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Suicide

Over the last few years, as I’ve developed the Silent Gays project, I’ve observed something very disturbing.

People put forward many ideas about why young guys, in particular, commit suicide. This article is powerful and points to one of the major issues concerning young guys inability to talk about themselves and share what’s going on inside.

But there is one problem that is never addressed – how many of these young men were LGBT?

We know for a fact that LGBT teens have the highest demographic for suicide, but this information never makes it to the mainstream awareness surrounding the issue! The question is very rarely asked “were they struggling with sexuality or gender issues?”.

Despite the legal acceptance of LGBT people, and efforts to break the stereotypes, young male culture is still cruel and belittling to anyone outside the typical image of the “tough guy”. As a result, so many guys become very good at successfully hiding their sexuality, and live in constant fear that they could be “outed”. The tragic thing is that when it finally becomes to much, and they take their lives, no one has any idea why. There were no signs of anything wrong – something you hear far too often. As I talk to more and more people, I have found so many who have experienced this and fortunately made it through to tell the story.

We must include this aspect in all our efforts to work through the suicide problem. Suicide prevention programs must directly address this, otherwise we are going to let thousands of young guys tragically end it all for reasons we don’t apparently understand. I now firmly believe it’s a far bigger aspect than we would care to admit, and this is reflected in the lack of material around this in mainstream suicide programs.

We’ve come a long way with addressing the suicide problem, but we have a heck of a long way to go. I’m going to be focussing more on this in the Silent Gays resources, but it’s up to all of us to bring any change.

Please, help raise awareness however you can.

For help – 
New Zealand: www.outline.org.nz
USA: www.glbthotline.org
England: www.switchboard.lgbt
Australia: www.au.reachout.com
There are many other services available world wide specialising in helping young LGBT people. Just ask Google.

LGBT vs The Church

I engage with Christians every day who wrestle with scripture, trying to justify being LGBT with their faith.

I’m constantly confronted by traditional and fundamentalist Christians as well as many from the “grace” movements, convinced that being gay is sin and it’s all to do with how we wrestle with and treat that sin. Many are genuine, loving and concerned people. Others are, well, not so loving.

This constant barrage of how to treat the sin fails to recognise the effect of the whole issue on LGBT people. We are the ones being discussed. We are the ones being told that we are sinful, broken people needing Jesus saving grace, just like murderers and paedophiles and addicts etc. We are the subject of judgement by those who have no idea what its actually like.Anti_gay_San_Francisco

But hardly any Christians fail to look at two key points. Firstly, it’s not just “gay or not gay”. There is an incredible lack of knowledge when it comes to understanding what sexuality and gender really is. They keep trying to force everything into a heteronormative paradigm that flies in the face of all the science and psychology, to say nothing of the personal experiences of millions of LGBT people, claiming that the bible is the foundation for their knowledge, despite the fact that the bible’s track record on scientific accuracy leaves a lot to be desired (astronomy, geography, physics, etc), as well as human rights (slavery, racism, misogyny, etc).

Here’s the truth. Sexuality and gender are psychological attributes, defined by a continuum of expression and identity. Even our physical bodies can be ambiguous with varying amounts of hormones determining a huge range of gender identification.

Secondly, the bible was never meant to be factual about anything. It’s a book of allegory and metaphor based on mythology and folk lore. It’s full of deep truths that have to be gleaned from the cultural morass of the societies that wrote it.

Christians can argue how to deal with the “sin” till the cows come home, but until we realise that our sexuality or gender has nothing to do with sin in any way, we are fighting a losing battle. Our belief in the personification of God through Jesus, and all that entails, has zero to do with who we love and how we feel about our gender!

Being outside the heterosexual norm IS NOT A SIN. It’s that simple. Our morality is a whole different issue and if we chose to live a lifestyle that is unloving and damaging to others then sure, address that as you would with anyone.

Religion is our worst enemy. It stereotypes, shames, demonises, patronises and calls good bad and evil good. If by some miracle you can hold to your belief system through the abuse, all well and good. But most LGBT people in the church are like abused wives who keep going back to their abuser who promises so much but never delivers, only to deal out more abuse.

You are not sinful.

You are not broken.

You are loved – live loved!

 

Masculine vs feminine

One of the most confusing and misunderstood areas about sexuality and gender are the core concepts of masculinity and femininity. Even amongst LGBT people there is often confusion!

The general stereotype says you are either an effeminate gay or butch lesbian, and the other stuff is just too hard to understand.

One of the confusing issues is how we relate the body (physical gender) with the psyche (the mental aspects). Masculinity and femininity are fluid concepts that are not confined to one  particular body. We all know guys who exhibit feminine qualities to some degree and women who show some masculinity. man with makeup

We could define the typical masculine psyche as tough, decisive, pursuing achievement and status, self reliant, aggressive etc. The feminine could be defined as gentle, thoughtful, caring, nurturing, sensitive etc (Wikipedia gives a very thorough breakdown of masculinity and femininity).

So for LGBT people there is a heck of a lot of stereotyping in all this, especially as far as the heteronormative understanding is involved. Traditionally gay guys are supposed to be very effeminate and lesbians are supposed to be butch. Of course the reality is nothing of the sort, but obviously it’s easier to differentiate an effeminate guy from the crowd and assume he’s gay, and the same with macho women- they stand out.

The problem is that its a continuum (sliding scale) – everyone on this planet has a mix of the masculinMasculine-Feminine-Energye/feminine psyche, irrespective of their sexual attraction or gender identity!

So just because you may be attracted to the same sex doesn’t mean you are obliged to behave a certain way. There are gay guys who are really macho – fitting the classic masculine psyche, and there are lesbian women who are 100% feminine. You would never know they are “same sex attracted” from how they appear or act.

Even transgender people can be somewhere on the masculine/feminine continuum. For example, a guy could identify as a female in terms of gender, but still have a high degree of masculinity, and the inverse with a woman. Basically I’m saying everyone is different.

This can become a problem when, for example, a young guy “comes out’, but due to his exposure to the stereotypes he assumes that being gay means going to gay bars, watching drag shows and acting feminine. This can be hugely damaging and cause a lot of deep conflict for a guy, who may simply want to live an average male life with an average male partner. Sadly, even the pressure from within the LGBT community itself can be a problem.

We need to let go of every stereotype! We are ALL somewhere on the continuum of sexual attraction, gender identity, gender expression, and even physical gender attributes (Intersex)! There simply isn’t the “gay or straight” box that people get locked into.

We still have a lot to learn, and we need the freedom to find where we fit in. That freedom needs to be from society as a whole and just as importantly, from within the LGBT community itself. Fortunately times are changing, and fast! Let’s give each other the freedom to be our true selves.

 

Male or female brains?

You may have read that having a male brain will earn you more money. Or maybe that female brains are better at multitasking. But there is no such thing as a female or male brain, according to the first search for sex differences across the entire human brain. It reveals that most people have a mix of male and female brain features. And it also supports the idea that gender is non-binary, and that gender classifications in many situations are meaningless….

Click on the image for the full article –

Male vs female brains

Male vs female brains

Being Gay, Living Silent!

Being Gay Living SIlent

I’m proud to announce the publishing of a new booklet for the LGBT and religious community.

For too many LGBT people in religion, they are literally “being gay, living silent”. For many, education is the first step to freedom: education on the basics of gender and sexuality, mind sets or “paradigms”, religious abuse, and hope for a better life.

It provides succinct information for LGBT people and their friends and family, about the nature of sexuality and gender, our paradigms that govern the way we view belief systems, reparative “pray away the gay” therapy and church ministry, the impact of religion on LGBT people and encouragement to find a way forward.

Millions of LGBT people suffer silently in churches, too afraid to speak out, living in crippling shame and guilt, unaware that there is hope, life and love beyond the prison of dogma and religious control.

It’s an easy read, designed to be passed around.

Only $2.99 for Kindle and $7.99 for booklet.

Bulk orders available

Kindle

Print

Being a “man”

There’s so much around these days about what it means to be a man.

There’s this image of the prefect man, who creates an environment for women to become perfectly “whole”, kids to become perfectly fulfilled and for society in general, to be blessed by their masculinity.

Men must be men! We have a blueprint for the perfect man and if we don’t fit that blueprint then we are a failure, not only creating dysfunctional families but even worse, mocking God, who created very clear boundaries for what a man is supposed to be.

Reality check!

There is a gender/sexuality continuum.
There are two types of “psyche” (for want of a better word) that define certain characteristics as masculine or feminine.

The masculine is described as strong, decisive, objective etc…
The feminine is described as emotional, sensitive, empathic etc…
We are very familiar with these concepts.

However, to associate these characteristics with particular genitals is nothing more than a social construct. Sure, lots of humans with penises like football and are strong and aggressive. And lots of humans with vaginas are soft and caring.

But here’s the glitch – countless humans, irrespective of their genitals and hormones, display a broad mix of masculine and feminine traits. Many humans with penises are emotional and sensitive – they love to support others with compassion and empathy – they are nurturing, and empathic… And lots of vagina and breast endowed humans love to rough it up, take charge, be confident and assertive, and play football. In fact most humans have a complGirlie manetely random mix of these qualities in various quantities.

But society/culture and especially religion, consistently creates stereotypes that force the “psyche” attributes to fit the physical attributes. This is probably one of the most tragic things society has suffered!

Humans are supposed to deny who they are at the deepest level, in all its amazing and beautifully unique complexity, to become stereotypes, as defined by religious definitions.

Our genitals DO NOT DEFINE US. We are who we are!

If you have a penis and experience “feminine” traits, then guess what – you are a perfect human! If you have breasts and like “masculine” things, then you too are a human – perfect just as you are.

I am a gay man. I love having a penis and have no desire for anything physically feminine (I mean breasts are just yucky). But I have a few feminine qualities, and definitely lack the “macho” needed to enjoy footy.

So why do I need to be anything different? Why does anyone need to adopt a gender based role to be a “whole” and fully functional human? Why is some perfect balance of masculine/feminine the ideal that all humanity must strive for to create a perfect society that pleases god?

If all of us are free to simply be who we are in every way – and by free I mean that we are accepted as equal, valued and valid members of society – then we will also be free to contribute all we are to the richness of humanity.

To demand that “men” be masculine and women be “feminine” is to deny the very character of god and all that we are as unique and wonderful creations.

I’ve seen first hand the tragic damage caused by forcing men and women into gender stereotypes. It’s time to grow up, and become exactly as we are created to be.

Masculinity Is Killing Men

This is a fascinating article, although not specifically LGBT, that highlights the massive issues of gender stereotypes.

We are all familiar with “femininity” being challenged, and rightly so, but the subject of masculinity is still mainly taboo!

Click the image for the full article.