Saturday, October 11, 2014

Celebrating National Coming Out Day... for allies

I date and am attracted to people of all gender identities. I am a part of the LGBTQ community.
Sometimes I dress like the bisexual pride flag.

Now that we've got that out of the way--let's talk about National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day was started in 1988 on the anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights the year before, founded by activists Rob Eichberg and Jean O'Leary. The goal of National Coming Out Day was and is to celebrate and build awareness around the act of coming out, and around out LGBT people (sources 1 2).

I am lucky that coming out for me has been pretty easy, because it's mostly been correcting people's assumptions. I don't have to let people know I am bisexual/pansexual because I "pass" for straight, but I choose to in order to increase awareness and challenge people to practice inclusivity and acceptance day to day, not just say it.

I am lucky. More than 80% of LGBTQ youth will be harassed at school for their identity40% of homeless youth are LGBT, most of whom are homeless because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 29 states it's legal to file someone for their sexual orientation; for their gender identity in three moreEight trans* women of color have been killed in anti-LGBT violence in the last 4 months in the United StatesIt is illegal to be gay in 81 countries.

All this is to say, coming out is hard, scary and dangerous. So on National Coming Out Day we celebrate those who are able to come out and be out, and we spread awareness for those who are not.

So this year, I want to give a call to action to allies and how they can celebrate National Coming Out Day. Yes, you can come out too, as an ally, and that is a big step. But doing more than just saying you are an ally, be one.

Today, ask yourself, "if someone close to me was coming out, would they feel comfortable telling me? How would I respond to them? How might they think I would respond to them? Have I actively created a safe space? Am I practicing openness and inclusion to the point that someone would know they can safely come out to me?"

You can build trust, understanding and acceptance with all the people close to you, LGBT or not. While you can't (really, please don't try) make anyone come out, You can actively create an environment that makes it a little less scary to come out in by considering the language and actions you use every day, by demonstrating support to people who are different from you, by speaking truth against oppressive power (even/especially when that power doesn't affect you). Read about and learn about the coming out experience and the discrimination those who are out (and those who are outed) face. Understand it's reality and fight back against. Let others see you do this and know that you are an ally and that you are safe.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

One year later

The last time I posted was celebrating an anniversary, of quitting my last job and deciding to move back to California.

It seems appropriate that my return to blogging start as I celebrate another anniversary this week, my Bay Area anniversary--one year since I moved to Oakland, one year since I started my job.

I did a lot in the last year. I met people. I made awesome new friends, and connected with awesome old friends. I worked a lot and loved it. I learned how to keep my apartment clean...most of the time. I made a lot of jam. I traveled more than I expected (and made plans for even more upcoming travel). I joined a board of directors. I tried new things. I lost things and found things.

This post is mostly an "oh hey," as I get ready to start blogging again, posting things that are probably more useful and interesting than me waxing un-poetic on the last year. But it's still worth saying it's been a year I am grateful for.

So, hey there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

An anniversary

I'm trying to make more time for writing in my life again. I know it's been a couple months since my last post, and as of earlier this week, three months since I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, so I feel I owe an update on my life, as a poor excuse for why I've been missing in action.

Ladybug landed on my foot as I landed in Oakland. Good sign?

But, there are too many highlights of the last three months to call them all out here. It feels like it wouldn't be fair to just focus on some and ignore the others. It is fair to say that I am fortunate. One year ago today I decided to make a huge change in my life, and that change has led me here. I have moments of doubt as to whether it was right, and in many ways I can't know that yet, but I do know that where I am now is so much better than where I was a year ago.

I'm amazed at how comfortable I've become in this new space. I don't walk around San Francisco with the same wonderment and longing as I did on previous visits, but now with a sense of belonging. In some ways, I sometimes forget where I am; unlike in D.C., where I had constant reminders of it's D.C.-ness (I lived walking distance from the White House, has embassies for neighbors, passed Hilary Clinton's and Joe Biden's homes on my way to work), if I'm not looking for it, San Francisco and the East Bay don't jump out at me. I've settled in here. Still, when I slow down and look around, and most of all when I talk to people, I know that I couldn't be anywhere else in the world and feel like this.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Life changes, and an explanation

I am sitting in my apartment, in the San Francisco Bay Area, eating a chocolate croissant from a local bakery around the corner, surrounded by half un-packed boxes of books and clothes and knick knacks.

Somethings are too pretty to doodle

I feel like that one (long) sentence says a lot about my blogging absence, but on the likely chance it means far more to me than it does to you, let me elaborate.

Remember all those posts about working with unemployment (er, the series I still haven't finished)? And all those asides about looking for a job? I found one! A pretty great one! In San Francisco!

When I started to lag on posting, I was moving forward in interview processes, and then had about three weeks from being offered the position to move from LA to the SF area. If you've ever had to move to a new city quickly, then you know it isn't easy. If you've never had to do it, I wouldn't wish it upon you. Regardless, so far everything is good, dare I say even great--I was able to find an apartment (a one-bedroom at that; closing the door to go to sleep makes me feel so much more accomplished in life), and I've been working for about three weeks now, and enjoying being back in a city and exploring a new area.

I imagine some introspection on the past few months will be coming soon, but for now, I'll enjoy my chocolate croissant and everything this moment implies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Working w/ unemployment :
keep a schedule

It can be easy to sleep in later, stay in pajamas all day, and just sit down at the computer (or newspaper classifieds) and try to go at it. I've had weeks like that... and I barely got anything done.

When I set up a schedule for myself, around my expectations for job searching, breaks, and other things I aim to do over the week (details of which are for a later post), I don't always follow it to a T, but frankly, I get shit done.

I've found that the organization of a schedule has had a similar motivating effect, like the one I mentioned in my last post about bettering yourself. It's not just a schedule but a set of goals and rewards, that become more achievable and more rewarding.

The other part of keeping a schedule is making sure you do all the work you need to do. Set a time to wake up and a morning routine, and if you're anything like me, you'll get more done throughout the day. It should also make the transition back to work easier, since you've been scheduled all along.

This is one of those things that I think is helpful for any stage of life, but an especially important reminder when it can be easy to ignore. How do you keep track of a schedule, and does it keep you on track with life?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Working w/ unemployment :
better yourself

Blogger's note: Apologies for the lack of posts the last couple weeks. I'll be finishing up this series over the next week or so, followed by an explanation of the sporadic posting this month.

As I mentioned in my first post of this series about working with unemployment, I'm fortunate to have a lot of support in this transition. As such, I am able to spend some of my time on personal projects, one of which is an emphasis on bettering myself.

Essentially, if you are in the situation to have a new found block of time you might not have had otherwise, I say take advantage of it. Learn something, try something, improve something about yourself.

These things are going to vary for everyone, and possibly be pretty personal. Many of the things I've talked about doing during this transition (learning, volunteering, etc.) could all be ways of bettering myself.

I've also been doing personal training. I look unhappy, but I'm bettering myself!

Here's why focusing on bettering yourself in some way (and really, it is whatever that means to you) is so important during this time: it's motivating. When I feel successful at the gym, or that I'm learning how to do new things, and learning more about my mind and body, it motivates me to seek those things professionally. When I submit job application after job application and don't hear anything back, it can be demoralizing. It's great to have something that I have more control over, that I can trust will lead to progress and success. For me, that success has lead to more confidence which has also translated to my job search.

Unemployed or not, do you take time to better yourself? What does that look like for you?