Putting your foot in your Mouth

Dear Readers,

Somebody please help me to understand this….during another conversation with a brother about my upcoming cross country drive from New York City to California with a very close male friend, he revealed an ugly truth about how not having all the facts can lead to biased  thinking. 

To make a long story short. 

The male that engaged me in conversation suggested that my cross country drive with a man is a  romantic vacation. I corrected his assumption by stating that “although I was once involved in a long term relationship ( 1999-2004) with my travel partner, we remained good friends, but not friends with benefits because I don’t play that game.”

Him: What are you kidding me ? How can a man keep his hands to himself across the whole country?

Me: Because we are both mature adults and he knows that I don’t lay around for the fun of it.

Him: Oh boy…ain’t no way I could do that with you…I would be all over you…I adore you.?

While I am flattered by the comment, this is a man who I don’t know very well, and we had one dinner date many years ago. I am thankful to him because he was the first person to interview me for my first book, The Waiting Game, back in 2016 for his radio station. And we have not  been in each other’s presence since that time. 

Me: All men are not the same. Your attitude is the reason why I remain single and celibate. Men like you need to learn and understand regardless of their former relationship or current situation with any woman, this doesn’t give any man an open door or invitation to touch a woman without asking. 

Him: Well I ain’t gonna lie…I would have to be in a straight jacket to not touch you for that long. Wow that torture. 

Another reminder, I have never been in any situation with this man that would suggest that I was attracted to him. He continued the conversation by calling me a dominatrix.. And that he would have to be handcuffed and gagged to be next to me for such a long period of  time. The next part of the conversation is what pushed my bell and is the driving force behind me making this conversation public. 

Him: I wish you would just be honest and not play games.. That’s it you’re a control freak!! You don’t want a man, you want a pet.  Or He must be gay.

I found his train of thinking and assumption about me and my travel partner to be insulting and disrespectful. I blasted back with 

Me: First of all, why are you talking to me in this manner? I am single because it’s my choice. Secondly, the gentleman I am traveling with is just that, a respectful man who lives by good values and morals and understands boundaries, he is the perfect travel partner to take this trip of a lifetime with. Finally, please refrain from speaking to me in such a manner you have no right to judge me or him. I am shocked at how one black man can label another brother “ Gay” becuase he choos to carry himslf with respect, dignity and most important show a woman her worth. 

Him: I didn’t mean to disrespect you.. You are absolutely right!! I have  friendships with people too. I’m sorry.  

For the people reading this conversation please understand my intent is not to embarrass anyone, on the contrary, I want people to understand the harm they cause by making assumptions about others based on personal biases, misinformation and lacking maturity to keep an open mind. The fact that he referred to my traveling partner as “ Gay “is offensive and an attack on a person he doesn’t know. To the people in society who have a negative mindset that men and women can’t be friends without physical inimatancy, I am sorry that you have brought into a myth, and you’re  missing out on a bond that can last a lifetime. I am proud to say that I have six outstanding male friends. 

Bottom line, think before you speak and stop throwing the people from the LGBTQIA community under the bus. 

What say you?

We are what We Think

Dear Readers,

The challenges of the LGBTQ community I know not, here’s what I  have observed the emotional, physical and psychological turmoil that some individuals encounter, and  the population most effected young adults who seldom loose connection with their family due to coming out. I approach writing about some of the problems within the LGBTQ community with much hesitance. This posting is not about religious or political correctness, or who is right or wrong. I am writing this from a viewpoint of observing people mistreated, demeaned and in a few cases lives taken, such as in the case of Matthew Shepard his murder gave the nation a deep and disturbing look at hate crimes committed against people in the LBGTQ community. In Detroit, two Gay men and A Transgender women were murdered because they were a part of the LGBTQ community. The labels of being sick, perverse, unnatural, evil, an abomination, freaks, perverts, and many other countless ways angry heterosexuals refer to people of the LGBTQ community. Heterosexual men and women are afraid that their own sexuality will be questioned if they are in the company of LGBTQ people. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and the deeply religious people pride their Christian faith on, “loving thy neighbors as thy self,” but little love and support is expressed towards the population of young adults who are struggling to find their space in a society that condemns them. The LGBTQ community have made progress in helping to create laws that protects them, the question is why should they need protection under the banner of the Declarations of  Independence that declares that ” all men are created equal”  which can be interpreted as ” all of humanity”. I say, it is unfair for a people to have to fight for recognition and inclusion in a society that deems them outcasts’ because of who they choose to love and simply for being whom they are. If any of my readers interrupt, my voice as  taking sides and supporting the LGBTQ community, my response is that I am supportive of people, humanity,  and their right to have “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” We cannot as a nation continue to be selective of who can and cannot be protected under the law.

It seems so easy to HATE than to open our hearts and minds towards understanding and compassion. I have witnessed and know of many cases where children are turned out of their homes because they came out to their family. I hear Ministers preaching with vigor about the abomination of being a part of the LGBTQ community, yet the church is overran with corruption, Pastors stepping down due to misconduct, discrimination, adultery, and thievery. I state this boldly, having been a daughter of a Pastor, and witnessed these acts of sin within the wall of a place that is supposedly to be a house of worship for all and a safe haven. Moreover, for the Bible toting believers in Christ, who’s only defense is to quote Genesis 2:18, I remind my readers that the Bible has been written and rewritten more time than we can count by men. The public’s opinion and judgment against the LGBTQ community is simply that their way of life is wrong, however, strong this opinion, no one have presented factual events as to why they are wrong. History has proven that there has been same sex couple since the creation of the first civilization. We as a society have become accustomed to offering our voices towards the discrimination of individuals and groups we feel do not fit into a certain standard. Look back at our history Slavery, Immigrants, the poor, the uneducated, gender bias that led to the 1920’s women’s suffrage movement and other feminists movements, and people who are born with mental and physical disabilities. In today’s, modern society we continue to classify individuals based on income, class, skin color, body sizes, and preference of hairstyles. The problems that is tarnishing our ability to live in peace is the continued belief  that people should be judged based on what those in power think, and then the majority follows along without give thought to the lives that are affected due to actions of bigotry. We have learned nothing from our past, when will we as a nations in the word of the late Martin Luther King Jr, when will we live in society were people are not judged by anything but “the content of their character.”

 

To my readers, this is not the end, but the beginning; in 2020, I will produce a documentary based on the thoughts, experiences and lives of young adults who have been affected by coming out. Stay tuned….

 

What say you?  Dragthepen

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The commercialization of Gender

From before individuals are even aware of what gender is parents celebrate the assignment of a gender. The words “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” excites parents so that they are able to buy what they may perceive as the proper merchandise or home décor for their children. As time goes on, the assignment of gender has become commercialized and the media makes it so that these roles are fulfilled in its correct form. Society also has unrealistic standards about what constitutes as a real man or a real woman. If these gender roles are not fulfilled they suffer from punishments that at some times are not physical. Traditions and other factors may seem insignificant to some, but as time goes on one realizes that the media and evolving traditions eventually play a role in how gender is perceived by oneself and by others. 

Gender announcements were generally used for informative purposes have now become commercialized. Gender reveal parties are a new trend that many parents look forward to. A gender reveal event is when a woman opts out of finding out the gender of the child. The gender of the child is placed in an envelope and sent to a bakery or an event planner by the doctor’s office. Many friends and family are called to a venue or meeting place and extravagantly reveals the gender of the child. Although a child should be celebrated, many families who partake in these activities do not acknowledge the cons associated with celebrating a gender before a child is born. It is understandable that knowing the gender creates a sense of connectivity to the child before birth but our society and marketplace makes it difficult to just accept the fact that a child is born, and instead focus on the gender without observing the child’s actions to better understand who they wish to be.

This emerging act has been observed by many child developmental psychologists in the sense of encouraging parents to promote gender neutrality in their households. With gender neutrality being encouraged, some parents fall into believing myths of how gender neutrality can be detrimental to a child’s perception of gender. Some parents believe that gender neutrality parenting will make the child “anti-masculine” or “anti-feminine”. Some critics on this idea have a firm belief that this is a way of giving your child the approval to be gay. Studies and ideals like these are important because when an individual finally has the chance to be who they want to be, there is a sense of confidence in oneself that can be passed on to others that may struggle with their sense of belonging because of societal and strict family standards about deviating from the gender they were born.

When people think of how culture plays a role in what gender is, hip hop culture places a strong emphasis on how men should be. The hip-hop industry places a strong emphasis on what the “real man” is. Some songs have violent messaging and videos have degrading gestures to women in their music videos. Although individuals are quick to judge the media and rappers for using these songs to make a profit, it is imperative to realize that some of these values whether it be from the rapper or their management companies are instilled in young men when they are growing up. They are taught that women are “sluts” when they dress a certain way, and unfortunately some are taught that women should not talk back and if they do there are consequences. Even if a man is not taught these things, they observe these behaviors and ideals  in their households and project their beliefs in their performances or in their relationships. Unfortunately rappers are supposed to keep the mentality of a macho man, or they are perceived as a waste of a man or soft. Some people even go as far as to call them gay or told they are acting like a woman.  Although these punishments come in the form of insults, it poses a problem because it directly insults a woman and her gender roles.  

Society, traditions, and trends are a great influencer in the debate of what a real woman is. The real woman is supposed to have hourglass features, wear makeup, and wear colors that are appropriate for women. Along with trends and beliefs women should not be judged for how they decide to dress but should be prepared to understand the consequences that are accompanied in a world where being you is close to impossible. In this generation, we have “bottle service girls”, strippers, and video vixens who make a living by being who they want to be in the media. However, these are the same women who give no regard to the ridiculous real women debate, and stand by their beliefs regardless of what men might say about them. Women suffer from rape and are often insulted and disrespected when people think that they are not being “ladylike”. Women live in a world where if they defy gender norms, they risk being attacked physically or emotionally.

Another popular gender performance is the drag culture. In drag, masculinity and femininity is exaggerated. The common perception of people who participate in drag culture is that they defy gender norms and are gay. However, drag is merely a form of self-expression and those who enjoy it should not be judged. The drag culture is also criticized by the transgender community because some transgendered people work hard to embrace their new identities and believe that they are being ridiculed for it through performance.   

In society men are attacked for not being a manly man, while others attack women for not being lady like. Although people are so adamant in judging others about what they should be, we live in a world where people are not only attacked by words but other people punish others using actions. In a transgendered community, some are denied resources whether it be for employment or educational purposes. Also they are attacked and murdered when people do not understand self-expression. Rather than punishing people who deviate from gender norms using force, at time people make it hard for them to survive and insult them for wanting to express themselves in a way that other individuals may not understand. Individuals should start to live lives so that we are not judging someone because they are not straight or judging someone because they are partaking in drag performances. A simple “gender” assignment should not be an indicator of who has the okay to live a certain way.

What say You?

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