Sunday, October 15, 2017

LGBT History Month

   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.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coming Back

     It's been awhile. As you've probably figured out, I have trouble with consistency. I tend to let myself get caught up in work and other responsibilities, and neglect self-care methods like writing my thoughts and reflections and engaging in other hobbies.

     I'm going to try to change that. As part of that change, I'm going to try to write in this blog at least a couple of times a month. I've come up with a list of topics I've been meaning to write about for a while, but just never have gotten around to. Interspersed with that will be my thoughts and reflections on current events, holidays, and other life events as I so feel led. So basically not much will change except I'm going to try to do it more often. Sometimes I feel like I need to write something because I'm feeling strongly about it, but when I actually get the time, I struggle to put it into words. But I guess that's when I need to do it the most, to remove my mental and spiritual blocks.

     The more things happen the last few months, the more I get tired of the bullshit. I've considered myself somewhat of an activist for years, but since Trump's election, especially with the recent events in Charlottesville, VA, I find myself becoming more restless and wanting to do more. I'm getting at that age to where I need to be my fully more authentic self so that I can practice what I preach to my clients. So I'm starting in small steps.

   October is LGBT History month. October was chosen because October 11th has already long been recognized as "Coming Out Day". As my place of employment's most outspoken and most vocal bisexual, I've decided that I'm going to put together a presentation of LGBT historical events and figures, the symbolism of the Pride Flag, overviews of mental health and substance abuse issues LGBTs face in comparison to the general population, and links to other resources, and present it to my company's (admittedly not very culturally diverse) Cultural Diversity Committee for them to distribute to the company as a whole. If they don't acknowledge me or follow through - which is a definite possibility, I'm going to just directly send it out myself, at least to my particular department (the ones most likely to be working with LGBT clients), if not the agency as a whole.  I'm tired of just sitting on the sidelines lamenting the cultural obstacles of where I live right now. I'm ready to act, even if some small way.

Speaking of acting and being my authentic self, I've decided that on - or at least by - Coming Out Day, I'm going to begin my process of coming out to my family. My obvious first step is my father. Since we're still getting to know each other, he's a "safe" person to come out to, I believe, as if he rejects me, well, it won't be anything different than the previous 30 years of my life before we first made contact. A test run, if you will. It also gives me time to prepare the best way. With him I'll obviously do it by phone, text, or email - he lives all the way in DC and so I don't even know when we'll see each other in person again because of finances, time, etc. But it's a little less clear with the rest of my family.

Well, we'll see how this goes. I know that I've talked about writing more often before. Let's see if it sticks this time.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


I always thought that my previous connection to Celtic spirituality was, in large part, due to a past life connection to the Irish/Celtic world. More recently, I've come to believe that it's not only that, but also a connection to my current heritage.

A couple of months ago, I took a DNA test through AncestryDNA. I got the results back last week. They were interesting to say the least. It turns out I'm 98% European. No surprise there. What was a little surprising was the breakdown:
-30% Irish
-28% Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Denmark primarily)
-16% from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)
-11% Western European (Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein)
-5% Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales)
-4% Eastern European (Poland, Austria, Russia, etc.)
-3% Italian/Greek
-around 1% European Jew

And the final 2% comes from the Caucasus region, which is around Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, etc. I guess this is where my Middle Eastern heritage comes in.

I'm surprised that there's no Native American in there, as one family legend was that one of my maternal ancestors was Cherokee. And I admittedly thought my Middle Eastern genetics would be higher, since in my younger, curly-haired college years, I had so many people asking if I were Jewish, and even had a Middle Eastern shop owner ask when I came to America from Israel. I also thought there would be more Scottish, as I always understood Moore (maternal grandmother) to be a Scottish name.

All of this has rekindled my interest in Celtic spirituality and confirmed that perhaps I need to revisit the Celtic deities I felt connected to. I wonder, at times, if perhaps my lack of connection to them over the years has been more due to my lack of balance and connection overall, as I tend to let life circumstances and anxieties take control. My goal now is to make some baby steps towards re-establishing balance.