Well. The past month has been a whirlwind to say the least.
As noted in my previous post, I made a plan to put together some information to send to the head of our agency’s Cultural Diversity Committee. Sending that email then turned into her asking me to plan and provide a training on LGBT issues for the agency. I managed to put together over 60 slides worth of information into a powerpoint, including three slides of “further resources” such as worthwhile books, documentaries and websites, as well as seven slides worth of citing my sources. I was then told that the presentation will only be about 30 minutes long. So now I’m looking to see if I can still fit everything in that I want to talk about. The material I decided to cover is broken up into 4 parts:
- Background information about LGBT History month – who started it and why
- Definitions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Cisgender - so that everyone is on the same page with what I’m talking about (the presentation will be to the whole agency, not just therapists, as I understand)
- Important historical events – the meaning behind the rainbow flag, LGBT victims of the Holocaust, Stonewall, and changes in how it’s defined in mental health
- Current issues that LGBTs still face – substance abuse rates, intimate partner violence rates, homelessness rates, conversion therapy, family rejection, and others.
I’m presenting it to the Cultural Diversity Committee this upcoming Thursday, and to the agency the following Thursday.
Early in the month, as a bit of a preface, I sent out to the clinical department, the department which I’m a part of and therefore most likely to see LGBT clients, a mass email explaining a little about October being LGBT History month, and including PDFs of important LGBT figures, as well as a PDF I got from SAMHSA on substance abuse and the LGBT population. At the end of the week, our CEO approached me while I was washing a tea mug in the office kitchen, and asked me if I’d be interested in starting up some LGBT specific services. Of course, I said yes. I don’t know if anything will come of it – this place is notorious for starting something and it dying off, or else planning something and it never happening.
In other news, I came out to my birthfather this past Wednesday, 10/11, Coming Out Day. I did it through text because writing is easier for me, and also because with distance, who knows when I’ll see him in person again. It went better than I could’ve imagined. He basically said that I’m his son, he loves me no matter what, and as long as I’m happy he doesn’t care who I’m with. He also said that if the rest of the family loves me, they’ll accept me for who I am, but if not, he’s there for me either way. I can’t even put into words how good that made me feel, to know I have at least one family member on my side – and on top of that, the family member that my family ostracized and kept me away from for 30 years.
On top of all this, throughout September and October, I’ve been taking the approximately 4 hour drive from my town to a city on the other end of the state, every other weekend, for a class I need to complete as part of my social work licensing process. As much as I love the information, it’s been exhausting. However, in the process, there’s the slight possibility I’ve met someone who could be relationship potential. I’m taking things very slow, but we’ve been talking mostly regularly since we met, and seem to be compatible in most of the important areas. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I feel like I’m in an emotionally ready place in life to put myself out there, and dating can be difficult when you’re a bisexual man in a small town. I’ve had a few dates recently with different guys, but this is the first guy that I didn’t immediately think “No, this isn’t going to work” within the first 30 minutes of the date. So we’ll see. I’m just ready to settle down somewhere, with someone, and I’m tired of the overanalyzing, the overthinking, and all the other things that come with being introverted in the dating scene. We’ll see how things go.