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Beyond LGBTI+

I’ve often written about the limitations of our sexuality and gender labelling and encouraged people to examine the the fluidity of it all. Of course, labelling is needed in terms of finding others who understand our particular needs and preferences, but we get stuck there, to our own detriment.

As the various scientific disciplines explore sexuality and gender, it’s becoming clearer that every single person on the planet is actually on a continuum of various sexuality and gender factors. And people are discovering that it’s possible to move along these different continua throughout our lives!

I just read an interesting article how women, in particular, are discovering same sex attraction in their late 30 and 40s, even though they have been happily “straight” up until then!

We are discovering so much about the biology of gender that almost every other day there’s more understanding of the nuances of our genetics and the chemistry that surrounds it. Nothing is as it used to be understood. The idea of “binary” gender is no longer valid.

Being a chronic idealist and dreamer, I long for us to embrace this as a species. I imagine a world where there really are no assumptions, no boundaries or expectations around any aspect of this core part of our being.

The only factor that needs any consideration in how we live this in a practical way is the birth and nurture of children. A womb is the only place a child can gestate, and a stable loving environment is the only place a child can grow.

I feel my goals and activities are shifting to enable this to become real. I need to put my money where my mouth is, as it were.

I’m actively looking at ways to educate/enlighten, and build communities based solely on unconditional love and support. I ache for a world beyond labels, where everyone is simply their unique selves.

I’ve found that most people, especially LGBTI+, long for the same thing, but regard it as nothing more than unachievable dream, and a waste of effort. But if no one even attempts this, how will we ever know?

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The problem with triggers

Yesterday the Auckland Pride Festival board announced the Police will not be allowed to march in the parade in uniform, and if they wish to participate it must be in t-shirts or fancy dress.

The backlash was swift and brutal and continues to grow with calls for a boycott of the parade.

There are issues of internal politics and how the wishes of a tiny minority can hold the rest to ransom. But that isn’t the crux of the matter.

It comes down to trying to help people who are “triggered” by things that cause mental distress. For some LGBT people, the presence of police causes this because they have had extremely traumatic experiences with police abuse. It makes total sense, and my heart goes out to these people. We are all very familiar with instances of abuse by a tiny minority of “bad cops”.

But here’s my take…

I get triggered by religious stuff – seriously! When I see a cross I can feel a churning and anxiety inside, and it always throws up memories of my experiences in church and conversion therapy. When I see religious organisations marching in the Pride parade, I get the same reaction, even if they are in t-shirts and are obviously loving genuine LGBT inclusive organisations! If I had my way and followed my gut feelings I would try to get them banned from marching.

But I recognise that the whole problem is mine. I’m the one getting triggered by my experiences. It’s my responsibility to face the issue and take full responsibility for it and be brave enough to work through my problems – NOT project them on to other people and demand they “disappear” so I can feel comfortable.

So, going back to the parade, the reactions of the vast majority of people is that the police are 100% supportive and work hard to protect us. Sure, we all get that twinge of anxiety when we see a cop in the rear view mirror, or walking towards us on the street, but that’s something we all recognise and dismiss as our own problem. If we discriminate against the police because a handful of people are basically projecting their fears onto to the rest of us we are not doing anyone a favour.

I daily face my triggers, but never do I demand that people stop doing something because it triggers me – and of course, this has nothing to do with abuse in any form, which I will address in no uncertain terms!

So to all you beautiful LGBT folks who are genuinely triggered and don’t feel safe seeing police in uniform – I get it! I really do! I genuinely feel compassion and empathy for you and support you 100%. But that support is towards your healing and growth into personal wholeness. I won’t actively trigger you, but neither will I shelter you from triggers, because avoiding them will never, ever bring the peace we crave.

It’s time to “get real”, and that can be bloody hard. It can hurt and cause distress, but in the end we have to face it. For me, no matter how much I get triggered by my own abuse issues, I refuse to demand others change to pander to my problems. I will speak out against religious abuse, I will present alternatives to the prison of religion, but I have no right to expect religious organisations to conform to my expectations.

We are one glorious species of amazingly complex creatures. Let’s work together, recognising that rejecting others because of our own fears builds division – not unity.

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Religious freedom?

The big debate is currently around people having the rights to exercise their religious beliefs – freedom of speech basically. But the real issue isn’t our rights to exercise our faith so much as questioning the veracity of those beliefs in the first place.

Let’s face it, if I was a Satanist wanting to introduce religious education into schools and petitioning government to make live animal sacrifices legal…. well we all know how well that would go. “But it’s not the same thing!!” we cry “everyone knows Satanism is wrong and evil”. Really? Technically, it’s a religion, and has the same legal rights as any other religion. So why shouldn’t they be free to exercise their “firmly held religious convictions” and be free to openly discriminate against Christians?

The questions we should all be asking are around the belief systems themselves. We should be looking at why any religion discriminates against another human for any reason. We need to dig deep into religious culture and question the veracity of every belief and how they affect our society. We have to have the guts to challenge beliefs that damage and divide – beliefs that create pain, suffering and abuse. To ignore these questions and blithely grant the status of “religious freedom” to Christianity (or any other religion) is to be complicit in the damage caused!

So lets have the guts to be honest and upfront. Let’s challenge those beliefs and expose them for what they are instead of wasting time around people’s rights to express them.

In saying that, I’m not calling for some Christian hate campaign. On the contrary – we’ll never get anywhere by simply fighting and discriminating against religious beliefs. The key – as always and in all things – is love, patience and empathy. That’s not the same as tolerating a destructive belief – it’s standing up to them with facts, reason and patience. If we mock and belittle those beliefs we create bigger barriers and lose any hope of speaking truth.

It’s a narrow road we walk when trying to simultaneously bring truth and love to humanity. We must be strong enough to say no, but also compassionate enough to bring understanding and break the walls instead of making them bigger. Our common humanity, love and compassion for ALL must come before, and/or be the basis of, any religious beliefs. If not, those beliefs should not get any freedom of expression to the rest of the world. Believe them of you want, just don’t expect to have any rights to inflict them on others.

We can do it – if we are prepared to cut to the real issues with bravery and compassion.

Live loved!