Category Archives: IDAHOT Blog Hop

IDAHOT Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality, take 2—an apology and thoughts about self-knowledge

Hi again. This will be a short and sweet afterthought to my original 2016 hop post. Here I address something different, and personal.
HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

First, an apology. IDAHOT’s official name has expanded to “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia,” and it’s about time. Maybe the name still isn’t inclusive enough, but it’s better.

My first hop post (please read it here) focused on visibility. Well, I’d be willing to wager bisexuals are among the most invisible people on earth simply because people assume. I should know—I’m one of them. And all my life has been a journey in and out of the closet, often finding myself boxed in there when out was where I truly wanted to be–especially true in the workplace. You may think that’s easy to overcome, but for me, it wasn’t—and it still isn’t even though I’ve reached my sixties, write gay books, and work at home.
BiRaindrop

So this apology is to all of us bisexuals. Here I’ve been trying to tout visibility—being visible and making it safe for people of all Queer spectrum identities to be visible—and I’ve effectively closed the blinds on us. How easy it is to make that kind of mistake! Vigilance is required for all of us.

So, that brings me to the second part of my post, essentially about how human brains work. It’s called growth.

I’ve been reading other blogs in the hop and I’m impressed. People are just awesome. Me? Maybe not so much! I see people who have known exactly where they fit on the gender and sexuality spectrum all their lives, and on the other hand allies who were allies from day one.

Cool.

Me? Not so much. First, I wanted to be honest and open and live with integrity from day one, but I had to do a lot of unlearning and re-teaching myself before I was any good at it. Maybe it’s because most of the people whose posts I’ve read are significantly younger than me and the world has changed with every passing year. Whatever the reason, I had to listen to people, examine my own mind, and find understanding before I knew exactly where I stood in relation to others on the spectrum, and even in relation to my particular location in the rainbow. I am not ashamed to say there was a learning curve. Although I never had an inclination to dismiss someone as a non-person or hurt them because of sexuality or gender identity, knowing queer people as no different from me and knowing that love is love was not something that came automatically. Nor can it have done so for anybody else—even if they are not aware of having learned these things. Wherever and whenever it happens, we are what we learn.

Frankly, I’ve decided that admitting I had to go through this process is like a coming out for me. I’m hoping by talking about it, others will be encouraged to examine their beliefs and prejudices (we all have them), to adjust lifelong thinking, to understand that such work is not only okay, but for many of us a necessary part of growing into the kind of people who can consistently squash hate under the weight of love.

Found this on Pinterest (and I agree):

FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real

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Filed under Biphobia, IDAHOT Blog Hop, just a category, Lou Sylvre

Hopping for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality—Focus: Visibility (Or, on peeing in North Carolina and such)

Hello! It’s IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and I’m here (with the rest of the hop bloggers and readers) to talk about visibility, awareness, and equality.HAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016

Well, that’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down. Let me start today by talking about visibility, and specifically visibility in the United States.

This year, Trans-related issues are big on everyone’s radar, what with hater legislation (let’s call it what it is) about—of all thigs—bathrooms being very visibly bandied about and enacted in several states, with North Carolina’s HB2 taking a front and center position though Tennessee and eight other states including Minnesota have similar bills. Yes, visibility is an issue across the LGBT-QIA spectrum, but for now, let’s talk about Trans, baby.

“Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry—which is happening as I write—is one of them.”

~~Bruce Springsteen

Why focus on visibility?

As I see it from a historical perspective, because visibility is the crux of this focus on toileting. Conversely, invisibility has been both a product and a tool of hateful bigotry for… well, maybe as long as there have been humans who hated. If you are a member of any group that has been marginalized (to any degree) by the dominant culture, you very likely have experienced invisibility. Sometimes, it is a protective instinct to retreat into it. If a hypothetical ‘they’ don’t know that a hypothetical ‘you’ is African, Native, gay, lesbian, refugee, bisexual, HIV+, immigrant—anything that doesn’t match ‘their’ perception of ‘like us’—if ‘they’ don’t know, it is possible to avoid being excluded, ridiculed, ignored, followed around by the store detectives, or beaten to a bloody pulp. Sometimes, invisibility isn’t on purpose. ‘You’ can’t or won’t or just don’t happen to hide your color, country of origin, sexuality, gender identification, age (etc), and therefore the store employee skips over you, your job application gets lost, you speak and no one hears you.

But it shouldn’t be like this. Not only does rendering certain people invisible in society result in numerous individual violations of constitutional human rights, it attempts to rob people of status as human beings. You realize, don’t you, that in the sixties, if you had asked school officials about gay or queer students, they very likely would have said they didn’t exist?

I believe bigoted people feel threatened because trans (and other rainbow spectrum) individuals have shrugged off their cloaks of invisibility—a brave thing to do, dangerous, but life-affirming. People have embraced their identity and thus their humanity. “I am this person, exactly as I am meant to be.” That is a joyful thing, to be celebrated.

Except to the person who keeps their mind closed around the training tapes they’ve heard all their lives, which make it clear that if someone is different, they’re dangerous. If that’s the case, you’re likely to be afraid.

Two ways to deal with fear. One: find out why and fix it. This usually involves a willingness to learn and understand—to listen and truly hear. Two: turn it into something else—hate.

Hate= “it’s not me it’s you.”

So we have Hate Bill 2 and around 100 antil LGBT-Q spectrum bills around the US.

Getting back to North Carolina where you might have to flash your birth certificate to get into a bathroom (because hey, what’s more important for a state legislature to spend time on than where people pee?), just today I saw an article relative to North Carolina’s ridiculous law, being trans, and visibility. Singer Laura Jane Grace, founder of the punk band Against Me, decided they shouldn’t cancel their appearance. In her particular case, she thought another approach would be more effective.

She’s a trans woman, you see, so she burned her birth certificate on stage.

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

© Brian Ach, Invision/AP

“Goodbye gender.”

~~Laura Jane Grace

Thank you for reading and hopping for the cause. Comment on this post and enter your name for a giveaway: $15 Gift Certificate Dreamspinner Press, ARe, or Amazon. I’d love to hear how you feel about visibility, whether you have experiences to share, news, or thoughts on the subject. Or, comment on any aspect of these issues, the hop, or my post.

Here are all the blog hop links, for your convenience! (Thanks all you bloggers!)

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Filed under blog hop, Contests, homophobia, IDAHOT Blog Hop, just a category, Transphobia