A few months ago, I had the opportunity to ask a rabbi the question, “How does the Orthodox Jewish community view homosexuality?” He assured me, with all sincerity, that Orthodox Jewish people are by no means homophobic. They would never abandon a child for being gay, as to neglect one’s children breaks God’s mitzvot, or commandments. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is also a violation of mitzvot. Orthodox Jewish people simply view “the homosexuals,” he told me, as they view anyone else who breaks a mitzvah. That is to say, they are sinners who must be treated with compassion and gently guided away from their immoral behavior
Although the history of trans and gender-nonconforming movements in the United States extends as far back as at least the late 1800s, the past decade has been one of the most notable, marked by presence in culture and politics. Though recent political events have shown some regress, the time we’re living in is one of deep cultural transformations.
How we choose to label our sexuality or gender identity has a significant effect on how we present ourselves to the world. Sometimes, having a word to put with one’s identity can be liberating; other times, it feels limiting. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of debate about the use of labels in the LGBT community. Who is allowed to call themselves that? Do this or that group of people really belong in the LGBTQ+ community? While many of these debates are complex and have no definitive answer, they are still questions worth asking. As someone who has struggled with how to label my sexuality, I certainly have thoughts on the matter of labels within the queer and trans community. However, all I can do is provide my own opinion.
Every year, December 1st is recognized as World AIDS Day to increase awareness around HIV/AIDS, support those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and celebrate the lives of those who have fallen to an AIDS-related illness. In an effort to support HIV/AIDS education, below is a list of commonly regarded myths and their true answers.
Emma Collins Staff Writer she/her/hers they/them/theirs
Disclaimer: I am not intersex. This is not an identity I hold. In addition, I am going to do my best to leave gender out of this article, as intersex, as well as the other sexes, are independent of gender. Therefore, I will be using biological language such as male and female, which specifically refer to sex, not gender. In addition, I will be using medical terminology regarding body parts, and you may not use these words to describe your body. That is so, so okay, but due to the limits of the English language, it is what I am stuck with today.
Being part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a hard life in and of itself, but being in the military as a queer person can be even harder. There is a constant pressure to be the most masculine, to conform to the majority, and there is a fair amount of hazing that can go on during someone’s time in the military. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a previous policy that was supposedly set in place to “protect” closeted gay, bisexual, and lesbian military personelle by prohibiting discrimitation of individuals if they were’t openly queer. This policy was also meant to prohibit other military personnel from discriminating against closeted queer members of the military, but was often one sided in that if someone was outed as queer, they would face disciplinary concequences. Unauthorized investigations into the sexual orientation of military members was done often, and this led to the expansion to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass.” It wasn’t until 17 years later that this policy was repealed to allow openly gay individuals to join the military and express information about their lives.
Jamel Myles, a 9-year-old fourth grade student at Joe Shoemaker School in Denver, committed suicide on August 23, 2018 after relentless bullying from fellow students. Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old high schooler from La Grande, Oregon, took his own life on February 3, 2013 after being immensely harassed and bullied in school and online. Leelah Alcorn, aged 17 from Ohio, committed suicide on December 28, 2014 as a result of her parents lack of support and rejection of her identity.
As we approach the holiday season, many people get progressively more stressed about finding time to see their loved ones, taking final exams, meeting end-of-year deadlines at work, and conquering the ever-dreaded challenge of finding (and affording) gifts for everyone on their list. A season that, as a kid, was filled with joy, relaxation, and time away from school can seem like nothing but another emotional drain as an adult. The holidays are notoriously stressful, but as an individual belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, the cis- and hetero-normative nature of the season can be particularly difficult to cope with. The religious services, extended time with extended family, and the somehow intrinsic expectation of bringing a significant other to show at family events all constitute a highly-concentrated period of heteronormativity. The upcoming ‘most wonderful time of the year’ can be quite the opposite for anyone who doesn’t identify as straight or cisgender, and is merely an exaggerated symbol of the division from society that LGBTQ+ people experience year-round.
As asking for preferred pronouns slowly but surely becomes more commonplace and transgender awareness increases in prevalence, some institutions have lagged behind the curve. Hospitals have only recently begun taking into account the gender identities of those who do not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. Not surprisingly, this has had major ramifications. As professionals, caretakers, and administrators of healthcare, it’s critical that the patients feel a sense of mutual respect. Otherwise, the fear of being condemned could outweigh their desire to seek care
I loved to swim in the ocean when I was in Guam and I always felt envious of the life in the sea. They were colorful, beautiful creatures, and they didn’t have to worry about being accepted or hiding who they were; as a young gay boy, this was all I ever wanted. Life on the island was all I know growing up as a Chamorro. I was born and raised on Guam, a small island in the pacific which has been a US territory since 1898. Natives from the island are called Chamorros, which is also the name of our language.