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.
Despite making up 52% of the LGBTQ+ community, bisexual people often go unrecognized in modern history and media. To celebrate Bisexual Pride Day and the inclusive Bi+ Week of September 23, this feature highlights prominent bisexual influencers and events throughout history.
Being queer shapes many aspects of one's being, from one’s relationships with society and family to one's relationship with oneself. A person can be proud or ashamed of their own identity. As an asexual person, I experience no sexual attraction to individuals of any gender. My asexuality sculpted my entire life before I even knew that I was asexual. Learning to love myself and my sexuality has been a long, difficult, but ultimately rewarding journey.
“Oh that would never happen in America. You know she was just doing it to rile people up and get that shock value,” muttered a disgruntled advisor. Her day had been ruined by having to hear a student speak at a debate tournament about the horrors of conversion therapy that she was so sure would never be allowed to occur. As I stood in shock and listened to this woman speak so carelessly about conversion therapy, all I could think about was every op-ed and headline about another queer youth who escaped torture camps where their very identity was ripped apart piece by piece. All I could feel was raw anger and shock. This woman was easily dismissing the stories and truths of thousands of queer Americans forced into conversion therapy by their parents or by a society that they felt would not accept them as they were.