The end of the world as we know it

toronto-gay-village-signToronto ushered in World Pride on Friday June 20th 2014 with music and fireworks at City Hall that ended at 11 p.m. and thousands and thousands of happy, shiny people filed out of the square in an orderly fashion, smiling all the way.

Over the course of World Pride Week, the city closed off a chunk of Church Street – aka the ghetto — for the  weekend and on the Sunday we decided to go down to what we heard was an afternoon street party.

Before the party, however, was seriousness. Our first stop was the AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Park. A walk through the sculptures, with memories, smiles and and tears; names to touch, names carved into steel plates, names of friends and family.

We walked slowly out of the memorial and sat down for a bit. Feeling the loss and the absences. After a while, we left the park to continue walking down Church Street.

In no time at all our magpie attention was grabbed by a display window of a hardware store by what looked like ceramic espresso cups with graffiti graphics. Just what a Monday morning espresso demands. The tattooed sales guy, told us they were plastic. Boo. We talked about the evils of plastic which got us to how gauche it is to drink from mason jars, and nodding sagely, we agreed some trends in restaurants are dumb and then waved bye-bye to the hardware store guy and kept walking.

Without cars, Church Street was becoming crowded with an assortment of straight and LGBTTQQISetc people — with dogs and/or kids, or pregnant with kids, or walking with puppies, or looking like they were looking for dogs or kids.

At the crossroads of Church and Wellesley streets, just at the east side, was a stage. Some old-school disco music was playing. We stopped at the edge of a group of maybe 100 people. On stage was a young drag queen, dressed in a rather tasteful dress, lip-synching to the song, wobbling around (perhaps it was new-style dance?) on CFM high heels. It might well have been her first day on stage.

I watched people join the crowd, watched them watching the drag queen and as I did a slight shiver crawled through my body. There was something wrong with this picture. I took a deep breath and lowered my gaze to the ground — I wanted to feel what was happening or better understand what I was witnessing here at the corner of Church and Wellesley in Toronto. It felt that I was witnessing an earth-shattering, the-world-will-never-be-the-same-again moment and I wanted, needed, to articulate it for myself so that I didn’t lose it. I breathed and settled in my body and looked around: young well-dressed drag queen, lip-synching, wobbling. Crowd watching, music blaring. I waited. And waited and oh my goddess that was it! Not a single person was dancing.

I had to get away, clear my head…

We walked to the end of where Church Street was blocked off and just hung out for a while. Then we headed back up the street. We got closer to that stage and as we did we heard different disco music, a different drag queen. One with a loud voice, asking people where they were from. As people responded, she repeated it for the crowd.

Oh honey, you from Ohio? I could O-HI-O you anytime. MMMhhhmmm,” which was followed by a few words I cannot repeat in polite company.

The music was blaring and we stopped again at the edge of the crowd and as I looked around I could not see a single person was dancing. We moved through the crowd. Not a single, solitary person was tapping a finger or toe, or moving a body part in time or rhythm to the music. I could not attribute the lack of affect down to the age of people — there were former disco-era people in the crowd.

Once upon a time, put on any kind of music where a rhythm or beat could be discerned around us LGBTTQQISetc., people and there would be dancing: dancing on the spot, dancing of fingers or toes, head movements, legs and hips keeping time, or jumping, bumping, or full on body dancing in place or around the room. We danced! We danced in protest. We danced to get the emotional crap out of our bodies. We danced to meet and greet. We danced and danced and danced if only in our imaginations that linked to our toes in our shoes. Dance is part of our tribal heritage, our secret code, our language, our culture. (Unless of course you were of the .alt queer community that frowned on any sort of fun and frivolity, or the other .alt sort that was only LGBTQQISect when naked….)

What was happening here at the corner of Church and Wellesley?

An era has ended. A cultural group has changed its ways. The way of the world that I know is gone.

We’re mainstreamed. We’re just like everyone else in the eyes of the law and we’re being absorbed into everything else — a demographic group to market to, go to bed early on a school night, wonder who to ask to the prom, misbehave at the office party and now, NOW, thanks to legal acceptance, we are destined to dance only on special occasions: LGBTQQISect school club, soc hops, on hunting-for-love expeditions, boat cruises, weddings and Pride Day. We have now officially become exactly like straight people. We don’t dance to the music…

Don’t let that happen! If you are anywhere on the LGBTTQQISetc spectrum, the next time you hear music, even if it’s in front of a stage with novice and brave drag queens, for the Goddess’ sake, dance out loud!

logo

 

 

 

 

Posted in lesbian, Lesbian humor, LGBT | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts are not facts

298974_428030007271047_1159973409_n~

Once upon a time we used to believe that demons and evil spirits and hungry ghosts caused plagues, famines, floods, epilepsy, diseases, suffering and bad manners. We also believed in unicorns.

The scientific method opened doors to new knowledge and introduced us to the world of viruses and bacteria and weather patterns and alternate theories on what drives human behaviour. Not everyone is on board with the scientific method: it’s mainly the Western world steeped as it is in Greco-Christian-Judeo philosophies and beliefs. Still, it is a reasonable approach to distill testable flights of imagination, myths, legends and beliefs to assess what is fact, and what is fiction or fancy.

And yet regardless of factual, scientific evidence and regardless of law, there will always be people who believe what they think is the truth and is a solid fact, mo matter if it’s real or not: it is their thought, in their mind and that makes it a fact, a reality and a truth. Sometimes this is good. Like when engineers said there’s no way a 3D printer could be built for $100 and then a non-technical guy who said it could be done, went ahead and did it.

We’re beginning to understand some of the neurobiology behind how this works: habitual thoughts seem to create pathways in the brain, a kind of ‘neural rut’. As a result, when we run into situations that might be similar or even sniff of something similar, it triggers neuronal firings along the same old pathways, making the ruts even deeper and when those neurons fire, the body responds automatically and the same thoughts arise with the same reactions, often not positively: “I didn’t do anything wrong, it’s those other people!” or “It always happens this way!” or the ever-popular, “You always/you never ever!” or “lesbians hate men” or “I can’t ever do anything right!”

Some people hold their thoughts as irrefutable, solid facts, which tend to trigger  automatic behaviours and reactions which may or may not be to anyone’s benefit.  You know these people. They are Rob Ford supporters. They are placard-holding fundamentalists outside of women’s health clinics. They are white people from various Protestant sects preaching sanctioned hate and murder against black LGBT people in Africa. They are the people of intractable, ancient blood feuds in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. They are whites who hate blacks, blacks who hate whites, Asians who hate whites, whites who hate Asians, whites who hate whites, blacks who hate blacks, rich people who hate poor people, populists who hate socialists, liberals who hate conservatives, conservatives who hate everyone, atheists who hate religion, Christians who hate Jews, Jews who hate Muslims, Muslims who hate Jews, Burmese Buddhists who hate Burmese Muslims, Arabs who hate Westerners, Chinese who hate Japanese, Koreans who hate Japanese, Japanese who hate Caucasians, blondes who hate brunettes, drivers who hate cyclists, men who hate women, gay men who hate lesbians, lesbians who hate men, lesbians who hate women, women who hate women, people who hate children and dogs and cats and life and all sorts of people who go live by a motto of “my tribe is the best and only tribe”. The list could get very long.

These people, with deep ruts in their neural pathways and no inclination to change, are filling the airwaves, the papers and the internet news feeds. No surprise there: we are fascinated out of our mundane lives by the crazy goings-on of other people in the world, and our fascination is something that the business of media coverage has monetized.

Mainstream news is all about everything that is not common, not regular, not normal, not balanced. Mainstream media doesn’t sell product when things are working, when people get along, when no one is killed, when bombs aren’t going off, when the weather is good and peace is long and sustained. The news is based on everything that sniffs of conflict, strife, oddities, imbalances, stupidity and celebrity in all its forms including the notorious kind, such as when a populist Toronto mayor and his big brother — a city counsellor — are only too happy to show the world what rich, white, inarticulate bullies in their 40s look like and how they behave.

And so it is with that background of neurons firing and brain rut imagery, humans behaving badly and the media that I wish to share someone’s thought — stated as fact multiple times in the comments of this blog: “good straight men can’t find good straight women because good straight women are turning bi or lesbian … because some men must have treated these women badly.”

Oh  grrrr.  Because I try to avoid calling people names, I shall refer to him as Mr. American Commenter (MAC). Judging from his comments, MAC believes he should have access to any woman he wants and because that’s not happening, he’s blaming lesbians and the fact that a woman can be a lesbian as an impediment to his success in all things romantic. A woman saying no to him is because of lesbianism.

Perhaps MAC is just baiting me with his comments about how good straight men  like him (how ever ‘good’ is defined) can’t find good straight women because women are all turning into lesbians. If he isn’t baiting me it would seem he thinks that the only reason a woman is a lesbian or bisexual is because a woman can only be a lesbian because of a man. It suggests he thinks it’s not natural for a woman to love another woman.

MAC Newsflash #1: You’re gonna have to get used to the new facts. There are women who love women. There are women who love men and women. There are men who love men and women who love men and men who love women. In the middle of that, there are plenty of people who don’t know how to love anyone or don’t want to love anyone. This is the world we live in.

MAC Newsflash #2: If it is true that the impact of men behaving poorly or badly with women or abusing women in any way actually did turn women into lesbians, there would only be roughly 17,252 straight women left on the planet. The odds would never be in your favour.

MAC Newsflash #3: Thoughts are not facts.

We’re also learning that it takes a conscious effort to change how we react to our habitual thoughts. What we now now, is that it can happen. So I have some hope, if not for MAC, for the future. Hope for women to achieve equality to men in personhood and opportunity and law in all things including choosing whom to love. Sure it’ll take time — probably generations given what’s happening in Africa and Asia and Eastern Europe. But just as we got over learning that unicorns never existed, that not all germs are bad, that the war on drugs was stupid, that the body and mind are connected and that there are limits to what can be tested by the scientific method, people can get over thinking that women loving women is caused by anything other than women falling in love with each other, for all the reasons that two people fall in love with each other.

Posted in lesbian, women loving women | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The top four ways lesbians prevent straight guys from meeting women

on King Street West~~

There’s a belief that’s been around for a couple of thousand years that humans, in particular the males, are rational, logical beings. This ability to be rational and logical makes humans, especially the male, uniquely qualified to look at what’s going on, figure out cause and effect and provide rational explanations that the rest of us can use to make sense of the world. Thank Goddess that one of the (Western) world’s more recent religions, Scientism, is proving that belief wrong.

In fact there’s little about humans, including the human male, that’s logical or rational. I know this in my blood. I know this even as I have a heart filled with love and affection for my male friends, straight and gay. But even as I know this, I’m still surprised each and every time I get a comment on this blog from some guy who has noticed a causal relationship between lesbians and his ability to meet women. Why am I surprised you ask? These logical, rational men are insistent that lesbians are the reason there aren’t any women available to them. They say this as if women were flavours of gelati and somehow, the lesbian cabal has cornered the market on all available straight women, which means there are no women for straight men to have because as we all know, women are to be had.

Dudes! Want some beer with that whine?

It is so tempting to dig into the psychology of why any guy would think this, but I shall resist that temptation. And I am not going to get into how such thinking sets up a whole competitive dynamic between straight guys and lesbians that defies logic and sanity, not to mention that all too rare quality of common sense.

I can only guess why these guys think that it’s the fault of lesbians that they’re sans a girlfriend. Suffice it to say that there are people who find it necessary and natural to blame others rather than take responsibility and face the reality for what is or is not happening in their life. But I do feel for people who want to find love and can’t, even if I think that blaming other people or groups shows an emotional IQ deep in the negative integers.

With that feeling, let me start at the beginning. We humans — gay, straight, mixed or indifferent — often find it necessary to assign cause and effect even where none exists, or at least not where we can fathom it. Let’s imagine that there’s a grain of truth to what these guys believe, which is as follows: that the dearth of available women for straight men is a direct result of lesbians (and by association, lesbianism) taking all the women because as we all know, it’s those pesky lesbians who are stealing all the world’s women, who are directing the white slave trade here in North America and across the world, and implementing policies that are creating a shortage of women in China and Southeast Asia. Let’s add to that the other less evident circumstances under which a straight guy would experience a lack of available women that’s directly attributable to lesbians. Here are the top four:

1) these straight guys live in towns/cities/countries/continents/planets full of lesbians.

2) these straight guys are the sensitive type and women that they’re attracted to don’t want to hurt these sensitive guys’ feelers so they lie and say, “I’m a lesbian and am not interested in any man that way, but if I was, it would be you…” and not tell them outright that they aren’t interested.

3) these straight guys are actually magic talismans and any woman who interacts with them finds the veil of confusion lifted from her eyes to instantly realize that she’s a lesbian.

4) these straight guys are only and unconsciously interested in lesbians, thinking that they have some über power to ‘turn’ lesbians into straight women.

I could go on and poke fun at these comments and the commentators, but the truth is, they aren’t funny. It’s not just that these comments are unkind and blaming and illogical and homophobic. They are statements that reveal beliefs about the place and role and value of women according to some males of the human species. And might I say that these beliefs are not in the best interests of the personhood or well-being or potential self-actualization of any female, anywhere.

I get that dating is tough and that it’s hard to meet someone who fits with you. But blaming other people (or groups of people) is not going to transform any straight guy  into the kind of person that any woman would want to be around, let alone love for ever and ever til the sun explodes and we all go boom.

So I am going be as clear as I can in the language of consumption that some males of the human species might understand:

  • Lesbians are not to blame for you not finding any women.
  • Lesbians are not to blame for you running into the natural law of scarcity.
  • Lesbians are not stealing the affections of straight women away from you (but if you’re having trouble, you might consult a lesbian or two to get some pointers…)

Think of it like this: you know Italian gelato? The good kind? Well, the presence and acceptance of one popular flavour does not deny or preclude the availability or accessibility of the others. Got it? Good. Now get dressed in clean clothes, brush your teeth, have good manners, be fun and caring, smell sweet, have an open heart, great dance moves, be inscrutable and accessible, have a six-pack for abs and get back out there and as always, be nice and be you!

~~

cafe sign in Italy

Posted in lesbian, Lesbian humor, women loving women | Tagged , , | 13 Comments