The Importance of Respecting People’s Pronouns & Gender Identity

I’ve debated about writing this article because sadly it is still a controversial issue. A controversial issue that is one of many issues that is dividing this country apart. An issue that has been near and dear to me for decades yet never spoke up about it till I worked at a local mental health agency.

The topic I have chosen to write about is about respecting people’s pronouns and gender identity. This topic is quite important to me as I have never really identified as my perceived gender; female. I’ve considered myself to be genderqueer or non-binary or genderfluid and go by the pronouns they/them for quite some time yet never really corrected people for a multitude of reasons until recently.

It wasn’t until I got my first position at a local mental health agency when I realized the importance of respecting people’s pronouns and gender identity including my own. When I started working with clients who have felt disrespected by folks who didn’t respect their gender identity and/or the pronouns the individual goes by, I didn’t realize the impact it had on me when I advocated on their be behalf. It was in my job descriptions as a Consumer Aide and Peer Specialist to be an advocate for the clients I served.

Advocating for the clients I served regarding their pronouns and gender identity especially among a handful of my colleagues was not the easiest of things to do. It wasn’t easy to do at first because, I never really advocated for myself regarding my gender identity or preferred pronouns since the people closest to me already knew and respected this about me. So, when it became loud and clear to me in the first month of working in the mental health field that if it matters to the individuals I served, then it needs to matter to me as an individual who doesn’t go by societies gender norms. I’m not saying it didn’t matter to me before because it did however the Universe had used the clients I served on how important it is for me and my recovery as well as, the clients I use to serve.

As I came to terms with advocating for my clients and myself at work in the mental health field, I quickly realized that my own mental health treatment team didn’t know my preferred pronouns or that I identify as a genderfluid, non-binary, genderqueer individual. So, I decided if I am able to advocate for myself and my clients at work then I can advocate for myself with my treatment team. When I mentioned my gender identity and preferred pronouns, I found myself being on the receiving end of the advocacy I once did for my clients.

Why is it so important to respect people’s gender identity and preferred pronouns? Statistics show that 82% of transgender and non-conforming individuals don’t feel safe at work and/or school. The same stats show that 67% have been bullied online while 64% have had property destroyed. The effecting of being bullied especially regard gender identity are: six times more likely to be depressed; eight times more likely to attempt to die by suicide; and three times more likely to have a substance use disorder (SUD). To answer the question of why is it important to respect a person’s gender identity and pronouns is that it can literally safe someone’s life and is common courtesy to do so. It is also important that we respect each other as fellow human beings and that we value each other as individuals even if we don’t always get along.

Thank you for reading my lengthy article on respecting peoples pronouns and gender identity. The one thing I want you all to get out of this article is that gender identity plays a major role on who we are as individual’s as well as our mental health.

Everyday Inspiration; Day 12: Critique a Piece of Work

Today’s topic is to critique a piece of art work or express my opinion on a topic. As someone who is extremely self critical I thought I would harshly critique my own art so I have decided to express my opinion on something.

Actually, what I want to discuss my opinion on is the importance of respecting people’s pronouns. Unfortunately, this one of the many issues that is dividing the United States at the moment and I personally think its sad.

Not everyone goes by the gender they were given at birth. I don’t go by female pronouns. Hell, I don’t go by male pronouns either. I go by they/them pronouns as I consider myself gender nonconforming or non binary.

So as you can tell this topic is near and dear to my heart. Many folks like myself are very passionate about this subject as we want to be respected like others. It’s important for the respect factor as well as many other factors. Factors that are stated below.

Why is it so important to respect people’s gender identity and preferred pronouns? Statistics show that 82% of transgender and non-conforming individuals don’t feel safe at work and/or school. The same stats show that 67% have been bullied online while 64% have had property destroyed. The effecting of being bullied especially regard gender identity are: six times more likely to be depressed; eight times more likely to attempt to die by suicide; and three times more likely to have a substance use disorder (SUD). To answer the question of why is it important to respect a person’s gender identity and pronouns is that it can literally safe someone’s life and is common courtesy to do so. It is also important that we respect each other as fellow human beings and that we value each other as individuals even if we don’t always get along.

Recovery Ramblings

Good Evening, World!!! It has been an uneventful day for me and right now that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because recent events regarding an assault I experienced and the death of my grandma.

I have been doing one of my workbooks for most of the day. The workbook I have been doing is The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook. I have been finding it quite helpful for me not just in regards to my gender identity and sexual orientation but my recovery as well.

In fact realizing my gender identity and sexual orientation is apart of my recovery. Something that Junior is proud of me for acknowledging as well as accepting me as I am and loving me. I consider myself as a gender fluid, non-binary, pansexual individual and Junior loves me as I am.

I have also been doing another workbook called The Mindfulness Workbook to help me keep up my mindfulness practice’s. I have been finding this helpful with my recovery as well as my everyday life. It’s been quite helpful in ways I never thought were possible. It has been helping me be more mindful of the present moment.

Speaking of being mindful of the present moment, I realize I am hungry and need to eat. Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World.

Tuesday Night Ramblings

Hello, World!!! It is eleven thirty at night in my neck of the woods and it appears it could be a sleepless night for me. I’m not sure way I get that feeling but I do.

I think once I am done writing this post, I am going to work on one of my workbooks. I am going to work on The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook as I have been finding quite helpful for my recovery and gender identity. Being able to acknowledge my gender identity without shame is awesome. I am proud to be a gender non-conforming, non-binary, pansexual individual.

Being able to do workbooks is quite helpful for me and my recovery. I look at doing workbooks as part of the many things I do to be in recovery. Kind of like taking meds and going to therapy is apart of my recovery.

Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World!!!

Sleepless, Once Again, in Seattle

Good Morning, World!!! I’m Sleepless in Seattle, once again. Since, I am having trouble I decided to work on my workbook: The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook. I am finding this quite challenging for me as its really digging deep into who I am as a genderqueer non-conforming person. Stuff that I’ve been talking to both my therapist, Gilbert, and case manager about. They are helping me process what I need to while doing this workbook.

I also decided to start another self-help work book called The Mindfulness Workbook. It’s a beginners guide to overcoming fear and embracing compassion. I figured since one of my goals for 2018 was to increase my mindfulness and meditation skills. I am incorporating this into my daily practice now in the mornings.

Mindfulness seems to be helping me a great deal with my emotions and how I reacting to them and situations. Gilbert even mentioned it on Friday which shocked me as I wasn’t sure he was observing that.  It’s even helping my mental health symptoms.

Unfortunately, the lack of sleep is not helping with the mental health symptoms which is why I should get going. I think I will try to go and attempt to get some sleep. Thank you for reading. Peace Out, World

Things I’m Learning From The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook; Chapter 1

Good Evening, World!!! It’s been a long day for me. I started of the day having breakfast at place called Biscuit Bitch with former colleagues who I have become close friends with. Food and friends is always a good thing even if its at 7:30 in the morning. I, then went to Day Treatment today and saw my temporary therapist Gilbert. Todays session with Gilbert was more difficult than it usually is. I might talk about the session in a later post.

If you been reading my blogging regularly as of lately, you will know that I started a workbook called The Queer & Transgender Resilience Workbook by Anneliese Singh. I’m going to make every effort to tell you what I have learned after each chapter.

CHAPTER 1; GETTING REAL: DEFINING YOUR LGBTQ SELF IN A WOLD THAT DEMANDS COMFORMITY:

As the title of the chapter states, it has you define your LGBTQ self in the world around us. The chapter starts off asking how one identifies their sexual orientation and their gender identity. As it continues it starts asking about what you’re comfortable with sharing. This is the part where it started getting challenging for me as I think it depends on the situation I may be in.

Another part of chapter one that was difficult was searching within myself about affirmations I have toward myself and not just as an LGBTQ individual. This was difficult because I have very low self esteem and some if it is because of my gender identity and sexual orientation and some of it is not. Affirmations is something I need to work on and Gilbert agrees. He wants me to acknowledge that I have great affirmations and say them out loud.

Affirmations which I will say eventually. Maybe even after the end of this post. I should go and eat. Peace Out, World!!!

Pride Parade 2015

It has been a long, exhausting yet exuberating day. I marched in the pride parade today with my employer. It was awesome and an honor to march along side with my co-workers and clients. Many of the clients were quite surprised that many staff were not getting paid for their time marching in the parade. The cool thing about marching in today parade is that I had an option on who to march with. I could have marched with the Warm Line and Crisis Clinic staff and volunteers since I’m a volunteer with the Warm Line. I also had the opportunity to march with fellow volunteers as well as “guest” of the young adult homeless shelter I recently started volunteering at. In fact a couple of “guest” of the young adult shelter were disappointed I wasn’t marching with them however they understood why I would be marching with my employer.

My fiancé, Junior, even marched the pride parade. In fact he was with his employer. Junior is a firefighter and plays the bagpipes. Yes, that means he was marching in his rainbow colored kilt playing the bagpipe with the fire department pipes and drums. Junior, is quite the talented bagpiper. Unfortunately, I was unable to see Junior march in todays parade because I, too was marching in the parade.

Marching in todays pride parade had me thinking about my junior high and high school years. I was in marching band and loved it. Marching in todays parade had me realize how much I miss being in band.

Enough with my marching band days in junior high and high school and back to Pride Parade and its festivities. Today, was a warm, humid, cloudy day. In fact while marching in the parade, the weather decided to throw a thunder and lightning storm in the mix. In fact the rain felt good. The clients loved it. In fact they broke out into song. Not just any song. They sung “Dancing in the Rain.” Yes, they even started dancing. I wish I was able to get a picture of it however due to HIPPA laws I was unable to do so. In fact even some of my co-workers decided to join in the singing and dancing in the rain. I didn’t because I was enjoying the fact that the clients were enjoying the moment. It was a blast had by all.

After the parade I decided to go and volunteer at the booth my employer had set up. I volunteered for about an hour an half. It was nice to be able to educate the community about mental illness and homeliness and the effects it has on our community. The reason I decided to volunteer at my employers booth was not only to be able to educate the community but because Junior was farther down the parade route than I was and was wanting to do something productive as he was finishing up his portion of the parade.

When Junior was done with his portion of parade he stopped by my employers booth to come and “pick me up.” We then walked around the pride festivities and enjoyed our time together. In fact we discussed our wedding and how we are thrilled that one of his sister is now able to get married to the woman of her dreams anywhere in the United States as soon as she finds her. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing that now anyone can marry the person that they love despite their gender and the gender of their partner?

As we walked around the festivities we noticed some people holding up religious signs. In fact some of those signs were just plain ole hateful. I thought Christianity was a religion of love and compassion and not of hate and ignorance. Not only did the signs say hateful thing, the people holding the signs were saying hateful things. In fact one person told a little girl of 7 or 8 years old that not only are her daddies going to hell but she is as well. A nearby uniformed police officer stepped in and spoke up for that family. I just cant comprehend why people are so hateful especially to children.

Now that Junior and myself are home, we are relaxing. It has been a good day and am grateful that I was able to be alive during a part of a positive event in American History. I hope to blog again soon. Have good rest of your weekend. Peace out!!!

Love Wins In The United States; Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in All 50 States

As many people in the United States (and around the world) are aware of by now, the United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Yes, all 50 states. I, like many around the country shed tears of joy when I heard the joyous news.

I shed tears of joy because this means that many people are now able to marry the person of their dreams, just like I am able to do so. I may be madly in love with Junior and engaged to marry him, I consider myself pansexual. For those of you that don’t know what pansexual is, the definition is as follows: not limited in sexual choice with biological sex, gender or gender identity. Yes, Junior knows I’m pansexual and he is fine with it. For me falling in love with the person of my dreams has nothing to do with the persons gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, it has to do with the persons personality. I fell in love with Junior because of who he is on the inside. I am thrilled I am able to marry Junior and just as thrilled same-sex couples are able to marry now.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t exactly thrilled with the Supreme Court ruling. It seems that the people who aren’t thrilled with the ruling happen to be people of faith and not just any faith; Christianity. The reason I say this is because I’ve noticed that on many social media sites (including WordPress) that Christians were being out right hateful. For example, I had posted on my the Facebook account I have for my given name, that I was beyond thrilled that same-sex marriage is now legal. Many people who are Christians on that particular account started messaging, texting, calling and emailing me saying they were offended and that I was “going to hell” because I support “gay marriage.” I even had a handful of people block me. I’m fine with that because if they are going to get offended for something I support then I don’t need them in my life. I just cant comprehend why a particular religion that preaches love and compassion can be so hateful when it comes to people getting married to the person they love even if that person is the same gender as they are. I am trying so hard to not be so judgmental toward that particular faith because I know many kind-hearted Christians out there and some of them even support same-sex marriage.

The ruling of same-sex marriage couldn’t have come at better time. It’s not only came in Gay Pride Month but the biggest weekend for the LGBT community; pride weekend. Yesterday, was a historical moment in United States history. I am beyond happy that this happened in my lifetime. I am sure that there are going to be many people and various types of groups that are going to try to get this ruling overturned. No matter how hard people may try to get the ruling overturned its never going to happen. Too many people will fight just as hard if not harder to keep the ruling in place.

I need to get going. I am heading out to pride festivities before I go and volunteer at the Warm Line. I know that the pride festivities will be more giddy than they have been in previous years because of yesterdays ruling. I love going to pride festivities. I hope to be able to blog after I get home from pride events and volunteering. Have a good day everyone and stay safe. Peace out!!!!

A Lazy Friday

Happy Friday!!! Today has been a lazy Friday for me. Thankfully, the weather cooperated with it being a rainy yucky day out. It gave me an excuse to read most of the day. Of course I had music playing in the background as I read. I of course did other things besides read and listen to Christmas music all day. I worked on a Jigsaw puzzle with my boyfriend while listening to Christmas music. We also had some very intimate moments and no we weren’t listening to music. The best part of the day was when my boyfriend fixed me biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs. I love biscuits and gravy. My boyfriend and I baked chocolate cake, an apple pie, a pumpkin pie and baklava. Of course we had the Christmas music blaring the entire time baking. As you can tell I didn’t get much accomplished today and that’s fine with me.

Even though today was not an accomplished day, yesterday felt like one after I attended a training that my volunteer job put on. In fact its one of the perks of volunteering at the Warm Line is being able to take various types of training that they offer. I guess its a plus that the Warm Line is under the umbrella of the local Crisis Line because of the free trainings. The training was about how Social Justice and what types of things get in the way of how we view ourselves and others and how people cope. I thought is was going to be more geared toward the LGBTQ but it wasn’t and I was disappointed with that. Yes, there was a discussion in the training on LGBTQ but the trainings focus wasn’t entirely on LGBTQ like I was hoping it was going to be. Oh well. I did enjoy it a lot and learned a great deal about myself and others as well as how others may view me. I believe this training will not only help me in my volunteer job at the Warm Line but my current employment as Consumer Aide.

Since we are on the topic of my current employment I am really enjoying it. Its nice to finally have a job that I love with every cell of who I am and knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life. It’s nice to actually show other’s that recovery from a mental illness is possible.

Recovery for me is so much more fun than not being in recovery. I say this because I am able to enjoy days like today. Through recovery I am learning how much I am able to handle through the holidays. For many people the holidays are extremely difficult especially for those who struggle with a mental illness. I know for me that the holidays will never be easy however I can learn different ways to cope with them as well as to enjoy them and make my own traditions. A tradition that I have started is that I want my Christmas tree to tell people my story or who I am through the ornaments I have on it. Of course most of them are Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments. My grandparents started that when I was born. In fact I get an ornament or two from them every year. One happens to be in a series and started the year I was born. I think that tells a part of who I am. I usually buy between 2 to 4 ornaments a year for my tree plus the one or two my grandparents get me. My tree always looks empty due to the fact of the lack of ornaments it has. I really want my tree to tell people on who I am. Another thing I do is volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. See, being in recovery means dealing with the pain of your past with new traditions.

The holidays are not easy for me because I was severely and horrifically abuse as a child my moms (now ex) boyfriend. This (ex) boyfriend happens to be my little brothers father. Anyway, this dude did unthinkable and disgusting things to me. I guess that’s why I tend to struggle during the holidays. I am just happy that I haven’t had a major issue in three years.

I’m grateful that my boyfriend and others have helped me out the last three years. In fact I’ve had many people on my side to make sure I haven’t had a major issue the last three years. These people were there for me when I did have major issues three years ago. Having a great support system is key to being in recovery.

Well its no longer Friday and my boyfriend who happens to be part of my support system wants to have some intimate time. Intimate time usually means sex. I am really happy that I am able to trust him and feel safe with him to have sex.

Since its no longer Friday and my boyfriend and I want to have an intimate moment, I best be going. Have goodnight and don’t let the bed bugs bite. I would say enjoy the rest of your Friday but its now Saturday so enjoy your Saturday as well as your weekend. Peace Out!!

Late Night Hump Day (Wednesday) Ramblings

Happy Hump Day!!! Or what’s left of Hump Day. Can you believe that people are unaware that Hump Day is actually Wednesday?

It may still be just another Hump Day (Wednesday) and I have a lot on my mind. At this point in time I am not sure how long or short this blog may be tonight. My mind is full of stuff that I want to discuss with you all but not sure if I will be able to convey it the way I want or if I’m going to be too tired to continue blogging once I get going. I guess I will just go with the flow with this particular blog entry due to the fact of I’m wanting to blog more in hopes to get more followers and/or readers because I want to educate people on mental illness as well as show people who due struggle with a mental illness that recovery is possible.

I might as well as update you all on my new job. I am still loving it. This past Monday (November 17, 2014) I started a Coloring Group. I only had three clients in attendance but it was more than I thought I was going to have. Cool thing about the coloring group is that coloring is one of my Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills. I am hoping that it will eventually become an Art Group. Can you believe it’s been almost three months since I found out I got my current job as a Consumer Aide? Even if you can believe it, I’m still having a hard time believing it and I’ve been working as a Consumer Aide for two and a half months now. I really wasn’t sure I was going to get the job but I am so happy that I got the job for many different reasons.

One of those reasons why I am happy I got my current job is because the holidays are coming up. See my previous employer was at a grocery store. Grocery stores are pure hell to work in during the holidays due to all the food people are buying. The worst time to work at grocery store is the week of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving week is what we call hell week. Hell week usually begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The worst day to work is usually the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because its so freakin busy. Working Thanksgiving sucked but at least the customers show gratitude unlike the day before Thanksgiving. Working Black Friday was hell as well because grocery store are usually dead (extremely slow) because everyone is either sleeping in or at retail stores getting “major deals” on items that they may want.

Since we are on the topic of Thanksgiving lets discuss it. Thanksgiving is going to be a little different this year. My boyfriend and I are going to host it at his place. So both his family and my family are going to be in attendance. Mainly because my family (particularly my dad’s side) were trying to make it an “obligation” for me to be in attendance. I highly dislike when both sides of my family do this to me. I’ve been dealing with the issue of what side I’m going to spend what holiday with since I was 3 years old. I am now in my mid thirties. It was much easier when I was under the age of 18 because at least I could say what do the custody papers say. The only reason why I am looking forward to Thanksgiving this year is because I get to spend with my boyfriend, his family and my lil brother.

Another thing I am looking forward to is training I am going to tomorrow. The training I am going to has nothing to do with my current employment but it can help me with future employment opportunities. In fact it is a training that my volunteer job is putting on. Actually, its the local crisis line that is putting it on. See, I volunteer at a local peer run Warm Line and the Warm Line is under the umbrella of the local Crisis Line. The training is available for all the volunteers and staff. In fact the training is on Practicing Social Justice and the topic or discussion will be on the LGBTQ community and mental illness. I’m looking forward to this training for my own reasons. Those reasons aren’t just because it will be helpful but because I consider myself part of the LGBTQ community because I am bi-sexual. Actually, I think I am more pansexual than bi-sexual. I am looking forward to the training tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, tomorrow is almost here.

One thing I am also hoping to do tomorrow is to start reading the book “Catch 22.” I am putting “A Tale of Two Cities” on hold for a moment because I’m having difficulty getting into it. The reason why is the how it’s written and it is triggering my dyslexia. I was finding “A Tale of Two Cities” enjoyable but wanted to put it down for a while. I will pick it back up after I read “Catch 22.”

I have a great deal more I would like to discuss with you but I am getting tired. I am hoping to blog again tomorrow. It is still Hump Day (Wednesday) and am going to call it a night. Enjoy the last two minutes of Hump Day (Wednesday).  Good night and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Peace Out!!