Celebrating Birthday’s LGBT Style…

I was recently visiting my best friend and we had a lot of fun…as lesbians tend to do. One straight dude that was with us that night said, “Lesbian’s are fun, I should hang out with them more often!” And I’m like, yeah we are pretty fun…all Gru style from Despicable Me 2 (he has a Russian accent and it’s all throaty and cool).

I haven’t blogged for a little while because I’ve been cranky. See here for the reason for my sleepless nights recently…freaking two and a half year olds able to run out in the hallway at all hours for all reasons…but it’s more than the lack of sleep due to twinning. It took a glass of wine, a free 50″ tv (I won a raffle hell yeah), my Fall decorations on the mantle, and another viewing of Nanette to get me to acknowledge why.

My wife and I have both been cranky. For the whole week leading up to her birthday. If you haven’t read my blog before, her family doesn’t speak to us because we are gay and they have religious beliefs that are at odds with the gay thing. She was homeless. Lots of therapy. Lots of birthdays. Lots of Christmas’. And every time we wait. We wait for them to contact her or not. Either way is going to lead to something painful.

We both get irritable leading up to her birthday because it’s painful to not spend your birthday with people who gave birth to you. It’s painful to have the people who created you cut off contact because they are in disagreement with their own creation.

So yes, lesbians have fun. Because we know horrific pain. We have been through so much to be who we are. So when we have a night to let loose. We do. In a big way. We have been brought down to our knees so we literally have nothing to lose.

My wife and I have had fun times on our birthdays. But hers specifically are overshadowed by something deeper. A pain so deep I can’t even describe it.

So yes, I’m sorry to my co-workers who had to deal with me this week. I was cranky putting it mildly. And when I step back and think about it, it’s not because I was sleep deprived…well mostly…it was because I was worried about my wife’s birthday because it’s never a truly happy occasion. There’s an undercurrent because we both know what’s missing.

I have so many LGBT clients in the same situation. They have made their own families with partners and friends after being disowned by their own blood. It’s a common story unfortunately. It’s our story.

So my theory is yeah, gay clubs and the LGBT community is always more fun. But it’s because we know more pain. We have lower lows, we have deeper wounds, which allows us to experience and seek out higher high’s. It allows us to seek ways to forget the pain for just one night or one hour. It’s similar to nurses. My nurse friends are freaking fun. It’s because we see people die. We know how tenuous life is first hand so we party hard in order to feel alive.

To live among the LGBT community is to know some one who has committed suicide, perhaps even to have been the one to find them. To live among the LGBT community is to know at least one but likely multiple, people who have no contact with their families. To live among the LGBT community is to seek acceptance among the only people who will “get” your experience because heterosexual’s and gender normals just will never understand. And it is beyond frustrating to watch them continuously take for granted their privilege.

Perhaps it’s a sign of our maturity, or perhaps it’s because we were freaking tired, but this year we went to our favorite brewery had good food and a couple drinks, and came home and went to bed. Not a night to write home about, but a night together, celebrating her life. Because her life matters to me.

If you love any one in the LGBT community, let them know their life matters to you. Because too many of our lives are lost due to feeling the pain of being alone.

Love you babe and Happy Birthday.

A Dyke’s Best Friend.

Seeing how I’m visiting her and she never reads my blog I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about her. I’d say I have a core group of maybe four or five close/best friends. My bestie from age 14 going forward is one of those five. We didn’t like each other in high school. Sort of. It was love/hate. We had a LOT of fun. Neither of us can drink or even smell Captain Morgan spiced rum anymore because we drank way too much of it in high school. Yes underage drinking is bad. I don’t condone it but I definitely did it.

She is probably the opposite of me in most every way which is funny because we are both Aquarius. Where she is the life of the party and makes friends as if it were nothing, I am usually in the corner by myself and like I said, carry a few trusted core people of close friends. We have some underlying traits in common though. We both love to laugh and have fun. We have A LOT of fun when we are together. Her wife and my wife tend to worry a bit when we make plans together because we either go all out or pass out watching Netflix by 9 pm. My wife says, “You seem to lose all track of your judgment when you are with her.” I say, “We’ve never been arrested and you gotta admit we have some great times.” My wife mutters, “I mean you probably could have been arrested you just weren’t…”

There is much I admire about my friend and I think she inspires me to be more adventurous and more motivated. She’s always very proud of me and shows me how to be a better person in so many ways. She also has seen me through the last twenty years of my life. She was my friend for my first hetero-romance in high school, and the one that gave me tequila and told me to “just do it” when I was debating dating my wife. She watched me morph into a lesbian-ish and helped me figure it all out along the way.

So it totally pisses me off when she’s discriminated against. She’s worked in industries that are male dominated- white heterosexual male dominated. She has to work twice as hard to get ahead in her field. She always has to prove herself.

She recently relocated down South for a job. Which is wonderful because now I have a place to go to by a beautiful beach that we visited today. But I am always scared for her because she’s such a dyke. In the South. She told me she was at the beach and a guy came up and put his finger in her face pointing, and yelling about “you people” and “the gay’s” and she was literally just sitting in a chair on the beach. What. The. Fuck. She has to be careful where she goes and who she goes with.

The admirable part to her is that she stays here anyway and it doesn’t do a thing to lower her mood or energy. I always find discrimination insulting. But it seems to be doubly insulting when the discrimination targets some one who is actually someone I think of as one of the greatest human beings in the world. I know it’s weird to think about but it does seem worse when discrimination and hatred targets someone who is the opposite in every way of hateful. It’s like people discriminating against my wife. They are literally two of the nicest and kindest people I know. Discriminate against me, I’m kind of a bitch, I can take it, stay away from the nice people!

I tend to have a calculating/thoughtful expression (I just don’t like the term resting bitch face, but perhaps that could be accurate here). My friend- never. She is literally always smiling. She has this bubbly energy that just draws everyone in. Whenever we go out she talks to EVERYONE. She is so friendly. So to know she of all people, has to worry about being blindly discriminated against on a daily basis just because she lives in the South; well that pisses me off.

The other thing is she doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t complain about it. She just accepts this is how the world is and she’s still going to walk in it the same way. She hasn’t become jaded or resentful or cynical. She remains hopeful. Hopeful for change.

So while she’s always going to be a dog person and I will always be a cat person. And she will always hate my cats and I will always despise her dogs…we have this lesbian thing in common and we both know discrimination and she teaches me on the regular to never give up hope and to never stop being kind to people just because they may discriminate against us.

When we were 14 and this bubbly annoying blonde skipped up behind me in line at a basket-ball camp and started blabbing my ear off I would never have guessed that twenty years later she would be the person I’d sit on a beach with reminiscing about why we can’t drink Captain Morgan and how we are hopeful that in another twenty years we won’t have to worry about discrimination anywhere in our country.

Like her freaking dog is literally jumping on me as I type and I’m screaming at him to get away and screaming at my friend who is calling the dog who doesn’t listen to her…that’s how we roll.

 

A Day in the Life of Outpatient Psychiatry…

I remember my first day at my outpatient office I saw five clients. All five of those clients still see me over four years later. They’ve all followed me to a new practice and new office because, I don’t know, I’ve never asked, but I guess they don’t want to see some one new.

There have been clients that have come and gone since I started. Some I helped. Some moved on before I could see any improvement. I’m certainly not for everyone. I have a certain style and way of being that is off putting to some people. Which is fine. I’ve certainly had healthcare providers I didn’t care for. I don’t take it personally.

But working in mental health makes you really examine myself on the regular. I am regularly questioned by parents and clients as to my clinical decision making more intensely and I think more rudely than other specialties. I hear on a daily basis, “I read online…” because a google search and gander into webMD and patientslikeme.com suddenly makes people experts.

It’s not my job to convince people they need medication. It’s my job to make my clinical recommendation. Take it or leave it.

But the nuts and bolts, the in’s and out’s, a few hours in my life in my little office looks something like this.

Starting my day with a call from the local hospital that one of my patient’s is being hospitalized for suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt. Rare thankfully, but at least a few times a year. I could pull into the office on the phone with the hospital and start my day already worried about a client I now have no control over.

My first client could need me to write a letter for gender reassignment surgery. Processing what this means to them, permanent changes to their body, possibly losing their family and friends, exploring their grief, their dysphoria, and their resolve to proceed.

Next up could be giving someone an injection of Vivitrol (long acting Naltrexone, monthly shot, to battle alcohol or opiate addiction). My Vivitrol clients are not “hoodlums” or “druggies”. They are Moms, Dads, kids, and functioning members of our society. They make a monthly commitment to come and have a very large needly placed in their butt with a large volume of medication to help them stay sober. They impress me with their strength to come every month and their commitment to sobriety. They are perhaps some of my favorite clients to treat because I am truly helping them regain their lives. Their courage gives me hope.

In the next thirty minutes I may see one of my clients who suffers from chronic homicidal ideation. No specified target. Rather disturbing imagery usually. And hopefully responding to therapy and medication…

My next might be a family with a depressed teenager who was raped. I’ve heard the rape story and I’ve helped them through the process of pressing charges and they come in now and are totally at ease in my office because it’s like I’ve been brought into their family circle for the 30 minutes they come and see me every month.

In between these clients I am returning calls, emails, and doing prescription refills.

Then perhaps a teen struggling with their gender identity who has been told by their parents they will be kicked out if they pursue this “gender thing”. It’s been rare that these parents have actually followed through among my patients. But it still sucks. My wife knows that I would bring these kids home if I needed to. That none of my transgender teens will end up on the street. I’ve said that to probably two teenagers who I thought might actually end up homeless. That they can call me any time. That we will figure it out together. I’ve seen this look of what I think is hope come into their eyes as they really see me and recognize that they are not alone. There’s all this stuff about boundaries in mental health. But having a wife who’s been homeless due to family intolerance. Well I just couldn’t stand to see that happen to one of my kids.

Then perhaps I see one of my anxious clients. They come in all shapes sizes and ages. They are also some of my favorites. I do a lot of hand-holding with them. A lot of answering questions and perhaps meeting for months before they agree to take medication. I do a lot of convincing that anxiety is actually a brain illness just like diabetes is a pancreas illness. Not one of my anxious clients has ever regretted starting anti-depressants to target anxiety. But it’s a journey for us to get there that is always quite challenging and fun for me.

Then perhaps I see a patient I’ve suspected has bipolar disorder who failed the second anti-depressant who I have to have the “you need a mood stabilizer” discussion and perhaps discuss “mood disorders” and “cycling” and gently start the dialogue of a potential major diagnosis.

Then maybe I see one of my clients into kink or BDSM and/or polyamory. We catch up on the latest relationships status. We talk about sex and their kinks and fetishes. I hear A LOT about sex. From all my clients. Because of the sexual side effects of medications and because of my client base. It’s something I’m very comfortable with now and not much can raise an eyebrow from me. I’ve perfected the poker face.

The mail comes. Medicaid is auditing me for a 12.00$ reimbursement for a client from five months ago. I shake my head and swear and rail at the insurance companies and remember this is why psychiatrists and psychiatric APRNs don’t take insurance or Medicaid. Because they are freaking ridiculous. 12.00$. You fucking kidding me? But I print out the requested papers and shove them in an envelope and send them to the address listed that very day because I know my Medicaid clients are vulnerable and I wouldn’t stop taking it just because medicaid sucks to work with. Yet.

For all of my clients I have to be present. I can’t be thinking about other clients and my patient hospitalized and my other patient I referred for ECT. I have to be there. I have to remember their stories from our last visit. It’s emotionally taxing to bear witness and support people who are suffering. It becomes my day to day though and until I step back and really think about it I don’t realize how intense one of my days can be. Let alone a week or a month.

What keeps me going? My clients. Their strength. Their bravery. Their capacity to face stigma of addiction and mental illness and psychiatric medication and diagnoses is inspiring. That they trust me with their emotions, their brains, their children, their parents, their friends. For the most part my clients and families are incredibly vulnerable and just looking for help and compassion. I’m not a warm and fuzzy person. But I get mental health. I get that I have to give of myself in order to make a difference. And I do. Daily. As does every other hard working mental health professional.

So when you’re at a picnic and someone tells you they work as a therapist or a psychiatrist don’t start telling them your problems or asking their opinion about your mother’s medication. Just thank them for the hard work they do and change the subject.

Because when we are not in the office we are tired from being in the office. So let us have our break. Let us sit and laugh and have fun and not think about the emotional intensity we see every day.

I have a sweet job. I love psychiatry. It’s challenging and exhausting and rewarding and heart-breaking and everything else that makes it exciting to go to work every day.

 

How to be Your Kid’s Hero.

I started writing a blog post about intelligence and women and I was super into it. Then my week started and I encountered humanity at it’s best and it’s worst as is generally the case in healthcare. And I got irritated because I couldn’t finish my post on intelligence and women because I was facing life and death situations that deserve some attention.

Do you know how many times I have Mom’s of toddlers sit in my office and cry because they are wracked with guilt that they don’t always 100% love being a Mom. They feel guilty for getting frustrated with their kids. I tell them fuck facebook. Toddlers suck. There are beautiful moments interspersed with longer moments of insanity. That every mom of toddlers feels this way.

How many times I’ve comforted Mom’s of teenagers as they lament the choices their kids are making or the pain their kids are going through and they feel helpless and useless and failures as Mom’s.

Then there are the those few and far between times…thank God….when I find myself comforting the kid. Because their parents told them to get out of their house because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. Their parents told them their family’s reputation or their religion will not allow them to have a gay, Queer, or trans child.

Having a child who is different is the moment that separates the mom’s and dad’s and the Mom’s and the Dad’s.

That moment your child comes out to you is the moment you get to be the hero in their story. 

That moment will define your relationship for the rest of their life. Every LGBTQ identifying individual remembers their “coming out” story. I’ve heard them all. The heartbreaking stories that end in pain, tears, homelessness…well those stories just never get easier to hear or witness or pick up the pieces from.

As a Mom I can’t imagine looking my child in the eye and telling them to deny their true selves or get out of my house my life…my heart. I just couldn’t. It breaks me to even think of that.

It breaks me to see the heartbreak in those kids who don’t see their parents as their heroes but who yearn for that day still.

As a parent yes it’s scary to have a child who is different who will face adversity who may not be safe. But it’s not a choice. It’s who they are. And this is your chance, one of the few chances you will have in their life, to truly be heroic.

Mom’s and Dad’s question themselves about not spending enough time with their kids, about putting their toddlers in timeout too much, yelling to loudly, and all the other things that parents do on the regular that literally will not cause any harm (for the most part) to children.

But do you question what you would do if your child comes out to you? If your child wants to be a drag queen? If your child wants a new name, new body, new voice? Have you truly considered that? If you haven’t you should. Because your response to that can be the difference between life and death for your child.

If you cannot accept your child, even though I find it unfathomable, please know that you may have sentenced them to death. Through homelessness, murder, or suicide. The other side of discrimination and the taking back of what’s supposed to be unconditional love is dark, ugly, and the deepest pain you can possibly imagine that some just can’t recover from…the wound is just too deep, too scarring, too dark to come back from.

You may only get one chance to be their hero.

Don’t blow it.

 

 

“Gender Not Normal” Why Nanette Made Me Laugh and Cry.

I watched “Nanette” the comedy show by Hannah Gadsby. Freaking amazing.

“Do you understand what self deprecation means when it comes from somebody in the margins? It’s not humility it is humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, I simply will not do that anymore. Not to myself or to anyone who identifies with me.” Gadsby…Nanette

Her show is profound in so many ways. She brings light to so many dark issues in a beautiful voice that is funny and also brought me to tears. She allows herself to be vulnerable and puts tension onto the audience to look at the ugly side of discrimination and rape and leaves it on them. She dares them to own it.

She defines herself as “Gender not normal” which I love because she does not identify as transgender at all, but she presents as masculine and knows it and owns it  and doesn’t mind being misgendered. She also discloses she was physically assaulted at age 17 for being gender not normal. The lesbian population has many “gender not normal” lesbians. I live with one. My sister is another.

I did actually call my sister once, about six or seven years ago, and I asked her, “Are you trans?” I remember she laughed and was like, “No. I’m definitely a girl, and fine with it.” But she presents as more masculine and always has…well since about tenth grade, before that she did have long hair and wore feminine clothing.

Lesbians who wear make-up and are passable as straight are often more acceptable more palatable to society than “gender not normals”. Because they don’t fit the norms. As Hannah says they live in the margins. People see me with my sons and they smile because they are subconsciously categorizing me- white, straight, woman with her two toddler sons who are white little boys.

People in the grocery store today with my “gender not normal” wife and me and our sons…well we got side eyed, very few smiles, and I recognize that we were in a conservative town next to the conservative town we live in surrounded by white heterosexual cisgender individuals who are discriminatory jerks. The older gentleman at the checkout didn’t even look us in the eye.

My wife and I made a conscious decision to move to a Republican heavy town. We had a lot of reasons for moving there and even though I didn’t have language for it at the time I do now. I was fine moving to a ‘red’ town because if we make people tense, well they can just sit there with the tension. I’m not going to make them feel better about it. They have to look at us, they have to see us, they have to experience us as a family, as individuals, as human beings, so that maybe that will look beyond the label of lesbian and gender not normal and see that we are just people.

That we may never agree on politics but we could agree on perhaps the fact that we should be allowed to exist outside of the margins.

I’ve spoken with lesbians who live in Tennessee and Louisiana and Kentucky and they lose jobs because of their sexual identity and their gender not normal presentation. Their kids face horrible discrimination at school. I’ve asked people before, “But why do you stay?” They don’t always have a good answer. Because like I said, I think it’s hard to find the language for it. It’s hard to describe that you can’t leave because this is home. This is my rightful place in the world. I will not be put into the margins. We will be the light in the darkness we will make people sit with their tension we will make people see us. We won’t let them look away.

It’s hard to bring to words the gut feeling you get when you know that your community may not support your family but you can’t leave because it’s your home. You shouldn’t have to leave because it’s your home. So there are lesbians living in the hearts of Republican counties and towns because we have made a conscious choice to integrate ourselves and not separate ourselves as much as some would love for us to just go away.

Not everyone has the voice and the audience of a Hannah Gadsby or an Ellen. But it’s the lesbian family living and existing out loud and proud in the middle of Kentucky or Louisiana or a red little town tucked into the Northeast, it’s these families that are creating tension by being where society says they shouldn’t be. By forcing discriminatory individuals to make eye contact with me as I pay for my groceries. By living with tension in our bellies every day as we know we could be attacked verbally or physically by being outside the margins. But doing it anyway.

“Diversity is strength. Difference is a teacher. You fear difference and you learn nothing.” 

Gadsby…Nanette 2018.

 

 

Feeding the Birds (a half eaten doughnut). One Legacy of my Nana.

My Nana died last November. She died the day before my son’s birthdays. She loved birthdays. So I’m thinking it was her way of letting them have their day. She was quite ill at the time. It was bittersweet to witness her passing.

She was rather particular about certain things. We always used the good china for holidays, church on Sunday’s, we always brushed our teeth before breakfast (yuck), and she always gave us three kisses goodnight when we slept over, “Good night” kiss, “sleep tight” kiss, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite” kiss, and “I’ll see you in the morning.” She loved ice cream, and we often found ourselves at Friendly’s for chicken fingers with french fries and ice cream. I’m sure our parents loved that.

Every time we went anywhere she got french fries. Not for herself, I mean, she’d have a few, but then she’d tuck the rest of them into a napkin and place them in her purse. Yes all types of oily and if they were mine covered in ketchup. She would bring home any type of carb left on the table anytime we ate wrapped in a napkin, “For the birds” she would mumble as she carefully placed them in her BIG purse that seemed to have never-ending supplies of tissues, tic-tac’s (orange, white or green), and yes old french fries. Even if we were on vacation in New Hampshire, she’d still take the fries. Then she’d save them and bring them home at the end of the week. Weird. I know.

Every morning she always threw seed and old french fries out to her birds. Her deep backyard would fill up with birds of all kinds; the majority being big black crows though, and they would chow down. I had to hand it to her, she built a large and loyal following. But seriously, some times we would be at super nice restaurants and she’d still tuck all the leftover bread and fries and potatoes into her purse. Kind of embarrassing. People didn’t know it was for the birds, it could have just been her idea of a doggy bag.

We all kind of tolerated it even though we would roll our eyes and pretend it wasn’t happening. Especially when she’d reach over and not even ask if we were done with our fries. She would just assume we hadn’t touched them in the last two minutes, I’d look down, and they’d be gone.

Fast forward twenty something years. My wife had a bird feeder. It broke. But again, she had built a loyal following. So she continued to put seed out on the lawn. Then a few times I’ve noticed that I have almost involuntarily thrown out some leftover carb products. Then today we were at a nearby orchard that sells doughnuts. Jackson handed me a half eaten doughnut. Without even thinking I wrapped it in a napkin and stuck it into my purse.

We drove home and I went outside with them. I went through my purse to find my phone and found the doughnut. It was this moment like, shit, am I really going to do this? Am I really going to go outside with the half eaten doughnut and feed the damn birds? I’m totally not that kind of person. Not because I don’t like birds or anything, but simply because for so many years we thought my Nana was a little kooky for doing it.

Well as I type this I am watching a collection of big crows eating the pieces of doughnut I threw out there today. And it’s with some pride and warmth I feel connected to that kooky part of my Nana, and with some embarrassment I admit to the world that I did indeed and probably will again, save food for the birds. I mean it’s better than letting it go to waste…right? I can imagine the look on her face today as she watched over me as I threw the doughnut out onto the lawn. A smug smile and perhaps a chuckle with a nod of approval.

My boys at some point will likely be old enough to roll their eyes at me and tell me to not do that in public some day when we are at a nice restaurant. I’ll just smile at them as I tuck some fries or potato into a napkin and stick it in my purse for the birds.

They won’t remember my Nana, but they will know her.

In these uncertain times and after a week of treasonous statements and unrest, it is these small moments that remind me some things won’t change. We can still have love and family even while we as members of the LGBT community live in fear of what’s to come.

 

Why Two Married People Need to do a Second Parent Adoption. And How No One in Tennessee Will Represent Them.

My wife and I are both on my son’s birth certificate. We also live a generally LGBT friendly state. So if I die my wife would likely have no issues retaining custody of my children. My family wouldn’t fight her for the boys, and frankly I can’t think of many people who would actually want twin boys after they spend maybe ten minutes in my house…but that’s beside the point.

In other states such as Oklahoma and Tennessee- a couple things to know. It is legal to discriminate against individuals based on their LGBT status. It is legal for an extended family member or even an anonymous sperm donor who gave up parental rights to sue a Mom or Dad for custody in the event of the death of departure of the second “birth” parent. So to be fully protected in one’s parental rights a second parent adoption- meaning the Mom or Dad who is NOT biologically related to the child even if they are on the birth certificate- is absolutely necessary. It is also necessary in the event of divorce.

Picture this- two mom’s. One gives birth to a child while married to second mom. Second mom is child’s mom in every way. Biological mom divorces and leaves non-bio mom. Non-bio mom seeks joints custody in the divorce. If she lives in TN the judge may very well say you have no legal rights to this child. Doesn’t matter that you’re on the birth certificate. You did not birth them. Your ex-wife does not want to share custody with you. So peace out. Never see your child again.

This happens.

Really let that sink in. Imagine as a Mom or Dad in a heterosexual co-parenting situation. You would never just imaging that your co-parent would never see their child again. I would never imagine saying to my wife who has literally been there since conception that she cannot see them again and has no rights to them. But that’s happening. In TN and Oklahoma and all those other douchebag intolerant states. It’s going to happen more perhaps even federally if SCOTUS changes the way it’s planning on changing.

My message is this- do NOT think there is no discrimination. There is. I’ve heard from a family in TN who is seeking a second parent adoption. They have called every attorney within an hour of them. Not ONE will represent them to do a second parent adoption. They have all cited religious beliefs as their reason. So this family who is desperate to just protect their rights as Mom’s cannot even find someone willing to help them. And this is ALL legal. They went to the Human Rights Campaign and never heard back. Because their case is actually low priority because there is so much worse discrimination going on in our country right now.

Imagine calling every single attorney within an hour radius of your home. NOT ONE. How would that feel to know that all of those individuals would not represent you for something as simple as a second parent adoption. What about if they actually needed representation for a criminal matter or a lawsuit? Who would help them? The answer is no one.

No one has stepped forward to help them.

How incredibly painful and isolating and terrifying.

There are so many stories like this. So many families who are scared to reach out for help when they need it because they have been told politely or not so politely to fuck off so many times before due to other people’s “religious beliefs.”

This makes me sick. It should make you sick. If you voted for #45 it should literally make you vomit. These are your neighbors at the very core just trying to protect their families.

If anyone knows an attorney willing to help families with second parent adoptions in the states of Tennessee or Oklahoma please message me. Those particular states, unlike CT, require a family to be represented by an attorney. It’s another barrier they put up for LGBT families.

These are desperate times for the LGBT population. We need allies.

 

Fear and Vulnerability

Vulnerability: (I had to dictionary.com this shit to fact check) So per Dictionary.com…

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; as by a weapon.

2. open to moral attack, criticism;

3. open to assault; difficult to defend.

Fear: Again per dictionary.com

  1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
  2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
  3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
  4. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
  5. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.
  6. anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur

I’ve wanted to write a post about this for awhile. But haven’t figured out how. Also sort of hate being vulnerable so the idea of writing a blog post about it made me feel uneasy. But it’s important and I don’t like being scared of something. So here goes.

I think we all know instinctively what being vulnerable feels like but we may not be able to put it into words. Hence the dictionary.com situation. I knew that it feels scary/raw/open/fearful. I know how it feels because every single time I tell someone I’m married to a woman I feel it. Which is almost on a daily basis. Think about how many times you reference your significant other and/or children. On a daily basis right? Think about how safe and secure and without hesitation you feel every time you mention your husband or wife if you are in a heterosexual relationship. Think about mentioning your children a hundred times a day to anyone. That you don’t think twice about it, and then maybe you share this heterosexual moment of kinship about their Dad’s or their Mom’s or whatever.

I don’t have that.

I tell people I have twins and they ask if my husband helps out a lot. I say I have a wife. Then I wait. I wait for acceptance or not. I make that statement and I am vulnerable to attack on my person and on my marriage and on my business. Because I do own a business. It is woman owned and yes Lesbian owned. So take that:)

But for real. That maybe 5 second moment that I experience on the regular is the most fucked up/vulnerable/fear inspiring/awe inspiring moment. And no offense but hetero’s you just can’t comprehend.

Every single time I talk about my family I put my safety at risk. I put myself at risk.

EVERY LGBTQ individual who comes out to any one at any time makes themselves vulnerable in that moment in a way that only a minority who knows hate and discrimination and murder can know. It can literally be life ending. Sit with that for a second. Freaking deep right.

So honor that moment when someone has the courage to come out to you. Because they may look cool and calm but inside they are waiting. Waiting to see which way you will swing. They are vulnerable in that moment. Vulnerable to fear, hate, and love.

I won’t stop putting myself out there. I won’t stop writing a blog post that outs myself and my family. Because ultimately though the word vulnerable makes me a little squeamish I know the big picture is more important. The big picture being that there are LGBTQ individuals who have died after coming out. There are LGBTQ individuals who have been horribly beaten. Yet they still walk the walk. They still talk the talk. They have embraced the vulnerability and the fear and given it the middle finger. I am happily and fearfully and lovingly joining them.

Rest in peace. All those who have died to be LGBTQ freely. PRIDE month in the USA for me means being proud of all those individuals who have stood up for our rights and died for them. We will carry on.

 

Being Boxed. A Rebellious Nurse.

So I started writing a blog post awhile ago about all my LGBT clients who felt stifled by their families growing up, that they had to conform themselves into this box that their families and societies placed them in.

Then once again the state of our nation hi-jacked my fun and emotionally impactful statement about LGBT youth being put into figurative boxes. Because we, as a nation, literally started putting children into boxes. What the fuck.

I swear to God if #45 hi-jacks one more of my blog posts…

Because I can’t write about fluffy shit- and by the way LGBT youth being made to conform into something they aren’t isn’t exactly fluffy- when there are children suffering. The thing about it is that they are suffering needlessly.

#45 has been made the villain. But the true villains are all the assholes sitting by with their thumbs up their asses as this happens. Every member of congress who is not speaking out against this, every business, every organization that is remaining silent is complicit. Me, writing a blog post about being boxed, and literally not mentioning it, would have been just wrong. Homophobia and non-acceptance is a reality. So are children being put into cages. Actual cages.

I look at my sons. I think if I had to do something to get them to safety I would. I would literally do anything. Then if I got them to safety and someone tried to take them from me I would literally need to be killed. Because I would fight. I would fight until I was dead if someone tried to take them from me.

The idea that our nation is locking up innocent children and tearing them apart from their parents literally feels like a punch in the gut. If I actually sit and think about it and connect with those feelings it makes me feel sick. The sickest part is the number of politicians who haven’t spoken out against it.

The American Psychiatric Nursing Association released a statement saying to basically cut the shit. I was like, YES! I knew I made the right career move joining the ranks of psychiatric nurses. One of the comments said, “APNA should stick to nursing.” And I smiled and thought, if there is any one more in need of a nurse right now it is these children. Nurses are advocates, caretakers, trusted members of society. These families need nurses speaking up and saying cut the shit. Nursing is taking a hard line against wrongdoing even when it presents as being rebellious. Rebellious nurses make changes.

Rebellious nurses call out racism, homophobia, sexism, immoral and unethical decisions. Rebellious nurses have led the marches and made up the ranks and will continue to do so. Rebellious nurses don’t stay in boxes and we sure as hell don’t keep our mouths shut. We do “stick to nursing” though. Nursing is caring, compassion, advocacy, and fighting the fight.

Thank-you APNA and the ANA for making statements against this horrendous situation. I am with you.

SCOTUS and LGBT Allies Walking the Walk

I was all set to write this really cute blog post about how my two year olds think I’m their pet. (“Come Mama”, “Sit Mama”, they expect me to eat whatever they put in front of me, and sometimes they make me beg after yelling and asking nicely don’t do it.) It was going to be really funny. Then I saw the headlines. SCOTUS sided with the damn baker. If you don’t know what that means Google it. Educate yourself.

Now what it does not mean is that people can discriminate against LGBT individuals nationally. HOWEVER, seeing as over half the country voted for #45 I know that unfortunately half or more of the country is not very intelligent and they will not read the actual SCOTUS ruling they will just see this as their rightful opportunity to be louder and more discriminatory toward LGBT individuals and families and they will feel justified in doing so because the SCOTUS said it’s okay…(which they didn’t. Again read the ruling and educate yourself.)

What I’ve been saying since I started writing this though is that people who identify themselves as allies of the LGBT community need to walk the walk. I’m going to explain what that means in case you don’t know.

It means more than just putting a rainbow flag over your profile pic for Pride month. It means more than commenting on FB posts that are homophobic.

Let me teach by example. I own my own mental health practice. I have let it be known to my clients and colleagues that I am an out provider and that I’ve got the backs of all LGBT individuals. That means when I get a call from a transgender identifying individual I stay late, I come in early, I work on my day off, in order to expedite their intake. Will I do this for a heterosexual individual? No. Because they have heterosexual privilege. They didn’t have to wait weeks, months, or years to find a transgender friendly provider. They didn’t have to call a dozen places and be asked what transgender means or what their “real name” is. I’ve seen transgender clients for almost pennies because they didn’t have insurance. And in doing so I’ve built a reputation among the trans community as being a trans-competent and trans-friendly provider. Same for gay men, lesbians, drag queens and Queer identifying individuals. I’ve walked the walk. I’ve gone to bat for my people and they know it. I’ve also seen such interesting characters and the secretary in my building has mastered a deadpan expression no matter who walks in.

I do this because I’ve always been a fan of the underdog. I worked in the two most hated areas of hospitals. Emergency department and psychiatry. Those people who have been opposite me in an argument or in seeing my advocate for patients know that I am loud but that I have strong silences. I also tend to get my way. So trust me, you want me advocating for the most unprotected and vulnerable population in our country right now. But I can’t do it alone.

By walk the walk I mean if you know the corner store is owned by a homophobic family or person but you buy your coffee there every morning anyway because the closest coffee shop beyond that is 30 minutes….buy a freaking keurig or drive thirty minutes. Know who is homophobic (ah hem Home Depot and Chick Filet and Barilla past) and stop frequenting their businesses and stop buying their products. Living without Home Depot has been rough at times but we survive. Don’t just talk the talk with your “love is love” crap. Put your money where your mouth is.

And stand up to your family and friends in person NOT just on social media. If you hear them use dyke and fag terminology: speak up. Don’t remain quiet because it’s easier because you are complicit. It’s hard. Been there. I was recently at a picnic and some one started talking about transgender people and how they just didn’t get why “they need to do that, why can’t they just be happy with what God gave them?” I could have shut up and turned away and started a new conversation with some one else. But that would make me complicit. And if I could just educate one person and change one person’s views it can make a difference. So I didn’t turn away. I took a deep breath and did a down and dirty transgender education session in less than five minutes. It went fine. There were no punches thrown and we both felt safe expressing our viewpoint and experiences. I could see movement toward understanding and while I didn’t want to talk work at a picnic how could I not address that?

Don’t call yourself an ally unless you are ready to walk the walk.

When you do, don’t expect thanks or praise- I sure as hell didn’t. I mean I’ve been thanked and stuff and that’s great but at the end of the day it’s the right thing to do and actions speak. I didn’t get my education to take care of rich white heterosexual entitlement. I got my education and my license to help those in need. The LGBT community is sorely in need right now.

I personally will not turn down friends, but at the same time only put out your hand if you know what you are truly offering.