Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The World is Changing

It’s National Portfolio Day at a local university. My daughter (Girl #1) and I brave the crowd to attend. She’s a high school senior and interested in areas more along the creative side of life, so we’re here… learning and exploring her options.

One of the participating schools is Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Girl #1 barely knows what to do with a needle and thread and is not applying there; however, why not talk to them… their waiting line is short… and this is an opportunity for Girl #1 to have her photography critiqued by a professional.

While in line, she’s given an information card to fill out. I look at it and my eyes land on the gender boxes. And there it is, “Female,” “Male,” and “Other.”

click to enlarge

(I didn't have whiteout, so I had to use acrylic paint to cover my daughter's info.)

“Oh. Interesting,” are the words going through my mind. “I’ve never seen this before. Is “Other” a box for transgender people? Will all forms begin to have a third gender category?”

Last year, I was at my other daughter’s high school for their fall festival. A friend of mine was there, too. She had a square, rainbow colored sticker on her jacket that had “Ally” written on it, and so did other people who were walking around.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It represents the Gay/Straight Alliance, which is also a school club here,” she answered.

I don’t remember how I responded, but we continued the conversation on the subject. Somewhere in the midst of it, she asked if my readers (as in, blog readers) could handle the topic. In other words, would they talk about it? She strongly supports LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) students.

“I don’t know, Judy,” I said, “I don’t know.”

So here I am, talking about the sexual preference/identification subject that should be added to the non-safe subjects of race, religion, and politics. However, as you read on, you will notice that I’m really not delving deep into it. Maybe I should have named this post My Lips are Sealed—Part 2. In my previous post named so, I attempted to explain why I would not divulge my presidential choice in the last election.

Currently, I shy away from voicing my feelings on homosexuality on this worldwide accessible blog because of how people react to it in small circles; i.e., friends, acquaintances, family, church members, exercise class, walking group, etc. For example, the same sex marriage agenda conversations can be tense! But… don’t let that stop “you.” Feel free to respectfully comment whatever comes to your mind.

Regardless of what side of the coin you’re on, or if you have mixed emotions about homosexuality, it is not going back into the closet. My goddaughter is lesbian. My friend’s son is gay. I think a few of my relatives are closet gays. You can probably say the same.

In addition to whatever you may want to say about homosexual issues, how do you decide where to draw the line when blogging? Are there subjects that you “don’t touch?”


Barb said...

I don't touch a fraction of the topics you do, Anita. But, I admire your willingness to "throw it out there' - it always prompts me to think. I had no idea that there was an "other" option on official forms regarding sexual orientation. We all want to be politically correct so I guess all bases have to be covered.

joeh said...

I'm not sure about the "other" category, you would have to ask a gay person that.

I don't think I address the issue in my blog very often, but I do not avoid it. I do believe gay people deserve the same rights as straights and I am in favor of allowing gay unions with the same rights as traditional marriage...call it marriage if you like, but that seems to upset the bible thumpers.

Anyway, I don't understand gay men, but lesbianism makes perfect sense to me.

Unknown said...

Anita, you know my daughter is gay, so I'm open to all things giving LGBT folks equal rights etc. I've never seen other as a sexual identification box, and I guess it gives a good choice to someone who is in transition. My daughter is a lesbian, but she is 100% female and comfortable with her body, she just prefers to have short hair and dress more androgynous. I do stay away from politics and religion for the most part. Views are personal and I don't argue.

Mari said...

I don't talk about these things on my blog, but it's in my conversation with friends...
Yes, I have gay people in my life; a few cousins and some friends. I think it is wrong, but I also think it would be wrong for me to dislike or treat someone badly because of it.

Abby said...

I purposely steer clear of religion and politics on my blog. I actually have strong opinions on both, but my blog is typically "lite", and those aren't lite subjects.

As for gay marriage, I'm fine with it and wouldn't rule out blogging on the subject, it just hasn't come up :).

As for the "other" choice, I've not seen that on any forms, but I guess I'm not all that surprised. The transgendered community does seem to be gaining visibility. At least people in general seem to be more accepting than when I was a kid growing up in the sex change capital of the world!

Tabor said...

I do not dwell on politics, but I am a liberal and that is such a part of me that I post on those political issues that I care about, such as universal health care. I am trying to think if I know anyone close to me who is gay...and can only come up with distant acquaintances. While I believe they do not choose to be gay, I do have mixed feelings about this biological direction that exists. They should have equal rights, though.

Shelly said...

I am like you in that while I have very definite opinions, I keep them to myself here in blogland. I usually don't touch on politics, like you, as well. My blog has a different focus, which is more for me to practice writing stories. Wow- I didn't realize the things were happening you described here~

Unknown said...

I am a strong proponent of LGBT rights. My oldest and dearest friend is gay. He has always been gay. I've know him longer than my brother since he is older! LOL But anyway all I can say is that no one would choose this life style that can be so difficult in so many ways. BTW, he's now happily married in California and I couldn't be happier for him.

Anita said...


It is always tough when considering controversial issues. I myself have been guilty of commenting my opinion on Facebook and I have lost some "friends" due to it. I am all for Gay rights but as far as it being a box on a college application I don't think it's necessary. By the way, there is no box to check if you are handicapped. It should not matter if you are male, female or gay to get into college. All that should matter is that you have the qualifications. I think if you feel strongly about something, even if it's controversial you should do it. If you lose friends because of a difference of opinion then they never were your friend. My son has a class that talks about all kinds of issues. They are required to argue the opposite side. He has become much more understanding and tolerant of others because of this class.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Anita, I think the box is used to determine diversity by gender, race, and now sexual orientation. The list is long. I went to my doctor recently and I was quite surprised when I noted something similar because I had never seen it on a form before. I took a picture of it.

Everyone has rights and times are changing.

Kat said...

I am willing to talk about it with anyone but I don't bring it up on my blog because I know it makes people uncomfortable. Plus, it just doesn't really come up on my blog much. I will say that I always stick up for the underdog in every situation so I am definitely for equal rights for all. :)

yonca said...

Now, you made me think again how many times in my life I needed to fill up an application or other forms ask for gender. Just a little bit of empathy..
Everyone is equal and has rights.

Mage said...

I will talk about it any old time. In my forties, I found myself semi homeless and adopted into the local gay artistic community. When the AIDS Epidemic hit, many of my friends began dying. My best friend died of an opportunistic bug that entered his body because of AIDS. Later I became the local AIDS Quilt Workshop Chairperson.

My second youngest granddaughter was adopted by two dads. She is now growing up in Barcelona. She summers in Greece. She is wonderfully loved by friends and family all over the world.

Today I work as a volunteer with gay and straight folks. So does my husband. I talk about anything on my blog. If folks don't like it, they don't come back.

Hilary said...

My choice for blogging is to stick to photography and fluff rather than opinion. If my venue were such that I would opine more, I wouldn't hesitate to indicate that I am entirely for equal rights for the LGBT community. I can't imagine why anyone resists gay marriage. It has zero effect on anyone but the couple in question. I am somewhat bothered by the "other" option. Do some folks truly consider themselves neither male nor female?

Buckeroomama said...

I have plenty of friends who are gay and I don't find them any different from anybody else. They're fun (and funnier!) to hang around with.

Beyond saying that, though, it's not something that I would write about on my blog.

Jenny said...

The world is definitely changing.

I hope in the end we all find tolerance and love.

Jenny said...

PS. I don't care what they ask me on a form. I can never fill the information neatly into the little box. Even if IT IS just an 'x'.


Rebecca S. said...

I can say the same. Being Catholic I have put a lot of thought into these questions, but I don't dwell on it. I'm taking the new Pope's line of thought...we need to find ways of highlighting the good in the world, as well as addressing what is needed and working toward that with love.

Vancouver has all-inclusive washrooms in many places now. Sometimes this means they are not very clean, but otherwise, a toilet is a toilet. I inform the management if the bathroom needs attention :)

Margie said...

Anita, all I do is post poems.
Nothing ever very controversial on my blog.
I have a nephew that is gay and one of my good friend's has a daughter that is also.
I did not know about "the other" option on forms.
Thanks for sharing

Linda Hensley said...

I figure live and let live. I feel sad for the people who can't be at their lover's bedside when they're in the hospital. What other people do in the bedroom isn't any of my business. I'll always like boys, but that doesn't mean everyone else has to be the same as me.

Rob-bear said...

The fact that I have performed marriages for several same-gendered couples is probably enough said. (We can do that legally here in Canada, and have been able to for some time.) Knowing a fair number of LGBT people simply confirms for me that they are pretty much like the rest of us.

As for my blog, I talk about what I feel like discussing. Usually pretty un-controversial, but able to get quite enthusiastic about things.

Blessings and Bear hugs, Anita!

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

Yes, there are certain subjects that I stay away from on my blog and other social media outlets. One reason is that I have a niche market and I think my readers mainly want to hear about things relating to the niche market. The other is I’ve put so much about myself out publicly, I need to keep some things private :)