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Decoding Male Fragility

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The conundrum that is male toxicity and his narcissistic cousin fragility, do the most in destroying lives. The notorious duo symbolizes deep hurt and pain for others. For people embedded with the duo traits skewed wiring allows them to inflict abuse without remorse. Personality disorders and mental health are things we need to address. I don’t claim to know it all, but as a writer and social scientist, I see trends and patterns, and a deep need for dialogue and prevention.

Male Toxicity and Fragility Are Destroyers of Spirits and Lives

What I know to be fact, is that anyone can be victimized by male toxicity and fragility. Men with these issues do their best work when preying on women and children. When male toxicity and fragility hang out together, the goal is getting what they what, when they want it. If that means choking a woman out, so be it. When they’re on the scene women can count on being called out of their name, leered at, the recipient of unwanted advances including invitations to be sexed down, being raped if she’s not ”with it”, and general disrespect. If she chooses to ignore the signs she may end up a willing participant in a game of inter-partner violence and fighting for her life.

Inequality Is Real Deal Stuff

That’s real. Don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for your troubles either. The general consensus can come from men and women alike, who believe that the transgression, whatever it is, happened because of something a woman did or didn’t do. The way patriarchy is set up, men stick together on some tired ass notion that they rule. They think inequality is fine, and anyone pushing outside those restraints is the enemy.

They imagine that women should be doing something different, bigger and better perhaps, to keep him happy at all costs. If you disagree, you hate men. Even if you didn’t sweat a toxic male about the big things, small things, or anything at all, he’d still come for you. His ego is fed when he controls you. Resist that mess. Even when they say, he’s just being a man, after all. Male toxicity and fragility are currently the cause of death for half of Black women.

Women are Literally Dying At The Hands Of Male Toxicity

On June 21, 2017, report the Center for Prevention and Disease Control (CDC), shared information that states,“half of all female homicide victims experienced intimate partner violence, and that Black women die from that alone cause more than others. There are a lot of women killed by angry men.  Intimate partner violence reduces women to punching bags and a living hell where their survival eventually depends on eating abuse, in order to feed the egos of their abusers until they can flee.

How Many People Do You Know Caught Up In Abuse?

That scenario is between cis women and men, but know, that it can and does play out in queer communities as well. We know how married the queer community is to labels. With those labels come expectations which circle back, looking very hetero in nature. Part of male toxicity requires abusers to make it clear who is most dominant in the relationship. Somewhere scripture that requires men to be leaders of their households gets misinterpreted. The problem is not all men are willing or able to lead in fairness, and with respect. Hence the reasons for womanism and feminism. We’re equal baby, or we’re nothing at all.

The Fallout From Abuse Can Become Cyclical Affecting Generations

If male toxicity and fragility are responsible for the murders of queer and cis women, then all women need to know about self-worth, self-love, and self-defense. Children who see their mother’s being physically, emotionally, and verbally abused, often become victims of abuse later in life. Just as bad, they may become adults who abuse.  

Take Care Of Your Mental Health

I’m very concerned about and dedicated to raising awareness around mental health. When you experience abuse as most queers will at some point, it’s important to be aware of how living with the stress of being queer in a hetero world can wear on mental health. Trust when I tell you, being Black, Queer and Woman is becoming more dangerous every day as the current administration allows for all types of fuckery from people who dislike my whole person, and have never even met me.

Queering Straight Spaces – Bump The Haters!

I get eaten alive in comments on social media from men who measure my worth, deciding I have none when I proclaim my queerness.  They can’t fathom why I don’t have a man. As if my desire to work on me, instead of dating right now is somehow selfish. These men seem to think that they are God’s gift to the world, and maybe they could touch the hem of that realm if they’d lose the arrogance and learn how to engage women.

Trans women Face The Most Discrimination In Today’s Dating World

For trans women trying to date, the subject of late is disclosure. Should they disclose? Are they obligated to do so and at what stage of dating should they spill all? On July 23, 2016, Dwayna Hickerson, 21, fatally stabbed De Whigham, 25, 119 times when he learned she was not born a girl. He’s looking at 40 years without parole and another 15 years for going into Whigham’s purse and lifting her cell phone. Compliments of the Jacksonville, Mississippi legal system and his inability to simply walk away.

When Is It Safe For Trans women To Disclose?

I believe everyone has a right to know who they’re dealing with if sex is going to be involved. But, because male toxicity and fragility are so prevalent, it begs the question, when is a safe time for trans women to reveal she wasn’t born a girl? A fragile person is likely to react violently, regardless of when they’re told. There is a percentage of men in my social media circles who categorically say they would fuck a trans girl up for leading them on. They add if sex occurred she could expect to be choked out.

Other men said simply that it, “ain’t cool.” I think as a woman that the conversation bears more consideration. Women. Are. Dying.  Queer and Str8. That’s the realness of this twisted scenario that lets men think they have the right to control and diminish a woman, at their whim.  

Ladies, Protect Your Energy

It’s imperative that all women know how to protect their minds, hearts, and bodies from fragile ass male egos and men who hate them.  It’s up to women to do the work to figure out just who it is “you be”. Seriously, until you do, you will invite energy that includes the likes of male toxicity and his east side cousin, fragility. For trans girls who are finding your way, get yourself a good mentor. One who is compassionate, consistent, and cares about your well being. Use social media to connect with like minds. Take a break from it as needed, sometimes you need to escape the pure madness floating down your timeline.

Words For Toxic and Fragile Men

To the toxic and fragile men of the world, I hope that you deal with your demons. To live without compassion and respect for all that is woman is to be a soulless spirit. I’m sorry for your past hurts and wish you Godspeed in finding your way back. I prefer not to deal with that energy, but if I have to (we do live in a white supremacist world), I take aim with anyone who threatens my survival.

Words for Trans women

Trans women do need to understand that cis Black women have long suffered at the whims of cis men of all races. We have been dying. Find a gun class for women, by women, get a stun gun, take a self-defense class, do what you need to do to be as safe as possible. Sage advice, and what women do.

In order for allied relationships to form and work between trans, lesbian, and cis women, trans women should be at the table as women, but should come gracefully. Leave that, “I’ll take your man.” ish for the movies and House song lyrics.  For cis women, it’s enough to understand your story, without the switch being flipped and you entering with male privilege slipping through. Let’s be real, in a fair fight (without weapons) some trans women can hold their own against cis males if need be. So check your male privilege that still exists and will peep through as an embedded survival technique.

Words for Cis and Lesbian Women

At the same time, cis women you know the world is ever changing. Trans women love what you represent. The essence of woman is the sweetest and most wonderful thing on the planet. We’re warriors, every one of us. Trans sisters feel that energy, maybe get to know some new folk or at least become educated before throwing people under the bridge. For the haters know this, only someone with a fragile ego grounded in male or female toxicity (yes, some women are evil), is so wounded they can’t lovingly embrace the idea of women and what we bring to the world.  

Travel Advisory Issued

That women cis, lesbian, and trans face threats of violence on a daily, both from intimate partners and strangers in the street is abhorrent. So much so, that the Missouri NAACP  has issued a first ever travel advisory for Blacks, Queers, Women and other minorities.

Read: Anyone other than cis white men is at risk traveling to the “show me” state.  I take that as notice to be on alert wherever we are.

The bottom line is that we have to learn to co exist. Male toxicity and fragility have to be addressed with doable solutions so that murders of women stop and people are held accountable. Transphobia in our communities is a very real thing to those facing it. We can all do much better. Communication is key!

Originally posted 2017-08-11 12:26:33.

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Eating Disorders in the LGBT Community

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October is LGBT History Month, and the first week of October is known as Mental Illness Awareness Week, which makes October the best month for sharing stories of struggles and successes as well as learning about issues that might not be so well known or understood in the community. Like eating disorders.

We all know the stereotype of the “typical” eating disorder patient: the white and wealthy woman who is young and vain; the mean girl, the cheerleader, the girl who’s “going through a phase.”

That’s all bullshit.

The truth? Eating disorders affect any gender, race, body type and sexuality. Eating disorders are not caused by one thing but by many complex issues stemming from behavioral, biological, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. It’s not a phase and it’s not something you can grow out of it. It’s a lifelong battle, as common as autism but with less funding for research and treatment. And because of the stereotypes, because of the dismissal of this mental illness that has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it’s deeply affecting the LGBTQ community that is almost defenseless against it.

I would know. I am a bisexual woman and I have battled with bulimia and anorexia for most of my life and continue to struggle with them today.

Now when we talk issues in the LGBT community, eating disorders aren’t always the first ones to pop up, if they ever do. However, LGBT-identifying people are more likely to develop an eating disorder than someone who is straight. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), some of the potential factors that could lead to eating disorders are the fear and anxiety of coming out and possible rejection, harassment, bullying and discrimination because of their sexuality, discordance between one’s sex and gender identity, homelessness or an unsafe home life, body image stereotypes in LGBT communities, and the lack of family/friend support and lack of treatment and education in the LGBT community. All of these factors can lead to depression, anxiety, and the need for a coping mechanism, all of which are factors that can lead to an eating disorder.

Under all the weight loss and the dieting, eating disorders are all about control; control of one’s body and to an extent, control over your outward identity. I developed my eating disorder at a point in my life when I was in the thick of my depression when I felt the most out of control of my life. I felt that I had at least some control over my weight, and it kept me grounded and stable, that I had some control over something, and I clung to it. When you feel like you’re drowning, an eating disorder can seem like a life vest.

Instead, it’s an anchor.

It’s easy to imagine and understand why someone who feels like an outcast because of their sexuality and gender identity might fall into an eating disorder. When people feel like their life is sinking because of something they can’t control, an eating disorder can feel like the only thing they have some control of in their lives.

However, eating disorders are an addiction. You become completely obsessed with losing weight, with purging, or counting calories. It completely takes over your life and makes your main focus in life continuing your eating disorder until it eventually takes your life. You can’t quit anorexia or bulimia at the drop of a hat; it’s a life-long struggle to recovery, made even more difficult in a world where most people don’t understand and discriminate against, people with an eating disorder. It’s even worse when you’re discriminated against because of your sexuality.

Some statistics, given by the NEDA:

  • As early as 12 years old, gay, lesbian and bisexual teens may be at higher risk of binge-eating and purging than their heterosexual peers.
  • One study shows that gay and bisexual boys reported being significantly more likely to have fasted, vomited or taken laxatives or diet pills to control their weight.
  • Elevated rates of binge-eating and purging by vomiting or laxative abuse was found for both males and females who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or “mostly heterosexual” in comparison to their heterosexual peers.
  • Compared to other populations, gay men are disproportionately found to have body image disturbances and eating disorder behavior (STATS). Gay men are thought to only represent 5% of the total male population but among men who have eating disorders, 42% identify as gay.
  • Compared with heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men had a significantly higher prevalence of lifetime full syndrome bulimia, subclinical bulimia, and any subclinical eating disorder.
  • Black and Latino LGBT have at least as high a prevalence of eating disorders as white LGBTs

As you can see, eating disorders affect everyone in the community. However, research on LGBT populations and eating disorders is limited, mainly because there’s still lots of research that still needs to be done in order to better understand eating disorders. Also, many LGBT members are still “in the closet” when it comes to their mental illness. Eating disorders are all about secrets, and anyone who’s LGBT knows how to keep a secret. When already trying to gain acceptance for one part of your identity, trying to gain acceptance for two can feel completely impossible. Constantly worried about rejections from loved ones, and the constant state of admissions seems unbearable. It’s why I stayed silent about my illness and identity for so many years, out of fear and self-preservation.

But people die from eating disorders every year because they stay silent. Because they are afraid.

I refuse to become another one of those statistics.

There is a silver lining to all of this. According to studies, a sense of connectedness to the gay community was related to fewer current eating disorders, which means that feeling connected to your community may help the fight against eating disorders.

 

So for this Mental Health Week and this LGBT History Week, do your part. If you are affected by an eating disorder, speak your truth and find ways to seek help. If someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, be an ally to them. To quote the great Troy Bolton, “We’re all in this together.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek more information at nationaleatingdisorder.org, or by calling their Helpline at (800) 931-2237 or text “NEDA” 741741.

Originally posted 2017-10-10 18:08:41.

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The Coward: A Look into Homophobia in Queer Spaces

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Theatre has always been a safe space for the LGBT+ community. It has given people of any sexuality and gender identity a platform to explore themselves and their relationships, as well as their fears and trauma, and share those experiences with everyone. LGBT+ theatre shows the truth, but sometimes it’s a hard truth, meant to make audiences uncomfortable but aware of the hardships that the queer community faces.

In her play The Coward, playwright Kati Schwartz explores the effects of homophobia in the queer community. The show focuses on a young actress named Jill, who spends the summer at an isolated summer stock theater company with a small group of actors. This group includes a man named Christopher, who claims to be straight despite his obvious attraction to a male castmate. His homophobia, fueled by his strong religious beliefs, clashes constantly against Jill’s questioning of her own sexuality, leading to a tension-filled show.

Schwartz is incredible at mixing realism and fantasy in her shows, and The Coward is no exception. Jill carries a wand and casts spells throughout the play, though it is unclear whether her castmates can see the spells’ effects or not. However, the plot of the show itself is very much based in reality.

The Coward, as with most of the plays I write, is based off a real life experience,” said Schwartz. “What you see is my interpretation of that experience with some witchcraft and magical realism sprinkled in.” Schwartz is adept at mixing fantasy and reality while still keeping the focus on such a heavy subject matter. She is able to transform her experience with an aggressive person into a story that balances the inherent tension and sadness with the surreal.

Schwartz attempts to figure out Christopher’s homophobia in the face of his own sexuality along with Jill and the audience, and it certainly is not always easy.

“In the first draft, the Christopher character was a female, and the story was much simpler,” said Schwartz. “Once I switched that character to a closeted, self loathing gay man, the themes of the play became a little more challenging for me to explore.” With this switch, Schwartz dove into an exploration of internal homophobia within the LGBTQ+ community and its effects.

“The resulting changes to the script offer more equality between Jill and Christopher, and more opportunity for discussion on who the true coward is,” said Schwartz.   

Though the focus of the show is on issues within the LGBT+ community, Schwartz knows that this show is important for people of any sexuality to see and understand.

“Rifts and prejudice exist within any community,” said Schwartz. “Something I hope that people of any sexual orientation can take away is a keener sense of one’s responsibility to speak up when someone is being mistreated regardless of the immediate social ramifications.”

The Coward is playing at the Duke on 42nd Street on October 9th in New York City, as part of the New York New Works Festival. It is an important piece of theater, that should be seen by many. Share this with the theater lover in your life, and be on the lookout for more from Schwartz soon.

Originally posted 2017-10-10 15:42:41.

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How to Travel to This Gorgeous Liberal European Town With No Roads

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This town is called the land of water, and is also known as the venice of Holland. It is Giethoorn, located in the National Park Weerribben-Wieden in the Netherlands. There are no roads here, and the visitor can view beautiful thatched farms, lakes, reed beds, forests, wooden bridges, and greenery. This town is also gay-friendly, because it is located in the first country to recognize gay marriage in 2001.

Here is a step-by-step guide for travel to Giethoorn, and how to explore its beauty, culture, and community:

Book Your Flight to Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Plan your trip to Amsterdam, because from there, you can travel to Giethoorn.  There are numerous flights that go to Amsterdam, and here are cheap flights that were recently found by travelers. The flight will arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schipol, which has shopping and dining to occupy your time. If you decide you want to stay in Amsterdam for a while before traveling to Giethoorn and have booked a hotel, then the Schipol Hotel Shuffle can take you there.  

Once you are ready to travel, then from Amsterdam Airport Schipol, you can take the bus or boat to travel to Giethoorn.  You can also travel by train, if you wish, and you can use 9292 to plan your trip.  

Plan Your Stay in Giethoorn

Hotel de Pergola. Source: Booking.com

If you plan to stay in Giethoorn for longer than a day, then book your stay in the hotel of your choice. Above is a photo of the Hotel de Pergola, which is situated on the waterfront, but there are also other great options. There are some reasonably priced places to stay, such as the Fletcher Hotel Restaurant de Eese-Giethoorn, which has an outdoor tennis court, a national park, restaurant, and indoor pool. One traveler recommended another place, the Hotel Giethoorn because it was super cozy.  

Day 1: Travel on a Boat in the Town with No Roads

Travelers on boats. Source: A Wanderlust for Life

There are many things you can do on your first day here, and one option is to travel on a boat, because after all, this charming town has no roads, but it does have water. Canoe trails are 90 kilometers long!  In fact, the postman has to travel by punt boat, to deliver mail.  

You can rent kayaks, sailboats, and rowboats. If you want to boat by yourself, consider renting a whisperboat, which are open punter boats equipped with a silent electric motor (why it’s been given the name ‘whisper’). You can book your boat in advance, and you can even book a day tour which includes the whisperboat, coffee, sandwiches, drinks and dinner.  

Day 2: Go Cycling

The Giethoorn Weerribben cycling route. Source: Holland-Cycling.com

Another popular activity here is cycling. The Giethoorn Weeribben cycling route is 46 kilometers long, and there are thatched cottages, narrow bridges and wetlands on the way! You will see these at the farming village of Giethoorn. The route will also take you through the historic town of Blokzijl, the National Park De Wieden, and the villages of Jonen and Dwarsgracht.  

Day 3: Hike and Explore

Giethoorn. Source: Holland.com

If you want to explore Giethoorn more, and are a hiking enthusiast, then consider the 15.3 kilometer walking route, which starts at Eendrachtsplein, and then follows the green route.  There is a walking network which guides you, so follow the colored arrows. Sights to watch out for are canals, thatched farmhouses, and the largest lake of the Kop van Overikssel, the Beulakerwijde.  

Before You Go: What to Bring With You

Sunscreen

As you plan your trip, including flight, accommodation, and activities, consider what to bring with you.  Expect warm weather here, so bring sunscreen, lip balm and a hat.  But it can rain, so be sure to bring a raincoat and umbrella, so that you’re on the safe side.  Other items to include in your backpack are a camera, first aid kit, hiking boots, a torchlight, SD card, and shorts or pants with pockets.   

Where do you plan on vacationing this year?  If this European destination sounds good to you, then consider planning a trip.

 

Originally posted 2017-10-09 17:23:57.

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