lgbt

Write with your voice, not another's

When I read this article on the University Times, I shouted, booed, and cheered at my computer.  I am not going to respond to it directly or to almost anything said in it.  I just want to share my thoughts on the subject since it's something I have thought a lot about.

As a gender queer gay writer, my biggest fear when I got started was that I would be called or classified as a gay writer.  Needless to say, all of my fears came true while the Fate's Harrow serial was coming out.  I was cast off to the LGBT panels, and seemingly all of my fears came true... or did they.

I embraced the categorization, and my next two books, and found an audience that I didn't expect.  Admittedly, it wasn't a large audience, but it is so supportive.  Now, I have to ask myself, what was I afraid of?

Closeted Writer or Honest Stories

The real choice I faced in my writing was whether to be honest about the types of characters I wanted to write about or to stay in a closet of my own making and tell stories I thought other people wanted to read about.  While the latter may be a better strategy for my business, it was a betrayal of everything in me to write.

Not all of my characters are gay or gender queer, but that is my voice as a writer.  It is how I see the world and understand it.  To write any other way would be dishonest to my experience of life.

I am not saying this to judge other writers for their choices.  I understand what a personal decision this is, but if you are struggling with this question, I hope my experience helps you.

Write in your voice, not someone else's

Whatever state you are in, write in your unique voice.  That voice is flavored by your gender, sexuality, beliefs, and experiences.  Your voice isn't the same as your favorite writers', and that is a beautiful thing.

No one talks like you.  No one sees the world like you.  No one imagines the things you imagine.  If you are a writer, it is your duty to tell your own stories in your own voice which will always be colored by your own experiences.

Embrace your uniqueness and don't compare you work to the work of others.  If you were meant to write their book, you would have, and it would sound nothing like their book does.

Be strong in your own stories, and be open to the worlds bursting forth from within you.  They are your challenge alone.  

We won our #dignity and #freedom as #LGBT in America

I am still in shock. My body is shaking, unsure whether I should laugh or cry, dance or scream. Maybe there is a way to do it all at the same time. 

Honestly, I never thought this day would come.  I remember how I felt the day my state banned my rights by constitutional amendment. It hurt, but I knew that my state and country default to hate and denial of dignity. We have never been good at respecting basic human rights.  

I want to feel like this is a victory, because it is, but I still don't feel like I am awake.  Reality has merged with my dreams in a way that I can't believe happened.

This feeling, smiling while on the verge of tears, is one of the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced.  Today, I am finally a full citizen in my country.

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Kennedy wrote in the 34-page opinion. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Gay Marriage - US News

The tide of progress marches forward, and our understanding of liberty and oppression grow over time.  As science continues to offer us a better understanding of the world as it is, we see the foolishness of past generations in the clear light of wisdom.  All humans are equal.  All humans.

It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality … Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.
Justice Kennedy, “The Ideals Of Love,” And Other Key Quotes From The Huge Supreme Court Victory / Queerty

To read the court calling the discrimination I have lived with my entire life "unjustified infringement" is one of those moments beyond words.  I have been married to the person I love for almost two decades.  Married in the eyes of God, but not in the state I live in.  To be told that our relationship was a danger to the country hurt.  Now, we can start planning a wedding...

These words now cover my community too:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
— Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

It is hard to express my joy.  I am sure this post makes me sound like a rambling idiot, but I had to say something, and I had to say it now.  I am an equal citizen in my country.  After 37 years of second class citizenship, I am now equal. We are now equal.

Don't you know it's gonna be alright

A friend of my shared a story today about a Transgender Kid who left a suicide note on Tumblr asking for the world to change (read it here).

Stories like this trash my spirit. I only hope that we are moving forward in some ways...

What we need more than anything is a cultural revolution that reconnects us to compassion and hope and breaks the chains cynicism, nihilism, and isolationism have wrapped around our necks. Only when we learn to stand up will things change.

One moment, I need a musical break, sing a long if you know it, if not, it has the words.

For years, decades, centuries, people have tried to change the world, and as Joseph Campbell said:

When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

Every time I quote that, my friends sigh, and tell me that I just don't get it.  We talk for a couple hours until we finally get back around the point.  We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.

This is one of the most troubling aspects of modern social movements, our solution is always to pass a law, change a law, or enforce a law.  If history has taught us anything, we have to see that law is only a minor part of the change we need.

Yes, anti-discrimination laws are important, and so are hate crime laws.  They won't accomplish anything if we don't take wise action to change ourselves in such a way that it encourages others to take on the same change.

All of this starts with compassion.  Compassion is simply living by the gold and silver rules:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
— The Golden Rule
Do not do unto other as you would not have them do unto you.
— The Silver Rule

When we act according to these simple rules of compassion that every culture on earth has come to over time, we start building the world that we want to see.  We only have control over our actions.  We have to take responsibility for our own actions.

How can we expect others to treat us with respect if we will not grant them the same courtesy?  How can we expect society to celebrate difference if we demand conformity?  The path forward it to demonstrate through our lives, our jobs, our entertainment, and our businesses that diversity and compassion make us stronger.  If we do not demonstrate the basic interconnectedness of all people, places, and things, we have no hope that others will see it.

In every encounter, be kind, be compassionate, and celebrate the differences between people.  Only through living a life that makes others envious of our joy, hope, and prosperity will others start looking for ways they can have the same thing.

Become a beacon for compassion.  Live compassion in all your words, thoughts, and deeds, and you will be the change that we need.  When others ask you why your life is so different, tell them, but make they want to ask.

One by one, we will realize that we are all interconnected, and that our actions effect everyone and everything.  Eventually, this will change the world.