What is it like to have an epiphany?

In those few moments he comprehended everything. He was very excited, and his heart was filled with peace. He could hardly wait to tell his people what he had discovered. But there were no words to explain it. He tried to tell the others, but they could not understand. They could see that he had changed, that something beautiful was radiating from his eyes and his voice. They noticed that he no longer had judgement about anything or anyone. He was no longer like anyone else. He could understand everyone very well, but no one could understand him.

– don miguel ruiz, the four agreements

Back Cover: In the four agreements; don miguel ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

I just started this book so review pending, but I loved this quote. It made me think of how it must feel to finally understand something you have long misunderstood. I thought about those who have grown up believing homosexuality was wrong and – in the light of recent events – realize that love is love. Then, trying to explain that epiphany to peers who had grown up with the same homophobic beliefs they had before. So succinct a quote that can be applied in many ways.

Have you had any strong beliefs in life, any negativities, that you’ve shed? What was the process like and what did it feel like?

Good Reads Cheat Sheet

Ex-Pastor Says He Wasn’t Going To Set Self On Fire Over Gay Marriage

In Scarborough’s words: “I made that comment to paraphrase a spiritual song, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,’ in which the three were given a choice — to bow to the image of Nebucahdnezzar or burn in a furnace. ‘We will burn’ means that we will accept any sanction from the government for resisting today’s Supreme Court decision. We do not support any violence or physical harm.”

On Contemporary Sports Culture: Homophobia

Women in sport, especially those competing at a high level, are assumed to be gay. Whereas there is a short list of “gay sports” for men, for women that list is relatively long: basketball, rugby, soccer, roller derby, softball, hockey, etc. The perception of women who come out becomes that they reinforce a stereotype, rather than defy one. Women coming out in this environment become non-stories.

In Defense of Pocahontas: Disney’s Most Radical Heroine

When Pocahontas was released on June 23, 1995, the criticism it received for taking historical liberties with Pocahontas’s age and relationship with Smith largely overshadowed the fact that Disney had, for the first time, based an entire picture around an adult female, let alone a woman of color. It was also the first time the studio had produced a film about a real person. The movie might have fudged some facts to allow for a compelling romantic story, but it had a progressive attitude when it came to interpreting history, depicting the English settlers as plunderers searching for non-existent gold who were intent upon murdering the “savages” they encountered in the process.

Ayn Rand: In Love, Be Selfish

“I am in love with him selfishly. It is to my own interest to help him if he needed it. I do not call that a sacrifice because I take selfish pleasure in it.”

Marriage Equality: One Small Leap Away from Nonsense

A selection from Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of The United States by Vicki L. Eaklor. Thoughts at bottom.

1892 – Earliest known use of the word “heterosexual” in the United States, in the Chicago Medical Recorder

1914 – Magnus Hirschfeld, Homosexuality in Men and Women published

1923 – Magnus Hirschfeld introduces the term “transexual”

1947 – Kinsey institute founded

1948 – UN approves a Universal Declaration of Human Rights

1952 – APA lists homosexuality as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” in its first DSM

1953 – Executive Order 10450 makes homosexuality grounds for dismissal from federal employment

1961 – Illinois is the first state to repeal its sodomy law

1961 – José Sarria is the first openly gay person to run for public office, in San Francisco

1964 – Civil Rights Act creates the broadest protection yet against racial and sexual discrimination

1964 – Life magazine story, “Homosexuality in America”, June 26

1964 – Randy Wicker is the first openly gay guest on a TV talk show, The Les Crane Show

1965 – Griswold v. Connecticut: Supreme Court upholds right to privacy within marriage

1965 – San Francisco’s first drag ball held, attendees are forced to cross a police picket line

1967 – The Advocate begins publication in LA

1967 – “The Homosexuals,” a CBS Special reported with Mike Wallace, airs

1967 – Loving v. Virginia: Supreme Court declares laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional

1967 – Oscar Wilde Bookstore opens in NYC, the first gay bookstore in the US

1968 – APA revises its classification of homosexuality to a “non-psychotic mental disorder”

1969 – Gay Activists Alliance Founded

1969 – Stonewall riot, June 27-28

1970 – First gay studies class taught at University of Nebraska by Louis Crompton

1970 – National Organization for Women purges lesbians from its New York chapter

1972 – First gay studies program, California State University at Sacramento

1972 – National Bisexual Liberation Group formed in NYC

1972 – Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sexual discrimination in publicly funded education

1973 – APA removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders

1973 – Roe v. Wade: Supreme Court declares abortion legal in most circumstances

1974 – “Equality Act” introduced in Congress, the first attempt at national gay rights law

1974 – Journal of Homosexuality begins publication

1977 – White House staff holds first-ever meeting with lesbian/gay leaders

1978 – California voters defeat antigay Proposition 6 (Briggs initiative)

1978 – Disneyland holds its first Gay Day

1978 – International Lesbian and Gay Association founded

1978 – Harvey Milk and George Moscone murdered, November 27

1979 – National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, October 14

1980 – Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Bill reintroduced in Congress

1980 – Human Rights Campaign founded

1981 – AIDS first reported in NYT: Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals, July 3

1982 – Gay Men’s Health Crisis founded in NYT

1982 – Wisconsin becomes first state to pass a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation

1984 – Discovery of virus causing AIDS; later named HIV

1985 – Rock Hudson dies of AIDS

1986 – Antigay amendments introduced to bills in Senate, August

1987 – NYT begins to use “gay” in place of “homosexual” July 15

1988 – National Coming Out Day begins as an annual event, October 11

1989 – First Gay and Lesbian Studies Department, San Francisco City College

1990 – Journal of the History of Sexuality begins publication

1990 – National Bisexual Conference held for the first time

1990 –  “Outing” Controversy

1990 – Simpson-Mazzoli Act passes, removing the “sexual deviation” clause to exclude homosexual immigrants

1991 – Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Bill reintroduced in Congress with 110 cosponsors

1991 – Lesbian AIDS project funded

1991 – Studies claiming genetic basis for sexuality begin to be published

1992 – Oregon voters defeat antigay measure 9

1993 – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy passed

1993 – Newsweek runs cover story on “Lesbians Coming Out Strong”

1993 – Oval Office meeting between President Clinton and lesbian/gay leaders

1996 – Defense of Marriage Act Passed

1996 – Employment Non-Discrimination Act defeated in a 49-50 Senate vote

1996 – Protease inhibitors, for treating HIV/AIDS, introduced

1997 – APA questions “conversion therapy” for lesbians and gays

1997 – Ellen DeGeneres comes out

1998 – “Ex-Gay” ads run, sponsored by right-wing Christian Groups

1998 – Matthew Shepard, an openly gay student, dies from injuries of an antigay beating

1999 – Gay and Lesbian Pride Month declared by President Clinton (June)

2000 – Boy Scouts of America v. Dale: Supreme Court rules that Boy Scouts can exclude gay people

2000 – Queer as Folk premiers on Showtime

2000 – Vermont legislature approves civil unions for same-sex couples

2001 – Journal of Bisexuality begins publication

2003 – Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Massachusetts Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage constitutional

2004 – Antigay marriage amendments pass in eleven states in November elections

2004 – Same-sex marriage available in Massachusetts, May.

From 2004 onwards marriage equality takes a lead. States begin to legalize civil unions for same sex couples. Yet there are downfalls. Prop 8 passes. Prominent gay figures and historians die. Then we see President Barack Obama enters into office and hope raises yet again. We can fight for equality. We can win. The yo-yo goes up, it goes down.

But let’s be clear on something super important. Marriage equality is not equality. Our history is long, and it is hard, and it is filled with wins and losses. This is our great win just as it was for interracial marriages. For a long time marriage has been tied to equality. But marriage does not equal equality. The LGBTQ community will continue to struggle after this win for a long time to come. Let’s take the win and keep fighting together.

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Girl Alone in Bar #1

I’m meeting some friends at a local bar and I decide I want to get there early to write. That’s something I’m supposed to do now that I’ve been blogging for almost ten years. WriteI can’t tell you how many books about writing I’ve read in the last month. I tried to block the guilt of not-writing but it soaked up through my pores and got my in bloodstream. I needed to get a word out just to make myself feel alright.

It’s a Tuesday. I’ve brought the following.

1 – My purse

2 – My sunglasses

3 – My notebook

4 – My fountain pen

I sit down at a shady table outside and the waiter comes up and asks me how I’m doing. He’s cool. Super cool. He’s got this Adam-From-Girls vibe if Adam wasn’t totally fucking crazy. I order a pint of the Boneyard RPM IPA and pull out my notebook.

He asks me if I want food and I say no.

He asks me if I want food and I say no.

He asks me if I have any questions about the menu and I order tater tots.

I wonder if this has to do with some feminine inclination to decline food the first time its offered. Maybe its my own personal habit of never knowing when I’m hungry. But the beer has sunk down and sloshed in my empty stomach and I’m craving that crunchy on the outside potato product. He brings the tots. I immediately get potato stuck in the nib of my pen. I try to shake it out, write it out, wiggle it out. I give up and write through the starch.

The waiter comes back to the table again three more times in the next ten minutes asking if I have everything I need. Sure. I lift up my sunglasses and look him in the eye. I should have asked his name. I’ll keep calling him Adam.

Adam walks by for the fifth or sixth time. I believe he’s given up on me. He doesn’t ask me if I’m doing okay, he just asks me if I’m having an enjoyable evening. When I say I am his head shakes and his whole body shakes with it like he’s convulsing with understanding. Sometimes babes just gotta babe.

He doesn’t come back after that. My friends show up. The temporary seclusion was entirely unassuming.

When I’m sitting alone in public places (dining out, drinking alone, wandering the romantic overlooks) my mind feels like a blank slate. And then the movie starts. Scenarios of what if and what could be or what used to be roll out like a double feature. It used to be that this only happened on accident. Arriving places early. Waiting for a date. Killing time before a show. I’d write on my arms with bic pens or on the back of receipts lost between car seats. Now I come prepared with intention.

I think I’ll do this again.

Good Reads Cheat Sheet

To Serve Man: The savory spectacle of “Hannibal.”

Over time, patterns emerge, revealing an uneasy meditation on intimacy, the vulnerability of the human body, and the power of art—its ability to make us crave something we thought we’d find disgusting.

Oregon Senate says yes to over-the-counter birth control

“We have the opportunity to remove one of the most substantial barriers to contraceptive access for women — a doctor’s prescription,” said Buehler, an orthopedic surgeon. “Oregon is one step closer to becoming the easiest place in the nation for women to access birth control.”

Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof

Black people forgive because we need to survive. We have to forgive time and time again while racism or white silence in the face of racism continues to thrive. We have had to forgive slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, lynching, inequity in every realm, mass incarceration, voter disenfranchisement, inadequate representation in popular culture, microaggressions and more. We forgive and forgive and forgive and those who trespass against us continue to trespass against us.

4 Things ‘Orange is the New Black’ Gets Completely Wrong

OITNB is truly a product of our time, not just because of the high production value, crude language and lesbian sex but also because women’s prisons barely existed 30 years ago. There are 10 times as many women in prison today as there were in 1980, an explosion twice as large as that of the male prison population.

Study shows how men overcompensate when their masculinity is threatened

The researchers note that while women may display a similar dynamic when it comes to femininity, in general, the anxiety about not meeting gendered expectations is likely more severe among men since gender norms have expanded more for women — as the study puts it, “masculinity is more easily threatened than femininity.”

Tip for Improvement: Oppression is Not Hierarchal

One interesting thing I’ll leave college with is the idea that oppression is not hierarchal. We may all be oppressed in one way or another. Oppression is also intersectional. Your gender, your sex, your culture, your age, all these things that intersect our experiences. Though often these oppressions may look the same – sexism, racism, ageism – we may experience them differently. But what if one oppression was not greater than the other? What if your pain was not worth more or less than my pain?

It may not feel like truth and it may not be your truth. But it is an interesting mantra of sorts for compassion. If there is no hierarchy of oppression, it may stand to reason that there is no hierarchy of suffering. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Treat everyone with love and understanding. Treat everyone with respect. Listen and learn and be better.

M-O-O-N: That spells IM OUTTA HERE

Things I did not want to talk about while I was writing my thesis:

  1. my thesis
  2. my thesis being due
  3. graduating after my thesis

Oh imagine me, curled up on the couch, two in the morning before it’s due, cry-laughing at the pure insanity of looking at something for so long I’ve forgotten what exactly it is. I described my paper like a child at first, something I was slowly and painfully birthing. If my paper was a child, by the end I didn’t recognize it as my own. I had re-read it so many times that the words were bending and twisting. Did I conclude properly? Did I cite everything? Are all the fucking periods in all the fucking right places? I submitted it, fell over, and went to get my hair cut. The stylist had really big hands. He asked me if I’d just graduated or just started college. I started laughing and he didn’t ask me any more questions. I mean, what now?

I celebrated my graduation with two raucous parties before I actually got my grades back. Getting an A on my thesis was that final validation. I’m done. M-O-O-N that spells IM OUTTA HERE. I laughed some more. I mean, what now?

About a week later I realized I hadn’t told anyone what my thesis ended up being. I didn’t actually tell anyone what I found. Now the problem was that I couldn’t talk about it without running out of breath. So much to say and so little time to say it. Gasp. Inhale. Explain. Gasp. Inhale. Explain. Did you know? Did you know? Did you know?

I’m re-writing my thesis into an article. Something easy to share. I think people should know about it. In the mean time, I’m wondering how many times I can say “I’m done” until it really truly sinks in.