An Activist’s Deipnon for Hekate

This post gives some excellent ideas of ways to blend self care and planning for action in the context of a monthly ritual. Even if you’re not a Hellenic Pagan (or any flavor of Pagan), you may find the seeds of ideas for your own approach to both avoiding outrage fatigue and committing to attainable goals of activism on a regular basis.

Magick From Scratch

I’ve got nothing for a pre-amble. These are trying times. Every day brings a new assault on someone’s rights. I’m pissed, and I’m tired of hearingrationalizations about why certain people areentitled to systematically mistreat, oppress and do violence to our most vulnerable.

If you are feeling me on this, I want you to read this article on self care, stat. If you are in a TL;DR headspace, let me give you the most important thing the author said:

This is really important, because at some point itwillbecome too much to handle. You can cope by shutting it out for a while — binge watching Netflix, playing with your dog, going to yoga. But if you don’t do that, if you try to maintain this fever pitch of anguish and fear and outrage, something far worse than a little down time is going to happen. Your brain, to protect you…

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Supergirl Takes On Its Biggest Bad Yet: Compulsory Heterosexuality

This was one of the two things I saw on tv this week that, quite frankly, I really needed to see for my sanity. (The other was Dean Winchester taking out a re-animated/reincarnated Hitler last night with the help of a terrified med student who found her courage at the 11th hour. ) This blog post does a great job analyzing just why Alex’s coming out was so very different than anything we ever see on tv, why it was so important, and some hints of what to (and not to) expect from Supergirl’s sister.

raching for it

The last few days have been absolute garbage. You know that, I know that. I don’t mean to take away from the terrible things currently happening in America and the rest of the world. That’s truly the last thing I would ever want to do, but I think it’s important to focus on little positive things in whatever way you can, and I’d been planning on writing this before the nightmarish election results happened, so here I am, writing it.

Characters come-out onscreen. This isn’t new. Is it something that doesn’t happen often? Yes. Do we need more of it? Absolutely. Coming-out scenes for characters who are in the process of realising their queerness are just as important as the need for openly confident and out queer characters. Basically, we need more queer characters. But that isn’t news.

However, coming-out scenes often seem to take the form of the same…

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Report from the 4th Annual GLMA Nursing Summit!

GLMA Nursing

Caitlin Stover and Michael Johnson Caitlin Stover and Michael Johnson

What a terrific Nursing Summit in St. Louis!  We started the day with an inspiring and tonda-hughesinformative presentation by Tonda Hughes, whose career has always focused on the health of sexual minority women. The title of her presentation “From gay bars to marriage equality: The evolution of research on sexual minority women’s health from one researcher’s perspective” prompted a great discussion!

Speed Networking! Speed Networking!

The networking event that followed was a huge success!  It was actually a “speed dating” kind of opportunity to meet and network with folks that we might not otherwise have met!

The plenary panel presentations inspired us to envision possibilities for a career focused on LGBTQ health in nursing.  The panel was moderated by Sarah Fogel, nurse member ofpanel-with-sarah the GLMA Board.  Here are the titles and presenters on the panel:

  • Cultural Competence of Nurse Practitioners: Providing Care for Gay and Lesbian…

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The work of visiBIlity

It’s been awhile since I’ve added much in the way of original content, as opposed to reblogging items of interest (mostly so I can find them again later!), but it seemed like Bisexual Awareness Week was really nudging at me for a post, so here it is.

It’s interesting to have come into this week after just having attended the annual GLMA Conference and Nursing Summit.  It was a great week for meeting with and hearing presentations by people in various aspects of health care working specifically on LGBT health issues, both for patients and providers.  We got lots done at the Nursing Summit in particular, and are looking to keep that work going between now and next year’s meeting, which is exciting.  It’s so easy to come home from a conference fired up with ideas … only to have that fire sputter in the wind generated by day-to-day responsibilities.  Having a plan to keep fueling that fire, however, so far does seem to be a recipe for Getting Things Done.

Throughout much of the week, as great as it was, I did often find myself feeling invisible.  This is not at all unusual.  As with many bisexuals, particularly those who are married or otherwise partnered, I tend to be invisible until and unless I a) say something or b) paint myself pink, purple, and blue, and neither of those is guaranteed to be effective.  Being married to a man means I’m assumed to be straight, just as if I were married to a woman I’d be assumed to be a lesbian.  The fact that I’ve developed a fondness for makeup over the past year probably increases the likelihood that I’m assumed to be either straight or a “lipstick lesbian.”  (Tangential note to self: you went to the trouble to figure out how to do rainbow and bi flag eyes for Pride, how’s about doing the same for the GLMA Gala instead of being boring, silly? Next year!)

It’s also, unfortunately, not unusual to experience biphobia in what are meant to be LGBT-inclusive spaces.  It’s generally unintentional, but that doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens.  I’m frustrated with myself in that, while I did say something to someone about the fact I was bothered by a particular aspect of one event, I didn’t explicitly address the biphobia (and ace-phobia, though that doesn’t impact me directly but still bugged me) that had gotten under my skin, but rather talked about the overall tone of that particular aspect of the event.  It’s not that concerns I brought up about the overall tone were untrue, because they were true.  What frustrates me is that I let my own internalized biphobia stop me from voicing the particulars of why I was not comfortable with this one aspect of this one event.  (ETA: Clearly either the leadership recognized the issue independently or others were more able than I to speak to these specifics, as a follow-up email both apologized for this having been an issue and laid out how this will be prevented from happening in the future.)  In other situations, that same internalized biphobia had me being very cautious about mentioning the gender of my spouse, lest I be shunted into the “not really one of us” category.

This is one of the reasons that doing something visible for Bisexual Awareness Week feels important, even if that just means making a long and rambly blog post.  I think of myself as out, but it is actually quite a bit of work to be visibly out as bi.  And that’s work I need to do if for no other reason than to challenge my own internal biphobia.  Of course, there is no stereotypical way to appear bi, short of walking down the street holding hands with people of more than one gender at the same time.  I suppose that wearing hiking boots with everything from jeans to evening wear can be seen as some kind of statement, though the reality of that statement is, “I have awful feet and ankles.”

One of the things we tackled at the Nursing Summit was what it means to queer nursing research.  I’m still wrestling with what it means to queer anything or to be queer, even though this is a term I apply to myself alongside “bisexual.”  One conclusion, though, was definitely that there is no one answer to what those things mean.  That makes the work of visibility harder, too.  Not only are there no commonly accepted visual cues for being bi, the ones that tend to go with “queer” are generally more closely associated with being monosexually gay, and ultimately have more to do with gender presentation or performativity than sexual orientation.

Tomorrow is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, which would seem to be a day to find some way to be as visibly bi as possible.  Of course, I’m working at my clinical job, which limits my options on personal appearance.  In the plus column, the uniform is purple, so I’ll have at least one stripe of the flag covered … but so will all my coworkers who would continue in blissful oblivion as to why that would be any different tomorrow than any other day.  I’ve always got my rainbow caduceus on my badge lanyard, but I’ve yet to find any specifically bi-themed jewelry that I’m happy with.  And again, most wouldn’t get it.  I’m certainly not going to wish everybody I meet a “Happy Celebrate Bisexuality Day”!  Patients, in particular, would probably find that a bit confusing, and they have other things to be concerned with.  Except some of them are likely bi too, or if not them, then perhaps one or more of their family members or friends, and I feel like being somehow quietly visible for them is as important (if not more so) as any other reason.

Perhaps I’ll find an answer.  Perhaps it’ll be effective.  Perhaps neither of those things will be true.  But thinking about these things and at least striving for answers is, I think, part of the work of visiBIlity.  Doing some of that thinking “out loud” on the internet is, I suppose, another component.

Zika & LGBT Health

Lavender Health - LGBTQ Resource Center

The 2016 Summer Olympics brought many phenomena to world attention, including openly gay, lesbian, and transgender athletes, as well as egregious examples of white male privilege. However, one global concern that emerged in Brazil and elsewhere promises to alarm us for some time to come: the Zika virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide extensive information about the virus, its prevention, and its risks.

Zika is a virus spread by two routes of transmission: the Aedes species mosquito (which also transmits some other “tropical” viruses) and sex.

Zika produces flu-like symptoms, including “fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week” according to the CDC.

Some patients may develop the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). But of greater…

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This Week: A Very Transgender Wellness Roundup

LGBT HealthLink, The Network for Health Equity

DearTransEach week HuffPost Queer Voices, in a partnership with blogger Scout, LGBT HealthLink and researcher Corey Prachniak, brings you a round up of some of the biggest LGBT wellness stories from the past seven days. For more LGBT Wellness, visit our page dedicated to the topic here.

SaferSexFinally! A Safer Sex Guide Just For Trans Folks

A new guide on safer sex for transgender individuals was published by the HRC Foundation and Whitman-Walker Health, covering everything from dental dams and PrEP to changes that can occur during transition-related care.

Stage Set For Battle Over Transgender Rights

Five states sued the Obama administration for protecting transgender people under the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex-based discrimination, claiming it violates healthcare providers’ religious freedom to discriminate. The case is now before a Texas judge and could someday reach the Supreme Court.

Major Medical Journal Spotlights Trans Mental Health Head Shot Scout 2014 lo res

The American…

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How to fail at slurs

This is sort of related to earlier posts on the use of the word “queer” and sort of not. Mostly not. In fact, it’s actually more like the complete opposite. But since my “mind palace”* looks a bit more like the inside of Hogwarts, what with the moving staircases and magically appearing and disappearing rooms, it feels connected enough to me to say a bit about it. In fact, I think one of those mental staircases can even tie this back to Queer Health.

A bit of background is in order, because unless you happen to be plugged into the Polytheist Discourse corners of the internet (or know someone who is) this will probably all sound Greek to you.  Well, more likely Old Norse.  That will eventually make sense.  There has been some gatekeeping going on among various sorts of Pagans, not so much about who does/doesn’t fit under the umbrella of their specific tradition (Wicca, Asatru, Hellenismos, Druidry, etc.) but about what does/doesn’t constitute polytheism.  Is someone truly polytheist if they believe that all Gods and Goddesses are facets or reflections of a single Supreme Being?  Or if they believe that Jupiter and Zeus are in fact the same Entity?  Or if they worship Deities from more than one pantheon?

You will probably not be surprised that my answer is, “Yes, obviously, if that’s how they identify themselves.”  Whether one’s worship of multiple Deities takes this form or that isn’t really the issue.  Do they worship more than one Deity and call themselves a polytheist?  Well, then, that’s what they are, because the word just indicates a worship of more than one God.  I include the self-identification part because there’s a fair amount of Catholic-bashing that deals with veneration of saints as being a form of polytheism.

Many people, however, seem to feel the need to define their form of polytheism as the One True Way, and everyone else is Doing It Wrong.  (This sort of thing never ends well.  It also reminds me of recent trends in “Asexual Discourse” on Tumblr of the “these people who aren’t like me are not really queer” variety.)  In response, a friend of mine started something called My Polytheism to encourage dialogue among diverse polytheists.  It has caught on a bit.  Sadly, this has caused some of the gatekeepers to up the ante.

Wondering where the failed slur bit comes in?  Right about here.  Now, I don’t think it was in direct response to a specific My Polytheism contribution, but somewhere along the way, the term “Rainbowtru” was invented as a way to describe Asatru (people who follow the Old Norse religion) who they see as being excessively inclusive.

Protip: if you are trying to disparage people for being excessively inclusive, using a symbol of inclusiveness in your attempted slur will probably backfire.  This goes beyond reclaimed slurs, wherein the person it is used against may well respond, “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”  Because there’s no history of abuse and pain behind it, you instead get responses along the lines of, “Wait, that’s a thing?  Where do I sign up?”  Also banners.

Where this ties in to Queer Health is the way this sort of gatekeeping (also called “hatekeeping”) is sometimes done within the LGBTQIA community, alienating people from what should be a support network.  Bisexuals aren’t queer enough unless they’re actually with a partner of the same sex right now (in which case they’re really just half-closeted), so they shouldn’t attend Pride events or make use of resources for the LGBTQIA community.  Asexuals aren’t queer enough (unless they’re homoromantic maybe?) so … same.  We have little in the way of data on asexual health, but we already know that people who end up filed as bisexual in studies (most likely including pansexuals and other non-monosexuals) tend to have worse health outcomes than their homosexual peers as well as their heterosexual peers.  This is believed to be because of this added marginalization not only from the dominant society but also from the LGBTQIA community.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could avoid doing that same thing in interfaith Pagan dialogue?  Because while having a spiritual practice of some kind is usually shown to have protective health effects, being a member of a minority religion brings its own stressors.  If other members of somewhat-similar-or-related faiths are making noise about how you’re not really one of “their kind” and so on, this is likely to add even more stress, regardless of whether the message is internalized or not.  Because one reason polytheists and other Pagans reach out to one another on the ‘net is because it is extremely hard to find others of like mind unless you are in a big city with enough of a population to hit critical mass.

One of the best ways to combat this, I find, is exactly the approach taken in response to the attempt to coin “Rainbowtru” as a slur:  turn it around.  Ignore the intended negativity, and find a way to turn it into something positive.  That’s not always possible, and I don’t pretend otherwise, but if you can do it, there’s a good chance it’ll up your resilience (Gray, Mendelsohn, & Omoto, 2015), which tends to mean better health.

Reference

Gray, N. N., Mendelsohn, D. M., & Omoto, A. M. (2015). Community connectedness, challenges, and resilience among gay Latino immigrants. American Journal of Community Psychology, 55(1-2), 202-214. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10464-014-9697-4

*I may possibly have watched the Hillywood Sherlock Parody a few more times than is healthy, hence the phrase “mind palace” being at the tip of my … mind.