Suicide Needs its own first aid kit

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Many of us have been there or know someone who has.  In the US, the national average for suicide is 1.6%, of that there is 5-10% in the gay community, and in the Trans community it’s 42%.

Suicide Prevention Kit
This is a great article listing 18 items to keep on hand that can keep you from sliding further down to the dark side, until you can climb back up again.

 

We, the LGBTQ community, only make up only 4.5% of the population, yet we account for 50% of the suicides. That should scare the shit out of anyone, in the community or not. Bottom line, it’s got to stop.

We know, sadly, that most of these stem from sources such as those in our environment, bullying, lack of acceptance, being outted, as well as organic issues like gender dysphoria, etc.  We need to be there, for ourselves and for our other Rainbow Tribe members.

If you or someone you know who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, having these items, and knowing how they can help, could make the difference between being here and being gone. Lots of loved ones want to help, but don’t know how to. Here’s a great way to help.

 

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie


Don’t Censor The Books!

Next Sunday kicks off Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019). It’s an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Books can allow you to travel without taking a step.  Books can allow you to meet people who were gone before you came to be.  Books can tell you about the past and how to navigate your future.  There are so many books because there are so many different interests.  If a book doesn’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean that someone else shouldn’t be allowed to read it.

Spend this week thinking about it, so next week you can educate others and find out how to prevent this from happening.

Maggie 

Congratulations, But We’re Not There Yet

(Republished from Sept 2015)

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of progressive changes here in America. While some show us just how far we’ve come, others let us know just how far we still need to go.  I was reading the latest piece here on The Kinfolk Kollective (brilliant writer btw, check her out) about Viola Davis and the nonsense (read bullshit) that ensued.

While I did not watch the awards, I saw the immediate spreading the joyous news of Viola Davis’ well deserved win on social media.  I think she’s an incredibly talented actor and I was very happy that she received her due in this well earned recognition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later I saw her speech, along with the very short and spread out list of other firsts and I was saddened to realize how little progress we’ve made in this area. To be honest, since I’m not a fan of the awards shows or their history I had no idea until this moment how far behind we were in this arena.

I remember seeing Halle Berry’s acceptance speech in my younger years thinking “cool, we’re there” and being completely oblivious to the fact that we are so far from it in this vein. Viola really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out you can’t win awards for parts not written. It’s a simple problem with a seemingly simple solution.  Right?

But of course no one can have their 15 seconds forget 15 minutes, in the sun before critics and assholes feel the need to tear people down with their own Ignorance.  This phenomenon was never more apparent than when a Tweet by an unnamed white actress (only because I refuse to offer any publicity with her name attached) who felt that Viola should have allowed someone else to write her speech for her. Are you kidding me?

So here we finally have the first African-American woman in this country to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, and this person felt, either out of jealousy of the win or personal discomfort because it didn’t align with her life of privilege, that it should have been censored or desensitized for those who prefer to speak out of their asses because their heads are buried deeply in the sand.

If I can offer a brief but meaningful segue  – One of my favorite movies is A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and the ever powerful Samuel L. Jackson. The 1996 movie is based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, and is a story told from the defence attorney’s perspective as he digs deep to defend his client (Samuel L. Jackson) accused of murder after killing the men who repeatedly and brutally assaulted his young daughter.  McConaughey’s closing speech as Southern defense attorney Jake Brigance is one that will stop your heart and give you the deepest understanding of racial divide that you never saw coming. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it here.

After you regain your composure, feel free to join in the singing “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical Avenue Q and be sure to invite and include almost everyone you’ve ever known to join you in the chorus. There’s no shame in realizing that down deep you have some racially disparaging leanings at your core.  Of course you couldn’t.  You didn’t realized that you’ve been groomed this way from birth and while you may wash away some of it, there’s a couple of places you didn’t know were even there.

American society historically has been very racist and it didn’t stop with the end of the Civil War. In fact, slavery didn’t even end with the war. If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth look it up.  Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with it. It’s an event that is not taught in schools.  Why?  I don’t know.

I didn’t learn about the racially motivated Internment Camps to restrict the freedoms of Japanese-Americans during World War II either.  We learned a fraction of the relocation and atrocities committed against Native Americans by white settlers and Americans, too grievous a list to reference here.  Then again until the casinos opened, most folks thought that Native Americans were more historical figures than living peoples.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I guess that’s what that actress was hoping for with her tweets.

American History books would have us believe that this country was settled in harmony with only a few gunfights, a really cool railroad, the creation of the pony express and some really funny clothes and mustaches, then a few battles as part of the Civil War and once the war was over, we all continued living together happily until the 1950’s when we became a society divided again (for some unknown reason that nobody remembers I’m sure…) leading to Rosa Parks being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Every generation does a little bit better, but we have to strive for it to keep progressing as parents, as industry, as a society, as a country.  Dr King said it best in his historic I Have A Dream speech “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  While I have always been moved by, believed in and agreed with that sentiment, we need to remember it just as much now as on that historic day in August 1963 on the the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I am constantly judged by those who see me as a caucasian woman, when the reality is that I am a genderfluid individual who only racially identifies as human, formerly married to an Afro-Cuban man for 10 years (which was illegal within my own lifetime btw) and is someone who has family and friends in every color of the rainbow and every position along the gender spectrum.   That’s not to say I’m not free of prejudice, not even close.  What it means that race and gender are not my identity nor is it my sole scope of experience for viewing the world around me; and as I recognize these flaws within myself, that awareness allows me to target it for removal like radiation directed toward cancer cells.. but only if I choose to do so.

Hate is a cancer of the human soul and prejudice is only one of its symptoms.  As we’ve seen in the past year racially motivated crime at an all-time visibility.  Understand that because of our changes in technology, these injustices are more visible than ever before, and with it comes the demand for accountability and change.

Please recognize that these are far from the only injustices that are occurring.  Young vets coming back are dealing with having to fight not only for their earned benefits but the continuing the fight they’d thought they’d left being as it haunts them constantly, creating an unprecedented veteran suicide reaching record numbers that this country has never seen before.

Transgender individuals, both adult and youths are assaulted and murdered daily, make up a majority of the homeless population as backs are turned on them at every turn and maintain a suicide rate of over 40%.  These two things in particular you don’t see on mainstream news because they don’t feed the fires of racial tensions and controversy, instead they breed empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t sell advertising.

The honest truth of the matter is that it’s going to take many more generations of Americans to water down and weed out experiences known as daily reality for many, many people in this nation both past and present, but it takes work, and a lot of it.  There is no room for complacency, the old adage is true “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We as a nation and a society need to be proactive in repairing the current wounds and old scars of injustice for ALL of our citizens, not just the majority and the underserved need to be sought out.  Trust needs to be built, that’s the hardest part, and the nightly news makes sure to work against that because that’s how they get viewers and sell advertising.

So please look to the disparity around you and know that you can be the catalyst for change.  Compassion and empathy can make the difference in whether someone continues living or chooses dying.  Never forget that Rosa Parks wasn’t some visionary radical, she was a woman tired from a long day at work whose feet hurt.  Even the smallest pebbles can create the biggest ripples, you can be a superhero, all you have to do is use your powers for good.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

PTSD Support

PTSD Sucks is the understatement of the year. I wish there was a word that would relay just how bad it is.

I’ve been dealing with PTSD for going on 26 years now and I know many others who suffer with it as well. I applaud the spirit of this post, but for most of us this isn’t how we need help.

First and foremost we need people to understand what it is. We’re not “overly sensitive”, “crybabies”, “special snowflakes” or any other term that gets used to diminish the horror we deal with regularly.

Image result for ptsd fireworks

Believe me when I say that I really wish I could “just get over it”. I’ve learned to accept that this is my life, and that there are times when this will be triggered and out of my control. The best I can do is to continually remind myself that this is a cycle and cycles pass…well, until the next cycle is triggered.

As I learn what things will trigger it I can attempt to avoid them, but there’s no getting away from it unless I want to live in a bubble by myself with no tv, Internet, flashing lights, loud sounds, certain smells, fireworks…..

Image result for ptsd fireworks

We aren’t all triggered the same way either, it’s personal, unique, just as unique as the trauma(s) that we have all suffered as individuals. If you really want to help, please ask us if we can help you understand what we’re going through then be willing to listen and learn.

Related image

One of the biggest things you can do for us is as simple as being our “bodyguard”. To have someone that we know we can trust, really trust, take over for us while we can’t think or function in the moment, to be a buffer to keep the rest of what’s happening away from us and get us out of that situation. Knowing that we can depend on you for that is a gift unlike any other. But please don’t jump in and do this without having this understanding with us first or you could make things exponentially worse for us even though you don’t mean to do anything other than help us.

PTSD doesn’t discriminate, men, women, kids, young and old, civilian and military. It’s the result of being in a situation out of your control and your brain decides that you can’t handle anymore and the slightest thing that reminds your brain (not even you consciously) of what happened before will set off a myriad of different things…night terrors, flash backs, panic attacks making you feel in that very moment that you are going to die right there and then. I wouldn’t wish this on my enemies (and only one ex-husband).

Image result for ptsd fireworks military

You may not be able to empathize with what we go through, but accepting the fact that this is what we go through, without judging us or our trauma is huge. There’s nothing worse than opening up and sharing this part of yourself with another person only to be told that you’ve been through worse or that happened to so & so and they don’t have a problem with it doesn’t help, in fact it makes it worse. So thanks for being willing to help and thank you for recognizing that what I go through is very real for me, even if it doesn’t happen to others.

How do you sleep at night?

Fox News Host Says We Shouldn’t Care About Border Separation Because “These Aren’t Our Kids”

I’m going to say this one time. If this is how you feel… Unfriend me. Block me. Lose my number. Forget my name. Remove any memory of me from your brain. Just leave.

In a segment of Fox and Friends, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade defended white nationalism and Trump’s family separation policy by claiming that “those aren’t our kids, and it’s not like Trump was doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas”.

Yes, really.

If this is how you feel, and these are the actions that you support and endorse our “president” for, you are a vile, reprehensible, disgusting, poor excuse of a human being. You don’t deserve friends, you don’t deserve a family, you don’t deserve children, you don’t even deserve so much as a damned goldfish.

I am embarrassed, disgusted and nauseated that not only are you my fellow countryman but that you represent this country and it’s culture to others around the globe.

And don’t you DARE utter the words “I’m a Christian”. Hell is too good for you.

America is on the wrong side of history and I am ashamed.

Mountains or Clouds – Who Are You?

85

This blog is dedicated to simple living and for me it’s more than just non-toxic cleaners, but non-toxic people as well.

I read a fabulous article today about The 4 Excuses We Use to Hold on to Frenemies”.  A great read, true in every sense.  We all have toxic people in our lives at some point.  Some are easier to eliminate than others.  I think we all get to a certain crossroads with people in our lives where we have to remove them or ourselves for self preservation.

I started a few years back in my own “people diet”, trimming those from my life who generate negativity.  My suffering has been minimized and my joys have increased.  I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to allowing people to treat me badly, so everyone now and again, I have to stop and assess my relationships.

  • Do I need to give more time and energy to make this relationship work?
  • Does it cause me or the other person more anguish than joy?
  • Is this relationship one sided? Am I the only one putting in effort?

This may sound odd, but sometimes you need to evaluate.

I see people every week on Facebook ranting about how they’re tired of “the drama” but won’t take the steps to remove it from their lives or to remove themselves from the situation.  Why?  Because we’re taught that quantity rules over quality.

I, like most people, have only a handful of people I’m close to, yet according to Facebook I have a couple of hundred friends.  In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care for that word when it comes to online socializing.  These folks are not friends, they are my acquaintances; they’re people I’m friendly with but really are not friends with in the truest sense of the word.

My handful of friends are there, through thick or thin, through hell or high water, no matter what and I know it.

I was reminded of that again just last week at my going away party.  Of the 80 or so that were invited from my “friends list”, only the handful came.  At first it bothered me a bit, until I realized that I was being greedy for quantity over quality.  Something we all tend to defer to from time to time even though we know it’s quality that matters.

Those that came are the people I will be coming back to visit and who will coming to see me.  We will stay in touch and check on each other because we care that much about each other and their spouses, children, etc. These are the people who can bring a smile to my face sitting in a room next to me not saying a word or who can make me laugh while I’m crying my eyes out and I can do the same for them.  These are my friends.  These are who matter.

My true friends are the permanent mountains on the landscape of my life.  The rest are just clouds… they drift in, drift out, sometimes they make the day pretty and let the sun in, sometimes they block the sun and just bring storms.  Funny thing about mountains, they’re always there, always strong.  Sometimes the clouds obscure your view of them, but you can have faith they’re right there.

My mountains are the people who never stir drama just to watch others suffer, who only build me up and encourage me.  They provide shade and shelter from the storms of my life and strength when I am at my weakest.

Friendship, marriage, relationship… all the same thing really.

They take time and they take work but they are so worth it.  Don’t try to appeal to the masses, spend your energy bringing quality to those who bring it to you.  Remember that the only person you can force to be a good friend.. is you.

Look at the landscape of your life.  Find your mountains and just let the clouds drift by.  Enjoy the scenery of your mountain chain and the joy of simple living will be yours.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

How Can we Demand inclusion if we’re exclusive?

With all of the community news, events, and celebrations that come with June being LGBTQIA there’s still the undercurrent that the Cis/Hetero community isn’t necessarily aware of unless they are in some way connected.

Following posts and links and reading articles that all spill forth with Pride month, you get to see more than you may have bargained for. I was so thrilled to find this article about Budweiser and what they are doing to be Pride inclusive. Awesome. I wish more people and companies would follow suit. Thanks Budweiser!

Budweiser launches Pride cups in
EVERY color of the LGBTI rainbow

I came across this article, thanks to the Gay Star News, and was very excited to see the inclusion represented and the steps that they are taking. Unfortunately, that excitement was very short lived once I got to the comments… not from trolls, but from actual members of our community, denying acceptance and in some cases siding on the erasure of our own Rainbow Tribe family members.

” It’s bad enough polluting with more plastic, we’re polluting the lgbt with more of that “asexual” nonsense. ”

“So I am stuck getting a SJW cup.”

” But they’re not, and talking over actual lgbt people to pretend you are doesn’t get you anywhere. “

” asexual isn’t even lgbt. full stop. “

” Agender is a gender? “

” asexuality is not a part of pride, sorry. just because you arent attracted to any sex doesnt mean you are lgbt “

“I think you spelled that wrong. LGBT. Has been and always be that acronym. L – lesbian. G – Gay. B- bisexual. T- transgender. Quit adding your letters to try and feel validated. Sorry buddy. Just because you or someone else isn’t sexually attracted to a gender or a person. Doesn’t mean you are persecuted and name called and raped. No. Pride is for those that have been through that or DIDNT MAKE IT. Stop trying to push your way into this. You or whoever else that is asexual can be an ally.”

Tell me how inclusive the rainbow is when members of the community pick and choose who can and can’t join… it’s a not a 10-year-old’s tree house that says “Private. No girls allowed.”

It’s comments like these that are the exact reason that I am in love with the Progress Pride Flag.

Progress Pride Flag – Portland-based designer, Daniel Quasar, felt that the six-striped LGBT flag should be visually separated from the newer stripes due to their difference in meaning, as well as to “shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.”

Anyone who is non-hetero, non-cis, non-hetero romantic and has a combination of reproductive organs of more than one sex is a member of the Rainbow Tribe known as LGBT, LGBTQ, and/or LGBTQIA+. Really. It’s that simple.

We have members of the gay community that are racist, members who are anti-trans, who are binary exclusive (TERFs). And, woohoo, we got a T, a Q, an I, and an A. Great for Wheel of Fortune, not so much for Transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and agender/asexual members of our community.

And let’s not forget the “+” added on as a catchall for other sexualities. You’re on the fringe so you get to be an asterisk and be put in the bargain bin and ignored.

And yet people they still refer to the 1978 rainbow flag as being a gay pride flag and the gay community is just one part of the LGBTQ* community.

I’ll be honest, I personally don’t think that the last 4 letters should have been put with the first three. Sexuality and gender are two different things and I think it adds to confusing the cis-heteros and rather than asking questions they just say we’re all fucked up and shut the door in our faces.  And how can we blame them for being undereducated on the subject when a large part of our own community is as well?

Late in the night of my 3rd birthday, less than 8 short miles from my home, transgender women started the Stonewall Riots and kicked off the beginning of the “gay rights” movement. “Gay rights.” And the only ones who seem know who started the movement are the ones in the trans community.  

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera c.1969

The night of June 27, 1969 marks a historic turning point, putting the wheels in motion for contemporary LGBTQ+ rights in the US.
A routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City ignited a violent, multi-day rebellion after patrons of the bar resisted the discriminatory conditions they long endured and refused to take anymore abuse, discrimination, and hate. . 

“Gays” can now be in the military, get married, adopt kids, live where you want, work where you want and are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Trans folks? Nope, get out of our military and stay the fuck out of our bathrooms! I don’t want you to live near me, work with me, or be in school with “our” children.  

We have TERFs who say that non-binary folks – genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, pangender, demi gender, etc. aren’t *really* trans folks. Well we’ve got a choice in gender with only two options, cis or trans. That’s it. So if non-binary doesn’t count… who the fuck are we other than not welcome and invisible?  

We have gay & lesbian folks that say that asexuals aren’t one of “us”. In fact a poster on this very thread said they’re not allowed to be in the club because they haven’t struggled. Says who? Oh wait, and what makes your arrogant ass think that they need your damned permission? Again, two options… gay or straight. Straight, which is the baseline of “normal” or so it used to be called and still thought of by some, is pretty simple and pardon the pun, straight forward. So if you’re not straight, you’re a member of the Rainbow Tribe.  

You think you had it bad as gay or lesbian? At least you were acknowledged as existing. 

And as far as the inclusion of the brown and black stripes… there is too much racial divide in the gay community, and trans women of color are being slaughtered at such a rate that soon they’ll be classed as an endangered species. I hope we can have a telethon to save Laverne Cox at least. 

LGBTQIA+ – I know it’s a mouthful of letters, but we’re (allegedly) grown folks and unlike the guy in the oval who “knows the best words” (but can’t spell them), I think we can manage 5 to 7 letters. Can’t we? Tell me how we can ask and even demand acceptance if we’re not willing to accept members of our own community?   

New York City Monument Will Honor Transgender Activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

The two women were instrumental in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and spent their lives advocating for marginalized groups

Maggie ॐ 

My virtual gallery, combined with personal ramblings & opinions, ideas, food and DIY

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