Watch out for the Homo-sexuals

When I told my mom I was going to see AIDS: It’s In Our Blood in Gay City, my mom gave me some sage advice: “Just be careful– there might be homo-sexuals there.”

Her concern was valid: there almost certainly would be homosexuals in Gay City. The good news is, my mom has long-ago accepted that she has a transgender, pansexual (or something along those lines) son, and was 100% kidding.

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“Arg, thar be homosexuals!     …Awesome.”

 

I just wanted to write a lil’ somthing to appreciate the parents who DON’T hate or abuse their children over gender or sexual orientation (which, by the way, their children have no control over). My parents weren’t thrilled when I told them I was a guy, but after many tough discussions and some long-ish bouts of NOT talking, we’re closer than ever. Intimacy is always aided by authenticity, and them relating to me as their daughter just…wasn’t working.

I was lucky, though. I’m not saying it was ‘easy,’ per say, but I felt like I could come out to them, and throughout the whole process I always knew there was a fair amount of hope.

A lot of queer people start of from a very different place with their parents, friends, and general community. I am a big advocate for self-care, which includes making the tough decisions to not interact with people who don’t support you, even your biological family. Sometimes taking some time apart from them (if you have that opportunity) can provide some much-needed perspective for both parties.

A lot of the queer people I know deeply treasure their “chosen family,” usually consisting of more queer people who they don’t have to constantly explain themselves to and correct pronouns like a skipping record.

I’ve always loved that the word queer means ‘odd,’ but there’s absolutely nothing odd about being authentic, choosing your community, or choosing love.

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“Dying for Acceptance” Article

This is [most of] an article from Psychology Today, written by John G. Taylor. It was posted in 2013, but concerns issues we’re absolutely still facing today.

See the full article HERE.

“Dying for Acceptance: Suicide Rates in the LGBTQ Community

When disclosing the truth of your reality exposes the harshness of others.

Often times in our lives we find ourselves wondering: “Who am I and what would happen if people knew the real me? Would they leave me, stop being my friend, or would they embrace me and accept me as I am?” These are the million-dollar questions that are plaguing the lives of so many people in America, and even across the world, today. The reality is that people may not accept you. So do you hide yourself. Do you commit suicide, run away from home, turn to drugs and alcohol to cope? Or do you say I don’t care it’s my life and I’m going to live my best life.

Source:

As a therapist, these thoughts represent many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults that I have counseled as well as those that are living in our communities. I decided to write this article because of the alarming rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth and adults—all because they aren’t being accepted for who they are. This topic is considered by some as controversial and negative. It’s pressing up against the definition of marriage, it’s finding itself wrestled in our politics, and it has made its presence known in our legal system and our military. There is also a group of people that feels it shouldn’t be discussed, that we should just ignore it. These conversations happen every day in our churches, communities, homes, political arenas, and schools.

But the reality is that there are LGBTQ youth and adults filling up our schools, teaching our children, playing on our favorite football or basketball teams, providing security for our cities, serving our food, and cutting our hair. The fact is that the LGBTQ community is everywhere.

I’ve heard story after story from parents about the difficulty of understanding that a son or daughter is gay or lesbian. In equal numbers, I’ve also heard from youth and adults about their difficulty in disclosing their sexual orientation to their parents and friends because they fear being ridiculed, abandoned, judged, hated and isolated. This difficulty has led many to take their own lives. The statistics are:

● 5,000 LGBTQ youth now take their lives each year with the number believed to be significantly higher if deliberate auto accidents and other precipitated events are counted.

● 500,000 LGBTQ youth attempt suicide every year.

● Homosexual and bisexual junior high and high school boys are seven times more likely than heterosexual boys to report suicide attempts.

● Lesbians are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than heterosexual women.

● A majority of the suicide attempts by homosexuals take place at age 20 or younger with nearly one-third occurring before age 17.

● Gay male, lesbian, and transsexual youth make up about 25 percent of the homeless living on the streets in this country.

The LGBTQ youth and adults often talk about the judgment, hatred, insults, negative comments, and violence that are part of their daily lives. This daily abuse may result in youth and adults experiencing mental health problems such as: depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), agoraphobia (fear of being outside of the home), dissociative disorder, eating disorderspersonality disorderssleep disorders and adjustment disorders. Some also experience drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, and self hatred.

There have been many horrific stories in the media about LGBTQ youth and adults who commit suicide because they were being harassed. In New York: A 26-year-olde black youth took his own life and wrote on his Facebook page the day he committed suicide: “I could not bear the burden of living as a gay man of color in a world grown cold and hateful towards those of us who live and love differently than the so-called social mainstream”.

Another story is Tyler Clementi’s, a student from Rutgers University who jumped off a bridge after being videotaped by his roommate while having a sexual encounter with a man. And there are more stories such as that of a 13-year-old student who shot himself in the head after being teased and harassed at school.

I recount these stories to show that these were real people that had real lives and because they were not accepted or feared being rejected, they decided to end their lives.”

EXT. NEVERLAND JUNGLE – DAY

In the spirit of transparency, I’m posting my latest draft of Act One of the Pilot of The Gay Adventures. 

Go to the Pilot Episode page, or click here to read it: Pilot – The Gay Adventures (Act One)

I know it’s not perfect, but I had a lot of fun writing it. If you’re familiar with the book, look out for bits n’ pieces from that! I hope I didn’t disrespect the ghost of JM Barrie by trying to emulate his style. Please forgive me, James.

Complete Honesty!!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t know what I’m doing. Now I’m going to get a little more real:

I’m a huge introvert, and part of that means that it’s really hard for me to post things online, especially something which seems self-serving (like promoting a TV project). I’m afraid that everyone will hate me and think my writing is terrible, and believe it or not, that doesn’t sound appealing.

So why do I have a website? Well, because I really love writing, I really, really love this project, and I really want to make something happen with this if at all possible. But I’m still learning how.

So here’s what I’m planning to do: Share my writing process and what I’m working on BEFORE IT’S PERFECT. I guess that’s necessary, because nothing is ever perfect. But I want so badly to be perfect, (not unlike Captain Hook).

Long story short, I won’t ever feel like what I do is good enough, so I might as well share my “shitty first drafts,” and even my shitty second drafts!

I want to invite you into my process, rather than focus on product. It may be slow going, because it’s not really in my nature to post what feels very private. But it’s also really important to me to share, because I do want to make something of this, and at the moment I feel very isolated.

I’m trying to find a community of writers, as well as connect more with the queer community, and—of course—queer writers.

With that in mind, here’s something I’ve been working on:

As a queer person, it’s not unusual to have struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts. I certainly have. Because of that, I have what I like to call an “intimate relationship” with Death. We’re on speaking terms. A first-name basis.  We sometimes meet for tea and scones. Conversing with Death

I’ve always thought that death is something not to be afraid of, but to be curious about. Death is a very curious thing, and something we will never understand fully.

To make sure I’m not confusing anyone, within The Gay Adventures, Neverland is a type of purgatory, full of queer people who have murdered or committed suicide.

I know, I know…it sounds cliché. Ever since Lost, it’s been a big trend to have the super-mega-twist be “And they were dead the whole time!” It’s become so common that it’s not surprising anymore. Parks & Rec could very well have ended that way.

But for the story I want to tell, and how I want to tell it, it actually makes sense for them to have been dead the whole time. So I’m not going to change that plot point. I will, however, change HOW the story is told.

First off, it’s a comedy instead of a drama. A comedy which takes death seriously, but doesn’t take humans too seriously.

Second, within the first few episodes the audience will probably pick up on the fact that they’re dead. It’s never going to be a secret (or “What a twist!”). What will make the show interesting to watch is the character arcs and relationships, as well as the unique perspective of observing the behavior of someone you know is dead, but who himself is unaware of that fact.

One of the topics that fascinates me within the show is: what happens when the characters inevitably suspect and later realize they’re dead? How did they react? What do they do? How do their priorities change? Does it immobilize or motivate them?

This, of course, got me thinking about what might do if I suddenly noticed I was dead.

I started writing an intimate scene between Hook and Smee, after they know they’re dead. I don’t mean intimate in a romantic or sexual way, I mean intimate in an emotionally exposed way. What’s more intimate than being honest with someone, especially concerning the things you fear? And no one’s better at being afraid than Captain Hook.

A scene like this would not happen until much later in the series:

EXT. PIRATE SHIP DECK – DAY

The sun sets on the horizon. Hook stands, straight-backed, watching the sun disappear. Smee approaches, and stands by his side.

HOOK: I’m afraid, Smee.

SMEE: Afraid of what, Captain?

HOOK: And if there’s nothing? Nothing at all?

SMEE: What do you mean, Captain?

HOOK: After this? Suppose we just go to sleep and then…nothing? Only darkness.

Smee comes to Hook and puts a hand on his shoulder. Hook doesn’t move away.

SMEE: I don’t think it’ll be so bad, Captain. Look what you got the first time.

HOOK: What did I get, Smee?

SMEE: Sandy beaches! Beautiful sunsets! (then) Me.

HOOK: No, Smee. I got mildew. Pythons. Just more uncertainty.

SMEE: Think of it this way, Captain: if what comes to you after your after-death is nothing, there will be no more uncertainty.

Brief silence.

HOOK: No more uncertainty…

***

Within the series, I’m not, nor will I ever be trying to provide answers. What I will be supplying are questions and wonderings, because I have a lot of those.

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Betwixt-and-Between

JM Barrie described Peter as a “betwixt-and-between”…not quite a bird and not quite a boy.

As of yesterday, it occurred to me that this description also makes a nice gender identity.

However, I don’t subscribe to the belief that there is merely ‘male’ and ‘female’ at two extremes. So when I say betwixt-and-between, in my mind I’m seeing layers and folds and colors and a variety of dimensions. As opposed to:

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Between doesn’t have to mean between two. Why do humans tend to view complex topics like gender, politics and morality this way? Even cats and dogs, soft and hard, red and green, should not be done the disservice of being viewed simply as “opposites.”

So celebrate your betwixt-ness with me!

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P.S. The quote “betwixt-and-between” is not from Peter & Wendy but from The Little White Bird, the first time Peter appeared in print.

asdfsIn the book, Peter is confused why he doesn’t seem to be like the other birds. He’s an “awkward shape.” Naturally, this strikes a cord with me, having grown up feeling very  awkward in my own body and not understanding how others could have a body they felt so free in.

I think there’s a lot of power to be found in reinterpreting the classics in a way which empowers those who have been underrepresented for so long.

A lot of people complain about queer people “reading too much into” straight relationships in books, movies, and TV. I think all that means is that we’re HUNGRY. Hungry for characters who are legitimately written with our experiences in mind, not characters which we have to tilt our heads sideways and squint to say “I can see myself.”

We’re so hungry that we’re willing to ship characters played by sexist and homophobic actors just so we can pretend we have representation.

Obviously, there are queer characters on TV. Many more than there used to be. But, unfortunately, they are still betwixt-and-far-between.

 

Good Morning, You Are a Racist :)

I am white. If you are also white, this post is for you.

You might be one of those white people who knows that you’re racist. Or you might be one of those white people who desperately doesn’t want to be racist, and loudly insists that you aren’t. You’re the “good kind” of white person.

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But I’m here to tell you that you, indeed, are racist. And yet, in a complex way, (admitting to) this fact is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.

But wait a minute…

How could I possibly know you’re racist if I’ve never met you??? I am judging you so unfairly without knowing your personal experience or getting to know you! If anyone’s being judgmental it’s ME, right?? Well, yes, but I’m also being logical.

I’m NOT saying that you’re racist, therefore you’re evil. There’s a big different between conscious and unconscious racism, and liberal or “good” white people are far more often guilty of the latter.

What I AM saying is that if you were raised and socialized in a racist society you have internalized racist messages and racial prejudices which affect your thoughts, speech, and actions whether you know it or not.

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This is a false representation of how the world currently works, which, instead of moving us toward equality causes complacency

You did not have control over this. What you DO have control over is what you do now: do you plug your ears and hum because you’re scared of your own shadow, or do you begin the slow and painful process of unearthing your internalized prejudice, having difficult conversations which make everyone uncomfortable, and pathetically try to be a better human being and help the world?

Hmm. I know one of those options looks a whole lot harder, but stay with me:

Being the “non-racist white person” is not only a crutch (and a false one) but it’s an active HINDRANCE when it comes to dismantling racism.

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If you refuse to acknowledge what is there, you’re free to pretend there isn’t a problem and continue on with your biases nicely intact. What’s more, you’re far less likely to enter into a real conversation about race because you’re so afraid of how you’ll be perceived.

And so, I humbly ask you to stand and say with me, “I, ___________, am a racist. Because how could I not be? I grew up literally surrounded by racist messages, no matter who my parents were, no matter what neighborhood I grew up in, no matter who my friends were, no matter what media I consumed. It was always there. And now that I am willing to admit it I can begin to notice, question, and uproot my subconscious and unconscious racism and actively engage against racism instead of burring my head in the sand so I can feel good about myself.”

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Ok, now say that 10 times fast.