Marie Talks: The use of Gay or Lesbian as an insult

It’s been approximately five years since I have been in public school. I don’t know how much things have changed over the years, however using ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as an insult is still very much present (at least in the cyber world) I have noticed. This idea that being told you are doing something that labels you as ‘gay’ and it being used to hurt you is ten steps backward from everything society has been working towards for years.  When I was going to school I had this bully, lets call him Smith, and he would try to do or say anything that would get under my skin. One of Smith’s ‘go-to insults’ was calling me a lesbian. I didn’t understand why he thought this would hurt me, as I didn’t see what was wrong about a female liking another female. Plus, I am bisexual, I do like women and I am not ashamed of liking women. However I saw the hurt in some of my friends eyes when he would make the same comment about them.

Eventually I asked one of my friends, lets call her Beth, why being called a lesbian bothered her, and her answer made me understand why this term could hurt someone. See when someone called me a lesbian it didn’t phase me because it was true, I like women. Albeit not just women, I liked men too which made me bisexual, it didn’t have the same impact on me as it could on a straight female. Beth explained to me that the term lesbian hurt her because she felt that the term implied she was unattractive to male’s, something she’s struggled with feeling like for years. That it meant she was a person only another female could love. Being called a lesbian to her also implied that she was not feminine, and that she should be ashamed of these things.

Using the word lesbian as a way to offend a female can hurt, just like how using the term gay can hurt a male. It’s too easy to label a man as gay if he has a more feminine side, he’s a bit ‘off’ in your eyes, he’s ‘weak’, or he’s easily putt off/scared. What people seem to not care about is when using the term it doesn’t just affect the person you’re calling it, it affects the people around you too. Im not saying any form of bullying is alright but why cant you say what you mean instead of morphing a word to mean everything that is an insult, when the word does not mean any of that.

Now one thing I have always been against is anything that makes another person feel unworthy or inadequate. Whether it is to make them feel unworthy of love, attention, or the credit they are due. Or making a person feel like they don’t try hard enough, are not ‘normal’ or something is wrong with them. Which is exactly what using LGBT terms as insults does to a person, both someone whose being targeted with these labels and someone who identifies with the them, which is not cool at all.

Every time a person uses the word gay or lesbian as an insult you are telling another human that what they are is wrong, bad and something to be ashamed of. You’re promoting someone to hide who they are and to hide their feelings towards another human. You are making people feel unsafe, helping contributing to their fears and insecurities. You are not only hurting the person you are calling gay/lesbian but also a whole community of people who identify with the term.

Now not only are gay/lesbian an insult when used in an demeaning manner but so are all the other slang or identifiers. This includes words like butch, queer, and fag etc. We need to put an end to using terms to describe who you love as a way to demean and belittle others. We need to put an end to looking down on the LGBTQ2IA community and embrace them. We need to end bullying in any capacity. We need to embrace people for their differences and love (and support) each other. We need to help others feel accepted and learn to love themselves.

Gay is not an insult. We need to work together to put an end to this out dated point of view.

To finish this off I’ll add my final thought:

If being called Straight isn’t an insult, why is Gay or Lesbian? They’re all terms to describe what gender the person has romantic feelings towards. Feelings that are natural and we don’t have much control over.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

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Madison Opinion on the LGBTQ2IAl

When it comes to this community I had a whole bunch of ideas to write about. But I decided to cut it down little because my first draft ended up more than nine pages. So today I’m going to be talking about Transgender and Bisexual community. I picked the Transgender community because I feel that they are one of the most abused both online and in person. So I would like to get a chance to break some of those stereotypes. I also picked Bisexuals because I am Bisexual and this comes really personal to me.

So first I’m going to give you the proper Definitions. Transgender: A person appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, as a transsexual or habitual cross-dresser. Bisexual: A person sexually responsive to both genders; ambisexual.

Stereotypes for transgender.

  • All of them are drag kings or queens.

For one drag kings/queens and transgender people are two completely different things. If someone who was transgender was walking down the street you wouldn’t be able to tell. Exceptionally if they were fully comfortable with themselves. That’s why I don’t fully understand this stereotype, because here are some drag king and queens that are straight and do it because they enjoy putting on the show. Same with the transgender males and females that do it. But that shouldn’t matter, it’s their personality that should count and every transgender person I’ve met are total sweet hearts.

  • All transgender people want a sex change.

To be totally honest, I can’t believe someone would actually say that. No not every transgender male or female want a sex change. Some just want to express themselves so that they can finally be true to themselves. To some people they may actually be more comfortable in those cloths, or it may help them gain some self-esteem. Question? Would you like to walk around and do everything, including working in a business suit and tie? Probability not, you would most likely go home and change into something a little more comfortable. One thing I have also wondered was, if a female dresses up like a male it is considered alright, but if a male dresses up as female then that is considered wrong. So what I’m wondering is, what the difference?

  • There are no people who will date or marry someone who is or dresses like a transgender.

In my opinion there is someone out there for everyone, plus what does it matter what someone look like on the outside it’s what inside that counts. Honestly if my fiancé ever came out as a transgender and starts dressing up as a female. I would welcome it, because I love him for who he is, the outside just a bonuses. I don’t know if it is because I am Bisexual or not. But that’s how I feel. Plus if you can’t love someone for who they are then sorry I don’t think that considered love.

Bisexual

When it comes to being bisexual myself I always seem to get the question “would you be interested in having a threesome?” to me personally I find that very rude because honestly I may find both genders attractive but that does not mean I would enjoy threesomes, I’m sorry that’s not my cup a tea. I am a very jealous person to begin with so having to share my partner in the bedroom, yah that be no fun for anyone.

So for me the hardest thing was trying to figure out if I really was bisexual or not, because after a while it just felt normal and my family told me it was normal to look as long as there was nothing more.  In grade 9 I met some friends that were either in the same boat as me to had already gone through there struggles, that’s when I started opening up and embracing who I am today.

You would think being bisexual it would have been a bit easier for me to come out to my family. how was I wrong, I ended up only telling my mother to her turning around saying “no you’re not!” and since then she always questioning me about my sexuality and hoping someday I’ll turn around and tell her I’m straight. When I was younger I never had Issues fitting in because one I never really had friends and when I did I was always too afraid to say anything personal to them. So I ended up being a much closed up kid.

So those are some of my thoughts on the LGBTQ2IA community. If you want me to discuss another topic or anything else in general me a comment or private message me. Let me know if you had any questions or concerns leave me a message and I will address it the best I can

-Madison Taylor

IvyBelle LGBTQIA

Bisexual has been around for years yet people act like it’s a new thing. Like it’s a sin, but let me tell you something…

Hi. I’m Ivybelle and I’m Bisexual.

When I was a kid, I would look at women just like I would look at men. I never saw or thought that there was a difference. I thought that it was a normal thing to think that a woman is pretty or thinking that I wanted to kiss them- that it was a girl thing that all women/girls think like that. But over the years I realized that it wasn’t. People would look at me weird like I was an alien or something. But to some guys, it was exciting.

The first thing I would get asked is “ What about a threesome?” or “ Does that mean you have threesomes?”. The answer to that is no! No girl ever wants to hear that her man wants her and another girl. It makes us feel like we aren’t good enough. Being Bisexual does not mean they want threesomes. It just means they like women as much as men.

Another question I get is “ How did you know?” . Well I didn’t know at first. As a kid I thought it was normal. I’ve never heard of “Bisexual”. I didn’t hear about it until I was 16. It was quite late but I didn’t know there was a specific term for liking both sexes.

I only came out to my parents when I was 23. I remember being nervous and a million questions were crossing my mind. One of them being “what if they reject me!?”. That’s the question that most of us ask ourselves. My mom accepted it, my dad not so much. Most of my friends knew way before my mom knew.

My dad was bi-curious when he was a teenager. He’ll deny it to anyone but he admitted to me way before everything went south. He found out I’m bisexual though my half-sister. My step-mom told me what happened and this is what apparently happened… When my Half-Sister told my dad that I’m bisexual, he denied me as his child. He was disappointed and said he was ashamed of me. I thought it was a bit hypocritical. How can someone who was bi-curious/bisexual judge their child who is bisexual.

I sort of came out of my mom while we were having a discussion about my dad’s past experience with men and women. I told her that I kind of like women. I wasn’t ready to fully admit it yet. Today, my mom knows. I came out 100%, it didn’t bother her at all. She said that she loves me for who I am no matter what. It was a relief to know.

Today, it doesn’t really matter to me if people know about my sexuality. I am me! And I love who I am and that’s all that matters.

Always love yourself and be you. No one can change you or tell you who to be. Whether you are gay, lesbian,bisexual, transgender, etc.. your sexuality doesn’t define you. Remember that you are beautiful and loved. It might be hard right now, but it will get better. It really does. Im not just saying that to make you smile, im saying that because its true. Be strong and don’t change. At the end of the day, who you like, marry, sleep with doesn’t concern anyone else.Be happy. Do what makes you happy.

Stay Strong. Be happy. Stay beautiful.

-Ivybelle- xox

Lynn Rascal’s view on Asexuality

Asexuality, by definition, is the lack of sexual attraction. For the longest time, I didn’t know that asexuality was a thing and honestly a lot of people still don’t. This usually leads to a lot of asexuals thinking there’s something wrong with them or that they’re just wrong about their sexuality when they really aren’t. I’m here to hopefully help spread some information and recount a tale or two of my past.
While having a talk with my dad, he mentioned that I was at an adventerous time of my life and I should have at least had sex once by now. I responded by giggling like a fifth grader hearing the word penis, which made my dad upset, but I think he was confused more than anything. I had no interest in sex, my body never “craved it” nor my heart or mind, and I didn’t see anything wrong with that, so I wondered why he was so bewildered. I’m sure he still doesn’t know since I couldn’t quite explain it to him back then and I didn’t even know what it was myself.
Now from how I worded it in my personal story just now, you might be thinking “Oh, so asexuals just don’t have an interest or don’t want to have sex.” No. That isn’t what asexuality is. Asexuality, as stated before, is the lack of sexual attraction. In other words, asexuals don’t lust after other people. Asexuals can have a physical desire for sex, yes, but it does not mean they have anyone speciffically in mind for who they’d want to do it with. It’s kind of like wanting to eat something but nothing in the fridge looks appetizing. They don’t find anyone attractive in a sexual way and that is totally okay.
Asexuality is actually a very broad topic that I can’t even begin to cover all of, but I can provide links to a few things that will help you find more information on asexuality, like the site for AVEN, the Asexuality Visibilty and Education Network
or the Asexuality Archive, which has links to a lot of different helpful pages
I hope I was able to clear up at least a little of what Asexuality is and clear up a thing or two and I hope you have a nice day~!
  • Lynn Rascal

LGBTQ2IA -Marie Olsson

LGBTQ2IA:

L: Lesbian

  • A homosexual woman.

G: Gay

  • A homosexual, especially a man.

B: Bisexual

  • A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender

T: Transgender

  • Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Q: Queer

  • Historically, this was a derogatory slang term used to identify LGBTQ+ people;
  • A term that has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality “norms

Or

Q: Questioning

  • The process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation, investigating influences that may come from their family, religious upbringing, and internal motivations

2: Two-Spirit

  • a term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders

I: Intersex

  • a person with a set of sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit within the labels of female or male (e.g., 47,XXY phenotype, uterus, and penis)

A: Asexual

  • a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any group of people

Or

A: Ally

  • a heterosexual person who supports the LGBTQ2IA community.

I personally identify as bisexual. When I tell someone I am bisexual I often get asked a number of things:

“Which gender do you prefer?”

Do I have a preference? Yes, I do, whoever makes me happy. I like both genders fairly equally, possibly men slightly more. Yes, I flirt with women more, but I’m more likely to make a flat out advance on a male. I check out more females then males.  I’ve been with (relationship wise and sexually) more men than females.  Very few of these factors actually have much to do with my preference; the main factor is more so situations that present themselves.  There is a part of me that although I flirt with women more, I’m more shy actually voicing how I feel about her then I do men.  With men it’s easier, whether it’s because it’s seen as the social norm to be with them or due to the fact that I never am sure when it comes to women.  I am more open, at ease, and feel safer with women.

“How are you sure? / How do you know? / When did you know? / Since when were you bisexual?”

If that was something I could answer easily I wouldn’t have half the issues I do.  It took me years to realize that feeling the same towards females as I do towards men was not normal… Well not in the straight sense at least. I thought all females appreciated another female’s good looks, I mean how could you not.  Apparently that’s not normal, at least not beyond the ‘oh, she’s pretty’. As I got older the signs got a bit easier to separate from what someone who’s straight would think.  I don’t think a straight girl would think of kissing her female friend, or have fantasies about another woman. Straight woman don’t want to date another female, don’t get turned on by another girl. When I realized my thoughts towards other female were not purely platonic is when I started knowing my sexuality did not conform to the accepted outline of heterosexuality or being ‘straight’.  I knew I was not straight when my first sexual encounter was not with a male, but a female… However I still did not know what my sexuality was… at that point I had heard of being straight or gay, I did not know there was a middle ground. I was utterly confused, I knew I liked boys; but I liked girls in the exact way.  It wasn’t until I was thirteen when one of my friends used the term bisexual, and then explained it to me, that I started to question if that was the correct term for my sexual preference. So you could say I knew I was bisexual at the age of fourteen, when I had a term for it…  Or you could say I was nine, when I started wanting to kiss another girl.  I think the when part is irrelevant, just because that’s when I realized I was bisexual doesn’t mean the day before I wasn’t. I always was, I just didn’t realize the difference, nor did it really matter.

Do I ask when someone realize they are straight? No, because that’s silly… Just as ridiculous when someone asks me since when have I been bisexual…? Because as much as I dislike Lady Gaga I will say it ‘Baby I was born this way’.

“How was it coming out to your parents?”

To be completely honest I have never actually said the words ‘I am bisexual’ to my dad, I think he knows but we’ve never had a discussion concerning it. To be even more completely honest, I never actually had to say it to my mom either.  In a way I think my mom knew I ‘batted for both teams’ before I completely came to terms with it myself.  When I was fourteen I was talking about this friend I really liked and how amazing they were, not being very specific on gender but not really being blatant in hiding it either.  I was mentioning that I didn’t know how she’d take to me dating and she turned and asked me “You like Stephanie (names changed obviously) don’t you?”… Which I admitted to and then the “are you bisexual” questioned popped up.  So how I came out to my mother was a series of ‘yeses’, followed by her going “I knew it!”.  My mother was very supportive, and we both agreed she wouldn’t say a word to my dad until I told him myself.  In a way she was the first person who I actually identified as bisexual to, I mean others knew I liked girls, but I never linked myself to a term before then. If anything I am extremely happy my mom was the first one to know what I used to identify my sexual orientation, I’m even happier she completely accepts me for it.  I’m not one to hide the fact that I’m bisexual, I’m a fairly open book in general though.  Most people know I’m bisexual and if you ask I’ll probably tell.  I’m just lucky I’ve gotten very little lash back from people who found out, and those who didn’t approve were not very close to me anyways.

Or my personal favourite, any variation of “So you’re down for threesomes?”

Ok, I hate this question with a burning passion, especially when it comes from romantic partners.  Just because I like both women and men does not by any means mean I want both at the same time or within any short amount of time of each other.  It does not mean if I am with one I want to add a person of the opposite gender to the mix; it does not mean I want to share that person with another, even just sexually. Lets put it this way: I am a very jealous, shy and territorial person. If I am dating a person I am very unlikely to willingly share them with anyone else in a way that should be reserved for just us.  Whether or not I am ‘down for a threesome’ has absolutely nothing to do with my sexual identity, so for anyone who thinks they are linked please unlink them.

The first three don’t bother me as much as the fourth; however they still get annoying to hear after a while.  I am thankful that I myself haven’t really come across anyone I care about that has opposed my sexuality or thought bad about me for it.  However I have been bullied for my sexuality through the years, all through secondary school really.  It was five years of non-stop harassment and abuse.  It was slightly funny really though that the people who I cared about their opinions had no qualms with me being bisexual; but those whose I could care less about wanted to voice their concerns about it.  They voiced it very publicly, very loudly, very crudely and extremely often.  Sometimes it hurt, but not when they said it to me, but when they would drag my friends into it.  When my closest friends got harassed for my liking females.  That’s where it hurt, when it not only affected but hurt my friends.

Let’s have some fun and get into some facts and stats now shall we?

From http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444 :

“Actual or perceived sexual orientation is the number 2 reason students are bullied, according to a 2005 U.S. survey. Appearance was the number 1 reason.”

The idea of bullying someone for any reason is terrible to me to begin with; but to bully someone on what YOU THINK they are and not what they are is even worse. You cannot justify bullying for any reason, and it’s sick that sexual orientation pretty much tops the charts and that appearances are the only thing higher than it.

In Canada (2009 Canadian Climate Survey on Homophobia):

  • 59 per cent of LGBTQ high school students reported they were verbally harassed, compared to seven per cent of non-LGBTQ students..
  • 25 per cent of LGBTQ students indicated being physically harassed due to their sexual orientation, compared to eight per cent of non-LGBTQ students
  • 73 per cent of LGBTQ students reported they felt unsafe at school, compared to 20 per cent who did not.

That’s a pretty big difference just for verbal harassment alone… A 52 percent difference to be exact. I’m not all too surprised, but a little ashamed to know how bad the numbers are.  We’re talking 2009, I was 16 years old, these were my fellow peers.  I grew up bullied for my sexual orientation (which was perceived for the longest while), but I didn’t know how bad it was statistically across Canada.  I can’t find more recent data but I could only hope it has gotten better.  As for physical harassment, in my opinion 1 percent of the entire population is too much, never mind these statistics.  School should be a safe place.. not a place where youth feel unsafe.  A lot of people already have issues wanting to go to school, they should not also have the burden of having to worry about their safety as well.

In the United States (2009 survey of U.S. students in grades 6-12)

  • 85 percent of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 40 percent reported being physically harassed.
  • 19 percent reported being physically assaulted
  • Compared to Canada, fewer of the American students, 61 per cent, reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation.

Oh boy, and I thought Canada’s 59 percent was bad, 85 percent having been verbally harassed in that year?!  This is outrageous, there needs to be a major change that happens to society.  I think society needs a better awareness of the affect others actions and words have on a person.  Society doesn’t need a blanket to shelter us from the problem, Society needs a helping hand to fix the problem so no one else gets hurt. The problem is not ones sexual preference, their gender or anything about them. The problem is that society and some people in society think they have a say in another person’s life.

From: http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics :

Even more shocking are these statistics from a study that involved surveying over 3700 students from across Canada between December 2007 and June 2009:

Levels of sexual harassment are high across the board for LGBTQ students. The following groups of students reported having experienced sexual harassment in school in the last year:

  • 49% of trans students
  • 45% of students with LGBTQ parents
  • 43% of female bisexual students
  • 42% of male bisexual students
  • 40% of gay male students
  • 33% of lesbian students

This is sick, absolutely sick. I’ll be honest here, I cried reading these stats.  Two topics I am highly passionate, LGBTQ2IA and sexual harassment/assault, compiled into one list of statistics that are way too high for my liking.  I could talk about this for quite a while, however I think comparing it to these statistics: “A recent Ontario report found that the rates of sexual harassment in schools are significant, with 36% of boys and 46% of girls in Grade 9 reporting that “someone made [unwanted] sexual comments, jokes, gestures or looks at me”.  By Grade 11 this rate had declined significantly for boys, but remained consistent at 46% for girls (Safe Schools Action Report on Gender-based Violence, Homophobia, Sexual Harassment & Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Schools 2008, p. 6)” (From: http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883 ) Takes it away from being just an issue that is so prevalent for LGBTQ youth but for everyone.  Making me question, why is our society filled with so many people who think this is alright?  So many people who think so many different things are alright; who think they have the right to pass judgement or invade the space/privacy of another person?

Actions of one person can hurt another and that should never be over looked. There should be a conscious effort to stop leaving a negative fingerprint in others’ lives.

Stay Proud xx

Marie Olsson

Resources:

http://mygsa.ca/setting-gsa/homophobia-transphobia-statistics

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bullying-and-sexual-orientation-by-the-numbers-1.909444

http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/page-535883