“Y” is all about “You”

Welcome to the 25th letter in our LGBTQ+ Resources A-Z blog. When it comes to the letter “Y,” the most important resource I can think of is “YOU!” Yep, that’s what I’m going to go with, YOU!

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.http://www.goodreads.com Even though the word YOU isn’t in the quote, YOU get the idea? Don’t YOU? What YOU say, or don’t say. How YOU act or don’t act. Where YOU spend your time/money/talent, or don’t spend those, do matter!

YOU don’t have to go to a PRIDE parade or wear rainbow clothing, but YOU could be an ally in some simple ways. I’ll remind YOU of three ways YOU can be an LGBTQ+ Ally:

(1) SHOW YOU are an ally by not buying pink or blue items for a baby shower. Green, yellow and purple are lovely non-gendered colors. YOU can SHOW you’re an ally by wearing a rainbow ribbon, or displaying a rainbow sticker. YOU will SHOW anyone in the LGBTQ+ world YOU are an ally by that simple gesture.

(2) SHIFT YOUR mindset and those mindsets around YOU. When YOU hear a homophobic joke, or, if YOU see a homophobic meme, STOP the joke or STOP the meme. YOU can SHIFT from a small “a” ally to a capital “A” Ally by shifting the hurtful behaviors around YOU. Sometimes, silence equals approval. Take a moment to think about that, what can and will YOU do?

(3) SHAPE YOUR environment to be inclusive. YOU control where you spend your money. YOU control how you vote. YOU decide where to volunteer. If YOU are able to SHAPE policies, THAT is a double bonus! If you are in the majority, how will YOU use your voice?

Maya Angelou said it best, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


YOU matter. YOU are not alone. YOU can make a difference. YOU get the idea, right?

Thank YOU for taking the time to read this blog, and maybe even to share it with YOUR sphere of influence.

Lisa Koenecke (Lady Rainbow), YOUR Inclusion ALLY

“X” Marks our XXIVth Letter!

Xylephone, Xenophobia, Xena Warrior Princess, where should we start? You won’t need your Xerox machine. Did you know there are 15 letter words that start with the letter “X”? Me neither. So, how can you be an ally by knowing about the letter “X?” Thanks for asking, let’s Xplore!

If you haven’t yet heard about pronouns, now you will. This is where you become a better LGBTQ+ Ally and shift from a small “a” ally to a capital “A” Ally. Here are some pronouns that start with the letter “X”. https://stayhipp.com/glossary/what-do-xir-xem-xeir-mean/ Read more at this link.

Xe, Xir, Xem, XeirXe and its variations are gender neutral pronouns that can be used to refer to people who are non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, trans, and/or don’t identify with the gender binary. Guess what? There are also pronouns that start with the letter “Z,” but you’ll have to wait for that information.

If you’re not sure what to say to someone with these pronouns, please click on this link from UW-Milwaukee to help you. I also have this information in my email signature for your inclusionary information.

“Y” not stay tuned to find out how the last two letters round out our A-Z LGBTQ+ Resource List. Xena Warrior Princess would be Xtra Proud of you, Zo would I…Ok, I’ll stop…or will I?

Thanks for reading this and for being an ALLY!

~Lisa (Lady Rainbow) and YOUR Inclusion Ally!

“U” is for UUA and UCC

Uggh, that’s a lot of “U”s I’m using…cracks me up every time, ultimately! Usually the letter “U” comes befor the letter “V,” unless, you’re Lisa and I was so excited yesterday to write about the letter “V” and the value of volunteering! UUUUggg.

If you remember my religious journey, it started in Loganville, Wisconsin on top of a hill. If you don’t remember my journey…buckle up, here we go! In the Unincorporated township of Loganville (I grew up on a farm), there were two Lutheran churches. St. Peter’s was Wisconsin Synod Lutheran and this is where the rich farmers went (they had snacks during Sunday School). We went to St. John’s Missouri Synod Lutheran on top of the hill (not the rich farmers). I wanted to be a minister. Yep, true story! Mainly because I LOVED talking from the pulpit. THEN, I found out that the Missouri Synod did not (not even sure if they have changed) value women. Women/girls could not serve in any office, or be an usher, or ANYTHING. UGGH, not for me. Ultimate girl power!

As I’m writing this, the season of Passover and Easter are upon us. Ohh, and it’s April 2020 which means Covid-19 and staying home to stay safe. I am not a religious sort, but I can appreciate those religions who tend to be welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Enter, the Uniterian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. First, the Unitarian Universalist Association! The next pictures help describe their values and who they value!

All of Who You Are Is Welcome (Pride): Unitarian Universalism ...

The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. The UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to Seven Principles that include the worth of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs.  (uua.org)
I kinda dig the idea of the UUA world valuing the inherit worth of EACH person! In fact, it was in a UUA building that I first met my wife!

So, did you notice all of the rainbows in their logos and messaging? Yep, we in the LGBTQ world know that you are an open and affirming (safe) person, place, community of faith when we see the rainbow flag, or in your logos. Thank you, UUA!

That takes us to the UCC or the United Church of Christ. Please understand, I am not recommending one or the other, this is just a resource for you to consider how other organizations, associations, and businesses can be more inclusive to the LGBTQ world.
Image result for ucc church

Directly from the United Church of Christ’s website, here is what they believe:

We believe that each person is unique and valuable. It is the will of God that every person belong to a family of faith where they have a strong sense of being valued and loved.

We believe that each person is on a spiritual journey and that each of us is at a different stage of that journey.

We believe that the persistent search for God produces an authentic relationship with God, engendering love, strengthening faith, dissolving guilt, and giving life purpose and direction.

Uff da (I used to work in Stoughton), that was a lot of religious talk for an article. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. No worries here. I just really want to remind you, dear reader, about the power of the rainbow and what it symbolizes to our community. There are lots of options out there regarding faith. Understanding those options is what might save a life!

The UCC uses the Bible verse John 17:21 “That all may be one” which happens to be the verse I used at YMCA Camp Edwards. Super cool how my worlds come together. I am also proudly working at Lakeland University which is based upon the UCC beliefs. One day, I’ll change their mission statement from men and women to individuals…more to come on that!

Thanks for reading this article! Please feel free to share with your community!

~Lisa, Your Inclusion Ally! (Lady Rainbow)

“V” is for Volunteering

Volunteering is Vonderful

Lisa A. Koenecke

Welcome to the letter “V” of my LGBTQ Resources A-Z blog! During my advocacy for the LGBTQ community, one of the most rewarding ways to spend my time was Volunteering. In this article, I will give you resources and ideas where you, too, can learn where to volunteer.

We are extreemly lucky to live in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Our favorite organization to volunteer for is GSAFE, the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools. GSAFE is where I became “Lady Rainbow” and the lunch lady. My wife volunteered on their board of directors, and for numerous events. When I would get questions regarding LGBTQ issues that I couldn’t answer, I would rattle of their phone number (608) 661-4141 and website www.gsafewi.org as THE “go to” for resources.

Scholarship Opportunities for LGBTQ Youth | GSAFE

Another great organization with tremendous vounteers is PFLAG. Parents & Friends of Lesbians of Gays. Please remember that PFLAG serves more…

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“V” is for Volunteering

Welcome to the letter “V” of my LGBTQ Resources A-Z blog! In advocating for the LGBTQ community, one of the most rewarding ways to spend my time is Volunteering. In this article, I will give you resources and ideas where you, too, can learn where to volunteer. Please share your favorite LGBTQ organizations where you volunteer in the comments.

We are extremely lucky to live in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Our favorite organization to volunteer for is GSAFE: the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools. GSAFE is where I became “Lady Rainbow” and the lunch lady. My wife volunteered on their board of directors and for numerous other events. When I would get questions regarding LGBTQ issues that I couldn’t answer, I would rattle of their phone number (608) 661-4141 and website www.gsafewi.org as THE “go to” for resources.

Scholarship Opportunities for LGBTQ Youth | GSAFE

Another great organization with tremendous vounteers is PFLAG. Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Please remember that PFLAG serves more than lesbians and gays. There are over 400 chapters of PFLAG in the United States to help families and friends with resources and ways to volunteer. In Madison, we have a wonderful farmer’s market every Saturday morning. Each time we walk by the PFLAG table — which is always staffed with fabulous volunteers — we thank them for being there and for volunteering!

PFLAG's Logo

Another of my favorite LGBTQ organizations offering a virtual volunteer opportunity is GLSEN. GLSEN is the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. They celebrate a Day of Silence in schools each year. Read on for more about what they’re doing this year!

The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national, student-led demonstration where LGBTQ students and allies all around the country — and the world — take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools.

Started in the mid 90’s by two college students, the Day of Silence has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Every April, students go through the school day without speaking; ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive.

This year GLSEN is honoring the 25th anniversary of Day of Silence on Friday, April 24, 2020 — and yes, this year they are going virtual! Check out the 2:11 video. Thanks!

Whether you volunteer your time, talents or money, the LGBTQ community appreciates you! I know that I appreciate you volunteering your time to read this…see what I did there? Again, I invite you to tell us in the chat where you volunteer to support the LGBTQ community. And thank you for it!

Lisa Koenecke (Lady Rainbow)

“T” is for Transgender

Welcome to the letter, “T” in our LGBTQ Resources A-Z.  As our world changes before our very eyes, I am struck with the notion that brighter days are ahead of us (written during COVID-19).  Top of Mind for the letter “T” is the world of Transgender. As a reminder, we say Transgender not Transgendered. Thanks…see what I did There? Enjoy Laverne Cox, and many more!

Out And Proud! The 15 Most Famous Transgender Celebrities

Our world is lucky to have more and more people becoming their true selves and identifying as they truly are.  Ten years ago, I only had two students who were identifying as Transgender. Today, there are many many more resources and even role models out there.  HOORAY!

Transgender celebrities
Jazz Jennings ( I met her) from http://www.cnn.com

When we think of the term Transgender, sometimes people still use the term hemaphrodite.  For the record, we don’t use that term any longer. You might also hear the terms Drag Queens and Drag Kings.  Let’s explore these a bit further, shall we?

There is a difference between Transgender and Transsexual.  If you can remember the cult classic movie Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’ll be giving you some more updated information, but if you haven’t seen the movie, I loved it. Toast!

12:27 YouTube video on the top 9 Biggest Transgender Celebritieshttps://youtu.be/40C3L_Zdu1k

According to Dictionary.com,

  • Transgender: adjective 

  1. denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

  • Transitioning: verb
  1. to change from one gender identity to another or to align one’s dress, behavior, etc., with one’s gender identity
  • Transvestite: noun
  1. a person, typically a man, who derives pleasure from dressing in clothes primarily associated with the opposite sex.
  • Transsexual: noun

a person who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex.

“a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual”

a person who has undergone treatment in order to acquire the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.

The big take away is to use the term Transgender and NOT transgendered.  Thank you!

The National Center for Transgender Equality was founded in 2003 by transgender activists who recognized the urgent need for policy change to advance transgender equality. With a committed board of directors, a volunteer staff of one, and donated office space, we set out to accomplish what no one had yet done: provide a powerful transgender advocacy presence in Washington, D.C.

Today, NCTE has grown to a staff of over 20 and works at the local, state, and federal levels to change laws, policies and society. https://transequality.org/

Here is the FAQ from The National Center for Transgender Equality’s website.  They do a much better job of explaining than I ever could. The FAQ document is 6 pages long and you can find it on their website.  My takeaways? Thanks for asking:

  1. Don’t ask about their junk…EVER!
  2. You can use the term “Trans”
  3. If you mess up, own it, say you’re sorry and ask how to make it better for that person
  4. Conversion Therapy doesn’t work…trust me, I’m have my Master’s in Counseling!
  5. We don’t get to say how someone identifies, let them live THEIR life!

Lots more information can be found here: https://transequality.org/issues/resources/frequently-asked-questions-about-transgender-people

Thanks for being an ALLY!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Show, Shift, Shape

Welcome to the letter “S” in my blog LGBTQ Resources: A-Z. Show, Shift, Shape are the three words I am using to support my TEDx talk on February 13th, 2020. Shameless plug, sorry! Here’s the link: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/lakeland/

February 13, 2020

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Lisa’s TEDx talk in Plymouth, WI satrts at 7pm CST

Soooooooo, here are three ways you can become an even better ally. Allies Save Lives by Showing you are an ally. SHOW you are an ally by wearing a rainbow ribbon, displaying a rainbow sticker or exhibit your allyship with a rainbow pin. Why is a rainbow so important? Thanks for asking! A rainbow symbolizes safety, family and hope to those of us in the LGBTQ population. Thank you, Gilbert Baker!

SHIFTING mindsets and perceptions is a Second way to SHOW you are an Ally. Let’s talk about being an ally for a Second. I want to believe that most everyone is an ally or truly wants to be an ally. When ally is spelled starting with a small “a,” it states you are somone who could be an associate, a friend, or a colleague. A small “a” ally might hear a homophobic joke, and, even though deep in their soul it’s not a nice joke, a small “a” ally might not say anything. What if we were to SHIFT that small “a” ally to an “A” Ally? Let’s take that homophobic joke example and see what an “A” Ally would do. SHIFTING mindsets and behaviors, an “A” Ally will say something about the homophobic joke. An “A” Ally might say, “not cool” or “knock it off” to the person telling the joke. When others witness this, their mindsets and perceptions SHIFT. My hope is that SHIFT will help up in SHAPING inclusive policies and procedures.

SHAPING policies and procedures is not always a simple stint (had to use an “s” there). Seeing yourself enumerated (listed) out in policies is something I find extremly important. When I was searching for a school counseling position, I looked at the district’s policies to see if sexual orientation was listed as a protected class and if they had any policies protecting students not identifying with the popular culture. I continue to use this technique in my daily life regarding where I spend my money, volunteer my time, and share my talents.

In my TEDx talk, I share my SHIFT brought about by a seventh grade student. Because of that student and another family in our district, we were able to advocate for more inclusive policies regarding pupil non-discrimination. I certainly could not have done it solo. We became the Seventh (can’t make that “s” up) district in the state of Wisconsin to have such inclusive policies. It was a big win!

By reading this article, you are truly an ALLY, dare I say an

“A”LLY? Thank you for continuing to SHOW your allyship. Thank you for continuing to SHIFT mindsets and perceptions, so that we can start SHAPING some new policies and procedures for the LGBTQ community.

Sincerely, (see what I did there?)

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

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


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!


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)

“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)