Today is the Day of Silence.
This is an event that happens every year and which hopes to fight anti-gay bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools.
Teachers and students can take part by spending the day without talking. This is done as a reminder that even today, many GLBT individuals cannot talk openly about who they are.
This year, I am happy to report, that the school where I teach is participating in the Day of Silence for the first time! So far it seems to be going pretty smoothly.
Have you ever been involved in the Day of Silence? How did it go? Are you staying silent today? Let us know!
This week, there was yet another horrific story of a woman and her boyfriend who murdered her 4-year-old son because they thought he was gay! I can't even wrap my brain around this tragedy, but it has made me think a little about the kind of environment that could allow this kind of thinking.
Some researchers think disgust is really what drives trans- and homophobia. But in a case like this, I feel like there has to be more too it.What do you think?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that it will to stop using the term "unprotected sex" to describe sex without condoms in future publications related to HIV / AIDS.
In part this is because there has been a shift in the understanding of how risk reduction works in a world where preventing HIV infection does not only involve using a condom.Read more
What do you think of this new term? Accurate? Helpful? Clunky?
Though it is very rare, it is possible for an HIV positive women to pass the virus on to her female partner through sex. Here's what we know about how that can happen...Read more
You're pretty sure you're straight, right? But then you find yourself with a same gender crush. If you're not bisexual or pansexual, then what?
It could be that you are "mostly-heterosexual."
What do you think of the idea of being "mostly-heterosexual?"
Every time a "day" of awareness come up, some naysayer will find a reason to take issue with it. For example, recently I heard someone complain that if we were going to have an International Women's Day, then we should have a similar "Men's Day."
But here's the thing: recognizing the needs of one group, whether it is through today's International Women's Day, or a day like National Coming Out Day, and raising awareness about that group's issues, doesn't take away from anyone else!
And really some groups, need specific attention to right wrongs, bring attention to injustices and simply increase knowledge about certain issues.
So regards to girls and women, what are some of these issues? Here are just a few:
- A woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive health is under attack in ways not seen since the fights to decriminalize birth control in the 1930s and to legalize abortion in the 1970s.
- The Guttmacher Institute reports that over 90% of American counties currently have no abortion provider.
- In a survey conducted by the National Association of University Women, 80% of high school girls reported being the victims of sexual harassment at school.
- America is one of only four counties in the world that offers no paid maternity leave. The others are Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland.
- Our rates of maternal and child health and mortality are worse than they were thirty years ago.
- A study of high school and college women out of San Diego State University found stress levels six times greater than those reported during the Great Depression.
But it's not all gloom and doom! Things have definitely improved on a lot of fronts.
Since 1996, colleges have been granting more undergraduate degrees to women than to men, and as of 2010, the same can be said of graduate degrees.
Plus, we now live in a world where a teen lesbian may come out to her peers by changing her Facebook status and then can expect to grow up, have a family, and in more and more places, even get married. That's a big change from even the recent past, when Bill Clinton's endorsement of the military's, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy actually passed for progressive politics.
Days like today are a good time to take stock of what needs to be done, and also to remember how far we've come!
Image (c) bbheart
Despite that fact that gay youth are experiencing more support and acceptance than ever before, many GLBT teens still face numerous challenges, which include everything from homophobia, to suicide and eating disorders.
Some of these things are in your control and others not so much. But one way to best equip yourself to tackle any of the curve balls life throws you is to work on feeling as good about yourself as possible. Here's where to start...
We are nearing the end of National Eating Disorders week. This is an issue that is very important for GLBT teens to understand. Partly this is because studies have found that GLBT teens are at heightened risk of developing a condition like anorexia or bulimia. Read more
It isn't news that transgender individuals have to endure a huge amount of transphobia. But while it often comes from the world at large, sometimes it emerges from people who we hope would know better. (See Tim Gunn's recent comments on the model, Andrej Pejic).
In part, transphobia is a reaction to some pretty serious misunderstanding about what it means to be trans.
For example, in some circles, there seems to be a sense that trans people are somehow trying to deceive the world, or pass themselves off as something they are not. This can make someone who is cisgender (aka: having a biological sex and gender identity that line up) feel like they are being lied to.
Others simply view trans people as "weird" and feel uncomfortable with the idea of anyone existing outside their understanding of male and female.
Luckily, awareness is being raised about this issue.