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29
Dec

Riddle Scale (no joke)

Welcome to the letter “R” of our LGBTQ Resources A-Z! You haven’t heard of the Riddle Scale? No worries, not everyone has, let’s Relax, Rewind, and Review…again, see what I did there? I crack myself up! Even though this isn’t a riddle, ha ha!

Remember, I like to start with a definition, so here ya go. The Riddle scale was a psychometric scale that measured the degree to which a person is or is not homophobic. The scale was frequently used in tolerance education about anti-discriminatory attitudes regarding sexual orientation. It is named after its creator, psychologist Dorothy Riddle. Wikipedia

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Isn’t it sad that I am measured by levels? Growing up, did your parents have the “talk” with you about being repulsed or nurtured? Mine sure didn’t with me. When a baby is born, the dreams are of course to be a happy and healthy baby. I know that my mom had dreams of me getting married (to a boy), giving her grandbabies, and probably to not be repulsed.

I did get married (to a girl) and my mom was there because my aunts and uncles are the best. I had written a letter to my father asking him to bring my mother, but, to no avail. My sister didn’t even come and that still hurts. I didn’t invite my brother (see past articles for why I didn’t). So, let’s do the math: Father = Repulsed (1), Brother = Repulsed (1), Sister Tolerated (3) but didn’t show up, and Mother = Supported (5). As you can see, no Admiration (6) , no Appreciation (7) , no Nurturance (8) . I don’t tell you this to feel sorry for me, but rather to explain why I advocate for those lower on the Riddle Scale. I have chosen my family as many LGBTQ people do. Let’s strive to support, admire, appreciate and ultimately nurture, shall we? Right?

Who was Dorothy Riddle? Great question. During the early 1970s, she was part of an American Psychological Association Task Force which was ultimately responsible for the official change in the status of homosexuality from a psychiatric disorder to a lifestyle. She also developed the Riddle Scale, a tool for measuring homophobia that is now being used to measure changes in a range of other social attitudes. I am including a picture of her and here is the link to more information about her. She looks like my cousin, Jane…really!

Hmm, so, 50 years ago as I was growing up in the 1970’s, I was a psychiatric disorder, now, I can hope for a Level (4) Acceptance. How about you?

Throughout my school counseling career, one of my favorite resources for social justice and equitable education was (and still is) Teaching Tolerance. Teaching Tolerance (Level 3) for those of you playing at home, is based out of Atlanta as part of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Teaching Tolerance was founded in 1991 to prevent the growth of hate. Here is a quote from their website: Tolerance is surely an imperfect term, yet the English language offers no single word that embraces the broad range of skills we need to live together peacefully. https://www.tolerance.org/about Resources below!

https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/one-world-posters

For my Wisconsin friends, Teaching Tolerance has a free DVD resource called “Bullied.” It is based upon the true story of Jaime Nobozny growing up in Ashland, Wisconsin. Jamie was severely bullied in middle and high school and the district did nothin to protect him. He sued the Ashland School District in 1996 and a jury awarded him $962,000 in damages. Right in our backyard…WOW! This case made national headlines and was a catalyst for new anti-LGBTQ bullying laws.

Our calls to action this week include:

Really, Thank you for Reading this article brought to you by the letter “R”

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

22
Dec

"Q" is for Queer

Hey, Lisa, isn’t the term Queer offensive? Why are you writing about that word? Thanks for asking, dear reader. I will give you a Quick history of the term Queer later on in this article. Questioning is another term we use for the “Q” in our acronyn LGBTQ. Questioning was used early on in my school counseling career by middle schoolers, but today, I hear more students identifying as genderqueer or transgender, skipping right over Questioning.

I would be curious to see your reaction when you saw this title. Some will want to read and learn, others will quickly quash and scroll past this article. Thank you for those of you still reading, you are my people!

Miriam Webster defines Queer: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. My generation doesn’t use Queeras much as the generations following mine use it. Here is my article on Genderqueer if you’d like more information. Please feel free to share with everyone!

Perhaps this will bring a smile to your face? Have you seen the cable show “Queer Eye?” Queer Eye is an American reality television series that premiered on the cable television network Bravo in July 2003. Originally Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the title was later shortened to broaden the overall scope (Wikipedia). What I love about the show is how the Fab Five as the main cast are known as help others. It’s not about the Queer lifestyle or focused on Queer relationships, it’s about paying it forward. Who is your favorite character? Original cast or lastest cast?

Original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Cast ~ Wikipedia
New Queer Eye Cast ~ Variety

I promised you more on the history of the term Queer. Historically, queer meant not straight (ha ha). If you have ever ridden in a car with me, I use the term “gayly forward” rather than straight when it comes to directions. By the early 1900s, “queer” became used to reference homosexuals both by people within the community (Gertrude Stein in her poetry, for example) and people outside of the community (newspapers, for instance). Marissa Higgins writes this in an article for Bustle.com. In the 1950s, the term queer held a negative connotation like dyke or faggot. Enter the 1980s and the LGBT world worked to reclaim the word and offer it as a more inclusive umbrella term for our population. Higgins writes, A word like “queer” encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression concisely. Read her entire article Here.

So, should you use the term Queer? I would probably ask someone how they identify. If they use the term to identify themselves, then you can probably use it when talking with them. If they don’t use it, you don’t use it. Questions? There won’t be a Quiz, I just had to use as many “Q” words as was Quantifiable.

Quite lovely of you for reading your “Gay for the Day” article!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

15
Dec

Pride & PFLAG

Welcome to the letter “P” in our weekly blog of LGBTQ Resources A-Z. This week we’ll talk about why the term Pride is so important to us, and why PFLAG is such an amazing resource, especially in Wisconsin!

June is Pride month for the LGBTQ community. According to Wikipedia, Gay pride or LGBT pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements. Here is a link to one of my first articles on Pride.

https://www.wgtd.org/sites/wgtd.dev/files/images/news/GAY_0.jpg

Unfortunately, the rise of social media has spawned an increase in hate-filled attacks on virtually every marginialized group. It can be tempting as an LGBTQ individual to live a life hidden in the shaddows, not sharing who we are and who we love for fear of the types of social media attacks that are rampant across the Internet.

Pride plays an important role in sharing ALL of who we are as individuals. Pride to me means greeting my wife at the airport with all the affection and love that a straight couple shows. It means coming out to my students at the beginning of each semester without fear of losing my job for being gay. And it means being accepted by everyone, family and stranger alike. Unfortunately, not all of the above are true for me, and those are especially not true for all LGBTQ people both in the United States and around the world. Luckily, we have allies like you advocating along side us every day.

In the Madison area, we have one of the best farmer’s markets in the midwest. A staple on the farmer’s market square is PFLAG. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays = PFLAG. These people epitomize what unconditional love is all about, Charlie Brown! Check out their Facebook page! Thank you, https://www.pflag-madison.org/

According to http://www.pflag.org, PFLAG nationally has 500 chapters and more than 200,000 members. The concept of PFLAG began in 1973 when the mother of a gay man marched in New York’s Pride Parade to show public support, pride and love of her son. She urged parents to unite in support of their gay children. The Madison chapter started about 20 years ago.

PFLAG lives its three part-mission: First and foremost, to support parents and families of lesbians, gays, transgender, and bisexuals who are having problems accepting their relative’s sexual orientation. Additionally, they support the spouses of newly out LGBTQ people. Secondly, they strive to educate themselves and others about LGBTQ issues. Thirdly, they are visible advocates for issues affecting the LGBTQ family, such as discrimination in the workplace and housing. They work for equality of all their civil rights.

Your call to action this week? Thanks for asking! If you live in the Madison area and if you visit the Dane County Farmer’s Market on a Saturday, please thank the volunteers from PFLAG for their advocacy. If you don’t live in the Madison area, please spread the word about PFLAG and the Positive work they Provide! Reach out to them for yourself or a friend that needs their support — or to expand your ally-ship even further! Thank you!

My guess is that my mom would have been a Proud PFLAG mom! (I love you, Marlene!)

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

8
Dec

Out and Proud

Welcome to the letter “O” of LBGTQ Resources A-Z. As a disclaimer, everyOne Owns their Own coming Out story, I will give you a glimpse into my story. Thanks for Opening this article.

In the LGBTQ world, we are born this way (just ask Lady Gaga), yet some of us stay in the closet for safety and to not be Ostracized. Coming Out is a process, not just a one-time event. The privilege I have is the color of my skin and my lot in life. I don’t HAVE to come Out to people. You can’t see gay like you can see skin color or ability. That’s where the being in the closet comes in.

From Urban dictionary, in the closet is a term used to describe a homosexual person who has not told anyone of their sexual orientation. I was in the closet until my sister told me I was gay. Yep, true story! It was Thanksgiving 1996 and I was 27 years old. Kind of a late bloomer — I know, I kno!. All I remember is that my sister said, “That’s because you’re gay. Please pass the carrots.” I started crying. It actually made a lot of sense after I stopped to think about it. The END. Well, not really. I like carrots!

Please read my blog on Coming Out for more information!

A rainbow road…a true journey

For a long time I wasn’t OUT to my students as a middle school counselor. After having a 7th grade student tell me it was easier pretending to be a boy than it was to be gay in the small town we were in, I needed to do something differently. The difficult part for me was being afraid to lose my job because I was gay. I was also a girl’s basketball coach and refused to ever go into the locker room so I wouldn’t get accused of anything. I wanted people to respect me as a school counselor…who just happened to be gay. Every time a started in a new school district, I had to do my research to see if they were open and affirming of my lifestyle. This was Not always fun!

I am happy to say that I am now OUT and proud, which isn’t to say that everyone I meet knows I’m gay. Being LGBTQ means that you have to come out daily — potentially every time you meet someone new. The stress can be too much to bear for some people. My goal with this blog is to save lives by offering resources to support our LGBTQ population. I am excited to expand my speaking career on my birthday as well as my TEDx talk on February 13th, 2019. If you’re in the area, please join us!

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. My call to action is to NEVER NEVER OUT anyone else — it’s their story to tell. So, if someone asks you if someone is gay, bisexual, transgender, etc…you tell that person to ask the source. Even if you know, it is NOT your story to tell. NEVER out anyone!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

1
Dec

Non-binary, Non-conforming & gender Neutral bathrooms

Welcome to the letter “N” in this week’s edition of my LGBTQ blog. These are terms you might have heard, if not, you will. Let’s nudge our way into the definitions…ha ha, that Never gets old! NEVER!

How many of you have ever gone through a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant? I loved taking my niece and nephew when they were younger. When we would order a meal that made us happy, the worker would ask if we wanted a toy for a “girl” or a “boy.” A heavy sigh from Aunt Lisa, every time as my non-binary radar was alerted. Can we just have a non-binary, non-conforming gender neutral toy? Gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite, and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system or cultural belief. (Wikipedia,2019)

If you remember, I was an early non-conformer when it came to stereotypical gender toys. A tractor & my G.I. Joe were my favorites. Why can’t there just be one toy that ALL kids can play with? And how about not making them pink or blue? Boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks! Right? Think twice before you buy that baby a new toy, please?

Another truth about Lisa. I did NOT like wearing dresses nor the color pink. Shocker? So, growing up on the 70’s I was called a “tomboy.” My favorite role model was Peppermint Patty and her sandals. Why did Marcie call her “sir?” Here’s more information on why Charles M. Schulz added PP during the women’s liberation movement.

Non-binary is an umbrella term who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely female nor entirely male. It’s ok if you don’t understand what this is, I’m just glad you’re still reading! You’re an ALLY!

When I wear a tuxedo to a formal event, I am an example of gender non-conforming. The older I get, the less I enjoy wearing “left-handed” zippered trousers. Most of the world would know them as female trousers. I prefer to wear dress pants that I get at a thrift store in the men’s section. Have I lost you yet?

Lisa in her tux & her friend, Becky from Missouri

During my time as a middle school counselor, I had one student who identified as gender-fluid. I would greet the student at the door in the morning to determine their identity for the day. I would say, “Good morning, __________?” and wait for the student to give me their identified name for the day so that I would then send out an email to the student’s teachers informing them. That was a tricky one!

Gender Neutral Bathrooms make sense to me. Think about going to a concert, or an event in a big stadium. How long are the lines to the women’s restrooms compared to the men’s. If you haven’t noticed the lines, you probably haven’t stood in the LONG line.

As more people become comfortable with their identities, we will see the need for more inclusivity in the workplace. It used to be that middle school students would start by saying they were bisexual if they we’ren’t sure of their identity. Then the term questioning/queer came along. Queer is still here, most often used in genderqueer. Now, I believe more and more young people will identify as trans in the coming decade. As more and more famous people come “out” as trans, we will see more teens identifying as non-binary and non-conforming. As Rachel Maddow would say, “Watch this space.”

Thanks for learning more about the letter “N” this week! Please feel free to share this article and maybe save a life!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)