Where The Wild Heart Roams

So, I was having a moment of writer’s block and unsure what topic I wanted to cover next, it is still a good month before Pride season starts and didn’t want to burn that out before then. A new friend of mine suggested I write about her and her lifestyle, never wanting to turn down a chance to write about someone from the Cleveland area, I was a bit intrigued. When she shared with me her story, I admit I was a little hesitant. After all, this is something I only have passing knowledge of and isn’t specific to the LGBT people. Since I am more about capturing stories of the counter and subcultures of the area, I call home, I said why not. Let’s try it and see what we can do with it.

So, we are talking about furries and if you are like me, most of us only have a cursory knowledge of this subculture. We have seen them at Comic-cons, on TV shows, and have heard or even watched furry porn on PornHub. *No judgments here* But do any of us truly understand who they are and what they are about? It’s much easier to just go with what little information that we have about them. Thanks to the above-mentioned friend, I started doing some research into them and will share her story later. Let’s get a little groundwork out of the way first, shall we? The furry subculture is represented by anthropomorphized animal characters. That boils down to giving human qualities to animals. They are people who dress up in some form of a fur suit and become animals with human intelligence and facial expressions. From just wearing a tail and maybe ears to a fully formed animal suit that looks like the fursona. What is a fursona, you ask? Essentially, it is the personality of the animal that you are portraying, name, emotions, appearance, and behaviors of that animal.

Fred Patten, furry fandom historian, says that furries were born at a science fiction convention in 1980. A drawing from Steve Gallacci’s Albedo Anthropomorphicsstarted a conversation about anthropomorphic characters in science fiction. This evolved to groups meeting at sci-fi and comic- cons and progressed into fury suits paying homage to those characters. Though there are many who feel that this started much earlier thanks to works like (1973) Disney’s Robin Hood, Kimba, (1965) The White Lion, and (1972) Watership Down, this would date its origins to much earlier. The 1980s gave rise to the first furry fanzines and by 1989 there had been enough interest generated that allowed for the first furry convention to be held. This convention was called Confurence 0 and was held in Costa Mesa, California. The 1990s brought with it access to the internet and suddenly furry fans from all over were able to meet and discuss their love for all things furry. The first newsgroup for furries was created in 1990 called alt.fan.furry and later lead to the virtual environments called MUCKs.

When I first started to write about furries, I went under the impression that it wasn’t specifically tied to LGBT people. It is interesting to note that 1.8% of the US population self-identify as bisexual and 1.7% self-identify as homosexual, according to a 2011 study from UCLA. In furry fandom, by contrast, four surveys show that 14-25% identify as homosexual, 37-52% identify as bisexual, 28-51% as heterosexual, and 3-8% identify as alternative sexual relationships. It is reports that it is predominately male-oriented, with reports being roughly 80%. With these same surveys, approximately half identify as being in relationships with 76% of those being other furries. Sexual aspect of the fandom revolves around furry erotic art and cybersex. The term YIFF is often times referred to sexual activity or material, in the fandom. These same surveys are shown to report that roughly 94% of the male respondents have watched furry porn, while roughly 79% of the female respondents watch it .The media does tend to focus on the sexual aspects of being a furry more than those who do not engage in it.

Many furries agree that the community has been misunderstood and it is not about sex. According to an article on CNN.com posted on November 14, 2018, the furry community is largely annoyed about how they are portrayed in mainstream media. Most feel that the depictions of sex fueled parties of people in furry costumes is an unfair depiction. Most feel that it is about letting out a side of them that is often times held down by their day today. These same people want you to know that it is not all about wearing the fur costume. Rod Stansfield says that “If you honestly believe that furry fandom is about costuming, then you’ve missed the point, saying furry fandom is about wearing fur suits is like saying ‘Star Trek’ fandom is about wearing pointy ears.” Stansfield is the co-founder of Confurence and, himself, doesn’t own a fursuit. The median often depicts the bright colorful costumes as the standard for the furry fandom. Pocari Roo , Barton Fox, and Stormi Folf are some of the best known furries who host YouTube channels devoted to discussing furonas, affordable suits, and general knowledge of what it means to be a furry.

Furries are more than just dressing up in fursuits, though that is a big part of it and those are called fursuiters. There are conventions, dance events, and more. The growth of the community has even gotten to the world of academia. There are continuing research projects at furscience.com that tracks attitudes and backgrounds of the furry community. They have even developed their own terminology:

Greymuzzle – older member of the furry community

Bronies – a subset of the furry community that are fans of the My Little Pony franchise.

Therian – someone who feels an intense spiritual identification with a nonhuman animal.

Babyfur – someone interested in age play, young, or childlike characters

Milfurs – furries who are or were members of the military.

A large percent of the furry community are gamers (video, board, and computer), into anime, science fiction, and fantasy. There are bars that host furry parties and yes there is even talk of the new LGBT inclusive bar, All Ax’s in Willoughby, have a furry/cosplay night.

As within the LGBT community, many of the members of the furry community come from a bullied background. In essence, their fursona allows them to detach from their reality to one which they control how they feel and interact with others. It mirrors a lot of the kink subcultures, as well. It is a means of healing the psyche, a way to compartmentalize their pain. It becomes a means to heal the trauma they have in their lives. It allows them to retake control from a life where they may feel they do not have the needed control. It is also a means to step away from who you are and express a side of you that may not be as easy to show. The furry world is without boundaries, in it any creature can exist as long as the mind can create it. What that character is like strongly depends on the person that is part of it. It can personify the best qualities of who we are or the more repressed. As there are few boundaries, furries, in part, are more accepting that their human counterparts. As such, it becomes a place that many feel they truly belong and have no fears of judgement.

Many times, our perceptions are clouded by the notions of others. Media can shape our views before we have a chance to learn about it. It is a safe bet, that for many, furries fit into that prejudged mold. Since many hide who they are from those they do not trust, you may never know that someone is a furry. We are all people and have the same driving need to belong and feel safe. This transcends sexuality, gender identity, and subculture. It is a basic human need and if not given can create negative behaviors in a person. It is as essential as the need for touch and love. Point is, don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their fursuit. Inside each of us beats a heart that is wild and wishes to roam with those just like us.

Kink and the Open Road

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Over the last couple weeks, I have talked about various styles of kink and how it relates to people. Degrees of it vary as much as does people themselves. It can range from being an integral part of your daily life or used to just heighten an experience. Some are more suited to solo play, whereas others are imperative that you have someone else along for the ride. Kink is about the person more than the act, to see how it relates to people I have asked questions of one couple that is in the kink lifestyle and one single person. They will discuss their limits and may even share what gets them going. This will be done in a judgement free zone and only related to you how it was given to me, with a few minor changes for ease of reading. All names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Meet Thomas, a 32-year-old man from Ohio. Thomas identifies as sexually fluid and more about being open to the situation, as opposed to being locked into one type of kink. Being sexually fluid, he cares more for the quality of the person as opposed to their gender. As fitting with many aboriginal cultures, a person can be made up of more than on gender and therefore to limit your experiences with others is a way of going against the nature of things. As such, his sexual life is as open to new horizons, as well.

When did you first know you were into your preferences? I had always had interest in the “abnormal” things that people do. However, I was able to experience it more when I was in my early 20’s

What does kink mean to you?Kink is anything that is considered out of the norm. Although everything can be included in kink.

Do many people know about your kink side?I don’t embellish much about my life to anyone.

Have you ever been a switch or the opposite of our current role? I don’t have a current role that limits me.

What types of kink do you engage in?I used to think I leaned towards the Leather fetish, the more I find out and hang with different people/crowds the more I learn that I don’t have a singular place.

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What are some common misconceptions you have received or heard about kink lifestyle? Kink shaming is the biggest thing that anyone could and does deal with. We are always so judgmental on what someone else is into that we forget that the things we may like may be weird or unusual to someone else. We shield ourselves from seeing that someone else’s “kink” is just as normal.

Do you identify as a dom or a sub? If neither, what is your word choice?I don’t see either because I haven’t explored that as much as I would like. I guess I would be somewhere in the middle due to liking aspects from both sides.

Do you have limits in the type of kink you would engage in? Why? I only limit myself to what I know already. I try to experience everything at least once before making a decision not to participate. Although, not participating doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it.

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Do you engage in group sex or multiple partners? If so, do your kink preferences come up?I have before. Kink, again, isn’t something that I have discussed much, unless it was a primary thing we talked about prior or have interest in.

Do you use safe words? If so, are there more than one? What do you use?There is always a need for someone to allow others to know when you need them to do something. Whether it is a stop word or for them to know that just because you make a certain sound or noise doesn’t mean you aren’t enjoying it, or you want them to stop.

Has anyone ever went over your limits? If so, how did you regain control?I like to plan beforehand and make it known what my limitations are. If it has ever come to the point of reaching a limit, it is stopped and talked about before it goes over the edge.

Do you think your you kink lifestyle will lose its appeal later in life?I hope not. I like seeing the possibilities of new things. However, I have strayed away from what I liked and have wants of getting back to it.

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What Thomas shows us is that he believes his life isn’t limited by a set of rigid standards. He sees kink more of a road map to possibilities. A means to heighten experiences shared with others. Life often gets in the way and can change our experiences and even put them on hold. That doesn’t change how we feel about them. Thomas’s view about kink and his life isn’t different than what most people feel and shows how exploring our sexual natures can enhance who we are and introduce us to new experiences we haven’t felt before. After all, sex is about the experience and feelings it creates. Those feelings are heightened by the freedom of the act and how much you surrender to the other person. It comes back to the power dynamic, we already do it, on many levels, and don’t realize it.

As Thomas says, all things can be labeled as kink, it’s all about perspective. What is your perspective? How open minded are you? Where does your kink level lie? It only requires you to detach from your current perceptions and open your mind to the may experiences that are out there for us, as souls, to witness Choose your door wisely.

 

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What’s Old Is New Again

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So many times, things fall to the annals of history and seem to disappear, leave gaps in what once was. But with LGBTQ, many things that had become passé have come back around and fallen into favor, even if slightly changed. Then there are times that new things spontaneously come into creation and burn bright. Since I have been discussing fetish and its relation to our history, I thought this one fit right in there. I do not endorse and suggest any of these, only open up to you about what is out there. But, at the same time it is important to point out that any of these topics covered here or previously are not bad by nature alone.  It is for you to decide what is good and healthy and what is fun and arousing.

History is often repeated, but there are occasions where new things can be created from previous incarnations. Roleplay isn’t new to the kink scene, but it has taken on many variations over the many years and even has been escalated based on technology. One such variation is puppy play. Now, ok, I know you are going to say that there has always been a kink scene where people have acted like animals to a master before. They may anal plugs with animal styles tails to create the illusion, but as I said technology has allowed some to go to a whole new level. Puppy play is a healthy mix of BDSM, furry, and role playing. It became a rage in the gay scene in about 2015 and has really escalated since and moved over into the heterosexuals, as well.

So, let’s drill it down to some basics, keep in mind I do not partake in it, so this is an observational view. Puppy play is when one person takes on the role of a pup and the other takes on the role of a handler. The pup, literally, acts like his biological counterpart, while the trainer treats the pup as if he was training one. There are no requirements for special gear, if you choose not to, or can be as elaborate as you would like. Many pups start out with a tail (small anal plug with an outward curved in resembling a dog’s tail), a pup mask (a leather, usually, mask that covers the face and looks like a dog’s snout), and a leash. Some include a harness as well and even have a trainer that may collar them, at some point. After that, it is more about letting go of who you are and getting in touch with your inner animal side. Turning off the cares and concerns of your day to day and responding on instinct and what feels good. Some describe it as turning off your inner monologue, slipping out of who you are, and becoming your alter ego canine.

The key thing to remember here is that this type of play is not driven by sex, in fact there are many pup/trainer relationships that do not involve sex. In many of the same veins that Dom/Sub relationships go, it is about letting go and surrendering, to become vulnerable and open. Our society teaches us that those feelings are signs of weaknesses and so are not wanted. Many who view it from the outside pass a judgement on how silly it may look or weird to their view of normality. But let’s take a different look, how awesome would be to just be? Think about being with someone who actually knows your secrets and will never judge you. You have the ability to play and have fun, without worrying about what bills are due. The ability to have someone give you reassurance and be open enough with them to enjoy each other for the joys you feel with them. These are all things that pups and trainers say they experience. Want to see what it looks like? Check out the Leather Stallion tonight and tomorrow night (Mach 22 – 23, 2019) for the Ohio Pup & Trainer event.

Ok, this one falls in the outskirts of kink and only really fits it due the way having multiple sexual partners or group sex can be considered kink. And it is definitely one that was once really popular, fell by the wayside, and made a resurgence in gay male circles. If you haven’t guessed then let me clarify, we are talking about Gay Bathhouses. Public bathhouses date back into history and were common place in many cultures. Gay Bathhouses, a place where men congregated to engage in male to male sex date back, at least recorded, to the 16th century. First recorded in America was in New York in 1903 where police conducted the first ever raid on a gay bathhouse. They became vastly popular in America through the 1920s and 30s and probably hit their heyday in the 60s to early 80s. Many famous celebrities got their starts performing in bathhouses, and not sexually. Take Bette Midler, she was known as “Bathhouse Betty.” Her cabaret performances in the, then, Continental, in New York city is what gained her iconic status with the gay male population. During this time, she also had backup by pianist Barry Manilow.

During the 60s and 70s, they were fully licensed ran and owned gay establishments and where the quintessential place for gay men to go and be with other gay men, no judgements only carnal desires. Before I proceed, let me say that not all men who frequent bathhouses then and now are gay. This is where the kink can fall into it. There are many heterosexual and bisexual men who come here to throw off inhibitions and conduct in sex that is outside of their normal predilections. Bathhouses took a decline in the 80s as the HIV/AIDS epidemic continued to rise, exponentially. Safe sex practices in bathhouses were almost non-existent and since the disease was new enough that most people hadn’t heard of it, or when it was called GRID, if gave a means to spread quickly. Once “barebacking” and promiscuity were shown to be a large cause of the spread, many people left the bathhouses. As with most things, Gay men aren’t easily swayed from our habits.

The bathhouses of today are vastly different than those of the days of yore. Gone are the days of the many dark, cavernous buildings, many have switched to a high-end spa appearance. Modern amenities and memberships create an air of elegance in the trysts we chase. Take a look at Flex Spas, they have four locations in the United States. Here in Cleveland you can find Flex in the old Art Deco Greyhound building and boasts as being the largest private alternative men’s club in the world. You will find rooms have been decorated as extensively as high-end hotels, they gym/weight rooms are all the most up to date equipment, and the pool spa areas brightly lit take away the old day’s stigma of dark and dank sex clubs. Don’t let all the trendy decor and weight machines fool you, there are fully function playrooms to fill your wildest desires. Find someone you prefer to get a bit more one and one with, they do offer rooms, as well. This creates a modern day luxurious getaway that caters to your every desire. They even offer memberships for more frequent visits. It takes away the stigma of doing something that seems base and dirty and replaces it with a feeling of experiencing what makes you feel good.

Humans have this amazing ability to derive pleasure from so many sources. We can have lives where we can experience our own versions of best version of life and sexual satisfaction. The only true limits are respect, mutual consent, and our own comfort level. If you have the desire, explore your inner nature and see what you may be missing. At the very least, maintain an open mind about what others like and makes them who they are, remember it is their journey as much as it is yours. Above all other things, love yourself for who you are and without judgement. Lighten up, you may just have fun!

Christmas Movie Top 5

So, it’s the last week of the year and it’s also the week of Christmas, so it is time for an obligatory Top Five list. For me it’s going to be movie, you know because no one has ever done a Top Five movie list for Christmas.Krampus

 

5. Krampus (2015) – Well over all this movie is a hot mess. It’s a tale about, who else, Krampus. Krampus is a being from Eastern European mythology and a companion of Saint Nicholas. The theory is he is the being that punishes the bad children while St Nicholas rewards the good. The movie however was a tad bit disjointed. It reminded me more of Christmas Vacation meets the exorcist. Max, the son, has a bad run in with his cousins during a Christmas and accidentally conjures Krampus and the rest of the movie is spent with the family and neighborhood trying to survive Krampusnacht. Krampus has brought along his minions of devilish elves and possessed toys to help in harvesting the bad. The ending isn’t such a surprise, if you follow the myths and the movie. Overall, it’s a fun jaunt, if you take it at face value without expecting too much.

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4. Gremlins (1984) – Who hasn’t gotten the gift from hell that ended up causing more trouble that it was worth? That is essentially what happens in this movie. Enter Billy, the son of a half-hearted inventor, a bank teller in love with his town, family and girlfriend. His father gets his son special gift for Christmas, a mogwai, that requires special attention to be paid so disaster doesn’t ensure. Eating after midnight can be bad enough for a lot of this, for a mogwai it is disastrous. The town erupts in chaos but ends with a hopeful message.

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3. Scrooged (1988) –  This is probably the best version of the Charles Dickens classic. Bill Murray is incredible in most everything he does, and this is no different. He plays the Scrooge role as Frank Cross a television executive in charge of producing the network’s holiday special. With David Johansen and Carol Kane playing the parts of the Christmas Ghosts, the laughs are endless. Bill Murray is on point with his schtick and the laughs keep rolling. It’s a Christmas must for me.

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2. Die Hard (1988) – All he wanted to do was come to the coast, get together, and have a few laughs, what ensues is witty one liners and action packed over indulged bank robbery. Ok, so fine there is some contention about whether or not this is actually a Christmas movie and I hold to the fact that it is, at least for me. It takes place during Christmas, there are Christmas carols, Santa Claus, and all-around good cheer. Agree or not but it is Bruce Willis at his best. Enjoy it during Christmas or whenever.

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1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – What holiday isn’t perfect without Tim Burton and who hasn’t wanted a Halloween Christmas tree for Christmas, I know I have had one. Jack Skellington is only wanting to keep his holiday cheer all year round and feels that he could add a perfect spin to the snowy holiday. Can he change Christmas for the better? Will he notice the affections of a certain someone? It’s like a fun mashup of Krampusnacht and Christmas and it is a guaranteed good time. Start watching it at Halloween and finish the year with the Christmas perspective. This is my all-time favorite Christmas/Halloween movie.

Thanks for taking the time to share my favorite holiday movie list. These are the must haves for me each Christmas season. Do you agree with any of them or what are your favorite movies? Comment below and let me know. And have a Happy Holidays, kiddies.

 

Are You Thankful?

The holiday season is upon us and for me one of my more favorites of them is Thanksgiving. That being said, in a moment we will also discuss why I very much dislike this holiday. This is the one holiday where friends and family come together to share a meal. A time to take stock of what has transpired and what is to come. It is an invented holiday, but one that has some pretty awesome food to eat. So, bear with me while I share a bit with you.

As I mentioned, this is my favorite holiday and it is primarily due to the sharing of good food. Sitting down with those that are important in your life and partaking of food is an amazing experience. It gives you time to share your lives, appreciate the finer nuances of life, and slow down to appreciate the small details of a thing. One can argue about Christmas and the veritable boundless days of feasting, but it is also caught up too much in commercialism. Children are even taught to appreciate receiving gifts more than enjoying the closeness of the season. But that is not the point of this article.

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Thanksgiving was always a “family” holiday in my family. We would go to the various grandparents’ houses where each person usually brought some side dish or dessert with them.  It was a time to go to my Meemaw’s house and it was looked forward too because we knew the food was going to be amazing. And we would get to watch the parades on TV. Meemaw or her sister Recie would cook the turkey till it was just dripping with juices and surrounding it was their version of dressing. Never did they stuff the bird. The dressing was savory with bits of raisins and apples to give it just a touch of sweetness. She was also famous for her corn pudding. I still have her recipe, but never have I been able to make the consistency or taste she could whip up.

Recie was famous for her biscuits. She did small batches at a time and always cooked them in pie tins. Their kitchen had a woodstove that she always seemed to precisely know the temperature of. They would come out of the over, perfectly golden brown and seven at a time. Piping hot with a pat of butter and a slice of tomato and it was utter perfection. For anyone from European countries reading this and wondering why we made biscuits in pie tins, an American biscuit is more akin to a scone. However, we make them savory as opposed to sweet. Recie was also known, at least for me, for her green beans. Whether it be Blue Lakes, Half Runners, or snap beans they were also delicious. They would cook for hours with fatback, which gave them the perfect flavor. Sunday dinners and holidays, I always knew I could count on green beans and biscuits.

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My mother always made amazing sweet potato casserole, if you ask me, no one can cook sweet potatoes like southern cooks. My mother was the baker for holidays. Friends and family alike sought the confections she could put together out. There were a few she made during the holidays that I always waited for and I think my all time favorite was her Applesauce cake. When I went to college, it wasn’t often that I could afford to come home for Thanksgiving and my mother made it a little better with that holiday care package that had an Applesauce cake in it. This thing can literally last weeks. Every bite would transport me to my youth sitting around Meemaw’s kitchen table, eating dinner with the family.

Each of those women is responsible for me being able to cook today and I try to honor their memory by cooking dishes they did. Sometimes I am close and a great many others, I am simply left remembering amazing memories from my youth. Now that I live in the Cleveland area, I try to at least make one of the many dishes for my friends. More often than not it is the dressing and corn pudding. I have to admit, they are probably the hardest to pass up this time of year and sharing my family with them is pretty awesome, as well.

Thanksgiving is a created holiday, like I said. The actual idea and name came much later than the story that we were told in elementary school. We all remember it, how the cultured Pilgrims who came here to escape religious persecution invited the native savages to break bread in an act of friendship and solidarity and beginning of peaceful coexistence. Well just about all of it is a sham. First off, there was no last peace, as you can remember from history class. But specifically to that “famed” day, what he is taught is pretty different in every way from the truth. Pilgrims, themselves, were already outcasts. They wanted to overthrow the English government so they could practice their own beliefs. They left and came to this land as they outcasts they because and still thinking they were the “chosen ones.” This land was to be there “Holy Kingdom.” They waged war against anyone who didn’t agree with their purification interpretation of scripture. Even not opposed to using tactics like torture, war, and lies to achieve that end. They saw the native people as their divine right to make in their image.

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The Wampanoag were not the friendly tree hugging people that our history books make them out to be. They spent most of their time fighting for their lands and lives against the League of the Delaware or what would later be called the Iroquois Confederacy. They also had many meetings with white fisherman and slavers. Our “Indian hero” of the story, Squanto, had a very real love with a British explorer John Weymouth and he considered him a father. This all happened several years before the Pilgrims landed. Squanto was also the only educated and baptized Christians and as such, the Pilgrims saw him as a divine instrument they could use in converting the rest of his people.

At this point the native people held a much stronger advantage in the situation. They were familiar with the territory, knew how to plant crops that would grow in the soils there, where to hunt, and were much more stronger force than the few Pilgrims. In hopes of holding out for the greater force arriving in the next year, the Pilgrims tried to forge a peace with the Wampanoag. They called for a meeting with the motive of securing lands for the Pilgrim Plantation, under the guise of peace. The Wampanoag were people believed to never turn away people who asked for help with an outstretched hand probably brought most of the actual feast for this meeting.

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It was probably almost a generation later when the balance of power shifted and the King Philip’s War started and the very children of that feast were sat upon killing one another. This war decimated most of the New England natives and left them dead, refugees to Canada, or sold into slavery in the Carolinas. At this time the Puritans/Pilgrims had become fairly successful in the slave trade of native people. Not the peace loving, seeking our place to worship without fear of persecution types we were lead to believe in our school education.

There my kiddies, is a brief explanation of why I both love and dislike this holiday. What I hold onto is the sharing with family, a time to remember all past events that have gotten us to where we are now and be thankful for them. A time to look ahead and share in the very earthly delights of food and spirits. It’s the focus of small things that truly make living an ultimate experience. So slow down this holiday and eat, drink, and be merry. Enjoy the company and how it pairs with the amazing food you are eating.

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LGBTQ People That Have Shaped History

With this being National LGBTQ History Month, I also think it is important to celebrate the present. Our city, Cleveland, has had a few victories this year that definitely need celebrating. While we still have a fight ahead of us, acknowledging where we have made advances gives us strength to fight on. Share with me in this and know that each of you are a part of this.

All to often you can see lists of historical people that may have been LGBTQ and it is hard to know for certain how true that may be. There are many factors to consider such as what was culture like at the time, was this because there seemed to be an over familiar bond with a specific person, or was it a choice for purposes we don’t understand. When I think about LGBTQ people who have shaped our history, I prefer to look to the ones that were identifiable, as such. So here is a list of people I feel have truly shaped our history and moved us forward.

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Alan Turing.  For all of us that enjoy our phones for our apps, playing video games, wasting countless hours on Facebook, and playing with computers, be sure to thank Alan Turing. He is the father of modern computing. Turing also built the computer that broke the Nazi code in WWII. Turing also created the Turing test; if the name is unfamiliar you may have seen it in movies or books like I Robot or Ex Machina. It is designed to test artificial intelligence in relation to human intelligence. Turing hid his sexuality for most of his life due to homosexuality being illegal in British Government. He was arrested in 1952 and sentenced to chemical castration for meeting another male for sexual interactions. He later took his life by taking cyanide due to depression. Sadly, we will never know what else he may have created due to the loss of this genius.

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Barbara Gittings. Barbara, an out lesbian, started battling for LGBTQ rights at least a decade before the events of, the now famous, Stonewall. In 1958 she founded the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first Lesbian Political and Civil Rights Organization in America. Gittings is also credited for leading the movement that led to the changing of psychological and psychiatric views of homosexuality as a mental pathology. This was the groundwork that led to the 1973 American Psychiatric Association revoking the designation of homosexuality as a disorder.

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Christine Jorgenson. “EX GI BECOMES BLONDE BOMBSHELL: OPERATIONS TRANSFORMS BRONX YOUTH,” was the headline of New York’s Daily News.” This was how she came out as the first out transgendered woman. This was years before the term transsexual was replaced with transgender. Her beauty, elegance, intelligence, and style gave a new voice and opened up the view that gender was not only a binary state. Jorgenson knew at a very early age that she did not fit the typical male ideal. She grew up, went into the armed services and served her country know she was out of place. It wasn’t until after her term of service that she heard about the reassignment surgeries that were taking place in Europe. She started her first surgery in 1951, once completed she returned to the United States and shortly after the famous headline appeared. She had a career as an actress, nightclub entertainer, and had several song recordings. Her celebrity status gave her the perfect opportunity to be one of the first transgender advocates.

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The Wachowski’s. Okay, as a nerd, geek, fanboy, I hate to admit that I didn’t know this one. If you have watched Bound, the Matrix, V for Vendetta, or Cloud Atlas, then the Wachowski’s are the ones who have made those movies possible. They are also behind the acclaimed Netflix series Sense8. This trans woman sibling duo has been a huge influence on Hollywood. Rumors had spread since the early 2000s that there was a possible transition with Lana, but it wasn’t until 2008 that she officially came out as a trans woman, her sibling Lily would come out in 2016.

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Bayard Rustin. In the 1940s and 50s being black was a hard enough struggle in this country, but Rustin was also openly gay. He stood on the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights, working to shape the future. He is responsible for helping set up the 1963 March on Washington that lead the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Many in the movement openly disapproved of their sexual orientation and made it quite known. Later Dr. King would speak out against homosexuality calling it a mental illness and distanced himself from Rustin. In 2013, President Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work on Civil Rights. His long time partner Walter Naegle accepted the award on his behalf.

Gov. Kate Brown. “On the day that I was sworn in as Oregon’s 38th governor, I experienced what it’s like to be labeled – to have my first two decades of service eclipsed by a single phrase: ‘the nation’s first openly bisexual governor,’ a phrase that appeared after my name in virtually every headline worldwide.” She as also made Oregon the third state to ban so-called conversion therapy on minors.

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Rebecca Walker. Time named Walker as one of the most influential leaders of her generation. She is an author of several book about living outside of the boxes that society tries to force upon us. She wrote her first book at the age of 25 called “To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism.” She also wrote the book “On Big Happy Family” that talks about various aspects of modern love, such as: open adoption, mixed marriage, polyamory, and single motherhood. Walker is openly bisexual and the co-founder of The Third Wave Foundation, a feminist and activist foundation that works to support “the vision and voices of young women, transgender and gender nonconforming youth.”

When looking for role models, it is easy to see there are plenty for us to cast our eyes upon. Many who have made large steps forward in our struggle for equality. I personally tend to look for those who show strength of character and the tenacity to not be bound by standards of others. To look for modern influences as opposed to history where we are left on speculations of who they may have been. Also look to the future for the voices that are yet to come, they will be the new front line. Boxes are meant to be opened and boundaries are only limitations until we see we can reach far beyond them. Share in our history and let it push you to shape our future.

LGBTQ Myths

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In honor of it being National LGBTQ History Month I thought I would dedicate my blog to sharing coming out stories, facts and or questions about coming out, LGBTQ history tidbits, and things that are important but feel good at the same time. So, sit back, read, and as always let me know what you think. As this isn’t my personal post but from another website, I apologize for the lack of inclusion. Their website does have great information, just wasn’t much in the way of inclusion in this post.

Myths and Facts about Sexual Orientation in Identity

There are lots of myths about sexual orientations and what they all mean – we clear the misconceptions up and give you the facts about what different sexualities mean. Republished with the permission of LGBT Youth Scotland. https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is just a phase.

Fact: Lots of people do experiment with their sexuality, but for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, being attracted to the same gender or both genders all their life is no different to straight people being attracted to the opposite sex.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is a choice/lifestyle.

Fact: People do not choose who they are attracted to, whether they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.

Myth: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can be cured.

Fact: There is no valid scientific evidence that shows a person’s sexual orientation can be changed, but many experts have warned that trying to do so can be extremely damaging.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is unnatural.

Fact: There is nothing unnatural about being attracted to or loving someone regardless of their gender.

Myth: Being lesbian, gay or bisexual means you can’t be religious.

Fact: Although some religions/ faiths still condemn being lesbian, gay or bisexual, lots of LGBT people are religious or follow the teachings of a religion.

Myth: Bisexual people are just confused.

Fact: Many people are attracted to more than one gender all their lives and don’t feel any more confused over their sexual orientation than anyone else.

Myth: Bisexual people are greedy.

Fact: Being attracted to more than one gender doesn’t make a person greedy, it’s no different from being attracted to one.

Myth: Bisexual people are just gay or lesbian people who haven’t admitted it yet.

Fact: Some gay and lesbian people will identify as bisexual first as part of the coming out process, whereas other people who first identify as gay or lesbian people may later identify as bisexual, but many people happily identify as bisexual all their life.

Myth: It’s fashionable to be bi.

Fact: Some people may think its cool/fashionable to be bisexual, but this type of attitude can prevent people who are genuinely bisexual from being taken seriously. This links back to ideas of sexual orientation being a choice or a lifestyle that can be changed.

Myth: Lesbians/gay men fancy every woman/man they see.

Fact: Some lesbians/gay men will be attracted to lots of women/men and some just a few; most will be somewhere in the middle. Your sexual orientation has no direct relation to how many or how few people you are attracted to and is no different to heterosexual people’s attraction to people of the opposite gender.

Myth: Lesbians/gay men are promiscuous and will try and jump into bed with every woman/man they meet.

Fact: Again, a person’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with how many or how few partners a person will have.

Myth: All lesbians are butch/All gay men are camp.

Fact: Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are as varied as straight people. Some lesbians will be butch and some won’t. Some gay men will be camp and some won’t. You should never feel pressure to act a certain way or change how you behave just because of your sexual orientation.