Friday, December 2, 2011

Are you gay enough or are you too gay ?

There is no one way to be gay! Being gay does not define who you are- it is merely a part of you. If you think you are "not gay enough" or think you are "too gay" then read this quick guide on how to be gay as provided by Gay Life.

1. Take time to explore yourself. Spend some quality time learning who you are and what you like. Remember, there is no one way to be gay. You can be whoever you are. Once you know yourself completely you gain confidence in yourself and in every other aspect of your life.

2. Remove any stereotypes you have about being gay. The media (and even other gay people) often group gay men into one category. There are stereotypes associated with how we look, dress, talk and act with little recognition of our differences and individual personalities. These stereotypes can get ingrained in your head, making it difficult to be yourself. Once you ignore how you are "supposed to be" and start being who you really are, you will find your own place as a gay man.

3. Ignore peer pressure from those around you. Peer pressure can be the toughest thing to overcome. You don't have to be a carbon copy of your friends or a cute boy at the bar. Trust me, the right friends and the right man will appreciate your differences!

4. There is no such thing as "not being gay enough" or being "too gay." If anyone tells you otherwise they are being dramatic.

5. Open yourself to your own sexuality. According to the Kinsey Scale, there are different degrees of sexuality. And yes, there are such things as real bisexuals!

If there is a day where you feel any insecurities of how gay you are or if you feel like you're not gay enough, this guide can simply keep you on the right track. I say, there's nothing wrong with being too gay or not being gay enough, as long as you are happy with how gay you are then that's all that matters. Just always remember to be happy with yourself!

Peace Love and Rainbows,

Rinagrace


"You need a Victim and a Complaint!" -- A statement that angers the LGBT Community !

There’s one thing in this world that I hate so much and that is bullying. I hate all acts of bullying; even the word “bully” makes me cringe. Being bullied is such a cruel act and anyone who decides to take part in it, should be extremely punished!

That is why when I recently read an article about the Jamey Rodemeyer case I was completely angered by the results.

In recent news, Amherst Police Chief John Askey announced that after hundreds of hours of interviews and investigation his department has ruled that no charges will be brought against the classmates that bullied 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer to death.

The reason?

Because Jamey is dead, and therefor cannot testify against them.

As stated by Askey, “Jamey is not alive to attest to any of the incidents involved, which most frequently involved subjecting the teen to gay slurs. Jamey had identified himself as bisexual and gay over the course of the last year prior to his death. In most cases, you need a victim and a complaint.”

For those who have no clue about the case, Jamey committed suicide in September after blogging for months that was being mercilessly bullied and that his school seemed unwilling to do anything about it. When classmates discovered his blog, they took the bullying there as well, writing “Jamie is stupid, gay, fat, and ugly. He must die!” Another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it. It would make everyone way ore happier!”

Following Jamey’s suicide, his school’s homecoming dance made national news when the bullies who had tormented Jamey into suicide began chanting, “We’re glad you’re dead!” during a dedication to him. Jamey’s sister was in attendance during the unbelievable celebration of her brother’s death and a student was eventually suspended for harassing her.

So for the police to now say that there will be no punishment for those who bullied this young boy to death precisely because they achieved their goal and he is no longer alive to testify. Well. You can see how the LGBT community would find that completely unacceptable and a travesty of justice.

On a brighter note, in Jamey's plea to others he singled out Lady Gaga as a beacon of hope and when Mother Monster caught wind of this sad story she began a Twitter campaign to attempt to bring about legislation to adopt anti-bullying laws. She met with the President and performed a moving tribute to Jamey at a recent concert.

In addition to Gaga's efforts, Jamey's parents, Tim and Tracey Rodemeyer have decided to address this issue head on in hopes that they can bring about change in the wake of their son’s passing. They appeared on the Today show and spoke to Ann Curry about the tragic incident that occurred. The couple touched on issues that occurred after there son's death, such as, the events that happened during the homecoming event at school.

It’s hard to grasp where that level of angst and intolerance comes from. One of the issues that has come to light is the fact that the internet and all the social media outlets make young people like Jamey more accessible to those who wish to cause hurt and harm. Jamey’s mother Tracey concluded with the following statement to other parents:

“My message to the parents is badger your kids and make them talk or get them the help they need. There’s lots and lots of other people that maybe they’ll talk to. There’s a lot of organizations out there that maybe they’ll talk to, but get them to talk. We tried to get Jamey to talk to us constantly, and he just kept it in. He just put up a brave face but just wouldn’t let it go, if you know they’ve been bullied in the past, keep on them, go to the school, do whatever you have to, to make sure that they’re getting the help they need.”

This is such a tragic case and it angers me that there are young people out there doing these horrendous crimes. At any age, this should not be acceptable! People, young people, are committing suicide because of such acts like bullying and government officials are not doing anything about it. People are getting away with crimes when families are suffering due to them, which is unjustly and not right!

Hopefully, one day this could change but until then all we can do is just fight and hope for change.

Until next time ..

Peace Love and Rainbows,

Rinagrace

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Young Boy Takes a Stand !

I recently came across a video of an interview that Ellen DeGeneres had with a young man by the name ofGraeme Taylor who is a very special member of the LGBT community. Graeme is an openlygay 14 year old student in Michigan who recently made headlines for apassionate defense of a teacher who was suspended by the school district fordismissing a student for making homophobic slurs. Just to add, Michigan madesome less positive headlines a few weeks back with the passing of anti- bullylegislation that read more like a bullying “how to.” The language in questionwas removed and a more effective bill was passed.

Graeme gave a very candidinterview about why he chose to take his case to the school board as well aswhat it was like coming out to his friends. Graeme seems very comfortable inthe spotlight and clearly has a very supportive family behind him

Below you can view the speechGraeme gave to the school board and his feature on The Ellen Show !


Congratulations to Graeme for being recognized by Ellen and for standing up for what he felt was right. Graeme you are an inspiration to LGBT teens (and adults) around the world. Keep up the good work!

Peace Love and Rainbows,
Rinagrace

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interview With Charles Epps on Educating Children About LGBT Issues !

The debate about whether and how LGBT issues should be discussed in schools has been quite a popular topic in many discussions, which you can say is due to current government laws being passed for the LGBT community.

With that said, as a student, I feel that younger children should be educated about this particular subject. It isn’t a hidden secret anymore; the LGBT community is stepping out and is constantly growing, especially in our society today. Children should be informed about this community, so as they grow up they could gain a better understanding and more of an open mind to the LGBT community and the issues that come with it.

With this on my mind, I wanted to get a broader perspective about this issue, so I thought it would be a great idea to speak to someone who works within the school system and who can give me a better understanding about this debate.

I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Charles Epps, who is the current Superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools. He brought up many important factors about the issue in the very little time we spoke.

R: Mr. Epps what are your personal views on the debate about whether and how LGBT issues should be discussed in schools?

C: There is no debate. I want people to understand that it’s 2011, there have always been homosexuals and although they might not be as open as they are now, they have always been around. It makes no sense to me that we have to educate people about this particular community for them to accept them. But if that’s what we have to do, then it will be done. I’m a strong believer in equality and if in 2011 we have to educate our young students about equality, then so be it.

R: Do you believe children are open to discussing such issues? Why or why not?

C: In our society today children are exposed to pretty much anything and everything. Although, this may be a tough issue to present to young children, especially because children have a strong influence from their parents, if presented the right way it can be very beneficial. I realize that not all children are going to understand such issues and may not immediately accept this particular community or they may not accept them at all but knowing that I have made strides in educating these young children is all that matters to me. I made an effort to make a change and although it may not be comprehended the way I want it to be, I’m ok with that because I can never say that I never tried.

R: It has been all over the news that LGBT students in schools are being bullied for there sexual preference; do you believe if children were to be educated about this particular community at an early age, it will lesson the acts of violence in schools?

C: In terms of violence I never know what’s next. If I could, I would stop all violence in schools. Children are in schools to learn not to hurt one another. Like I have stated before I am a strong believer that education is the cause of change. I believe that the more we educate children about this issue the more they will have an open mind, or at least I hope so. No one knows what the future holds but as an educator I work very hard to make a difference in the lives of my students, especially for there future. I only hope that what I instill in them today, they will take with them to there future.

R: In your years as a member of the Jersey City School District, have you seen an increase in violence towards students that are and may be homosexual?

C: To be honest no. We have never had an incident where a student was abused for there homosexuality, which I’m proud of. I don’t want a child to be teased for who they are. Everyone should be treated equally regardless of his or her sexual preference.

R: How do you see the future of public schools, in terms of discussing such issues?

C: In terms of the future of Jersey City’s Public Schools, I plan on preparing my teachers in teaching our young students about this issue. I believe that this should be discussed in the classroom because it’s such a huge part of our society. I know this may be a process but it is a process I am willing to take. I believe that this will only turn for the better. Not only for my school district but especially for my students.

That concludes my interview with Mr. Charles Epps. I hope this has helped some of you gain a better understanding about this particular issue. Please understand, although that Mr. Epps is very open about discussing such issues within his school district that is not the case for others.

I can only hope that one day our young children can be educated about such issues because I only see a positive outcome from it.

Thanks guys! Until next time …

Peace Love and Rainbows,

Rinagrace

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unanswered Questions of a Wounded Lesbian .

I’ve always been asked several questions about my sexuality. Questions like “Rina. why are you a lesbian? Or “Rina, why’d you date women and suddenly choose to date men?” You can pretty much say that my life revolved around questions. Questions that I never answered because the answers hurt too deep for me to speak about it.

See, what people don’t know is that being a lesbian wasn’t a choice for me.

Aahhh, I know now you guys are all probably curious as to why. So, since it’s been such a mystery for so many years, I guess it’s time for me to unveil the answers to these dire questions.

Let me take you all back to when I was five years old. I was sitting on the living room couch right beside my grandfather having gibberish conversation with him. He asked me to come sit on his lap in which I willingly did because of course, every little girl loves sitting on grandpa’s lap. So, I sat there and listened to him tell me stories about his life adventures and all the fun things we would do when I get older. As the conversation went on, I could feel my grandfather’s hands slowly move closer and closer to my girly parts, in which you can say is the beginning of my lifetime of sexual abuse.

As a child, I never knew that what my grandfather was doing was wrong because from my understanding it was “nap time” or “playtime.” In a child’s eyes, nap time and playtime was something fun and relaxing and since I was grandpa’s little girl, every time spent with him was special to me or at least I thought so.

This became a daily routine, I’d wake up, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, go to school, come home from school, and then came “nap time.” This went on until I was thirteen years old, unspoken about to anyone.

I can’t forget to mention that while all this was happening I was also brutally abused. From getting locked in dog cages to being tied to railings to not being fed for days, was my life growing up.

Now let me take you back to when I was eight years old. I was sitting on the couch at my uncle’s house. You can say that the couch was the hot spot for me. I was sitting right beside my older cousin and again I was asked to sit on his lap, in which you all should know by now, I did. He placed a soft little pillow on top of my legs and began to fondle me under the pillow. I didn’t think anything of it because I thought we were having “playtime.” I thought in my mind, if grandpa can do it, there shouldn’t be anything wrong if anyone else does, right? My cousin did this on several occasions until I stopped going to his house.

While all this abuse was happening, my father was in the Philippines dying of diabetes. Because of this, at age nine, my two brothers were sent home to the Philippines as asked by the doctor because they thought this would keep my father alive.

Who knew that not having my brothers and my father around would lead to more sexual and physical abuse. I sure didn’t.

At age eleven my father passed away, which led to the beginning of my five long years of depression.

At age thirteen, my grandfather sexually abused for the last time. I remember I was in his bedroom asleep and he came over to me to do the usual. When he was done, I remember us staring at one another dead in the face and it hit me as hard as it hit him that what he was doing was wrong. My grandfather stared at me as if he realized that I wasn’t a little girl anymore. At that age, I discovered that all this time, what I thought was “nap time” or “playtime” was something that wasn’t real, something that wasn’t right, something that was a lie, and I was living in it. And that thought alone sadden me for a very long time.

A year later my grandfather passed away. Although, everything that he did to me was dishonest and wrong, all I can remember was crying and hurting because I lost the only father figure in my life. I never hated my grandfather for what he did because he gave me love that I always wanted to receive from my father, love that I felt was pure and genuine and ended up being a lie.

My grandfather’s death led to an extreme amount of sadness in my life. I never spoke about the situation until I was fifteen when I finally had the strength to tell my family. At this time, no one knew how to react to the situation so everyone acted as if it never happened. My family’s reaction to my experience was one that I didn’t expect. I wanted support and understanding but instead I received nothing.

This led to me hating myself for a very long time.

With the amount of abuse that I have experienced in my life from men and never having a positive male figure in my life, I was never able to trust them. I have always thought, if I can’t trust those in my family, whom can I trust?

I trusted women.

Women to me were my saviors. I stayed away from all men except my brothers. When I was with women I felt safe, I felt love, I felt happiness, I felt feelings that I never felt when I was a child. In a sense, being with women made me feel that I could relive my childhood again.

They made me feel free.

Significantly, they made me feel like I could trust again.

And then came a time when I was twenty-one years old. I went down to Virginia with my family to visit our family priest. He was one of the few men that I grew to trust, a man that I wanted to do my wedding ceremony and baptize my children.

I haven’t seen him in over five years and so I was very excited to visit him and sooner or later it became clear that he was quite excited to see me. The trip went very well but from the beginning I knew there was something a little fishy about this man. I noticed that every time we spoke he would place his hand on my waist, which I thought was odd because I didn’t feel comfortable that my priest touched me in that area. He also constantly kept telling me how beautiful I have grown to become, which I was disgusted by.

The last day of my trip, this man sat me down on the couch, yes the couch. And as my cousin did, he placed a pillow on my lap and tried to touch my girly parts under the pillow. As he was doing this he whispered in my ear and asked me to meet him in the bedroom. We were in front of my entire family and I didn’t want to cause a scene so I got up and removed myself from the situation. He later then tried to kiss me and force himself on me while I was stepping out the bathroom.

This very moment was such a significant part of my life because for once I was able to stick up for myself. To be honest, it was hard for me to deal with because it brought back those emotions I felt growing up. Again, I became a little depressed and until this day I still deal with this problem.

Being sexually and physically abused all my life has taken a turn on me. I deal with it everyday but it is something that not many people know about it or can even tell. I walk around with a smile on my face even when my days get extremely hard.

Although, being a lesbian wasn’t my choice, being a lesbian was my strength, was my source of staying alive, it was my way of giving myself another chance on life.

So, with that said, do you all have any more questions because before you ask them just know that your questions will lead to a lifetime of answers.

Peace Love and Rainbows,

Rinagrace