine your risk level. After your risk level is determined, it will have a guided response plan that will lead you to geolocation services.  These services will help locate the closest local resources and linkage to a 24/7 crisis hotline and text platforms.  It will have a fully integrated safety plan too.

FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE

Suicide is the third largest cause of death among young people according to NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness.  (4.6% of overall U.S. population has reported a suicide attempt.) According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and numerous studies, LGBT youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than do heterosexual youth. In fact, between 10% and 20% of LGBT youth have attempted suicide.  The suicide rate for transgenders is even higher (41%).

Associate Professor of Medical Sciences at N.W. University’s Feinberg School of Medicine Brian Mustanski did a survey of 246 Chicago-area sexual minority youths, ages 16 to 20 over a two-and-a-half year period.  The youths were interviewed at five time points, six months apart.
His research study, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that respondents who experienced rejection by their family (e.g. family chose not to speak or spend time with them) and friends, or discrimination, victimization or violence had elevated prevalence of suicide attempts. Support from family and friends offer the most protection in preventing youths from thinking about suicide.

WHY LGBT PERSONS CONSIDER SUICIDE

The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, did a Suicide Report.  It was a National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality.  Released in PDF on January, 2014, the survey was spearheaded by Ann P. Haas, Ph.D., American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Its findings include:
Discrimination, victimization or violence had elevated prevalence of suicide attempts.
57% of those with suicide attempts had families who chose not to speak/spend time with them.
50% -54% of those surveyed were harassed or bullied at school.
59% experienced discrimination or harassment.
60% were refused medical care by doctor or health care provider.
64% suffered physical or sexual violence at work.
63%-78% experienced harassment or physical violence at school.
69% experienced homelessness.
57%-61% were disrespected or harassed by law enforcement officers.
60-70% suffered physical or sexual violence by law enforcement officers.

What Parents Can Do

While you can’t control everything in your child’s life, you can control the love and respect you give your LGBT child.  You can also look for signs of depression such as: loss of appetite and/or weight loss without trying to do so, inability to fall asleep for at least a week, feelings of extreme hopelessness and a sense of doom, inability to concentrate on work or family duties, feeling down or sad all the time, no longer finding enjoyment in things or activities that you previously enjoyed, thoughts of wishing you were dead and/or actual ideas of wanting to harm yourself and feeling consumed by intense worry or concern that bad things are going to happen to you or your family.

and get referrals for treatment.  Know the suicide hotline numbers such as TREVOR Hotline: a 24-hr., toll-free, and confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth: http://www.thetrevorproject.org.  1-866-488-7386.
 
Take measures to ensure that your child is being bullied at school and have them ignore cyberbullies.

Take a Stigma-Free Pledge on NAMI’s website: http://www.nami-org/Get-Involved/Raise-Awareness/stigmaFree-Pledge