Category Archives: gay suicides

An attitude of gratitude

Several of my friends are going through a rough time right now. One is reeling from the breakup of a long-term relationship. Another is grieving the loss of both of his parents. Still another has had trouble finding a stable housing situation. And one friend was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. That’s just skimming the surface of the troubles I hear about. I don’t know if something is in the air or water or what, but a lot of people I’m close to are dealing with seriously heavy-duty stuff.

So how are they handling it, you might ask? Overwhelmingly, they’re going into gratitude. On a daily basis on Facebook, through personal e-mails, or in face-to-face conversations, they’re talking about what they’re grateful for. Several friends have been making gratitude lists and posting them on social media. As cliché as it sounds, they’re focusing on the fullness of the glass, rather than the emptiness. And what do you know – it helps them feel better. A LOT better.

Gratitude lists are nothing new – for decades, they’ve been the stuff of 12-step programs and Christianity. When sponsors tell their newly-sober protegeés to write a gratitude list, they’re trying to get them out of their negativity (“Now that I’m not drinking, life is dull and boring!”). When pastors talk from the pulpit about gratitude, they want to help people get in line with “God’s will” – an article in Christianity Today, for example, uses the story of Jesus traveling between Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem to illustrate the dangers of being ungrateful. From the Bible to The Secret (which, as an aside, is a book that I find to be dishonest and manipulative – but that’s for another post), gratitude has been a centuries-old antidepressant. It was Prozac before we had Prozac.

Given its Prozac-before-Prozac status, I’m struck by two things:

Thing 1:  The field of psychology is just beginning to pick up on the power of gratitude. Which is odd, considering that cognitive psychology (and understanding the connection between thoughts and mood), isn’t a new field. For whatever reason, gratitude is a subject that’s only now starting to appear in the research literature.

Thing 2: Gratitude is spreading through the queer community like wildfire. At least, in my circle of friends it is. What has traditionally been a cornerstone of Christian faith is gaining traction in the LGBTQ community – which I find to be deliciously ironic.

Let me expand a bit on Thing 1. Robert Emmons, a research psychologist at the University of California at Davis (right in my backyard!) is the first strong scientific voice to emerge on the subject of gratitude. He’s written scores of research articles, a handful of books (including The Psychology of Gratitude, written for an academic audience, and Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier and Gratitude Works! A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, both written for the general public). Although Emmons is a scientist, Christianity appears to have a strong influence on his work. (I don’t know how Christianity has influenced his views on LGBTQ people.)

Whatever his bias, his studies of gratitude have yielded compelling results. His experimental research shows that keeping a regular gratitude journal causes people to exercise more, to feel better physically, to feel better about their lives, to have higher levels of optimism, and to move forward in attaining personal goals. They’re also more likely to feel alert, enthusiastic, determined, attentive, and energetic – the opposite of “depressed,” really. This is true even for people who are going through “heavy-duty stuff” – in one study of adults with neuromuscular disease, keeping a gratitude journal was associated with better moods, a stronger sense of connection to others, higher levels of optimism, and better sleep. Even children benefit from gratitude – according to one study, children who practice gratitude have more positive attitudes toward their families and toward school. It’s proof-positive: Gratitude is Prozac.

Now, to Thing 2. So far, no one has studied how gratitude affects LGBTQ people (or people from marginalized communities, as far as I can tell). However, I think people who engage in political activism are potentially high on the list of skeptics. (At least, I’ll cop to that.) Here’s how, at times, my thinking has gone:

Gratitude is naive, pie-in-the-sky, and unrealistic.

Gratitude will lead you down a slippery slope to complacency and indifference.

I’m suffering too much – how can I POSSIBLY be grateful?  

“Five Myths about Gratitude,” written by Robert Emmons, does a good job of addressing each of these statements. But since these arguments came from my head, I’ll share a little of my experience. Years ago, I was, well, going through some heavy-duty stuff. I spiraled downward towards the bottom of the drain. But before I got there, someone threw me a series of life preservers – one of which was The Gratitude List. I didn’t want to do it, but I did it anyway. (I was sane enough to know that you don’t have to like the lifeline that’s thrown to you, but taking it will save you.) And it worked. It allowed me to focus on the good things in my life (which are plentiful). It also shored up my resources to address the not-so-good things in my life (which are much less plentiful, but there). Gratitude isn’t ignorance – it’s fuel to help change things for the better, both internally and externally.

So what am I grateful for today?

I’m grateful that the sun came out today. (It’s been cold and foggy in Santa Cruz County – another thing I’m grateful for, given that it’s been f%$#ing hot in Sacramento.)

I’m grateful that I have friends and family who get me and my sense of humor.

I’m grateful that it rained recently. (For those of you who aren’t in California, rain is A BIG DEAL around here.)

I’m grateful that Stephen King didn’t die. (I just finished reading his memoir, and it gave me a deeper respect for him as a writer. If you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

 

I’m grateful that we have a run-down, falling-apart garage – because, when we save up enough money, we can turn it into an art and writing studio.

I could have mentioned the grand, sweeping things in my life. But the things I chose are honest. They ground me. They put a smile on my face. And they give me fuel to tackle the hard things.

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Filed under children, gay suicides, health, mental health, psychological research, religion, Uncategorized

Fast and furious – but not over

Blocked.

That’s how I’m feeling as I try to write this post. Blocked.

Why do I feel blocked? It can’t be because there isn’t anything to write about. Two major Supreme Court decisions have resulted in a tectonic shift in the LGBTQ rights movement. The federal government no longer defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Same-sex couples in California can get married if they wish.

And now, sitting in front of my computer, I feel . . . blocked.

It’s not just the Supreme Court decisions that are rendering me speechless. It’s the fact that so much change has been happening so quickly. Think about what’s happened – just in 2013:

On January 21, Barack Obama became the first president to discuss gay rights in his inaugural address.

On April 13, Jason Collins became the first professional athlete to come out of the closet.

On June 19, the Board of Directors of Exodus International, the largest ex-gay ministry in the world, announced last week that it was shuttering its reparative therapy operations, issuing an apology to the individuals who had been harmed by attempts to treat their homosexuality.

And on June 26 – well, you know the rest.

These are events that have impacted three of our country’s major social institutions – religion, professional sports, marriage – just in this past year. If we cast our net wider and look at state-by-state events, we continue to see significant institiutional change. California, for example, recently issued a ban on insurance discrimination against transgender patients. In addition, the California Assembly passed a bill that would provide transgender students equal access to facilities and programs based on their gender identity. And a week before the SCOTUS decisions, Colorado’s state civil rights division ruled that, by preventing 6-year-old transgender student Coy Mathis from using the girls’ restroom, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District acted in a discriminatory manner and needlessly created a harassing, hostile environment for her.

I could go on and on and on. It’s like a house of cards, with one critical card holding up all the others. Once you pull out that card, the entire house comes tumbling down. And that’s probably why I’m having this deer-in-the-headlights reaction – because even though change has been happening for a very long time, there’s been slow movement, then gradual acceleration. Now it’s like a roller coaster that’s just started zooming down the hill that it’s worked so hard to scale, and the ride is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.

Social psychologists – and political pundits – call this the bandwagon effect. As more people come to believe in something, others become more willing to “hop on the bandwagon” and join in that belief system. Malcolm Gladwell re-branded and popularized this concept in his 2002 book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. A “tipping point,” according to the book description, is “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

Have we hit that tipping point?

If we examine public opinion data on same-sex marriage in the United States, I think we can see the bandwagon effect – or tipping point – in pure, living color.  Ten years ago, according to Gallup Poll data, 39% of Americans supported same-sex marriage. Five years later, in 2008 (the illustrious Proposition 8 election year), 40% said that same-sex marriage should be legal. In 2012, that number jumped to 50%. And last month, a Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated that 55% of Americans support same-sex marriage. Going from 39% to 55% in a ten-year span is a HUGE change – especially when it involves such a controversial, value-driven, institutionally-ingrained issue. No wonder I’m feeling so shell-shocked.

But I think there’s another reason for this rare I-have-nothing-earth-shattering-to-say moment. Since the decisions were issued on Wednesday, a lingering question has been in the back of my mind: Where will we go from here? The movement has been so focused on marriage equality, and while full marriage equality obviously hasn’t been achieved yet, I fear that our community will rest on its laurels, assuming that the fight is over. But the fight is anything but over.

This past Thursday, I participated in an event at the San Joaquin Pride Center in Stockton, California. When I got there, I had a conversation with Nicholas Hatten, the director of the center. In the midst of our discussion, he said to me, “I hope that people in our community don’t decide to pack up and leave. I hope they don’t stop speaking out and contributing money. Because if they do, we’re dead.”

My thoughts exactly.

We can shift our collective LGBTQ community energies to planning our respective weddings – choosing wedding attire, selecting the perfect venue, figuring out who to invite and where to seat them during the reception, planning the honeymoon.

Or we can roll up our sleeves and focus our energies on moving towards equality, justice, and acceptance for all LGBTQ people. We can reduce the rates of LGBTQ youth depression and suicide. We can ensure that our LGBTQ students are in a safe, affirming, and inclusive educational environment. We can work towards ending victimization of LGTBQ people. We can fight for the right of intersex people to make decisions about their own bodies. We can demand full health care for all. We can push Congress to pass an inclusive Employer Non-Discrimination Act. We can fight for immigration rights in our community. We can work towards racial justice for all. We can ensure that our LGBTQ aging population is treated respectfully, fairly, and equitably. We can work towards full accommodation of LGBTQ people with disabilities. There is still work to be done, and I haven’t even begun to name all the issues.

My block is gone. I’m ready to move forward.

 

 

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Filed under disability, gay suicides, hate crimes, health, human rights, intersex, LGBT families, relationships, religion, reparative therapy, same-sex marriage, transgender, Uncategorized, violence

Finding my tribe

“It was 1989. My thoughts were short, my hair was long. Caught somewhere between a boy and man.”

-Kid Rock, “All Summer Long”

Sixteen days and counting. I can smell summer getting closer and closer. When I hear that song, I can imagine myself down the shore in New Jersey, in the summer of ’89, right after I graduated high school. And I’m thinking, I am SO glad to be the hell out of there.

High school wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. It was particularly not great if you were different in any way from the mainstream. Being queer wasn’t really on my radar screen at that time, but I was definitely “different.” Recently, one of the people I interviewed used the term “intellectually variant” to describe herself, and I thought, That’s how I was different! I enjoyed reading classic literature. I was really good at math – and liked it enough that I joined the Math Club (and, later, the Math Team). I went to art museums and listened to classical music (and contemplated the relationship between music and math). I cared more about all that stuff than I did about partying, or going to football games, or any of the stuff that normal high school kids do. And a lot of kids thought I was weird for it.

But I had places to plug in, uncool as they may have been. At least there was a Math Club, and a humanities class, and a Science Club, and other spaces for intellectual variants like me. However, if I’d been grappling with my sexual identity, there wouldn’t have been any obvious places for me to go for support. I could hang out with the theater crowd, or the artsy crowd, or the chorus people. I could look for the people who listened to Depeche Mode and Erasure, the people who had Andy Warhol and Keith Haring images in their lockers. I would have been left to my own devices to find the subterranean queer spaces that existed. If they even existed at all.

Fast-forward 24 years to 2013, and we’re looking at a totally different landscape. There are over 3,500 Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools throughout the United States, and more than 130 of them are in New Jersey, where I grew up. Of course, not every school (including mine) has a GSA – in many states, the landscape is pretty stark. The queer kids who live in California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and yes, New Jersey, are very lucky, comparatively speaking.

What if I’d been born 24 years later – and what if I had been one of the lucky ones? Quite honestly, I’m not sure that I would have joined. In some ways that might sound strange – why wouldn’t you want to join a GSA, if there’s one available? As it turns out, there are other kids out there who, like me, choose not to join either, for various reasons.

Nicholas Heck, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Montana, asked that same question – how come some queer kids choose not to join the GSA if one exists at their school? He recently published a study in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services titled, “To Join or Not to Join: Gay-Straight Student Alliances and the High School Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youths,” in which he surveyed 79 GSA members and 66 non-members, whose identities ranged across the LGBTQ spectrum. To the non-members, he asked: “Why weren’t you a member of this group?” Their responses fell into five different categories:

1. I’m not interested.

In some cases, kids chose not to join because their school’s GSA was more of a social group, and they wanted to be more politically involved:

[The GSA group at my school is] too touchy-feely and lazy for me. I wanted to do social justice work, but nobody seemed to have enough drive (Heck et al., 2013, p. 93).

2. I’m not out, and I’m not interested in coming out.

One student said:

I attended this school during ninth and tenth grade, and at this point, I was very unaware of my sexuality. Also, all of my friends were straight and I’m sure I would have gotten harassed had I chosen to attend these meetings (Heck et al, 2013, p. 91).

3. I’m afraid.

This theme elicited some of the most poignant responses. Some of the kids were afraid of their parents finding out they were queer:

I did not want to associate with things that were blatantly gay. Although (I think) it was quite obvious that I was gay throughout high school, I did not want people to know that I was gay because I was afraid it would somehow get back to my parents (Heck et al., 2013, pp. 90-91).

4. I’m too busy.

Sometimes students didn’t attend because they were involved in other clubs and organizations. Others didn’t participate because of responsibilities outside of school:

I had a lot of responsibilities at home, my mom was a single parent, so I helped her raise my little brothers (Heck et al., 2013, p. 89).

5. Our GSA is too disorganized/inactive/not welcoming.

This theme elicited a range of responses, such as this one below:

It was nice that we had a GSA, but I didn’t attend regularly because sometimes I felt uncomfortable there. Many of the people were nice, and I made a few friends there, but the regular attendees were rude to me sometimes. Some of the events were fun, but there were not enough events organized (Heck et al., 2013, pp. 92-93).

Some chose not to participate in their school’s GSA. But others felt shut out. And for them, it’s like being in high school in 1989, with a twist – because there’s nothing worse than feeling excluded from the group that was set up to support them in the first place. For poor and working-class students in a middle-class school environment, outside responsibilities might interfere with GSA participation. If a female student wants to participate in a largely-male GSA, (or if a student of color wants to join a largely-White GSA), the reception might be a bit chilly. And an intellectual variant (and budding social activist) like me? Well, if the GSA’s activities involved reading LGBTQ subtexts in Shakespeare’s plays, or setting up a Queer Math Team, or convincing our biology teachers to include sexual variation in the animal kingdom in our curriculum, I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

We place such high hopes on GSAs. They help to create more welcoming school environments. They are associated with higher GPAs, lower suicide rates, less drug and alcohol use, and a higher sense of belonging. But we can’t place the state of LGBTQ youth solely on the backs of GSAs. We don’t always find our reflection in the same place – that’s why we need a diverse range of queer spaces, so that all of us can find our reflection.  And, more importantly, we need an infrastructure that will support a range of queer spaces – including, but not limited to, GSAs.

“All Summer Long,” a mashup between two classic rock songs, ends with a sampling from Lynyrd Skynyrd:

“Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long.”

If only Alabama, and other places, were so sweet for us queers.

 

 

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Filed under coming out, gay suicides, homophobia, intersectionality, LGBTQ youth, psychological research, racism, sexism

Queers in the ‘hood

Picture this: You’re a sexual- or gender-variant kid, and you live in a low-income, ethnically diverse part of a large city. Your family has rejected you, and you don’t have a consistent place to live. The other kids at school verbally (and sometimes physically) harass you on a daily basis. Your teachers don’t seem to have your back – in fact, some of your teachers actually join in on the harassment. What do you do?

You could stop going to school. You could get totally depressed and suicidal. You could start experiencing anxiety attacks. You could turn to drugs and alcohol to drown out the pain. These, of course, are common behaviors among LGBTQ youth who have been subjected to ongoing abuse and harassment.

Or you could get in their face and kick their asses right back. Better yet, you could round up 50 of your closest queer friends and collectively gang up on them. Literally.

Last year, Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post wrote a piece titled, “Gay black youth go from attacked to attackers,” which identified a “gay gang” that had formed in Washington, D.C.  This gang, called “Check It,” was described by Milloy as follows:

Depending on whom you talk to, they’re just a bunch of mischievous gender benders and drama queens, vulnerable gay youths seeking safety in numbers. Or, they’re one of the largest, more aggressive gangs in the city.

One of the most aggressive gangs in the city? Stereotypically, the words “gay” and “gang” shouldn’t even be in the same sentence, right? Just watch Blaine and Antoine on In Living Color’s sketch “Men on Film,” and tell me that black gay guys snapping and talking with a lisp are aggressive. Flaming and flamboyant, maybe. Aggressive, no.

In reality, the idea of a gay gang shouldn’t be surprising at all.  People who are members of marginalized groups often find ways of banding together, forming community, and looking out for each other – especially if you can’t count on the police showing up and helping you. Back in the 1970s, women who wanted to escape a violent relationship couldn’t go to the police and expect that they would respond positively; instead, they relied on an underground network of women. Low-income people of color, who are often targeted unfairly by the police, have learned to develop their own systems of support, community, and justice. Although many of these networks and support mechanisms don’t involve violations of the law, gang culture certainly provides an alternative (albeit highly destructive) system of justice. Interestingly, although the D.C. police have labeled Check It as a gang, several members who have spoken to the press feel like they’re anything but a gang. They’re the LGBTQ youth who were kicked out of their homes, ostracized from their families, and taunted and bullied in school. And, in their minds, if it takes a collective community armed with brass knuckles and stun guns to protect themselves from violence, then so be it.

Recently, as part of my research for my upcoming book, Fringe: On the Edges of the Mainstream Gay Community, I spoke with Daddy Kyle House, who is the current president of the Sacramento Valley Leathermen, an old-guard, brotherhood-based BDSM organization here in the Central Valley. Most of our conversation focused on the history of the organization, along with the stringent rules and protocols associated with BDSM culture. But some of our conversation focused on the, well, “system of justice” that he and the other Leathermen have developed. “We provide security for the gay prom here,” Kyle said. “People know better than to mess with us.” Then he went on to say, with a glimmer in his eye, “The Sacramento PD has me on speed dial. We have a really good relationship with them. If something’s going on in Lavender Heights, and they can’t get there quickly enough, we’ll take care of it.”

We’ll take care of it. He didn’t give any more detail than that. But when he said that to me, I thought, This sounds just like the mob.

Or, perhaps, like a gang. System of justice. Taking care of your own.

There are girl gangs, which have been around for a number of years, and now we’ve got an example of a gay gang (which, according to recent reports, has turned away from the “gang lifestyle” with the help of a D.C. police task force in partnership with other local community groups). But most gangs are not girl-identified, or gay-identified – they’re regular, male-only, garden-variety gangs. And guess what? Queer youth find their way into the ranks of these gangs as well.

Why is that? Why on earth would queer kids want to join a group whose members would probably kill them if their sexual orientation or gender identity were revealed. Mark Totten, a sociologist and gang expert, conducted an ethnographic study of 15 male gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) gang members, attempting to answer exactly those questions. And most of these answers aren’t surprising. Most of these youth had been rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and so they found a surrogate family in the gang. Some joined the gang before they knew they were gay – and later had to find ways of concealing their sexual or gender identity. On the other hand, many of them joined the gang in order to provide a wall of safety – because, of course, who would ever suspect a violent gang member of being gay? Some adopted a hypermasculine persona as an added wall of safety. All of them had participated in severe, public beatings of people the gangs thought were gay.

The irony, of course, is that if this happened in Lavender Heights in Sacramento, they would have the Leathermen to answer to. And that could be worse than getting hauled off to jail by the police.

Whether they end up in Check It or the Crips, these kids are looking for community. More than community – for family. And to some extent, they find it. But either way, they’re also likely to end up in jail. Or end up dead.

If that’s not a wake-up call about the need for resources for LGBTQ youth – in all communities, from all ethnic groups, from all economic classes, in all schools – then I don’t know what is.

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Filed under BDSM, gay suicides, gender nonconformity, hate crimes, homophobia, Lavender Heights, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth, mental health, psychological research, stereotypes, transgender, violence

Take a look at yourself, and make that change!

We all know what it feels like to be judged. Sometimes it’s just a look, or a facial expression. Maybe it’s the person’s body language – a flinch, or a step backwards. Perhaps it’s their tone of voice, or choice of words – or a blatant, stinging criticism. Or maybe the person just drops off the radar screen and disappears from our lives, without a clearly articulated reason.

If you are an LGBTQ person – particularly if you’re also in a “fringe” community – then you know exactly what this feels like. We can say over and over again, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” But that’s not the reality. Names hurt. Rejection hurts. And when we’re hurt, we hurt. We hurt ourselves – and we may hurt others.

In some ways, internalized hate is like a cancer that metastisizes. The more we hate ourselves, the more that self-hate travels throughout our bodies and our psyches, expressing itself in a variety of ways. And there’s concrete research data that supports this idea. Studies have shown a link between internalized homophobia and relationship problems, sexual dysfunctions, substance abuse, eating disorders, physical health problems, stress-related disorders, and a host of other problems. According to a 2010 study published by Brian Mustanski, a researcher at Northwestern University, internalized homophobia is significantly linked to “internalizing mental health problems” such as depression and anxiety. Research from the Family Acceptance Project, headed by Caitlin Ryan at San Francisco State University, confirms this pattern – according to her research, LGBTQ youth who were rejected by their families were more likely to have poorer mental health outcomes, such as depression and suicide attempts, illegal drug use, and unprotected sex. When we hate ourselves, we act out in hateful ways against ourselves – and in ways that can potentially injure other people.

And in the LGBTQ community, it’s not just homophobia we’re talking about. A bisexual woman may feel ashamed that she passes as heterosexual – and that her life is easier – when she’s with a man.  A person who’s bisexual and non-monogamous may feel shame for reinforcing existing stereotypes of bisexuals. A transperson may feel shame and embarrassment because they don’t pass well (or guilt because they do). Or a transperson may only feel like a “real” transgendered person if they’ve had the bottom surgery. The ways we judge ourselves negatively are endless. And it’s these statements that ultimately lead to depression – and worse.

If we pay attention, and listen carefully to the negative judgments we inflict upon ourselves, it becomes more clear that the things we say to ourselves weren’t created in a vacuum. We repeat (or reinvent in more creative ways) the things that we heard from our families, our peers, the media, our teachers, our mentors. If a fish is swimming in toxic water, it’s inevitably going to drink some of that poison, whether it wants to or not. And no matter how resilient of a person you are, the toxic effects of societal hate are going to have a trickle-down effect into our psyches.

Obviously, eliminating societal hate is powerfully effective in reducing internalized homophobia (I wrote about this extensively in a previous blog post, “There Oughta Be A Law.”). In the meantime, however, how do we learn to practice unconditional acceptance of ourselves? How do we inoculate ourselves from the individual, institutional, and cultural judgments that surround us? I wish I had a simple answer to that question.

There is, however, a passage from Alcoholics Anonymous (known to AA members as “The Big Book”) that I’d like to quote as food for thought. It goes like this:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Practicing acceptance of everyone – even those who hate us – is a tall order. And, to be clear, this doesn’t mean resigning yourself to accept the unacceptable. When a queer person is the victim of a hate crime, that criminal act is completely unacceptable. Subjecting ourselves to self-inflicted abuse – abuse stemming from our intolerance towards ourselves – is also unacceptable. However, those of us who have been victims at the hands of others, or who have victimized ourselves, need to remember that the victim is not to blame. But we also have the power to effect change – and that change begins with ourselves.

What if, for today, I choose to accept this person – myself – as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment? Instead of feeling overwhelmed with the monumental task of changing the world, what if we started with ourselves? What if we really listened to the words of Michael Jackson (who probably understood judgment better than anyone) – and actually heeded them?

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that . . .

CHANGE!

If you are in the Sacramento area on Saturday, October 6, please join Julie Interrante, MA, and Gayle Pitman, Ph.D., for Born This Way, a workshop that begins to explore the idea of changing ourselves and our world through radical self-acceptance. For more information, visit http://www.elements-sacramento.com.

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Filed under biphobia, bisexuality, covert homophobia, gay suicides, hate crimes, health, homophobia, LGBTQ, LGBTQ youth, media, mental health, overt homophobia, psychological research, racism, relationships, sexism, stereotypes, transgender, transphobia, Uncategorized, violence