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Bisexual Visibility Is Important Too!

bisexual visibility

September 23 is Bisexual Visibility Day. This day is to recognize and even celebrate the identities of your bisexual friends and family members. Bisexual individuals actually make up more than half of the LGBTQIA+ community unlike what most people think. We must take today to remember the importance of bisexual visibility.

Bisexual Visibility Day is our chance to validate the identities of bisexual individuals because that’s what they need most. They need validation and support. If a bisexual woman marries a man, society considers her a liar because she chose to marry a man over a woman. It’s the same for bisexual men who marry women. But that’s just not how it works guys. You can be attracted to both genders even if you marry someone the opposite of your gender. It doesn’t mean you’re attracted to the other gender any less.

Bisexuality isn’t being a little “gay” or being a little “straight. It’s an identity of its own. That’s why it matters. They deserve the same uplifting encouragement that we offer to their community counterparts. I want you all to take today to appreciate, support and encourage your bisexual friends and family members. Make sure they know that they have your love and support.

How will you show your bisexual friends and family that they matter?

Check out LGBT Great’s post Bisexuality Visibility Day: Proudly Standing Together to learn more about Bi Visibility Day.

Read my post Supporting Your LGBTQIA+ Friends During Pride Month right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Supporting Your LGBTQIA+ Friends During Pride Month

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While Pride Month might just seem like a month full of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, I promise you that it’s so much more than that. This is the first Pride Month that I’ll be celebrating for myself but prior to this, I’ve always just done my best to support my friends who are LGBTQIA+ during pride. Supporting your friends during Pride Month is critical! Over time, I’ve learned that there are several ways to support your friends during pride. So, I’d like to share a few of them with you.

You can start supporting your friends during Pride Month by educating yourself. If you’re unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ community, or maybe know very little about it, then educating yourself on what you don’t know is one of the best ways that you can support them. Take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the spectrum of sexualities revolving around Pride Month. This is also a chance for you to learn about the history of Pride Month and how it came to be!

Another way that you provide great support to them is by using their proper names and pronouns. I understand that you might have known someone prior to their transition but you’ve gotta respect who they’ve become. The person they used to be might be part of them but that’s not who they are anymore. It’s incredibly disheartening to be invalidated by the lack of respect that people have for your identity. Don’t be disrespectful. I know it will take time but make the effort to learn your friends’ new names and/or pronouns.

My final piece of advice on supporting your LGBTQIA+ friends during Pride Month is that if you’re a straight ally, don’t make pride about you. It’s not about you. It’s a month for your friends to take the opportunity to showcase their pride in who they are! Pride can be difficult sometimes for those who have not yet come out to the world, remind them that it’s okay to be themselves even if it’s in private.

Supporting your friends who are LGBTQIA+ during Pride Month and all year round is important. It’s the best way to remind them that they matter, that they are loved. Support is critical especially when it comes to being an ally.

How are you supporting your friends during Pride Month?

Check out Brittany Wong’s article How To Be A Good Straight Ally To LGBTQ Friends During Pride on Huffpost!

Read my post Pride Month Feels A Little Different This Year right here on TurningPointCT.org! 🙂

Pride in the Park 2016: Norwalk, CT

20160605_182851Pride in the Park 2016: Norwalk, CT – Yesterday (Sunday, June 5th) Triangle Community Center hosted a fun-filled day of Pride in the Park in Norwalk, CT. Never mind the rain, it signaled a beautiful rainbow in the afternoon sky and everyone partied to the very end.

It was TCC’s second annual Pride festival, the largest in the state of Connecticut. Among the main performers at the event were drag queens, Raven and Jujubee (finalist from Rupaul’s drag race) and singer, 20160605_181003Tiffany.

Featured as a family friendly event, Pride in the Park attracts thousands of people from diverse backgrounds: of all race, religion, gender and sexuality.

But what is LGBT Pride?

Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.

 Some brave young-adults also shared their perspectives: 

 

Shelby: “Pride Means Community!”

Charneil: “Our cries to exist!”

 

 

 

Pride in the Park 2016: Norwalk, CT

Pride in the Park 2016: Norwalk, CT –

Have your heard? Triangle Community Center is hosting the largest pride event in Connecticut for the second year!!!

Pride in the Park is Fairfield County’s Pride festival brought to you by Triangle Community Center. Over the past two years, Pride in the Park has hosted thousands of guests for live entertainment, including nationally known entertainers from RuPaul’s Drag Race, family-friendly entertainment and activities for kids, food vendors and so much more. 

Pride in the Park is a wonderful opportunity for you to engage the LGBTQ community. Whether you chip in as a volunteer, sign your business up as a sponsor, or advertise to our thousands of guests and website visitors, we want you to have the opportunity to be part of our most exciting Pride celebration yet. For More information visit Triangle Community Center

 

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Pride in the Park

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mathews Park, Norwalk

Free, Public Event

12pm – 8pm

 

Get Your Flyer HERE

The Insanity of War

Flags on Boston Common representing American soldiers killed in combat

This weekend we observe Memorial Day, a time to honor fallen Americans who have died during military service. With that in mind, I wanted to focus this week on something related to this important occasion.

I hate to say it but to write this article I had to perform a Google Search of “Memorial Day” and read from a few different sources (Wikipedia, USMemorialDay.org and the VA website) about the purpose and history of the holiday.

I have some idea from the title of the holiday that it has something to do with honoring our dead but, honestly, I think of it much more as the three day weekend which marks the unofficial start of summer than any sort of solemn occasion to honor friends, family, and loved ones who have died in service to our country.

In refreshing my memory, I was surprised to re-learn that the holiday began in response to the Civil War and the great number of dead who were scattered about the nation as a result of the war. It began as “Decoration Day” when people would go and decorate the graves of their loved ones, neighbors, and sometimes even strangers, who’d been killed during the War.

Today, Memorial Day weekend is when people tend to open their beach houses, fill the pool, get out the lawn furniture and perhaps have the initial cookout of the summer season. Oh and there are sales – lots of sales. Our three day weekend holidays have become strongly associated with bargains and blow outs. “Forget about the dead” we’re told, and instead “do your real civic duty – shop!”

Distraction and commercialization aside, I believe Memorial Day gives us much to reflect upon, especially as mental health advocates.

War is deeply and powerfully traumatic. Regardless of which side of the conflict one finds herself, the violence and stress of warfare always takes its toll, on soldiers and civilians alike. Those who are spared the grief of losing their loved one to Death in combat may still have to cope with the grief of “losing” their loved one to mental illness. They must become acquainted with this “new person” and may have to work through some unexpected and unplanned conflict and hardships.

Soldiers return home shell shocked with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Parents, spouses, siblings and children of soldiers deal with the damaging effects these illnesses have on their loved ones. Friends, coworkers and community members may have to adjust to a veteran’s altered behaviors or personality. Deeply troubling are the sobering statistics from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) which show veterans have anywhere from a 41 – 61% higher risk of suicide than their civilian counterparts.

Needless to say, war has a statistically significant negative impact on the mental health of individuals, communities and our entire nation. That being said, it is to be expected that hand-in-hand with the billions of dollars we spend to maintain our massive military presence around the globe that we would also be spending top dollar on services for veterans and their families so that they survive not only on the battlefield but on the home front as well.

Unfortunately, this simply is not the case. Nationally the VA has been plagued by scandals and bad press in recent years. In 2014, veterans were having to wait months for appointments – some dying before they were ever seen. And then more recently, just this week in fact, the VA Secretary made headlines when he downplayed the importance of access to care, comparing waiting in line at the VA like waiting in line at Disneyland.

And the Feds aren’t the only ones at fault. Locally, the State of Connecticut announced last month that they had cut funding for a DMHAS initiative called the Military Support Program (MSP), which connected veterans who’d served since 9/11 (and their loved ones) to clinical care. This program was one of the first to be cut as part of the new “economic reality” the Governor keeps underscoring. It was not until last week that they were able to somehow find funding to sustain the program, no doubt due to pressure from state residents who were disgusted by the mistreatment of veterans as a result of the state’s financial mismanagement.

As mental health advocates we have an obligation to fight for veterans and their right to treatment. I would also say that we also have an obligation to fight against the root causes of this illness by being strong anti-war advocates. If it weren’t for the wars, many of these soldiers and their families would not be facing the hardships they are. How many of us have family stories of grandparents, uncles or cousins who were deployed during WWII, only to return broken in some fashion? And civilians suffer these ill effects as well, as demonstrated by the survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the descendants of European Jews who were held in the Nazi concentration camps. More than 70 years later, we are still trying to heal emotional and psychological wounds which those conflicts inflicted upon people around the globe.

It is outrageous that something as essential as mental health services are one of the first items to be cut when it’s time to tighten our belts as a community. What I find even more offensive is that of all the programs to be cut, they would have the audacity to start with the veterans? These are the people who put their lives on the line for the rest of us – literally – so that we might be able to live free! And how do we repay them? By distracting ourselves from the fact that we are still a nation at war? By remaining silent and failing to organize a strong anti-war movement? By inhibiting veterans’ access to treatment which may be essential to relieving them of the symptoms that are a direct result of the war they fought in and we paid for? That, my dear readers, is the definition of insanity.