By Felice Newman, Somantic Coach & Sex Educator
Intimate relationships stir things up—for all of us. Whatever your history, being in an intimate relationship will call on you to look at yourself in new ways. For survivors of childhood sexual abuse or other sexual trauma, sex in the context of intimacy can be an opportunity to attend to the issues of the past and to deepen your own capacity for intimacy and sexual pleasure. It can also be scary.
You get into a relationship, everything's great…at first. But then all those old triggers, memories, and fears come bubbling up. It's not that there's anything wrong with the relationship (though you might jump to that conclusion). Your history is offering itself up for healing. Your job is to pay attention.
Many women and men are survivors of childhood sexual trauma. Since one in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before they reach adulthood, it's likely that you will someday be in a relationship with a survivor of childhood sexual trauma.
And it's not unusual for both partners in a couple to have experienced sexual trauma. Each may be in a very different stage of healing. Your partner's work may cause you to face events you'd never explored. Or your partner's healing process may cause you to revisit issues you thought you had resolved long ago.
For couples dealing with sexual trauma, Staci Haines offers the question: "How can we support each other in this healing process and also take care of our adult relationship?" In her DVD, Healing Sex, Haines outlines what she considers the key elements to taking care of your sexuality over a lifetime: self-pleasuring, discovery, and dedicating time to your sexuality inside your partnership.
While there may be times that partner sex takes a backseat to your healing, you are in a sexual relationship. Don't let the process of healing past abuse to rob you of that.
As a trauma survivor, the key is to continually to turn toward triggers rather than avoid them. Of course, in order to face the sources of your pain, you'll need to create a context of safety for yourself—support may come from a coach, therapist, group of friends or more formal network, as well as from your partner.
What exactly is a trigger? It's an automatic response to present-day stimulus that is caused by past trauma. Triggers can be experienced as emotions, like anger or sadness, and as physical sensations in the body. (For instance, this article may be pushing your buttons. Is your stomach tense? Are your shoulders tight? Do you feel an overwhelming urge to quit your browser? Want to toss your laptop across the room? Are you breathing?)
Turning toward triggers doesn't mean recreating or mimicking trauma. Putting yourself in harm's way will not toughen you up. Past trauma doesn't go away if you power your way through it. Though you may become desensitized to your own painful emotions, you'll also lose the sensations of pleasure and joy. That's not healing; in fact, that's a capsule description of how your body (quite intelligently) shut down to protect you from trauma in the first place.
Turning toward triggers means intentionally risking discomfort in order to stretch your capacity for sexual engagement. The point is not to avoid triggers, but to face them. This is how you can heal. Over time, you will be able to experience a wide range of sensations and feelings without needing to shut down. Sexually, this means you will be able to tolerate more and more pleasure.
What about partners? Partnering with someone in the midst of healing from sexual trauma is not easy. Your support and love really can help your partner heal. Just the fact of being loved, over time, with all of those triggers and all of that history, can be healing. Certainly, your steadfast presence can help your partner to learn how to trust. Most importantly, by taking care of yourself—including your sexual fullness—you can stand as a reminder to your partner that sexual wholeness is possible. On a bad day, that will go a long way toward encouraging your partner to hang in there.
Here are some suggestions for partners of trauma survivors:
Be authentic. That doesn't mean being selfish. It means that you remember who you are. What are your concerns? What are your aspirations?
Negotiate sexual frequency, sexual activities, affection, and nonsexual touch. Be proactive. While you may negotiate a time out from sex—for either of you—remember that your sexual heat is good. It's good to be sexual. It's good to want sex, to feel sexy, to get hot, to be turned on.
Masturbate. Keep that intimate connection with yourself vital.
Don't take it personally when your partner gets triggered. You didn't cause the trauma, and you didn't do anything "wrong." For survivors of sexual trauma, it is inevitable that triggers will arise during sex.
Don't shrink your shared sex life in order to avoid triggers. Keep gently expanding the comfort zone—for both of you.
Develop a trigger plan. Staci Haines' book Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma suggests survivors create a detailed, step-by-step plan for handling triggers during sex. You can create a similar plan for yourself. How do you want to handle triggers that come up for your partner? By listing your options ahead of time, you'll have more choice in responding to triggers that arise during sex. You can talk about it with your partner and come up with a joint strategy for maintaining your shared erotic life while respecting the need for safety—for both of you.
Don't be a martyr or a savior. You can't "save" your partner from the pain of healing by sacrificing your own well-being.
Get your own support, including touch. Along with friends, therapists, and discussion groups, support can include massages, bodywork, and hugs from friends.
Felice Newman is a sex educator and Somatic Coach certified by the Strozzi Institute. She has studied human sexuality through San Francisco Sex Information and the Body Electric School. She is the author of The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us (Cleis Press), and a founding co-publisher of Cleis Press.
Friday, February 27, 2009
By Felice Newman, Somantic Coach & Sex Educator
Monday, February 23, 2009
Did you catch the Oscars last night? If not, I am sure by now you have heard that "Milk" won Oscar Awards in the categories for "Best Actor (Sean Penn) and Best Original Screenplay. And although I didn't watch the entire Awards event, the one thing that stood out to me was screen writer Dustin Lance Black's award impassioned acceptance speech for "Milk."
In accepting the award for Best Original Screenplay, Black got both political and personal. He spoke about being raised in a Mormon home and learning about Harvey Milk when his family moved to California. "It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married..."
"I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am . . . ," he said. "But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures who have value. And that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you."
But Black wasn't the only one who was being political last night, even Sean Penn stepped up to the plate when accepting his award. "I think it's a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect on their great shame and their shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."
Thursday, February 19, 2009
With the tax season upon us, and many newly married LGBT couples filing taxes together for the first time, I thought that the Sacramento Bee's article called "Estate and tax issues complicated for gay, lesbian couples," might be something you want to take a look at before filling your taxes this year. The article doesn't just apply to married couples, it also has tips for Domestic Partner's, as well as information about Estate Planning. So if any of those subjects are something you may be interested in, check out the article below.
Personal Finance: Estate and tax issues complicated for gay, lesbian couples
by Claudia Buck
When it comes to love and money, it's never all hearts and flowers. And for same-sex couples, the financial issues are especially complex.
With the state Supreme Court taking up legal arguments next month on the validity of California's Proposition 8, same-sex couples are eyeing the outcome's ramifications on money and marriage.
Regardless of how the court's ruling affects the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed in California, financial experts say couples should be paying close attention to such issues as tax planning, health care, inheritance and child guardianship.
"The estate planning and legal issues are still going to be there. And they're the same as with any married couple, only far more complicated for same-gender couples," said Penny Brown, an estate planning attorney at McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento.
Here are some of the financial issues that same-sex couples need to consider:
To register or not?
Gay and lesbian couples may face a big debate on whether to sign up as registered domestic partners (RDP) with the California secretary of state's office.
Some choose not to for philosophical reasons. Others want the spousal rights that being registered can provide, including health benefits, hospital visitation privileges and other marriage rights covered under California's family laws. Without being registered, same-sex couples aren't entitled to many of those same rights.
Since 2000, more than 52,000 couples, mostly same-sex, have registered with the secretary of state's office by filing a notarized document and paying a $33 fee.
An Aerojet employee who asked that her name be withheld for workplace privacy reasons, said she and her partner of 28 years wrestled with the decision. Two years ago, they decided to sign an RDP agreement to "strengthen the legitimacy of our will and clearly give our relationship some legal standing as spouses."
Brown, the estate attorney, says same-sex couples need to consider financial, legal and emotional factors when contemplating an RDP. Is it necessary for employer benefits or property tax reasons? Does one partner have excessive debt that could become a shared responsibility? Are there privacy concerns?
Although names of domestic partners are not available online, the list is a public record available through the secretary of state's office.
Instead of an RDP, Brown said, some couples elect to draw up a private partnership agreement, similar to a marriage prenuptial agreement, that spells out how property, assets, parenting and other issues will be handled if one partner dies or the relationship dissolves.
Trudy Nearn, an estate planning attorney who works with gay and lesbian couples, said couples who don't set up an estate plan can leave their partners destitute, even with an RDP.
"If there is no will or trust, a partner's assets will go through probate and pass to the family – siblings, parents, etc. – but not the partner. If you're not registered or don't have a good estate plan, you could be left out in the cold financially."
Under federal law, same-sex couples are not entitled to spousal Social Security and other benefits if one partner retires or dies. That's why it's imperative that couples do separate retirement planning, said financial adviser Harper. She recommends, for instance, putting a pension benefit into a self-directed IRA so it can be left to a partner's named beneficiary.
The need for retirement planning is especially important in same-gender households where one partner works and one stays home with children. In some cases, it can be advantageous to have larger life insurance policies on the working spouse, said Harper.
Due to differences between state and federal tax laws, same-sex couples have more complicated tax-filing requirements.
Under 2007 changes to California's tax code, all same-sex couples who are RDPs must file their state income taxes jointly instead of separately. However, the IRS does not recognize same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships, so couples must file their federal taxes separately, as individuals.
That means same-sex couples file three income tax forms instead of two.
Having an RDP can provide distinct tax advantages, especially for same-sex couples with large income disparities, said Guy Crouch, a Sacramento CPA who specializes in tax advice for gay and lesbian couples.
For instance, if two partners own a home together, but one partner earns 80 percent of the income and the other 20 percent, federal law requires that their tax deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest be apportioned according to income.
But in California, as domestic partners, they would file a joint tax return and the deductions could be taken equally. A joint return also can generate tax savings, just as it typically does for married couples.
For same-gender couples, sorting through the various legal, financial and tax issues can be daunting but is essential. What you don't want to happen, notes financial adviser Harper, is to "disinherit the people you love because you didn't file the correct paperwork."
To ensure that your hearts and finances are in sync, seek out the expertise of a financial planner, tax attorney or CPA.
Penny Brown and Rebecca Harper, managing partner of Harper-Davis Financial in Sacramento, will host a free seminar on legal and estate planning issues for same-sex couples Thursday at the Crocker Art Museum. The event is full, but the museum has a waiting list. For more details, call (916) 808-7843.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
by Flash Silvermoon
The wild winds of March come rolling in like thunder as all that was barren and chaste through the winter seizes this moment to burst into new life. The Saturn/Uranus opposition that played the past against the future, old against the new, conservatism VS progressive thinking, is finally making a separation from our consciousness that we haven't seen since before Election Day. This may alleviate some of the pressure that we have all been feeling and may actually allow for better flow and movement in the world.
With so many planets in the Air sign Aquarius, we may continue to see more troubles in the air with more disasters with planes and tornadoes. On the positive side, we could see many new discoveries and a blossoming of progressive thought where problems that have long defied solution can actually resolve. Universal well being might even over ride greed as we change that paradigm due to enlightened self interest.
This all can sound so lovely, even though we are plunging deeper into recession, however, "necessity is the mother of invention" and there lies the potential for a greener and less corporate economy that will actually enhance the opportunities for the individual.
The Virgo Full moon on the 10th will lend an air of sobriety and temper the wild swirling vibe of the Aquarian planets, but not by a whole lot so do hold onto your hats and head and hope that these winds of change blow away only that which needs to be released.
ARIES (March 20 - April 20) Venus is in my sign now and the Big Chill is over. Truth be told I never really get too chilly unless someone tries to cramp my style. The quickest way to lose me is to contain me and my enthusiasm just shrivels, unless I want to be contained that is. I do tend to run hot rather than warm and if you need someone to always be considerate, you may want to find yourself a nice water sign as I may be too preoccupied for that.
TAURUS (April 21 - May 21) Oh Aries you are always afraid you are going to miss something or someone. For myself in all things I look for quality over quantity, although as Mae West says, "Too much of a good thing can be fabulous." Right now though I must settle for just maintaining, as my financial security needs are far from nailed down. My new style is leaning toward spare and simple.
GEMINI (May 22 - June 21) Well this Aquarian air is not exactly like my air but there is so much of it blowing around that it gives my need for variety a thrill. I am not ADHD or anything but I do so hate to be bored and with this jumble of energies in my jungle I can take flight on any warm wind that catches my whim.I'm even feeling sort of inspired to write my great novel or at least a poem or two.
CANCER (June 22 - July 22) My sacred waters are flowing but a bit choppier than I prefer. Oh let's face it, I mostly don't like to be disrupted at all except maybe in bed. I seem to have made some peace with the Plutonic Capricorn seriousness that is holding the rest of the world in its thrall. I'm thinking of all kinds of ways to make economizing fun like more pot lucks and more house parties. I just love that home grown type of entertaining.
LEO (July 23 - August 23) They say that opposites attract and Aquarius is my opposite, so I am letting her wild winds fan my flames and I am feeling positively fierce! Everything feels so fresh which is good because I am ready for a new challenge. The hunt is never a peak experience if it is too easy and I do like to be the hunter rather than the hunted. I have my gentle side too and I can be a real pussycat for the right woman.
VIRGO (August 24 - September 23) So glad that my Full Moon on the10th this month is not eclipsed. Goddess knows it's hard enough having Saturn trail me everywhere. it gets downright boring and so damn restrictive.If I were more perverse, which I am not, I would find this enigmatic process fascinating. I know that worry is negative prayer but at times I cannot help myself from sinking into the abyss of what ifs..
LIBRA (September 24 - October 23) The power of freedom and inspiration is filling my soul with a new found trust in the Universe. I love it when life starts to feel more Fair and this is enough to get me off of my fence long enough to actually do something about the injustices that I find intolerable. I actually can be most dynamic when I have a good partner or even a good buddy to share my enthusiasm.Whatever we do, my creative urges are really percolating.
SCORPIO (October 24 - November 22) With everyone so enlightened up, I don't feel like such a lone voice in the wilderness or that I am just too deep for anyone to even comprehend. Granted, sometimes I do revel in my self imposed isolation until someone notices my dark brooding nature and comes inside to share my boudoir. Ah yes let's have a good physical conversation of an ecstatic nature.
SAGITTARIUS (November 23 - December 21) I feel the wind beneath my wings and its not Bette Midler. I am so ready to grab my magic carpet or even a sturdy broom to take me away. I have been impersonating a damn Capricorn for too many months and my work ethic just isn't that heavy. It's taken an anti-gravitational device and some lead boots to keep me so grounded. Its actually been good to see if I could manage this interesting charade but the game is over and I want to bolt!
CAPRICORN (February 19 - March 19) Being a Capricorn can be its own reward, because we can get things done when no one else will and maybe when no one else wants to either. It's not that I am driven, although some might disagree. With Pluto in my sign, dwarf planet or not, I recognize that nothing is guaranteed and that we had best get our priorities in order so that we might, at the end of the day, feel that measure of accomplishment.
AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18) I am all about community and sharing universal truths, but it does not escape my notice that right now it actually is all about ME.
What with so many planets all crowded into my sign, I am not feeling my usual alien self and its almost scary to suddenly feel, dare I say, mainstream. My friend used to say,"If you are not living on the edge then you are taking up too much room." Those were words that I lived by and now the edge has moved.
PISCES (February 19 - March 19) My Bliss Wave is resembling a tsunami with Uranian energy zapping me from every direction. I kind of like the buzz and sometimes my lake is too placid. It just takes a little shift in attitude and activity. One should never float when you need to sail. This is also a really good time for my intellect and intuition to merge and create something fantastic. I can feel Mother Ocean welling up inside and the juices are flowing.
Until Next month remember to Raise the Vibe for the Tribe and make your own positive contribution to create a better world. -Blessings Flash Silvermoon
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I originally posted about LVK back in December, but for those of you who may have already forgotten the plot, I will do a quick synopsis.
The story follows two friends, Fletch and Jimmy, who decide to take a weekend holiday hiking. They find themselves in a remote Welsh village where they are forced by the menfolk to become sacrifices to a gang of lesbian vampires who have enslaved the town’s women all because of some ancient curse.
So, is it sad that after viewing the newest trailer for Lesbian Vampire Killers that I am a bit dissappointed that the film may not be as cheesy as I had originally was lead to believe? Well, what can you do...I just hope that at some point they finally release it in the US, until then, I hope you enjoy the latest teaser....
Monday, February 16, 2009
We are all familiar with the concept that sex sells, especially lesbian sex, but what if the product is vegetarianism?
Well, PETA seems to think so. Following their banned Super Bowl ad, animal rights activists PETA decided to not only push the limits of using sex to sell, but they are taking it to the streets, and I mean that literally.
PETA's "Girl-on -Girl Make-Out Tour" crossed the country last week helping to celebrate Valentine's Day and to further push their "Vegetarians Make Better Lovers," campaign.
The “Girl-on -Girl Make-Out Tour,” which was set up outdoors in various cities across the US, consisted of two scantily-clad young women on a blow-up mattresses making out and posing provocatively. (You can watch a video here.)
When asked the purpose of such a provocative campaign, Ashley Byrne of PETA stated, "This weekend is Valentine's Day, so it is a great time to get the point across that vegetarians have lower rates of impotence and this is also a great way to show off what a healthy vegetarian body looks like."
But it doesn't end there, PETA has created an entire website dedicated to sexy vegetarian women. The site, www.lettuceladies.com, comes complete with profiles of each of their lettuce ladies, including Elizabeth Berkley and Pamela Anderson, and links to various videos of Lettuce Lady events, including women's Tofu Westing and the Girl-on Girl Make-Out Tour.
So does anyone really believe that lesbian sex will sell vegetarianism? Are people really going to rush out and change their eating habits because they saw 2 - hot women making out on the street? Is PETA just using this campaign as an excuse to do what so many other commercialized corporations do, appeal to the heterosexual, male-dominated world that fantasizes about 2 women making out?
Comments? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Friday, February 13, 2009
This past Wednesday, after local activists sounded the alarm, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sent out an email alert warning that a Michigan TV station was planning to air an hour-long paid propaganda piece about the "radical homosexual agenda," created by AFA, a right-wing group.
Within one hour of HRC's email alert, the station announced they were pulling the program. So if some of you tried emailing the station and received a bounced back message, it was due to the station shutting down their email server because of the large number of emails they received from concerned citizens.
So if you ever wondered if your letters and emails can make a difference, here is the proof. But don't be fooled, although this is a great success, HRC wants us to remember that this was not a one time thing. The anti-LGBT American Family Association designed this program as a "one-hour national special." They have spared no expense in creating it, and they will not stop their campaign just because one station in Michigan refused to air it. So they are asking us to remain vigilant and email them if we notice "Speechless - Silencing Christians" anywhere in our local TV listings.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Human Rights Campaign Issued the following National Action Alert Against Misleading AFA Television Program On “Radical Homosexual Agenda”
HRC President Joe Solmonese: “At a time when America is striving to come together, the AFA continues to use LGBT Americans as a wedge issue to divide us from reaching our basic equality."
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today issued a national action alert against the American Family Association’s (AFA) one-hour television special called “Speechless: Silencing Christians,” which is promoted to “reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation and religious freedom.” The HRC alert urges members to contact the station and ask that they pull the scheduled program and instead air a fair discussion or debate on both the issues and pending legislation.
The paid one-hour program, which uses Washington, D.C. as a backdrop, is also the centerpiece of a new AFA website which includes the video, a slanted online survey and a plea for donations. The paid program is expected to air on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, MI this weekend, and may have already aired in smaller, regional markets. To view the action alert online, visit: www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/stopthespecial.
“Make no mistake. This is the opening salvo in a campaign designed to denigrate LGBT Americans and deny us our basic rights,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Just as our community is at a point where measures protecting millions of Americans heads to Congress and a willing President, the AFA unleashes 60 minutes of lies and distortions to scare voters. The AFA and its allies have never been 'speechless' when it comes to promoting their own agenda, and that's driving a wedge in the very places where LGBT Americans work, live and even pray.”
“It's telling that even the most basic forms of protection -- stopping violent crimes of hate or ensuring that people are judged not for who they are, but for their work -- lead the AFA to launch a national, paid campaign of hateful lies,” added Solmonese. “We welcome a debate on these issues and ask that WOOD-TV pull the program and instead devote it's Sunday program, 'To the Point' to a honest and fair discussion. Let's have a conversation that leads to understanding rather than paid advertising promoting lies and distortions about a single group of Americans.”
The AFA program is hosted by controversial talk show host Janet Parshall, who in 2006, suggested Matthew Shepard's lifestyle was responsible for his murder and called gay adoption “state-sanctioned child abuse.” (CNN’s Larry King Live, Jan. 17, 2006) In the new AFA program, the AFA and its allies purposely promote lies and distortions, including the following:
1. Lie: If hate crimes laws are passed, pastors will be prosecuted for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality.
Truth: Pastors will not be held liable for hate crimes based on preaching anti-gay sermons. The First Amendment protects a preacher from being charged as an accessory to a hate crime simply because of their speech. The Matthew Shepard Act only punishes violent crimes, not a person’s speech, beliefs or thoughts. In fact, the legislation contains language specifically protecting free speech.
2. Lie: Legislation that will provide employment protection based on sexual orientation or gender identity will force churches to hire homosexuals.
Truth: The federal legislation contains language exempting the vast majority of religious corporations, associations and educational institutions, and permits all religious organizations to condition employment on compliance with its significant tenets, including ones barring LGBT employees.
3. Lie: Homosexual acts have a key role to play in the spread of all STDs and HIV/AIDS.
Truth: HIV and STDs don’t distinguish by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic. Statements such as those made by the AFA in this video hamper efforts to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases by spreading ignorance and misinformation.
4. Lie: Allowing the government to redefine marriage hurts children because studies show children need a mother and father to do well in life.
Truth: All scientifically reputable studies on the subject of same-sex parenting show that the sexual orientation of a child’s parent does not affect a child. Furthermore, all leading children’s welfare and rights organizations conclude that there is no measurable difference between children raised by loving lesbian and gay families and those raised by different-sex couples.
The station, WOOD-TV, was set to air the program on Monday to coincide with the President's economic address, but pulled it after concerns from local activists. The AFA and local member churches immediately reacted and launched a campaign, leading to the station's announcement that it would air the program on Saturday, Feb. 14.
“Most lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have been raised in an organized religion — and many continue to cherish their faith community. But religion is a source of both solace and suffering for most of us. This video outrageously promotes spiritual violence against LGBT people,” said Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion & Faith Program. “Despite what the AFA claims, a growing number of mainstream denominations have endorsed hate crime legislation, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the Episcopal Church USA.” To learn more about the Religion & Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign visit: www.hrc.org/religion.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
DC Comics’ highest profile lesbian character, Batwoman, will take over Detective Comics with issue #854 in a story line written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by J. H. Williams. The new story line will feature Batwoman, who was re-introduced in the eleventh issue of DC’s 52 and is timed to coincide with Batman’s “death-induced” absence from his Detective Comics series.
Batwoman first showed up in the comic world in 1956, but was later killed off in 1979. Originally named "Kathy" Kane, Batwoman was first introduced as a love interest for Batman to help dispell the rumors of his homosexuality, which came about after the book "Seduction of the Innocent" in 1954. (A bit ironic that Batwoman's incarnation is now a lesbian.)
When the character was first re-introduced in 2006 for DC's 52, Vice Pesident and Executive Editor Dan DiDio explained "This is not just about having a gay character." "We're trying for overall diversity in the DC universe. We have strong African-American, Hispanic and Asian characters. We're trying to get a better cross-section of our readership and the world."
Although DC Comics says they will proceed cautiously and gauge reaction to the character’s appearance, the series is set to run for 12 months.
Monday, February 9, 2009
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, and all of your coupled lesbian friends making plans with their sweeties, I thought perhaps reading through the many lists of "Top reasons to be single on Valentine's Day," may be just what you need to get through this week...hmm, was there a touch of sarcasm in my typing???
This first top 10 list comes from www.cherrygrrl.com and is called "Fresh Ten Reasons to be Happy You’re Single"
10. You don’t have to fight for the remote. With such a massive amount of television shows to choose from these days, agreeing on which ones to watch and when can create daily arguments between you and the GF. When you’re single, there isn’t anyone there to make fun of you for watching those Saved by the Bell marathons you love, as often as you want.
9. Space. Lesbian couples tend to spend a lot of time together. You meet a girl, she becomes your girlfriend, and suddenly you find yourself living together and only separating when it’s time to go to work. Having the ability to spend time alone is definitely underrated.
8. The DJ on long car rides is you. Unless you and your significant other happen to enjoy all the same music, car rides - and what to listen to during them - can be another quick route to a fight.
7. You don’t have to answer the question, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” It’s a totally overused complaint against girlfriends but unfortunately it really does happen in households all over the world on a daily basis. Until every single girl realizes that, no matter what, the answer is going to be “No!” - only single people are safe.
6. Mind-reading is not a necessity. She may say nothing is wrong, but you just KNOW that something is definitely wrong. You have asked her what it is, you apologized for all sorts of things you didn’t do, you guessed at various things it might be, and yet you still have no clue why she’s mad. When you’re single, basic communication requires far less effort.
5. The bed is much larger. We hate to discount how nice it can be to have a lovely lady spend quality time in your bedroom, but there is a lot to be said for stretching out and taking up every inch of softness when all you want to do is sleep.
4. Admission for 1. Going to the movies, a bar, or a show can get really expensive when you are constantly paying double. In this economy especially, just paying for you can be a lot easier on the wallet.
3. You’re single. Picking up girls at lesbian bars is one of the best parts about being gay. You know right where to find them, they’re there to meet someone just like you, and no one is going to stand in your way. Go ahead, release your inner Shane.
2. No Hallmark holiday for you. As nice as the idea of a special day once a year dedicated to romance and love may sound, it’s really just one giant waste of money spent on cheesy cards, overpriced mediocre chocolate, and roses that last less than a week. And you don’t have to take part in any of it.
1. No drama. Relationships are drama. Lesbian relationships are drama on steroids. Embrace drama-free living - go it single.
This next list comes from Dr. Laura S. Brown, psychiatrist, and is called "Being Single on Valentine's Day:A Survival Guide"
1. Do not define yourself by your relationship status. Your relationship status is not your identity.
2. If you are single because of a recent loss, allow this to be a day of grieving. Do not pretend that it’s not a hard day. Get support and sympathy.
3. Realize that Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday. It is not about love and relationships; it is about selling flowers, candy, and diamond jewelry. Think of all the money you are saving.
4. Plan well in advance to do something that will not place you in the path of billing and cooing couples. Even if you usually like dining out alone, do something else on Valentine’s Day.
5. Get together with people who do love you -- friends, family members, the people who already have relationships with you.
6. If you are single and you don’t want to be, start now to think about what is in the way of you creating the relationship you want. Find ways to work on becoming the person your dream partner would fall in love with. Start therapy. Take up yoga. Begin to volunteer. Create art. Make meaning. Act to change the world. It is into the fullest lives that love is most likely to fall.
7. If you are single and you like it, now is the time to affirm your choice. People who never marry or partner have close, loving, emotionally intimate relationships and lives worth living. Do not let a couple-driven culture define your choice as something wrong.
This next one is from Marie Claire and is called "10 Great Things About Being Single on Valentine's Day - Did Cupid pass you by this year?"
1. It's a great excuse to get sloshed with your closest girlfriends. Not that we need an excuse.
2. You don't have to smile through gritted teeth when you get crotchless panties as a gift.
3. There's no better night to pick up guaranteed-singles at the bar.
4. You can see if you really can make it through the whole winter without shaving your legs.
5. You don't have to listen to anyone's "Valentine's Day is just a made-up commercial holiday, blah blah blah" speech.
6. It's the perfect day to blow your New Year's resolution to eat healthy by buying yourself a box of chocolates--Godiva, not supermarket-brand.
7. There's no better time to practice some self-love with a shopping spree at Babeland.
8. You're not spending it with that idiot you spent last Valentine's Day with.
9. It's perfectly acceptable to spend the day working late, eat Chinese take-out for dinner in your extra-large fleece pajamas, and not put out before you go to bed.
10. You can spend it with the hottest, funniest, and smartest person you know--you.
This one comes from Campus Life and is called "10 PERKS ABOUT BEING SINGLE ON VALENTINE'S DAY!"
- Not having to spend money on gifts.
- Not having to go crazy trying to find the right gift for that special person.
- Getting to have a girls or guys night out with your single friends.
- You can eat a whole box of candy yourself!
- Not having to buy a new outfit to go out in.
- Getting to stay at home and watch mushy movies while not having to make an excuse why because your other friends are out with their significant other.
- You can go on a shopping spree since you aren't going to spend money on somebody else.
- You can love everybody!
- You get to do whatever you want for dinner because you don't have anybody else to think about.
- You can have as many crushes as you want without feeling guilty about cheating!
Reason 1: Single vs. Relationship
Let’s get it over and talk about it, most people don’t like Valentine’s Day because they’re single. And it’s true, when your single Valentine’s Day can make you feel broken. As if there is something eternally wrong with you for not having true love on the day painted pink on the calendar. But if you’re in a relationship there is a can be an impeding sense of pressure as well. Valentine’s Day presents, the pressure causes a overwhelming sentiment that you’re future happiness rests on the selection of the perfect pink, red, or possible gold gift. And with the busy lives we all lead these days, who needs heart themed pressure?
Reason 2: St. Valentine?
There is a date on the calendar named after him signifying love and devotion, people propose and get married on this day of bliss, heck Hallmark and chocolate companies make a killing on this day; and nobody even knows who this St. Valentine dude is! “The history of Valentine’s Day – and its patron saint – is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.” For all we know, he was a criminal lover who stole the hearts of women, a Don Juan of his time.
Reason 3: The Gifts
Do you really need, or even want, another set of stuffed pink kissing dogs with hearts on their butts? I mean really, where are you going to put them? And a box of chocolates? That’s not going help you lose the 5 pounds you put on at Christmas. The mass marketing of cheep and pointless gifts to validate a sentiment of caring just seems ridiculous! If you love me, and want to do something nice, don’t buy me a monkey in chains that sings an Elvis Presley song. Cook me dinner and do the dishes, or take me to get my favorite desert, or rent that chick flick I really wanted to see and you know you’re going to hate. Do something because you want to, not because you have to. And please pass on the candy heart bouquet, sold for 10.99 at the local drug store!
Reason 4: The Cards
They don’t make an ‘I-don’t-know-if-we’re-meant-to-be-I’ve-only-known-you-a-week’ card. If they did, I might change my mind about Valentine’s Day. I would also like to request a ‘I’m-a-Stalker’ card and an ‘I’m-only-giving-this-because-I-want-something-in-return’ card, I think those would be huge sellers! According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines. (for more information check out infoplease.com). 25%! Just think of the trees we could save if we eliminated Valentines Day.
Reason 5: Chalk Hearts
You know what I’m referring too. The goofy little box of hearts that taste like sidewalk chalk with white confessions of love embossed on their florescent bodies. “Be Mine,” “I’m Yours,” “You’re Sweet,” and “Love.” Love? Do you really even like someone if you’re giving them chalk to eat? I would prefer an “It’s not you, it’s me” chalk heart, or a “We need to talk” heart. They seem more appropriate.
Reason 6: Cupid’s Creepy!
A small boy in a diaper flying around shooting people with arrows? This dose not make me want to snuggle, it’s just creepy! What’s next, an old man in a red suit sliding down chimneys… oh… wait… But seriously, the whole idea of some pudgy progeny of Aphrodite shooting arrows at my heart, with the intention of construing a long and lasting relationship, it’s a little frightening.
Reason 7: Roses Die
Is the shelling out of $49.95 for twelve fragrant sticks with (insert color here) petals, which will be dead in a week, and I will have to feel guilty over throwing away, really a sign of true love? Or should I take it as a showing of your feelings of our relationship, wilting and dieing quickly? Overpriced and overrated, need I say more?
Reason 8: Halloween is a way better holiday
It is. You can’t argue with a holiday that does not exclude any group of people, requires strangers to give you candy, and allows people to free their inner child and dress up! So, if we start requiring couples to dress in matching diapers and pass out chocolate to single people, I may change my mind on Valentine’s Day, until then…
Reason 9: Sappy love songs make me ill
The first few notes of “I Will Always Love You” can cause such an intense need to vomit that I find myself running for the nearest toilet while my skin starts to tingle and I break out in a rash. And who really wants to hear Celine Dion sing while Leo Decaprio sinks into the ocean? Kenny G will never be listed as one of my favorite artists, and I may be accused of having no soul, but sappy love songs make me ill.
Reason 10: Love should be every day, not just one day a year
I have no snarky comments for this, it is what it is. Love should be every day. Not celebrated because the creepy diaper man says it’s time. And that’s my whole point, Valentines Day really is a mass marketed collection of pointless gifts that you are going to look at in two weeks and wonder which corner of your room you can hide it in, or simply throw it away. So, if you’re going to celebrate Singles Awareness Day, please make a memory, don’t buy a pointless, pressure filled, going to the landfill present.
And the final one comes from Associated Content and is called, "5 Reasons Why It's Fab to Be Single on Valentine's Day"
Valentine's Day, Schmalentine's Day!
Valentine's Day is a day of love. A day for couples to go in public and announce to the world that they have "somebody." It's a day for single men and women across the globe to stay inside, watching television in their pajamas and feeling sorry for themselves. Why? Why is it so necessary to be involved with someone and to have a Valentine? The whole day is so contrived and fake that I would much rather not have a Valentine! Nothing screams "our relationship is in dire need of a boost" like celebrating Valentine's Day. It isn't a day of love; it is a day of "love." Most couples do things just to do things, instead of setting aside another day to celebrate and cherish their own special union. Why rejoice in something that the rest of the world is rejoicing in? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose? Love is not about social conformity; it is about unpredictability and irreplaceable memories. This is why there are five reasons to be happy as a single person on February 14th.
1. No Fake Smiles
Couples who go out on Valentine's Day often go overboard with their public displays of affection. They say mushy things and feed each other food and participate in tons of other nauseating gimmicks. This doesn't mean that they truly are in love and just can't help themselves. Sometimes, couples use these practices as a way to mask the problems in their relationship. Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday for couples who want to make it known to the world that they are taken but don't want the world to see the imperfections in their relationship. As a single, we can proudly and loudly smile and have nothing to hide because we truly are happy with ourselves! And even if singles want a special someone, they don't have to hide it from the world.
2. No Disappointment
With Valentine's Day comes presents. Not just presents though, presents that are insincere and artificial. Couples feel forced to get something for their significant other but because it is out of a social tradition instead of from the heart, people (especially women) get disappointed. On Valentine's Day, it's not the thought that counts. Every couple is out trying to prove that they are the happiest, the most loved, the most romantic and the most thoughtful. How can forcing yourself to buy your partner a present because society says so exemplify any of those things? Singles need not worry. We can buy ourselves anything we want and we know we'll love it! In fact, our singleness is the best gift we'll give ourselves on Valentine's Day!
3. No Need to Dress Up
Sure, every once in awhile it's nice to go out all glammed up but on Valentine's Day, it is a must if you are in a relationship. How can you possibly feel romantic if you don't beautiful? How can you prove that you are the hottest couple? Singles can stay home in their sweatpants, put on their old prom dress or even walk around naked if they want! Couples have an image to keep up and that distracts from the relationship. I'd much rather stay in my pj's and slippers than have to worry about which eye shadow to use to impress my partner.
4. No Need to Plan Anything
You can't celebrate Valentine's Day if you have nowhere to celebrate it, right? Well, most couples go to great lengths to plan something special, though the rest of the world has the same idea. Partners stress out that their lover will be disappointed or won't be romantic. Who cares?! Just appreciate your time together. Singles often feel lonely because they have nothing to plan but be glad! You have no one else to worry about pleasing and no matter what you do, you'll be in charge and completely enjoy yourself.
5. No Upsets. There are women who dream about being proposed to on Valentine's Day. This makes no sense to me because what is so special about saying "I love you" and proposing on the same day that everyone else says "I love you?" When these women don't get their proposal, they feel upset. They think that their man doesn't love them and it ruins their entire night. There is so much expectation involved that whether a woman gets proposed to or not, there will always be something that her partner did wrong. They didn't say the right thing, they didn't get the right gift, the list goes on. Singles, remember, crashing on the couch while watching a great movie requires no expectations. Embrace what you receive on Valentine's Day: whatever you choose!
Love is not just about romance. There is family love, friend love and pet love also. But Valentine's Day is essentially about romantic love. However, nothing about a socially constructed, cliched, unoriginal and forced holiday says "romance." Nothing about a predictable box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers proves a person's devotion. Those who really want to celebrate their love will go out on another night. They will show the world what it means to be the only couple in the room celebrating their bond. They will expect nothing, live unpredictably and hold nothing back. That is romance. As a couple, Valentine's Day couldn't be a worse holiday to commemorate love. As a single, Valentine's Day is just another movie night. Enjoy!
by Larry James relationship coach and author.
When you allow free-floating anxiety to permeate your relationship, you're basically giving it your "stamp of approval." Address the tough issues with straight talk and transparency.
Allow your partner to see and hear who you really are, because if you don't talk, your partner will most likely assume the worst and nothing will get better. Pretending everything is rosy when it's clearly not, will drive a wedge between you that is difficult to remove.
Find creative ways to communicate what is really on your mind. Infuse your relationship with lively and loving conversation. This is especially important when you really don't want to or you are afraid to because of past disagreement memories.
Silence is not golden. It's insulting to your partner and it erodes trust. If you feel the need to get something off your mind. Say it! Never candy-coat it or act like nothings wrong. Speak your words in the most loving way you can. The sooner the better.
What you permit. . . you promote!
Sameness does not promote relationship growth. If your relationship needs conversation, speak it. Scrutinize your relationship. Cut to the chase. Get down to the nitty-gritty. Inaction is a form of action however it usually gets you nowhere.
Is it time to re-think how you are being in the relationship? Is your relationship out-of-whack. . . or it is just you? Be honest.
If you need help, ask for it. If not. . . prove it.
Tonight at 11:00pm is the final cut-off time to get your nominations in for The Lezzy Awards. So if you have a favorite lesbian blog, be sure to go to TLL's website and get your nomination in before it is too late!
Click here for more info.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
If you do nothing else today, please take a minute and watch this heart-wrenching video, it will be well worth your time...
"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.
As I am sure you have all heard by now, Ken Starr, the prosecutor who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton, has filed a legal brief on behalf of the "Yes on 8" campaign that would forcibly divorce the 18,000 same-sex couples married in California before the passage of Prop 8.
When Starr's legal brief went public in December, the Courage Campaign launched their "Don't Divorce my Family" campaign, asking their members to send in pictures with a simple message for Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund. This video was inspired by the heartfelt pictures and messages they received.
After watching the video, please take a moment and add your name to the Courage Campaign's letter asking the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr's case, and allow loving, committed couples to marry.
And please share this video with friends and family, the more people see it, the more they will understand the pain caused by Prop 8 and their hateful legal proceedings.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The Lesbian Lifestyle (TLL) has just announced that nominations for their annual "Lesbian Blog of the Year" Awards, otherwise known as "The Lezzys," have just begun.
TLL is a lesbian blog that was created in 2004 and is comprised of over 250 lesbian authors who post stories on a monthly basis. The Lezzys are their way of highlighting the best of the best of lesbian blogs.
Nominations began on Feb 2nd and will go until February 9th. Voting begins on Wednesday, February 11th and will end on February 18th.
This year's catagories are:
- Best Lesbian Culture/Entertainment Blog
- Best Lesbian Humor Blog
- Best Lesbian Parenting/Wedding Blog
- Best Lesbian Feminism/Political Blog
- Best Lesbian Personal Blog
- Best Lesbian 50 and over Blog
- Best Gender Bender Blog
- Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog
- Best Overall Lesbian Blog of the Year
The Lezzy Rules
- The nominated blogs must be written by a lesbian or contributed to by a lesbian.
- The nominated blogs must be current and new content must be continually published.
- A blog may be nominated, and may win in more than one of the 9 categories.
- Blogs that have won in previous years may win again.
- Vote totals are subject to periodic correction for identified cheating.
- In the event of identified cheating, the decisions of TLL’s Managing Editor as to the manner of correction is final.
- Everyone will be allowed to make 1 nomination in each of the 9 categories within a revolving 24 hour period. Everyone will be allowed 1 vote per category within a revolving 24 hour period. We will be tracking the nominations and votes via email addresses.
- Using throw-away email services is prohibited. The nominations and voting submissions will be reviewed for these sort of emails.
- TLL’s Managing Editor has the right to disqualify a blog from any category if it is determined that said blog blatantly does not fit into said category.
How the nominations work: The nomination system will allow you to nominate 1 blog per category. You will be able to nominate your favorite blogs once every 24 hours. You will nominate the blogs of your choice by adding the URL of the blog to the nomination field. Nominations will last from February 2-9 and will be tallied on February 10th. The top 3 nominated blogs will then go on to the final voting round.
How voting works: As with nominations you will be allowed 1 vote per category within a 24 hour period. This is being tracked by email accounts so that more than one person can vote from the same computer/IP address. Voting will go from February 11-18. Votes will be tallied and the winners of all 9 categories will be announced on Monday February 23rd.
And hey, if you would like to nominate my blog for one of the catagories, I will be thrilled!
Click here to vote for your favorite lesbian blogs.
Click here for more details from the TLL website.
The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009 in the Proposition 8 legal challenge.
On November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenges to Proposition 8 and set an expedited schedule. Briefing in the case was completed on January 21, 2009.
The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.
On January 15, 2009, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Court to invalidate Prop 8 were filed, arguing that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California ’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote.
The supporters represent the full gamut of California ’s and the nation’s civil rights organizations and legal scholars, as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups.
In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians.
Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare majority of 52 percent on November 4.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU filed this challenge on November 5, representing Equality California, whose members include many same-sex couples who married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, and six same-sex couples who want to marry in California . The California Supreme Court has also agreed to hear two other challenges filed on the same day: one filed by the City and County of San Francisco (joined by Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles, and subsequently by Los Angeles County and other local governments); and another filed by a private attorney.
Serving as co-counsel on the case with NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU are the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047). Click here for more information.
Source: Equality California
Monday, February 2, 2009
Fountaingrove Lodge, the first licensed LGBTQ Senior Care Community in California, is ready to be built in Santa Rosa, but it is being fought by the neighborhood association at the Santa Rosa City Council meeting THIS Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009.
We need the City Council to understand how strong the Bay Area's support for the Lodge is, and that will be demonstrated by the sheer numbers that turn out in support.
Please join us:
February 3, 2009 at 3:30PM (Please stop by after work if you're unable to arrive this early!)Santa Rosa City Hall , 90 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA
Questions? Call Wes Winter, who has been with the Lodge through this whole process & is a great resource: 707.576.1101.
Visit www.fountaingrovelodge.com for more info about the Lodge.