Tag Archives: Utah

Response to the new LDS policy on Same-sex parents.

I was prompted to share the thoughts that I shared on facebook.

Pulled from the article through LDS Deseret News. While this does not generally affect me individually — Unless my father starts to think this means disowning his children (again, yes he has done this before for less specific doctrine) It is still wrong.

”  “a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing.” Although children are not officially considered members of the LDS Church until they are baptized at age 8, the blessing of a child creates a membership record

The handbook addition also states that “a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting,” can only be baptized, confirmed, ordained to the priesthood or serve a full-time mission with approval from the Office of the First Presidency. A mission or stake president may request approval and determine that: “the child accepts and is committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the church, and specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage”; and “the child is of legal age and does not live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.”  “

What this means to LGBT LDS? If you have children with a same sex partner. OR if you had a opposite-sex marriage and later a same-sex partnership or marriage, than your children CANNOT be an LDS member. ALSO you will be “disciplined” by the church.
While many members believe that disavowing the practice of same-gender marriage is for themselves only. If you continue, the child had to be of legal age and not living with a parent who has.

And I ask, HOW IS THIS NOT PUTTING RELIGION BEFORE FAMILY.

Growing up, I was raised LDS. We were taught to love one another and to love and accept our neighbor regardless of differences. (older it was “If you neighbor is not LDS, try to force them to go to church with you. We will give you candy if you bring someone new to church.” Bribery is not religious.)

This to me is not showing love or respect. It is not showing putting the family first. It is not supporting family at all.

According to teachings, God created us all. I was born gay. My first crush was when I was 4 years old. My first love was when I was in 3rd grade. Though being brought up LDS blinded me to what my feelings were. I have NEVER ONCE BEEN ATTRACTED TO A MAN.

This does not mean that I do not want children. It does not mean that I do not want love. My father assumed that my being lesbian meant that I was Promiscuous. HA! I have only had sex with two people. One of them I was MARRIED TO!!!!!

As a lesbian, I am just like any other woman. I want love, I want a family. My life isn’t controlled by sexual feelings. I tried for a damn long time to convince myself that I was straight and it almost killed me.

So no, What I am feeling is not a sin. If I were to believe in your god, I would live knowing that GOD MADE ME GAY AND LOVES ME BECAUSE I AM NOT AFRAID TO BE MYSELF OR CONDEMN OTHERS FOR ACCEPTING THE GIFT THAT GOD GAVE THEM.

If you are going to hardheartedly support this new ordinance, than please remove me. My LDS friends posting how “Accepting” and “Tolerant” that this is. You are blind to your faith. I am not “Over reacting” and I am not “reading too much into it”. I read it all. I did my research. I was not affected first by my peers. I Read this from Deseret news, not fox news.

This makes me extremely GLAD that I am not LDS. Because a loving god, a benevolent god, or a family oriented god, would NEVER have asked this of his children.

I believe that this is inherently WRONG. And I am not saying that out of anger. I am saying this because of how people are reacting to it.

Family first always.

There are families already tearing apart because of this. One parent trying to make sure that the other parent will never see their children again because of this.

The friends I am referring to. You know who you are as we have had issues in the past.

LDS SUPPORT

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#8 Silent Danger – Mental Illness Part 3

(Read part one)
(Read part two)

According to Web MD: “Suicide is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious consequence of treatable mental disorders. “

According to crisiscenter.com : “There is no typical suicide victim – It happens to young and old, sick and well, rich and poor.”

According to mentalhealth.gov:” Suicide causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. “

According to the New York Times: “Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life on purpose.”

Every single one of these quotes is wrong in one way or another. And I am going to break them down, take them apart, and reform the truth as I see it.

First, not all mental disorders are currently treatable.  Some doctors will claim that they are, but I have seen many people crumble inside themselves from something that they cannot name, they cannot comprehend, or grasp. There are disorders that we may never understand, as a society. I am not speaking from a professional standpoint, but from a personal point of view. You can choose to disagree with me; this is just my own belief.

Second, one can claim that people are well—or look well—when they end up committing or attempting suicide. I disagree. Some part of them is not well. Some part of them has a speck of darkness eating away at them, even if they never show it. You cannot assume that they are well. None, none, NONE, of them are 100% well.

Third, there is a disgusting assumption here that suicide is an American epidemic. It isn’t. This is a worldwide issue. Not statewide, not nationwide, not just in developed countries. World. Wide. In fact, according to a map provided by The World Health Organization, the US isn’t even the worst affected by suicide in the world. (link provided in sources below)

Fourth, there are some disorders that successfully take control of one’s life. So by claiming that every single case is “the act of taking one’s own life on purpose.” is in fact ignoring the disorders that take control. I watched mental illness take reality away from someone that I loved. I watched her control slipping as everything slid away into dreams and confusion, hallucinations and fear. She swam in and out of a dream world that convinced her that it was real… and her only way into real life was to end her life in the dream, which was actually real life. She did NOT know what she was doing. She didn’t try to take her own life, she was trying to live it, she was just confused which life was real. Nothing here was on purpose. You cannot claim that when so much was beyond control.

Now, I am writing this while watching Patch Adams and thinking about Robin Williams. He struggled with depression and maybe more. Regardless of what was really going on, I refuse to believe that he had full control over his actions. Depression does crazy things to a person’s life. Robin Williams was a very strong person that brought laughter to countless people. And yet, he was so lost himself.

I’m coming onto an important point here. Suicide is selfish; absolutely, completely, irrevocably selfish. If you are considering suicide, DON’T USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT REACH OUT. People care. My statement above may seem harsh. It is the truth. You not only hurt yourself; you hurt your family, your friends, people you may not have known, people that could have been in your future, your potential, etc.

I am not saying that it is easy or that it is condemnable if someone has committed suicide. Something pushed them to that point. It is important to try to be understanding, especially for those that they left behind.

My baby sister attempted suicide at 13 years old. She described it as feeling out of control and overwhelming. She took her gym shorts and used the draw string to try and hang herself in the bathroom. She is so blessed to have had an angel walk in on the attempt and save her life. My beautiful sister has struggled with depression and body image issues. This girl is amazingly gorgeous, I am so jealous of her. She has done what she can to get the help that she needs to avoid finding herself in that situation again.

The 100% wrong thing to do is what my father, his wife, and her family did to my sister. They accused her of just looking for attention, of being a “bad daughter”, of making her parents look bad, of being selfish and full of herself.

Let me first revisit my statement. “Suicide is selfish.” Yes. Suicide is selfish, the completion of it. However, it is not the person acting selfishly, not intentionally. The selfishness belongs to the suicidal thoughts that are taking over this person.

My sister wasn’t acting selfishly, she was doing the only thing she could think of to gain control of her life, though it wasn’t the correct decision, in these moments one’s mind does not process thoughts or impulses correctly. She was not doing it for attention. She was not doing it to piss off daddy. She was not doing it to hurt anyone. She was doing it to try to gain control of a teenage life spiraling out of control.

Now, many of you might not be able to understand this. If you have not lived through a life that has put you in a situation where your mind, heart, and body cannot agree and it is tearing your soul apart. If you haven’t lived through heartache and torment through most of your life; there is no way that you could possibly understand exactly what she was going through. You can be compassionate and supportive, but you will never know.

In the area I currently live in, suicide is something that is hushed, swept under the rug, and when it is not ignored, it is looked down upon and criticized. I have watched the church take suicide as an opportunity to preach sin. This is morally wrong. Instead of trying to help the family that is suffering a tremendous loss, they are pushing them farther and farther down. Their actions dig deep holes of dark depression surrounding the families and friends of those that have lost their lives to the fight against the holes in their lives.

Suicide is not a sin. Suicide is a loss. Suicide is not a copout. Suicide is a lost fight. Suicide is NOT a failure. Suicide is pain and confusion and… well…

Part of who I am is trying to understand the best in people. I try to find the part of them that could explain why they did something terrible. She stole from the store because she really needed it; he lashed out because he had a bad childhood, maybe. I cannot understand everyone; I couldn’t even comprehend trying to.

What I would like people to understand is that these families need support and compassion. Please try to stand up to the bullies that try to tear people down.

If you can stand up against those that preach the wrongness of suicide to the point of stigmatizing the family that has been brought to its knees with grief. These families have it hard enough. Give these people love. In this, I am not saying that suicide is correct; I am just saying that one should not tell a family that their lost loved one will not be accepted into heaven because mental illness took over and stole their lives. This is wrong.

I was recently made aware of a disturbing fact. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Utah had the third highest suicide rate in the country in 2013. (Succeeded only by Montana and Alaska). It is estimated that for every reported suicide there are 12 attempted suicides. In 2013 there were over 600 suicides in Utah according to the above statistics. If you include the attempted suicides the number rises to over 7000. That is over 3% of Utah population. That may seem small, but that is three attempts for every 100 people, and one attempt for every 33, does it really seem so small now?

According to the World Health Organization:

“Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and there are many more who attempt suicide. Hence, many millions of people are affected or experience suicide bereavement every year. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally in 2012.”

It is important to note that suicide rates can tend to be higher among minorities, including LGBTQ youth and adults.

Next, I would like to share some of the possible warning signs with you all—while also informing you that there are not always warning signs.

One of the most important signs of suicide, one that is repeated again and again in different resources, is someone who talks about committing suicide, wanting to die, or wanting to hurt themselves. Please take these threats seriously and seek immediate help for the individual. *Please note that as much as 25-50% of individuals intending to commit suicide will NOT show any signs at all. If someone you know or love either attempted or succeeded in committing suicide, know that it was NOT your fault.

Other signs may include: behaving dangerously. Such as, buying weapons, increasing self-destructive activities (drugs, alcohol, self-harm, unprotected sex, etc.). They may be sleeping way too much, or way too little, eating too much or too little. They may become withdrawn, not wanting to spend time with friends or family. They may have recently been very moody or suddenly gone from moody to extremely calm. *Note: It is more common for someone that is starting to come out of a depressive cycle to attempt suicide then it is for someone who is stuck at the bottom of depression. They may have a sudden preoccupation with death, or “putting their affairs in order” such as telling people they care about goodbye and giving away prize possessions.

There are some situations that make it more common for someone who is considering suicide (or even previously seeming to be emotionally healthy) to make an attempt on their life; especially so if they have had a previous suicide attempt. Any trauma or life crisis including, but not limited to: a death in the family, an abusive situation, a loss of health or ability to function, loss of a job or financial stability, etc.

Do not feel ashamed or nervous about talking to these people (unless you fear that they may be violent or dangerous towards you or others) talking to them can actually help their emotional situation. If you believe that the person you know could be dangerous to themselves or others please call 911 right away! You could help save lives.

I had a friend call 911 on me when we had a fight. He told them that I was attempting suicide because he was pissed at me and hoped that they would arrest me. However, the police take the threat very seriously. They will calmly talk to the person and make sure that they are okay. They are not upset about being called and will not be angry with the person that they are talking to or with the person who called. So even if you don’t know, but you suspect that they could be. Please help them.

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (there is also an online chat option at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)

The Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386

The Trevor Project:  http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now

Suicide help in your area: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

If you or someone you know are thinking about or considering suicide please reach out for help. Talk to a friend, call a hotline or dial 911 immediately.

(Read part four)

Sources I used in my post:

American Foundation for Suicide Provention
https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures
Crisis Center.com
http://www.crisiscenter.com/content/51/Suicide-Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms.aspx
Mental Health.Gov
http://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/suicidal-behavior/
The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/suicide-and-suicidal-behavior/overview.html
Save.org
http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewpage&page_id=705f4071-99a7-f3f5-e2a64a5a8beaadd8
Suicide.org
http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
The Suicide Prevention Hotline
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The Trevor Project
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now
Web MD
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior?page=2
World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/
World Health Organization Map
http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_AS_suicide_rates_bothsexes_2012.png?ua=1

The Resident Femme

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#4: On coming out and being a lesbian in today’s society (In Utah)

Coming out

I first posted this on a different blog in April of 2014. The server for that blog went down and I only recently was able to regain access to the files. I wanted people to be able to gain something from my writing—if possible—so I am reposting it here.  (With a few alterations.)

Coming out is a lifelong process. Once you come out originally, you have to continue to come out again and again: to your family, peers, classmates, new friends, old friends from long ago that you have come across again… The list goes on. And you have to decide if it’s the correct decision to come out or not to your co-workers and at any new job. Do you test the waters with one or two people? Do you keep it all to yourself? Or do you come out to everyone as fast as possible? Honestly, this can depend on where you live and where you work.

It is hard to determine if you will be safe, in your job security and from personal attacks if you do come out.  Will your employers find a way to get rid of you? Will you be attacked on a daily basis? Sometimes taking that risk is worth having at least one person that you can trust at work… and sometimes it is not.

I, personally, find it hard to even establish my sexuality with the current community in which I am living. I look like a straight girl. Guys hit on me and when I tell them I am a lesbian they accuse me of lying. WHY WOULD I LIE ABOUT THAT? (Even now, almost a year after writing this post, even now when marriage is LEGAL in Utah, It is hard to “prove” that I am gay.)

There is so much damn stigma associated with being gay/lesbian/trans etc. Do you think if I could choose that I would have CHOSEN to be a lesbian? My life would be so much easier if I could just CHOOSE. But I can’t. It is biologically impossible for me to change who I am attracted to: I know, I tried. Nothing worked. I was so unhappy with my lift and how “messed up” I must be. Knowing and accepting who I really am helped me to find some happiness in my life.

I am not a lesbian because my father was absent or because something shitty happened in my life. I am not a lesbian because I was raped when I had just turned 18. I have been attracted to females since I was THREE YEARS OLD. I got the biggest crush on another little girl at day care. I fell in-love with my best friend in third grade (my heart shattered when she moved away and I didn’t know why) and another best friend in sixth grade.

It took me until the end of high school to realize that what I had been feeling was attraction to women. I spent a lot of my life trying to understand why boys weren’t that attractive. I would tell people “there’s just no one hot at my school.” while I “admired” the women. I would ignore the shirtless men in movies and on television while enjoying the movies about bad-ass women. I pretended to have crushes on boys that I really didn’t like, just so that my friends would leave me alone… I have been a lesbian my entire life.

My mother figured it out when I was five. I came home from kindergarten and she asked me “were there any cute boys at school?” I answered plainly “No.” so she asked me “were there any cute girls?” to which I turned red and said in embarrassment “MOM!” From this it seems, my mom knew. But it still took me a long time. She decided it was best for me to figure it all out on my own.

Coming out to my mom was the easiest person to come out to, even though it was still very hard. I called her up on the phone while walking across my college campus in the spring (I was attending an all woman’s private University for a while.) and told her as calmly as I could. “Mom, penis’s are gross.” My mom almost pee’d herself laughing at me. My response was “I love you, knew you were gay already hon. I am proud of you and so glad that you have finally gotten to the point where you accept it in yourself and could tell me.”

Coming out to my father was much harder. “Dad, I think I’m gay.” His response? “Honey, I love you, but I feel that if you keep heading in the direction that you are going, you are going to pass up the perfect man.”

-.- Dad, just in case you read this: My perfect man… is a Woman.

I came out to my friends one by one. I lost a few but grew closer to others.

The hardest experience I had while coming out, was to my Aunt. She was someone that I really looked up to. I did not know how to tell her without her cutting me out of her life. I was terrified.

I pulled her into my grandparents front living room. We were alone and no one would over hear. I started slowly “Aunt Jenn, there is something that I need to tell you…” And I burst into tears. Her face showed immediate concern. I tried to take a couple deep breaths and just ended up crying harder. Jenn took me into her arms and rocked me as I let my stress out on her shoulder.

It took several minutes for me to calm down to the point where I could finally tell her what was on my mind. “Aunt Jenn. I’m gay.”

She pulled me back into her arms and held me tight. And then told me that she and my mom (her sister-in-law) had discussed the possibility when I was five. -.- Geez Mom, thanks for letting me know who already knew!

So I came out to—almost—everyone when I was 18, and have continued to come out again and again. I came out to my critical literature class today (April 2014) while doing a presentation on Lesbian, Gay, and Queer theory in class. So many people seemed shocked. Yes, I look like any other woman, I act like any other woman, I am just another woman. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!

I am a lesbian. That does not define who I am. I want to get married and have a family, just like anybody else. It is not something that should be stigmatized and I should not have to come out so much, just to correct assumptions about my life.

**Continued thought.**

So when I share my “Coming out story”, it is never just an “I came out and that was it.” It is an “I came out and I will keep coming out for as long as it takes, again and again until people understand that I am aloud to be different and they shouldn’t make assumptions or judge me about who or what I am.”

To go into more of the critical theory and philosophy of our current society I am going to share a few definitions with you—Within the text—so that you can better understand some of the things I am about to go into. All definitions, unless otherwise stated are according to Critical Theory Today, A User-Friendly Guide by Lois Tyson Second Edition.

Living in Utah causes some interesting issues in the gay community; especially when you live in Utah Valley (aka Mormon Ville). Now, I am not saying that Mormons are bad people—I know some very accepting and loving people that are LDS that are fully accepting of who I am—however there are many people that like to selectively chose their hate and judgmentß this is what I am against. Many Mormons are Heterocentric, they hold the assumption, often unconsciously, that heterosexuality is the universal norm by which everyone’s experience can be understood. (Making the lesbian, gay, and queer experience practically invisible to the general public.) Or basically, they believe that everyone is essentially heterosexual (attracted to the opposite gender.)

Because of the Heterocentric views and teachings of the church—and its followers—the youth grow up in a compulsory heterosexual manner—a weight placed on the youth to be heterosexual, that heterosexuality is the only “correct” way of living. Many of these youth grow into adults that still believe this life-long lie, those that do have homosexual attraction end up with severe cases of internalized homophobia—self-hatred of a homosexual of ones’ own self and similar people. Generally caused by adolescent development in homophobic societies that use religious views as an excuse to belittle or abuse homosexuals.

Utah has a very high rate of homophobia, or A pathological dread of same-sex love—also used to describe anyone who is against homosexual relations with an obsessive view. This homophobia doesn’t just lie in the churches, it is perpetuated in homes where parents teach their children that being different in this way is wrong, in schools—my brother was actually taught in his health class that homosexuality was wrong because they could not procreate. I had a long conversation with him about the different ways that homosexuals could have a family and why those ways weren’t wrong.—, in social groups: in the closet? Well what if your best friends just criticized another homosexual in your community? Now you feel like you need to keep living a lie, like you are wrong in your attraction… This is wrong.

All of this behavior has laid the path for the overwhelming heterosexism in Utah—The institutionalized discrimination against homosexuals and the privileging of heterosexuality that accompanies it. Being a “Right-To-Work” state makes it so that I can be discriminated against at any job that I may acquire. If my employer discovers that I am a lesbian and doesn’t like that, I can get fired and be given NO reason. This is a heterosexist discrimination of the homosexual.

Many of these people are Constructivists. They believe that being homosexual is a response to the environment. A choice. We are products of the environment and our choices. This is a very limited and incorrect view of sexual orientation. The only way that one can “choose” whom they are attracted to(gender) is if they are actually attracted to BOTH genders—effectively bisexual—and decide to date a specific gender at a specific time.

Now, more people should believe as Essentialists: that gay people are biologically gay. They are born and live gay regardless of their environment. Now, this is important for those that believe that gay people raise gay children. As a straight couple, your child was born gay. (S)he lives a gay life and has a same-sex partner. They have children together. There is the same statistical probability of them having a gay child as any straight couple. There is no more likely hood of their children being gay than anyone else in the world. However, it IS more likely that they will be more honest and emotionally healthy in their lives because their parents are more likely to accept the differences and the sexualities of their children. To love them no matter what, without judgment.

These problems aren’t just Utah. These issues are happening all over the world. The fight for equality continues in several states in the US and we become minutely aware of Minoritizing Views (trying to understand gay and lesbian experiences by focusing on their minority status) instead of trying to further Universalizing views (trying to understand homosexual experiences by focusing on the homosexual potential in all people). This is particularly negative as the Minoritizing views lead many people to believe that we are asking for “special treatment” and “extra rights” instead of equal rights.

If more people were universalizing their views , than they could see different scenarios: “What if my child was gay? Wouldn’t I want them to be happy and be able to get married and have a family of their own?”

Now, I know that everything I have said so far has to do with critical theory and my own opinion accentuated by my education; however, being able to be a part of the gay community in Utah has helped me to strengthen my views. I have been at the first two years of Provo Pride. I have gotten to meet others in the community that live varying lives. I have gotten to feel the love and support of the people around me.

I volunteered for Provo Pride last year. I stood at a road block at one end of the park. Throughout the few hours that I was there people stopped and asked what was going on. Again and again I told passersby about pride. Many people were shocked or offended. I would suddenly be ignored or given incredulous or rude looks. But some of these people returned later out of curiosity. Several people learned just what the Utah gay community was like.

We don’t push people away or judge. We welcome with open arms and kindness. One woman commented to a committee member that she was shocked that we were so different than she imagined. We were all just normal people.

That is my whole point here. We shouldn’t be treated differently because we are all essentially the same. We are human beings. We deserve equality and to be treated equally. I should not have to argue the fact that I AM a lesbian. I should not be harassed when I go to gay night at City Limits because I’m “too sexy” to be a lesbian, “too feminine” to be gay, that I look “Too damn straight.”

I am a lesbian, and I am human. I am a strong, beautiful, smart woman that just wants to be able to be myself and not have to face the discrimination and judgment around every corner. Let me be free.

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#3: Living a lie

When I got married, I thought that I was going to be happy for many years to come. I didn’t expect to have my marriage removed from record eight months later. My wife and I had been together for over three years. It felt like an eternity and I couldn’t love her any more than I did.

Now… I feel that my situation is somewhat unique, or at least I haven’t heard of anyone else being in this situation. And finally telling the story is really hard. It is almost as hard as it was to finally tell about what really happened when I was raped. But I digress… This isn’t something that I have been able to easily share with just anyone, hell, usually I just lie about the situation all together. I don’t want the pity and I also don’t want the non-understanding judgement.

When I first met my wife, I had no idea that she was so amazing and unique. Our first several months were amazing, we were glued to each others sides as often as we could be. Eventually I found out about her “secret” I never thought it was abnormal at all, I thought it made her more interesting. My wife felt like she was both female and male. Half of each gender. And yet, I still loved her.

As a Lesbian, I don’t know how to love a man. I tried for several years, before coming out, to convince myself that I was straight. I struggled with accepting myself or even the idea that I could be different. I was raised Mormon in Utah. I didn’t even know that it was possible to be different.

My first girlfriend was exciting, new, different, and a wild ride. She is a good person, and I don’t regret the time that we spent together. She is a great friend now, and one of the few people who understand my situation.. Hell, she understood before I did what was really going on.

The first year I spent with my wife was amazing, new relationships generally are. We had adventures and fell deeper and deeper in love with each other. Life was the best that it had been.

Like everyone, we had our bumps. We had arguments and fights, but nothing huge. We shared many experiences and met many friends together. And still, I didn’t see anything amiss. Anything abnormal was brushed aside. And we continued to care for each other.

Several months into year two something strange happened. My wife wasn’t acting like herself. She was very down and nothing I did could cheer her up. I cuddled her in the guest bed–where she had curled herself up–until I got too nauseated and had to go lay in our own bed. (I had been sick). Later–I don’t know how long–She came in and laid behind me. She wrapped her arms around me and kissed my shoulder. She whispered to me: “I love you so much, I just had to hold you.” Something felt wrong. Time seemed to stop for a moment as her arms tightened around me and then released. She sat up and said quietly, “I don’t think we can be together anymore.”

I couldn’t breath. I watched as the woman I loved walked out of our apartment. I didn’t comprehend what had happened at first, and then when I did I panicked. I couldn’t think and I am sure that several people were upset with what happened that night. Most of it, I don’t remember. I was crying in the shower–burning hot water–until it became ice. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think. My cat became worried and also agitated. He couldn’t understand why his mommy was acting so oddly.

Our cat was to be neutered in the morning, and part of me was afraid that she would come while I was sleeping and take him and never come back. I wasn’t thinking rationally, I couldn’t.

When she showed up to get the cat the next day I insisted on going too. I couldn’t really talk, so I made comments about the cat, he was afraid.

I cannot say that I was proud of the behavior that I exhibited when we got home. Some part of me was deliriously desperate. How could I make her stay? I actually tried to use sex to make her change her mind. She took advantage of it, but still wouldn’t tell me why things had happened. We worked out an arrangement of both of us staying in our bed together.. but separate. (we had something separating the bed in half).

I became lost. Now, the details of what happened in the couple of months that we were separated are not pretty, but I am not trying to make myself seem like a better person and I am not trying to make her seem worse in any way. I am just trying to get the truth as I remember it out. I am not the same person that I was, I have grown, and She isn’t the same person either…

Things happened that are kind of blurred together. But, near thanksgiving or Christmas she finally talked to me. She had been feeling apathetic. She had not been experiencing any emotion at all and didn’t know if she ever would again. So she had broken up with me so that I could eventually find someone that would give me the love that I deserved. A few days later she came to me crying and said that she wanted to try to make things work. She felt something, but she didn’t know what yet… No promises.

For a long time I forgot this time, my mind blocked it out and it was like it had never happened, we were together again. Nothing else mattered.

Life seemed to return to normal. We lived, mostly happily, together with our cat. And I still didn’t notice anything strange going on.

I started a new job in the new year and was excited to be helping again with life… And then I didn’t know what was happening. I woke up one morning in pain, I couldn’t breath, I thought maybe I had to use the toilet, but collapsed on my way to the bathroom. I lay on the floor crying. My wife helped me back into bed and tried to help me throughout the day.

The second day wasn’t as simple. The pain had not gone away. I was hurting in my abdomen and I was starting to get scared. It hurt so bad that I was throwing up. My wife got frustrated and accused me of pretending to be sick so that I wouldn’t have to go to work. This behavior was strange, but I didn’t notice. I was in too much pain to care what she was saying. Eventually I begged to be taken to the hospital.

The doctor ran blood tests, urine tests, imaging… My wife had to go and help some friends while I was waiting for results. I told her that I would be fine waiting. I was a cupcake (*note: they had pushed my morphine too fast and I was high), and everything was good for a while. Until I heard the doctor talking to someone out in the hallway in hushed tones. “growth…more tests…centimeters….”

Now, I am going to tell you now that during this time of my life panic came easily. I had a hard time keeping up with rational thought. I was young and had lived a life that was not a great environment for emotional growth… So I immediately thought I had cancer. I didn’t tell her. I held my phone in shaky hands for a long time, but I didn’t text her, I didn’t call her. I couldn’t do it.

She got back just in time for the doctor to come in and tell us that he was going to order more tests–confirming that he was, in fact, talking about me in the hall. I made a passing remark to my significant other and pretended, unsuccessfully, that it didn’t bother me. I was going in for a pelvic (vaginal) ultrasound.

My wife stopped thinking that I was faking it. She held my hand and gave me words of love and support. We waited for a long time for the doctor to come back and talk to us. It wasn’t cancer, but it wasn’t relieving. Cysts. I had large ovarian cysts on both the inside and outside of my ovaries. They believed that one (or several) had burst and caused the pain. I was given a prescription for narcotics and sent home.

Because of the missed work days from being home sick and hospital trips, I was fired from my job. My wife was upset and insisted that I find another job. I started work a month later as a retail representative. I enjoyed it. It got me out of the house and driving around new areas getting good work done. I could schedule several jobs in the week and get decent pay. It was fantastic.

I did this job until a family emergency came up at the end of that September. I had to put my job on hold and fly from Virginia out to Utah with little notice. My savings went to the trip. I had to be there for my family.

Now, before I went my wife had agree’d that I should go. It was an emergency after all. But, after I was there she was mad at me. I didn’t understand how she could go from understanding one minute to infuriated the next. Again, I ignored what was going on and put it up to just being loneliness because I was gone.

But things didn’t really get back to normal. While I was gone she had skipped work. The apartment was a wreck. And she was not acting like herself. Every little thing started to become a fight. Strange things started to happen. One day she started yelling at me about dishes and I couldn’t take it any more. I had too much stress on me. So I let my OCD take over. I tuned her out and started to count and organize cards.

Eventually she stopped yelling and was loading the dishwasher, but I didn’t know. I was hyper-focused. She went to do something else and came back to talk to me. But I couldn’t hear her, I was still in the cards. And then she was poking me in the arm, again and again like a child. I was still frustrated and hurt when I turned to her, fixed her with a glare and asked what she wanted.

She was confused. She didn’t know why I was upset, she didn’t remember fighting, she didn’t remember doing the dishes, she was just confused. To her, I was being strange because everything was fine to her. I started to worry.

Then she started to have blackouts. They would happen all the time and usually she wouldn’t believe what happened during them. Sometimes they were like she was gone, and for a while we thought that she had something called “Absence Seizures”. But then she would do things and not remember any of it. She would tap her hands in the air, talk to herself, get aggressive…

Then the hallucinations came. She would tell me about the man that watched her from the end of the bed, and the seagulls that were in our bathroom. She couldn’t remember when we had sex or that she would get violent. One night I had to pin her down and cried as she told me about the people in the walls that were coming for her. But she never remembered or believed me… So I stopped telling her.

I didn’t know what was happening and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to talk to her about hospitals a couple times and she would get angry. I started to get scared, but I told no one. I didn’t tell me when she would black out and start to choke me during sex. I didn’t tell her when she threw me against the wall. I didn’t tell her when she talked about pealing my skin off. Those things weren’t important.

Everything in my life was put on the back burner because taking care of her was priority. One night everything changed. She was gone. I saw insanity staring out at me from behind her eyes. The look was so intense. She pinned me to the bed and laughed(she was much stronger than me, especially during episodes). She told me that nothing mattered anymore. That money meant nothing. She tried to convince me that we should run away to Florida, buy a last-minute cruise ticket and have the time of our lives. Then she grinned and I shook in fear. “And then,” She said “When we get back, I’ll kill you.” Her nails dug into my wrists. “And then I will kill myself. It will be so fun.”

I fought. I got an arm away and struggled to reach my phone. It was taken by her and thrown across the room. I rolled and curled into a ball over my tablet and shakily wrote out the email that changed my life forever. I told the one person that I trusted 100% what had just happened. I couldn’t censor, I was too scared. I cried as my wife tried to turn me over. When I finished the email, I shoved my tablet under the pillow and turned back over and just wrapped my arms around her, begging her to come back to me.

When she came to she didn’t know why I was crying. When I tried to tell her she wouldn’t listen. I MUST have been making it up. She turned her eyes away when I showed her the marks on my wrists. “But I’d never hurt you.”

Within all of that, we got married. We had traveled up to DC and made it official in March 2013. By May things had gotten scary and only one person knew. I got a few emails from my friend asking me why I was in such a dangerous situation, to get out while I could… But I didn’t know how. I NEEDED to take care of my wife.

And I didn’t know that I could ask for help.

My wife attempted suicide July 6th, 2013. My life was a living hell. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was living in pure anxiety. There was no control and I was scared about what was happening. I should have known, I should have done something more, I should have saved her, I should have…, I should have…, I should have…

To me, it was all my fault. I should have seen the schizophrenia and done something more. I knew it was there, didn’t I?

Everything went down hill from there. She was convinced that I was abusive and left me to go back to parents that didn’t love her. Her female half had long since died and she had decided that it was time to transition into a man. HIS parents disowned him. They said that their child was dead, which wasn’t true. Their child was still there, but their daughter was gone.

Over the years that I spent with him/her I watched the woman I loved slowly disappear. It didn’t register directly of course. Yeah, I guess I noticed that I was more unhappy and that we had more fights… She had become aggressive and abusive, but I didn’t see it clearly.

I ignored all of that. Some part of me had known that something was wrong. That she wasn’t there and that I had to take care of her. Maybe some part of me thought that I could bring the woman that I loved with everything I was back.

I pushed myself very hard. Everything was put on the back burner except taking care of her and trying to make her happy. I got very sick and as time went on, I got sicker… And still, I struggled to help her find her stability.

I didn’t realize how afraid I was of this person that I no longer knew until the day I sent the email. I didn’t realize until then that the woman I loved was gone completely. Forever. The woman that I loved, was dead. And my heart, soul, and sanity were shattered by a very, very sick man. All that was left of the shell of my love was the half that I didn’t know how to love.

And this is so hard because the physical body still exists, but the person does not.

And to some people I come across as ignorant because all people see is the facade. The frustration that I had with the male part of this equation. In the end, wife became a man.

I am left with the confusing feelings of morning the loss of a friend and lover–because my wife really is dead, she will never be back. And having to deal with the male half still existing, the body of my love still walks in this world and it hurts, and it’s confusing. I don’t love who the body is, but the person that was in it.

And still, people aren’t going to understand what I mean. I fully support the transition and hope that my ex can find happiness. I really truly do. but they are different people, my wife and this man that is now there.

It has been a year and a half and I still miss my wife. When things were good, she was amazing. I just hope that with all of this people can understand that what I am going through isn’t a “break up” but a mourning.

I will probably never stop missing her. I will never fully heal from the loss. But I have moved past the point where I struggle and fight with the confusion. I know that she is gone. Just… Please try not to judge me when I get emotional about it. My situation is not mundane. It’s complicated… and I can’t keep living a lie.

~Luna

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#2: Yes, I really AM a Lesbian!

Okay, so this is something that really ticks me off. I tell someone that I am gay and then I usually get the same responses: “Are you sure?”, “You just haven’t met the right guy.”, “No you’re not, your too feminine to be a lesbian.”. “You look too straight to be gay.”, “It’s just a phase.”, “You’re just looking for attention.”

WHAT?

Why would I make something like this up? To the guys who are interested: I am not just playing it up to get you to go away, or to get your attention. I really am gay. Really. I am 100% lesbian, I will never be with a guy. Ever. Gross.

I look really girly so many people assume that I am straight. Seriously, even other lesbians have accused me of being straight. I. Like. Boobs. Soft skin, gentle touches, whispers, being able to compare periods. Maybe I took that too far, I am just a really open book. I like being able to discuss things with my partner without having to worry about grossing them out. I might be making it worse.

I have had so many experiences of men who think that when I tell them that I am a lesbian, that it is a challenge to their masculine prowess. Seriously?

I was sitting in City Limits one night and a guy approached me. He asked me incredulously: “You’re not a dude are you?” … I responded “Um no, but I am a lesbian.” Him said with a smirk on his face: “Oh, okay, that’s fine then.” My hope was that he would understand that it was Gay Night at the Utah County Bar.

I let it go at that, he seemed a little drunk already and I really didn’t think anything about another drunk guy acting like an ass. I went back to playing pool with my friends. A little while later he walked past me while I was aiming and grabs my ass. NOT OKAY.

First: If I tell a guy I am gay, it means: leave me alone, I am not interested, I like women! Second: It is NEVER polite to grab a girl (or guy) that you do not know! It is just rude. Third: don’t piss off a shy girl who has been abused by men in the past.

I followed the ass outside and confronted him. “Excuse me?!?” I exclaimed.

He had the audacity to laugh and tell me: “I didn’t do it, someone else did.”

I took a deep breath and decided: instead of giving in to the rage I was feeling, I would be the bigger person and try to ignore him for the rest of the night. I could feel my anxiety rising and fought the anger that was unusually accompanying it.

Now, This is super frustrating. My whole night was brought down because some jerk thought that me being a lesbian was an open invitation for harassment. My friend applauded my self-defensive gumption to confront my harasser. I didn’t feel like I had been strong. I thought later about how I should have reacted differently… But when he approached me later in the night I was not going to have any more of his behavior.

Loud enough for the amazing drag queens near me to hear I announced, “Back off and leave us alone.” (he had been harassing other girls in the bar that were with us.) He advanced. I shifted my stance and said louder “Back the #### off!” The DJ’s wife heard me and stepped between us and the advancing man. She pulled herself up to her intimidating (short) height and glared. “Back off, these girls are with me!”

We laughed about it later, but I shouldn’t have to be on the defensive when I am out. (This guy even had his girl friend there. Seriously? Do you know what respect is?.)

That is not even the worst thing that has happened to me. I had an old man tell me once that I just needed a more experienced dick. EW! What the hell? Being a lesbian does not mean that … just… NO! *shudders*

I have girls jealous of me because they think that I am just making up the whole “Lesbian” thing to get closer to and steal their boyfriend. WHY would I do that? Why would I chose to be bullied, harassed, and looked down on just to get closer to your boyfriend? I don’t mind being friends with decent respectful men. But the rest of it, more power to you. I. Don’t. Want. It. Keep it.

Being told that I am not really gay is my most common frustration, though, as shown above: not my only one. I am also currently living in Utah, which isn’t inherently bad. As with everywhere else, there are more accepting people and there are jerks.

It is really too much though. After taking so long to discover myself (See the Femme Post) I will not let anyone else try to force me back into the closet.

Because I love me.

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Confession 1: I am a FEMME

First, let me define what a FEMME is in my world. A Femme is a lesbian that ENJOYS being a woman in all the ways. Make-up, dresses, feeling sexy, doing all the girly things. This does not mean that any other “genres” of Lesbians don’t enjoy being women. Studs can enjoy being a girl as well, they are just typically more “masculine” then Femmes.

Every single person is different. Gay, straight, in between: I don’t care. Each person has their own way of defining themselves. Though Labels are very un-helpful in most things… I think of myself as a Lipstick lesbian. I love dressing up, I love wearing make-up and making other girls stare at me. However; I really like fixing things. I love my power tools.  I was in a long relationship in the past with someone that I would have considered a stud. She was very dominant, very masculine… But I was “Mr. Fix-it” in the relationship. I fixed everything, I built furniture, I also cooked, cleaned, crafted.

I’m not sure if I am creating any sense of my thoughts. Let me take a few steps back and talk about my life for a minute. . .

I grew up in Utah, smack-dab in the middle of Mormon-ville. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Some Mormons are perfectly nice. But most of them that I knew were very judgmental. They lived hypocritical lives of “love your neighbor…unless they are different”. I didn’t even know what gay was!

I lived such a sheltered life in Utah—I am ashamed to admit it but I didn’t know what black even was. There was one girl in my school that was black and we all thought she was from India—I didn’t know anything. I was raised on a diet of judgment and the unknown. My life was confusing and I couldn’t keep friends…

To try to help you understand who I am: In Jr High I told everyone who asked “There are no bully’s in my school.” I truly believed that… Because I thought being abused was normal. There was a girl in my grade that went out of her way to try to make my life a living hell. I’m serious. She would do whatever she could to torment me and my friends. There were so many things that she did—I cannot remember them all. But one event I remember very well was when she called me a Lesbian.

I had no idea what in the world a Lesbian was. She came into the class pretending to kiss her best friend. She saw me looking and said in a very jeering way “You are such a lesbian” Of course I denied it. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know what I was… I just didn’t know.

By the time I was in high school I was convinced that I was “Bi-Curious” (The problem with this, was that I was never really attracted to men, but I was taught that happiness was a man and a woman. So I tried to force it.

I had a lot of online relationships because they were safe. There was no real way to have to be “romantic” in person. And then I had a couple boyfriends from school. The first one scared the shit out of me. The one time we hung out he told me “We don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to.”  I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t even imagine doing anything with him. I felt so sick and I wanted to run away. He didn’t force himself on me… I was lucky then. He followed that up with a story about how he was so proud of throwing chairs at teachers. RED FLAG!!! I couldn’t even break up with him in person. I was terrified of him. I thought that if I made him upset that he would kill me.

My second boyfriend was my first kiss. My friends thought it was so weird that I wasn’t attracted to anyone… So I created an attraction to a friend of a friend. I thought he would be okay. He was nice and kind of odd. But then he wanted to keep kissing. I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t breathe and fear overcame me. I dumped him for it, and for attempting to have sex with me.  Gross.

I spent a long time after that staying away from people. I had to create a crush later in my High School career… But I’m fairly certain that he was gay.

By the time I had admitted that I was actually attracted to women, I was about to graduate… and I STILL was telling everyone that I was “Bi”. I had my first girl-friend. It was amazing… and terrible. Neither of us was ready for anything serious… She was full of self-hatred… and I was broken. . .

I had been raped and I hadn’t told her.  I lived in Michigan and she lived in Utah. I had met her while visiting a friend. In between visits I was taken advantage of by a friend. I don’t need to talk about it. If you want to know you can watch my slam-poetry about it. I don’t NEED to tell my story any more than that. I have already allowed myself to be angry and not “at-fault”.

Regardless. Freshman year of college was still confusing. I went to Hollins University. An all-women college that existed in what I can only describe as a “Lesbian Bubble”. These women were fantastic in helping me learn to accept myself. As I went back and forth with my “girlfriend” I made friends that accepted me. Times changed and I finally admitted to myself that I was a lesbian. I questioned for a while what that meant.

Did that mean that I had to be dominant? Did being a lesbian mean that I had to do this or do that to be happy? No. I could still be myself. And then I met my “EX”. She was perfect. We fell in love and we had our ups and downs. But she was mine and I was hers. Life was okay for a while. After two and a half years, we got married.

We are not married anymore because of things that I did not know. But I think I have gotten a little off topic. I was discussing why I am a Femme.

I am a FEMME because that is just WHO I AM. I can’t change who I am, heaven knows I’ve tried. If I could choose who I was, I would not choose to be gay. I did not “Decide” to be gay for attention or to be cool. When I think back, I have liked girls since I was three years old. My first love was another girl in daycare. She asked me to tie her shoes and I couldn’t say no. But I have always been girly. I like having my hair done. I like looking pretty. I like dancing. I like being me.

Just let me be me.

As a last note: Not all Femmes like studs. I do. But, as I have said before, everyone is different. Studs can like other studs and femmes can like other femmes. Studs can be submissive and femmes can be dominant. Just because I fit certain stereotypes, does not mean that all Lesbians are the same. I am unique and I will always be.

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