It’s been a while since my last post, but I would really like to share with you something that was an ongoing occurrence last week between myself and some family members.
I was born and raised in the state of Missouri, but I currently reside in Maryland. I still have some family left in Missouri. I should say, I had some family in Missouri. So, what changed?
Take a look at this article published on the Chicagoist website about the NAACP travel advisory placed upon Missouri: http://chicagoist.com/2017/08/02/naacp_issues_travel_advisory_for_st.php
I heard about this earlier this month when it was put into effect, but I never thought more about it. To be honest, I should have done more research into it before now. However, I recently took a closer look at it earlier last week because the notion finally hit home to me about what it meant for me being a woman a part of the LGBTQ community. I mentioned in an earlier post that identifying as bisexual has never been a huge part of my identity. After taking years to accept that part about myself, it simply became natural to consider that a part of me, but I feel that other things take higher priority in what defines me as a person. So, what started these problems with my family, the travel advisory, and being a part of the LGBTQ community?
One of my younger cousins posted on Facebook last Monday a disturbing post on transgenders. I refuse to post the meme here, but the general idea was how can transgenders request that everyone else accept them when they cannot accept themselves? It doesn’t seem that bad on the face of it. Anyone who has not had to go through a process of self-acceptance may not understand what it’s like. I’m trying very, very hard to give the benefit of the doubt to people who would share this meme. I innocently commented that it’s a process of self-acceptance. Imagine growing up as a child and into an adult believing you were born of the wrong gender (and yes, there are more than two genders). If you are not in a supportive environment growing up, I cannot imagine how hard it would be to accept yourself when others have put you down. For myself, I only began realizing my true sexuality when I was 16. I was curious to how I felt about some women. It wasn’t until I was nearly 18 that I figured out I was simply attracted to some women. And let me tell you, my mother was not happy. To this day I am not certain she would accept me for being bisexual. So, I can only imagine how a transgender would feel.
Back to my point… I commented on the meme, hoping to pass on some understanding to my cousin. After sharing my thoughts, I put my phone away so I could attend my therapy session. Later that evening, I noticed the different comments that had been posted. They simply grew worse and worse as more people commented. My aunt said they were mentally ill. My cousin refused to accept anyone as transgender; he believed he shouldn’t be forced into accepting that. One friend of my cousin went as far as posting a meme that suggested all “fags” should be shot. Someone else suggested transgenders should lose their civil rights. The posts only got worse and worse.
I reached out to my family, and the only response I got (aside from them thinking people should seek mental help) was that they condemned everyone under the LGBTQ identity. In other words, they condemned me too. I could not, and still cannot, believe how horrible my family spoke about the LGBTQ community. My aunt, oddly enough, seemed to have supported my relationship with one of my exes, a woman. When I asked her if she included me under their condemning posts, she agreed. She wouldn’t shun me, but she doesn’t approve. My other cousin, who once identified as bisexual, condemned the whole community as well. I’m still a little shocked on how fast she turned that around.
Even now, I am still in shock over how close-minded my family was. Granted, they live in a small town. I try to give them some leeway, but sometimes it’s just not enough. I couldn’t believe I grew up around people who would condemn someone because of who they are. I stayed polite throughout the whole Facebook discussion, but something my cousin said was the tipping point. I ended up deleting my two cousins, and I unfollowed my aunt so I will no longer be subjected to that kind of harassment. Even now I’m not so sure I should allow someone like that to remain on my Facebook, family or not.
This came at a really bad time. I have been struggling with trying to find a place I feel at home at. I love the town I am living in, but you can’t really find any jobs unless you are willing to settle for minimum wage. I have a degree in history and English I would like to use. Even going to graduate school will require me to move out of the area. I have been trying to think of places to move that I would feel more accepted and comfortable. I have step-family here in Maryland, but I feel that we tend to be more of a burden than anything else. I have an aunt in South Carolina, but I feel as though we are more extended family that should not stay too long. I even considered moving back to Missouri, despite the bad memories there. However, my family decided that one for me. If they cannot accept me for who I am, I absolutely will not move there.
It has been a tough week, for sure. After my mom died, I never really had to fight for people to understand my sexuality. My brother is getting better at accepting it. He still has a lot of work to do, but I hope he will get there one day. My aunt and former coworker tend to make fun of people whose gender they cannot understand. I think they are only now beginning to accept something like my sexuality. However, I never thought I would see the day where my own family would condemn me for who I am.
So, how have I managed to cope with this past week? After accepting some people are just too judgmental, I deleted my cousins from Facebook. I unfollowed my aunt. I will not hesitate to keep getting rid of people who condemn such things. I focused on more positive things, such as my art. I finished this wonderful drawing of Eva LaRue and Emily Procter.
And anyone who knows me knows how much I’m in love with Eva LaRue. In fact, her official fan website has noticed my art work, and they have begun sharing positive thoughts my way.
I finished a Kylo Ren/General Hux commission I drew for a friend of mine. It came out incredible, and it made me so happy to put a smile on someone else’s face.
I also watched Keeping Up with the Joneses with Gal Gadot and Isla Fisher. I laughed so hard so many times that I had to keep pausing the movie. I currently have a huge crush on Gal Gadot, which made it even better. If you haven’t seen the movie, you need to. She’s incredibly sexy in it. Not only is there a scene of her in her lingerie, but she shares a kiss with Isla Fisher. See, my sexuality shines through quite easily haha. No seriously, it is a funny movie. Check it out. This movie pulled me out of the depression that began to creep up on me.
I can’t begin to speak for anyone else, but let me just say this. I know how hard it is to be dismissed, condemned, turned away from your family over who you are. Regardless of if it’s your sexuality, your mental health problems, your dreams, etc… please don’t forget to stand up for yourself. Sometimes, no one else is around to do it. Always, always count on yourself to stand up. Speak back. Stand your ground. Lean on those who support you no matter what, and let those go who stand in your way. It’s incredibly hard to let someone like family go, but your happiness, safety, and life is worth it. I promise.