Happy Bisexual Awareness Week!

Click if you’re interested in doing some related reading:

#BiWeek http://www.glaad.org/tags/bisexuality-awareness-week
http://binetusa.blogspot.com/2016/09/happy-bisexual-awareness-week-2016.html

Graphic used with permission from Lynnette Beth Mcfadzen.

 

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Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia! #HAHABT

 Welcome to this year’s Hop, and Happy Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia!

The first year I participated in this hop it was the Hop Against Homophobia, last year saw the addition of Transphobia, and this year we’re also working to combat Biphobia. The last two are things I encounter on a daily basis, so in my humble opinion this hop gets better every year. 🙂

In my post, I’m going to talk a little about biphobia and give away winner’s choice of one of my backlist books. All you have to do to enter is answer the question by commenting on this post, anytime between now and May 24th at midnight Pacific time.

I hope you all have a lot of fun on the hop, and get some good conversations going!

First, there seems to be a bit of confusion about what bisexuality actually is. And since understanding is an important step toward acceptance, here it is in a nutshell. Bisexuals are not reinforcing society’s artificially-imposed gender binary solely by existing, we don’t dislike or exclude the trans community (many trans individuals are also bisexual) and we’re not, as a whole, indecisive or greedy.

So what does it mean to be bisexual?

It means being attracted to people of the same gender, or a different gender. That last bit is important. “A different gender” doesn’t mean a specific gender, it means “a gender by which the bisexual in question does not identify.”

It’s that simple and that complex.

I understand it can be difficult for monosexuals to wrap their heads around—just like I can’t fully understand what it’s like to only be attracted to one gender. In the spirit of the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia, I’ll try to explain my own experience.

What it starts and ends with is the individual, their personality, shared experience and interests, and whether or not we click.

In my five decades on this planet, i’ve had… a couple of relationships. When I was with a man, I was still bisexual. When I was with a woman, yep, you guessed it—still bisexual. Some people out there might be nodding and thinking I’m promiscuous, but they would be wrong. (Probably… depending on their personal definition of promiscuous. ;))

All things being equal (although we know they never are, please come along with me for the ride :)) I am just as likely to be romantically and/or sexually attracted to someone who identifies as female as to someone who identifies as male or genderqueer/fluid or agender, or any of the other variants that exist. It depends on the individual. This makes it almost impossible for me to use online dating services, by the way. If I say I’m looking for a woman and identify as bi nobody responds; if looking for a man and say I’m bi, I get couples looking for a threesome or a unicorn.

Biphobia makes a lot of bisexuals feel as though we have to hide our true identity or be rejected. Some choose to identify as queer to get around that, some don’t; some folks who identify as queer are not bisexual. This is why it’s important to push back against biphobia, so we can identify as we wish, without fear. I’ve come out of and been pushed back into a lot of closets since the ‘70s—by members of the mainstream heterosexual community and by the LGBTQ+ community. Neither is any fun, but it’s far more difficult to be given the stink-eye by someone (or a whole lot of someones all at once) who also identify somewhere along the queer spectrum.

 

Well, I think that’s enough for one post. Now I’m going to ask you a question, and if you answer in the comments you’re in the running to choose a book from my backlist.

By the way, the choice also includes the Harmony Ink Press anthology First Time for Everything—US residents can get a paperback copy if they’d like to pass it on to a teen or a library after reading it. Click here for a list of my adult backlist titles.

Okay, it’s not really a question, more like a task: name a book with either a bisexual or transgender main character. Name one that has never appeared on any bestseller list, and that’ll get you two entries.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to visit the rest of the blogs on the #HAHABT, participate in the dialogue and maybe end up with a prize. 🙂

Click here to go to the #HAHABT blog and find the list!

rainbow rose

 

 

 

 

 

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Click on the picture to find an event near you.

I’ll be hugging my kiddo, and thanking all the transfolks in my life for being my friends.

rainbow rose

It’s official!

Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriages has been ruled unconstitutional!

After a short celebration, we’ll be busy working on the next baby step.

If you’re looking for my #HAHAT post, click here.

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Welcome to my HAHAT post!

I’m happy to be a part of this hop again, to celebrate and raise awareness of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The hop is over 130 strong this year! We’ll be at it through May 24th, which gives you plenty of time to hop around and tell all your friends. Visit as many stops as you can, because everyone is hosting a prize!

My prize is a $10 Credit to Dreamspinner Press!

All you have to do is answer my question at the end to enter. If you want to Like my FB Author Page that’ll get you another entry.

 

Why you’ll never see me with my asterisk hanging out.

It’s become popular to include an asterisk after the word trans when you mean transgender. I get how it started—the asterisk is a wildcard, because not every trans person uses the same modifier. But not everyone is on board and I want to tell you why.

Definitions abound, but I copied this one from Dictionary.com (emphasis added):

asterisk

as·ter·isk

[as-tuh-risk]

noun

1. a small starlike symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.

2. Linguistics . the figure of a star (*) used to mark utterance that would be considered ungrammatical or otherwise unacceptable by native speakers of a language, as in * I enjoy to ski.

3. Historical Linguistics . the figure of a star (*) used to mark a hypothetical or reconstructed form that is not attested in a text or inscription.

4. something in the shape of a star or asterisk.

Asterisks are commonly used to direct a reader’s attention to a footnote or other explanatory text. My daughter is not a footnote. She also is not hypothetical, doubtful matter, or otherwise unacceptable, thanks very much.

I understand the thought process that led to this usage but I don’t know anyone personally who is trans and who isn’t put-off by it. Every time I see it, I have to remind myself not to look at the bottom of the page—because there won’t be anything there.

I’m not saying every trans person on the planet has, or should have, the same opinion. I’m only saying that in my experience, the asterisk following the word trans is not something a cis woman such as myself has any business using.

I’m not perfect, but I listen, and I try.

One more thing before I go. A lot of people I know IRL know my daughter is trans; a lot don’t. A week doesn’t go by without someone saying something transphobic where I can hear it. Many times I can’t call them out on it—the person has power over me in such a way that I can’t afford to embarrass them and/or tick them off. When I do speak up, or often even when I just don’t go along and laugh at the “joke” the people involved look at me differently. And not in a good way. I’m glad this hop exists; we need more events like this, online and in meatspace, and for the events to be inclusive. I’d love to see an event called the Stop Bigotry Hop, or the Accept Everyone Hop—or something that’s a little catchier. 🙂 I’m sure it’s possible to figure out a cool title that includes Aces and Bisexuals and Genderqueer folks—the whole Rainbow Brigade. Someday, someday soon, I hope we get together celebrate how far we’ve come.

To enter my contest for a $10 gift card to Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press, all you have to do is tell me what your preferred pronoun is. You can state your orientation as well, but it’s not mandatory for an entry.

DsP logoMy winner will be chosen by Random.org, and I’ll contact them within 24 hours of the end of the hop. If I don’t hear back within 48 hours I’ll choose another winner.

Okay, I think that’s all.

I’ll start.

I’m the cisgender bisexual mother of a trans lesbian, and my pronoun is she/her.

Now you!

Oh, and don’t forget to head back to the main site for the full list of particpants!

tilted rose

 

 

Who’s allowed to write, and what are they allowed to say?

tilted rose

I seek out good news. News about an athlete who, after many attempts, finally accomplishes their epic goal or about a scientist who makes a discovery that will change lives. Good news gives me hope, makes me feel like this planet just might be an okay place to live.

Sometimes, though, this kind of news carries undertones that hurt and belittle and erase people—or portions of people. If the accomplishment is made by someone who identifies QUILTBAG, it’s impossible to escape the attempt to straightwash or gaywash them. (Since I’m an author, my examples will use authors.) If the news is about a gay author someone will say—but why do they have to say they’re gay? Can’t they just be Accomplished Author? If the author is bisexual, someone will say that but also, why don’t they just say they’re queer?—or—but being pansexual is so much more inclusive—or even—I don’t go around saying I’m straight so it doesn’t really matter if you’re bi { or  asexual, gay, lesbian, trans, fluid, etc.}.

I’m sure most people don’t say these things meaning to hurt and bully, but if you’re straight and telling someone of another orientation that “orientation doesn’t matter”, then that’s what you’re doing. Almost nobody has to say they’re straight, because straight is the default for our society. Everyone is presumed straight until proven otherwise—and sometimes you are expected to prove it, even inside the QUILTBAG community. When someone says “orientation doesn’t matter”, what an LGBTQ person hears is a variation of “you don’t matter” or “don’t remind me that you’re different”.

Everyone should write the stories they feel inside and everyone should identify the way they choose, without worrying about backlash. Most people would probably agree it’s not right to censor another person’s fiction, to tell them (for example) that authors should only write characters who are of the same gender and orientation as themselves. I hope everyone will think about it before trying to censor another person’s identifier.

I am a bisexual woman who’s been out since the early 1980s and writing fiction about LGBTQ and straight characters since the early 1990s. I didn’t get published in more than small literary journals until I started writing about two men falling in love. Are my stories less valid because I’m not a gay man or a straight woman?* Ultimately, that’s not for me to decide, but I think I have as much right as anyone else to tell the stories of the people who live in my head, regardless of gender/orientation/etc..

My orientation, my right to identify as bisexual, is as important to me as being treated like a human being. Because they’re the same thing.

Erasure = discrimination = dehumanizing = wrong.

Please think before you speak.

tilted rose*This post wasn’t inspired by anyone attacking me personally, or any single post/comment, but by a mindset that I’ve been trying to change for decades. I’ll keep trying until it goes away.

Believe Me? No, prove you’re worthy of being treated like a human is more like it.

WARNING:  This post contains anger and resentment, and verbiage that may be misconstrued to be anti-same-sex marriage. I am not, so please do not attack me in the comments. I don’t like deleting other people’s words, but I will if I have to. Thanks for your understanding.

 

Okay, I almost just let this go by without posting anything anywhere—because we’re supposed to show our happy-faces at all times, right? But maybe someone else will feel a little less humiliated and dehumanized if I share, so here goes.

I jumped through a bunch of hoops to get the new health coverage for me & Kiddo activated asap so she could see a doctor. The plan that seemed to work best for us is a Kaiser plan, and if she’d never been a Kaiser patient before (or if the Oregon wasn’t at least a month behind on everything) she’d be the proud owner of an appointment to see the person who could become her new doctor. She has an existing condition and a new, painful deal going on—neither of which has anything to do with being trans. But, since Kaiser knew her under her old name, their management insisted to see proof of name change AND an operation before they’d allow her to make an appointment.

Supposedly, this will be cleared up as soon as Kaiser gets the records from the state of Oregon, but in the meantime, we spent a day trying to get a workaround—and she spent a day feeling almost completely dehumanized.

This is a good time to state that the Customer Service Rep she talked with did everything in his power to help her—and the whole time they struggled with the mindless bureaucracy he used her correct name and pronoun. He was very cool, and probably the only reason chocolate helped at all.

But I’ve paid for a month of health coverage that might be useless to my family. The cost of one month isn’t a lot to some, but it’s a lot to me—and the only reason I didn’t try to put the start date off to February is because my daughter needs to see a doctor!

Kaiser has this program, “Believe Me”, that says if you’ve signed up for coverage but all the paperwork isn’t complete you can still see a doctor as long as you sign a form guaranteeing you’ll pay once the coverage is sorted out. I’ll pay. I have paid. But we’re stuck waiting—and she’s stuck in pain and not able to sleep—because Kaiser wants to know details nobody has any business asking.

Nobody should have to tell a customer service person or their manager what stage of transition they’re in—that’s between a person and their doctor.

Nobody should have to spend even five minutes, let alone thirty, being made to feel sub-human because of who they are.

It’s hard enough for me to get her to the doctor, and now the people who were supposed to help me keep her healthy have screwed the pooch.

To anyone who’s experienced something similar—yourself or with a loved one—all I can say is hang in there. Eventually all 50 states will allow same-sex marriage and then we can move on to the things that benefit the whole community, like healthcare protections or consistent application of existing laws (I’m lookin’ at you hate crime legislation), and maybe even a baseline level of respect for everyone.

Transgender Day of Remembrance & Release Day

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day set aside to remember all the folks we’ve lost, and hopefully raise enough awareness to keep the ones we still have near and dear for a good long while. This is also the release day for my novella Curious Sustenance, and that’s very fitting.

Curious Sustenance is a male-male Romance with a fun little dash of kink, but it’s also the story of Ross Jenson and the way he wants to change the world. Ross is a corporate sensitivity trainer with an agenda: he wants the world to be fair, and he’s not afraid to dig in and do the work to make that happen. He adds LGBT acceptance and trans* healthcare information to his presentations meant to decrease the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace. For starters.

Since this is a Romance, Ross’s dedication to making the world a little more fair for his trans* brothers and sisters is rewarded. Indirectly, serendipitously, but as a vocal trans* ally and parent, it was satisfying to write. I love Ross, his sweetness and his willingness to use his position to be a voice for those who don’t always have one. I hope you’ll love him too.

If you’d like to participate in a TDoR event, you can find a list on the official site here. Even if you don’t live near an event you can mark the day by visiting the Transgender Day of Remembrance group on Facebook. Share a little if you can and join in our chorus of love, and hope for a future that’s fair for everyone.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for releasing my book on TDoR.

Happy Coming Out Day, GRL, & a bit of the future . . .

I hope everyone who chooses to come out today has the best possible experience.

If you’re not coming out today, that’s okay. Don’t feel like you have to do this (or anything else, really) before you’re good and ready. It’s your life; it’s your choice.

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I haven’t had a lot of time to spare lately, but I couldn’t let COD pass without at least a mention. I hope all my personal junk will settle down and let me get into a rhythm for the term SOON–I miss snippets and chatting with everyone here and on FB & Twitter.

Over the past few months I’ve been working on a crapton of knitting to give away, and I sent the first bit off today! It’s my contribution to the Cockwalk Raffle, and will go to someone next Friday! If you’re going to GRL, be sure and grab a raffle ticket or five–it’s for a great cause: supporting Atlanta’s homeless LGBTQ youth. Thanks again, Anne Tenino, for helping me arrange to “be there” in spirit. 😉

chapstick cozyOne more bit of news and then it’s back to the books. My next release is a long novella that should be out in late November. Curious Sustenance is a Romance with a side of kink, so November is going to be Kink Month! Hope to see you here!

Heart in the Rain: photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc

 

Happy LGBTQ History Month!

It’s that time again!

A whole month to celebrate the contributions of the rainbow brigade!

Beginning today, October 1, a 30-second video featuring a different LGBT Icon each day will appear on right here on this page. If you’d like to know more, or grab the code for your site, visit here.

Last night, when i reminded my progeny to expect daily conversations about historic–and not so historic–queer folks every day this month, she said something interesting.

“Why do we have to be shoved into the scariest month of the year?”

 
My gut reaction was, cool! But after thinking about it a while–it’s COOL! I love Autumn, it’s my favorite time of year–and i love poking fun at (or ripping away) the masks we’ve worn throughout history to try and blend in with mainstream society. (And i mean the world-wide “we” here.)

When i was growing up i loved Halloween, but it scared me too–not because of the witches and ghosts, but, i realize as an adult, because if everyone was wearing a mask maybe mine would show. I’ve done away with my mask except when absolutely necessary (which, unfortunately, if i want to get a job in my new career field, it is). But even when i have to wear one, masks don’t scare me anymore. My masks are tools, just like a business wardrobe or the air gauge i use to check my tires. I’m pretty sure i wouldn’t have reached this place without the people who will be celebrated this month–and many others, whose names we’ll probably never know.

And hey, LGBTQ History Month could’ve been squeezed into the shortest month of the year along with Black History Month. So there’s that too.

Sometimes, in my circles, every month seems like LGBTQ History Month, but i hope this October to learn a lot of new things about a lot of cool people. I’ll share what I find, and hope you’ll do the same!

bi pride equal sign