Welcome to the fourth submission of my LGBT FAQ. The first three submissions were focused on Pride month. My goal with this blog is to give you a quick, A to Z reference to #spreadpridetosavelives. Yep! Twenty-six entries each focused on a different letter of the alphabet. Nowwwww, let’s jump into the A-Z resources starting with the letter “A!”
I was a middle school counselor for many years and taught classroom lessons (LOVED it!). One lesson that made me stop in my tracks had to do with introducing the term “Ally” to a group of 7th graders. As I was getting my groove on to engage these adolescents, a small hand shot up to ask a question. I called on the student and loved her comment as I wrote the term ally on the board (yep, old school)…
Student named Ally: “Ms. Koenecke, that’s my name”
Me: “Why yes it is”
Student named Ally: ” So does that make me an automatic ally?
Me: “What do you think?”
Student named Ally: “Absolutely, and now wherever I go, people will know that I’m an ally just by looking at my name Ally.”
Me: “Ally, thanks for being an excellent ally, and students, that is also called a homonym.”
After this lesson, I reflected upon this homonym and how in later lessons we would discuss that homo means same in Greek. So, if we are all the same in theory, why is there so much hate?
So, what is an ally? Great question! If you’re reading this, YOU are an ally! Congrats and THANK YOU! An ally is a friend, a pal. In any marginalized community, an ally is a supporter that will stand up to discriminatory practices, using their position of strength as a member of the community not being marginalized. An ally acts when they hear or see anything offensive against a marginalized community. When they hear a homophobic, transphobic, or any slanderous joke, an ally stops the joke and stands up for any inequities.
In my recent podcast with Holly Duckworth of Everyday Mindfulness, Holly asked my advice on being an ally. My advice to her — and to you, dear reader — is to display a rainbow in your space. This could be a rainbow ribbon, a rainbow sticker, or even a rainbow flag to denote you are an ally. As in my first submission, the rainbow is a symbol of unity for our LGBTQIA community. Thank you for saving a life!
~Lisa “Lady Rainbow” Koenecke
The 4th of July 2019 is recently behind us, with both pomp & circumstance and heated political debates from sea to shining sea. Have you considered your definition of “freedom” lately? In the United States, we tout the holiday as our Independence Day. These are the two words for your consideration in this edition. (Brief U.S. history lesson included free of charge. You’re welcome.)
Many different populations, cultures, and religions have fought for their freedom and independence throughout our country’s history. How is it in the year 2019 in the USA that some are not given the “inalienable right” to be treated equally? July 4, 1776 was the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which included the words “Where all men are created equal.” Are we all men? Are we all created equally? NOPE!
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Link to the actual Declaration of Independence — cool, huh?)
There are some really basic tenets of freedom that most people take for granted. For example, I’m seriously afraid for those LGBT+ friends who can be fired from a job because of who they love or how they identify…yep, that can still happen in 26 of our 50 states. (For my Sconie friends, here’s Wisconsin’s Equality Profile.) This might change in October, especially for Americans who identify as transgender, if the US Supreme Court sways to the conservative side of the aisle. (Yikes)
My wife, Angela, and I wanted to wait to get married until it was legal in all 50 states. So, on January 11, 2017, we did get married. (Yay us! Hope we didn’t cause a ripple in the marriages of all of the straight people!) Yet we still worry about our freedoms and our independence according to the law.
For example, can I make medical decisions for her in the hospital without a physical copy of our marriage certificate? We’ve been told it would be best to have a copy on file at the hospital. Or at least with our lawyer since Angela travels so much for work and she could be anywhere in the country and in need of proof of marriage. Which of course means we both a) have to have a lawyer; and b) Have to have that number programmed as a priority in our phones should the unthinkable happen. Evidently the rings on our fingers don’t mean the same as they do for a straight couple.
I recently tried to make her an appointment with our doctor. I was asked for her birth date and had to wait for the clearance to be able to speak on her behalf. I get HIPPA laws, yet I still wondered how long I would have waited if I was part of a “traditional” married couple? The first amendment allows me the freedom of speech, but is my speech equal to that of the haters? The term wife means something different if we are of the same sex.
Next week we will delve into the LGBTQIA resources A-Z that are most frequently asked. Thanks for reading this and for being an ally. #SpreadPrideSaveLives. Please pay attention to the freedoms you currently have. If you see an injustice in the workplace or in your community, please say something. Your voice will help those with no voice. Please feel free to add a comment on how you are changing your corner of the world!
~Lisa (Lady Rainbow)
1978 was the year, Gilbert Baker was the man, San Francisco, California was the location and there were 8 original colors Click here for a 1:39 video on this history. After the Stonewall Riots in 1969,the gay liberation movements, and more work on gay civil rights, we needed a symbol. When I give my presentations I speak about how having a rainbow flag sticker, or any type of rainbow emblem lets our community know you are a safe person. The rainbow symbol will even tell our community that a business is “open” to serving us. Many religious institutions will also invite us in with a rainbow flag. NEVER underestimate the power of the rainbow. In fact, I give out little bags of Skittles(imagine there is a trademark there) in addition to rainbow stickers to my audiences so they can show their support as allies!
If you have met me in person, you might know that I am also known as “Lady Rainbow” and that my wife and I LOVE collecting anything rainbow. As a middle and high school counselor in Wisconsin, I always made sure to wear a rainbow lanyard as a symbol to my students, staff and families that I was a safe person. In graduate school, I asked my mentor how many “out” school counselors there were in Wisconsin. She didn’t have the answer and decided to base her doctoral thesis on this subject. The one thing she continues to have in her private counseling office is a rainbow bookmark that I gave her as a thank you gift.
Wisconsin’s current Governor Tony Evers stood with our community as the rainbow flag flew over our state capital building in Madison for Pride Month! Here is the one minute read on this historic event!
Sometimes, people might think that the legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states has eradicated our struggles for equality. I am a 50 year old woman of white privilege and I still have my moments of caution; which is why the simple act of making a rainbow visible can make ALL the difference. We will get into the other LGBTQIA symbols/colors/flags in another blog post.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and please let me know if Lady Rainbow can answer any of your LGBTQIA Frequently Asked Questions!
Happy Pride! Not sure what that means? Fifty years ago at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Police raided the establishment and the patrons fought back. This was the start of the “Gay Revolution”. Here is more information on life before Stonewall in the Madison, Wisconsin area. https://isthmus.com/news/cover-story/book-documents-gay-rights-struggles-in-wisconsin/
YOU are Never Alone!
Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud— Maya Angelou
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates. The focus will be answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on LBGTQIA+ issues & advocacy. Not sure what all of those letters represent? Stay tuned here and subscribe!
~Peace & Hugs,
Lisa from Wisconsin
This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.
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