Tag Archive: religion

Kink-Aware Professionals

Even in the healthiest, most supportive, wonderful environments, kinky people are eventually going to have to interact with the medical community.  Some are going to need help from psychologists, psychiatrists, or life coaches.  Most of us (unless you happen to be one of those incredible people who knows how to do their own taxes and make deductions for your mortgage and whatnot) will need assistance from accountants and personal finance professionals.  Many will look for spiritual guidance.

Sometimes we like to think that these areas of our life remain delineated and separate from our kink lives.  And in many instances, it can be true.  But when your general physician asks you why you have what looks like rope burns on your arms and thighs or when you need to talk to a councilor about issues arising within your consensual D/s relationship, you realize that sometimes this very private area of your life has bled out into new territory.

There’s a lot of stigma that comes from that.  One of the strongest stereotypes about kinky individuals is that they have problems with physical or emotional abuse that leads them to this kind of behavior.  Of course this stereotype is unfounded, but if you find yourself meeting with a doctor of therapist who subscribes to this notion, you’re in for a lot of trouble from people who are meant to provide you support.   In faith communities, stigma abounds against people for all kinds of sexual practices, and you can quickly find yourself ostracized when you may need guidance and faith the most.

For situations like this and probably a million more that I can’t even think of, the Kink-Aware Professionals (KAP) directory exists.  I’m not trying to plug this directory for any kind of personal benefit.  I believe it is truly crucial that others know where to turn when they need professional advice or services without fear of being judged, stigmatized, or ostracized.  While I can’t vouch for their professional qualifications, the people listed in this directory are either familiar with or specialize in managing the everyday details of kinky people’s lives.  If you’re ever in a situation where you need to come to someone for help, I strongly suggest you look to these professionals as a first line of recourse.  Sometimes the parts of our lives we most want to keep separate can be the parts that require the most care from the rest of the world.


More Rainbow Lolz

Time to spread some laughs with our next installment of rainbow lolz- stumbled across this collection of biblical head-scratchers (meant to poke fun at people who use the bible to condemn homosexuals) while trolling the forums a few years back.  It still makes me laugh.

Why Can’t I Own A Canadian?

Focus on the Family

Every parent wants to raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child.  But sadly, finding out that their son or daughter is gay is rarely “part of the plan.”  When a teen comes out, their parents are generally taken by surprise, no matter how obvious it may have seemed.  They may feel overwhelmed or confused, asking , “How can a child that we have raised become something so alien to us?”  Accepting an LGBT identity dramatically changes the interaction between child and parent- suddenly, the child is the teacher, the one who has come to an understanding of a deep and complex idea without any prior knowledge from the parent.  And the parent is suddenly the student, trying to understand the new needs of their child.  Sadly, there are still households where coming out as LGBT is not acceptable religiously or morally, and worse yet, there are parents who are simply unwilling to learn about LGBT people and accept the role of student to their child.  This switching of roles does not, however, ALWAYS shatter a family dynamic.  In fact, in many ways, I feel that my coming out has brought my family closer.  And there are ways to make coming out and subsequent interactions easier and more beneficial for all family members.

Initially when I came out, my mother was worried, and with good reason.  The world was, and still is, often a hostile place for LGBT people.  I had a lot of Catholic friends whom she (and I) worried would reject me.  Although she accepted my orientation (and has a generally positive view of LGBT people in general), she urged me to stay closeted and never brought the subject up again.  At my request, she told my father, whose reaction was similar, but perhaps even more worried about the societal problems I would face become of sexuality.  Although I was initially relieved that my parents hadn’t been angry or upset, I knew in my heart that complacent acceptance was not what I was looking for from my parents.  I wanted them to better understand my sexuality- beyond just “Bianca likes girls and boys.”  They still clung the hope that I would “fall on the straight side of the equation” when I found a permanent partner.

So this is where my deep and abiding love of dialogue comes from: a lot of long, painful, sometimes tearful car rideswith my father, desperately trying to explain why I wouldn’t “grow out of being bi” and why his hopes for my marrying a man were hurtful, even though he only wanted the easiest life for me (one without the societal pressures of a lesbian relationship).  I can’t say we’re in a perfect place regarding that, but after 10+ months with my most amazing and supportive girlfriend, he is beginning to see that a relationship with a woman can be equally healthy and wonderful.  We’ve had several exchanges, but the most touching of which was an email I received telling me how happy he was to see me enjoying my time with Beth.

My parents have come a long way- my mum reads this blog as often as she can, which makes me infinitely happy, and my dad has reached out to Beth and her family in every way he is able to show his support.  Point being, there’s room for everyone, even the most accepting of parents, to learn more about you and your sexuality, if you’re willing to put yourself out there.

On the other side of the spectrum, though, I know many teens that are still closeted at home because of their family’s strong religious beliefs or simple blatant prejudice.  I don’t have much in the way of advice for you, sadly.  At the end of the day, you have to decide if sharing your true self with your parents and family members is worth the hurt and anger you may encounter.  I truly believe that any parent worth the air they breathe would still love their LGBT child, even if they are hurt, angry, confused, or conflicted.  But I have been proven wrong on this point.  And that’s a horrible reality to know.  For those of you living in situations where you fear the backlash of your family, from the deepest part of my heart, I apologize for your pain.  I invite you to search out people and organizations in your area who can help support you in your struggle.  It isn’t a fair one, but it need not be one you face alone.

PFLAG, as I have mentioned before, has chapters across the country and is the best support group I know for LGBT teens who need the love and acceptance of their parents’ generation- they can be a family in their own respect.

There are a lot of local organizations as well- Pittsburgh has a Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Grant Street and they hold youth nights every Friday night.  DC has everything from a Gay Jewish Shabbat service (Bet Mishpachah) to a Brazilian GLBT group.  ((The magazine Metro Weekly has an AMAZING listing of all the groups in DC))  And there are places like this in every city.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you.

I have always believed that family is who you let closest to you.   My girlfriend, my best friend George, my crazy neighbor Sarah, my 11th grade high school English teacher- these people are my family, even though they don’t share my blood.  They are there to support me, to listen to me, to share in my pain and my triumphs.  They are also the people who have accepted me unconditionally for the person I am and have embraced my sexuality as a part of my integral whole.  I hope that each and every one of you finds as good a family.

Let me preface by saying that Taoism has a dual nature- as both philosophy and religion.  Both reach their root back into ancient China.  However, much of the traditional “religious” teachings have become hopelessly outdated, and include ideas like conserving a man’s life essence by not ejaculating and attempting to have the woman orgasm 9 times in each session because it echoes the balance of the 9 lines in the I Ching.  These ideas don’t really make any sense to me as a modern woman.  HOWEVER, the supposedly “philosophical” teachings of Taoism- those of non-action, following the Tao, and being at peace with the rhythm of the universe which are found in the Tao Te Ching- still resonates strongly.  I consider these to be religious ideas, because they incorporate an eternal spirit (Tao) and a code of ethics.  So I’m kind of arguing that I have made peace with my sexuality through a religious philosophy.

For starters, if you don’t know what Taoism is, this is a brief rundown:

Taoists believe the existence of the Tao, a life force or energy that exists in and around everything in our world.  It creates a natural order, which when human beings listen to and cooperate with it, life is peaceful and good.  When we contradict the Tao, by disrupting nature or being disrespectful to the harmony of the world, we get problems like war, pollution, and hate.

Taoists try to follow this teaching:

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself.

The beautiful thing about philosophical Taoism is the simplicity of its “doctrine.”  Listen to the universe.  Listen to yourself, because the Tao resides in you and will guide you in the ways of the universe.  So when I “came out to myself” as bisexual (…and then later as pansexual, and again as queer), I didn’t face the struggle that many religious people do.  My religion puts a lot of faith in its followers- that they know who they are and what is best for them as a part of a greater whole in this world.  My sexuality has never hurt anyone.  It does not disrupt nature’s order for the world.

In fact, I would argue that my sexuality, through my relationships with others, is a very good thing religiously.  Even if I personally am following the Tao and have made peace with my sexuality, there are others out there with hate in their hearts, hate which interrupts the work of the Tao.  If they know me, if they speak to me, learn with me, then their anger might be abated and order slowly restored to their life and the universe as a whole.

In addition, the deep love that I feel for another actually nourishes my spiritual growth.  Through love, I learn to listen to my heart, to use it with respect.  I may be born with the innate ability to love and to care, yet only through practice can I uncover the depth of emotion, tap into the essence of connectedness, and begin to see the underlying patterns the Tao weaves.  Verse 34 of the Tao Te Ching states that the Tao is hidden in the hearts of all things; by connecting and using my heart to love others, I become closer to the Tao within myself.  And this kind of growth occurs no matter who you love- gay, straight, bi, pan, queer, questioning, the labels are irrelevant when you reach that core emotion.  My sexuality is only one version of many which feeds the source, the Tao.

In the end, I think all religions will agree that love triumphs over all.  Taoist would say that those who forget this essential teaching simply need to stop for a moment and listen to the spirit inside of them.  It will always tell you the harmonious way to live.

A wonderful reader sent me this article, by Rev. Mel White, co-founder of the Christian group, Soulforce, which is written in response to the hurtful sometimes even hateful messages LGBT people receive from the Christian community.  I am probably among the worst-versed in Christian theology, so I won’t even try to tackle this argument myself.  This article emphasizes many of the points I’ve heard before about the misinterpretation and misquotation of anti-LGBT verses in the bible.

Here’s a few highlights, although I highly suggest you read the article in its entirety.

  • The Bible is a product of the place and time where it was written (by the Apostles, the Jews of Israel before Christ, etc.), and thus must be taken in the context of its time and only looked to as an authority on its primary subject: faith

“The authors of the Bible are authorities in matters of faith. They can be trusted when they talk about God. But they should not be considered the final authorities on sexual orientation any more than they are the final authorities on space travel, gravity, or the Internet.”

  • There is an etymological discrepancy between the way modern American read some of the bible’s vocabulary and what it actually meant at the time.

“What about this word abomination that comes up in both passages? In Hebrew, “abominations” (TO’EBAH) are behaviors that people in a certain time and place consider tasteless or offensive. To the Jews an abomination was not a law, not something evil like rape or murder forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It was a common behavior by non-Jews that Jews thought was displeasing to God.”

  • Many of the passages used to condemn homosexuality are from the Old Testament, which is not the primary text in interpreting God’s will.

“Jesus and Paul both said the holiness code in Leviticus does not pertain to Christian believers.”

  • Above all else, the emphasis of the Christian faith is on love and acceptance.

A young Jewish scholar asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Quoting the prophets, Jesus replied, “The great commandment is this… to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

“This is my commandment,” Jesus said, “that you love one another, as I have loved you.” On this the Bible is explicitly clear. Even if we disagree about what the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, we can agree that above all else we are commanded by the Scriptures to love God and to love one another.

“Imagine the suffering that could be avoided if the church could say this to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children: “We don’t understand your views about sexual orientation, but we love and trust you. As long as you love God and seek God’s will in your life, you are welcome here.”

I’d like to sincerely thank the reader who sent me this and ask all of you what your thoughts are regarding Rev. White’s arguments.

Hey guys, this was submitted by one of our very insightful and intelligent readers, who has asked to remain anonymous.  If you’d like to submit something like this to our series, just let me know- but in the meantime, give this writer some love!

“Obviously you know that I’m bisexual (although I haven’t been attracted to anyone at all in a while. But that’s irrelevant. xD) I guess on the subject of that, I would be far more likely to enter a relationship with a man. In the past, however, I have been attracted to women in the same way I’ve felt attracted to men.

I was raised as an Episcopalian, which is a fairly liberal denomination. In fact, we do have a gay bishop; disregarding the fact that half the diocese broke away, our church is generally very open towards gay people and gay rights. In fact, I know of two openly gay people at our church.

However, I recently went through my typical “teenager questioning my religion” phase and discovered that I have a strong attraction towards Islam, for a variety of reasons.
The problem, however, is that Islam is traditionally very UN-accepting regarding homosexuality, and it is looked upon as a sinful practise. Multiple Qur’anic verses and Hadiths (aka Muhammed’s two cents) speak of this opinion. Which naturally poses a problem for one who is homosexual and Muslim.

There are some Muslims who believe that those who engage in homosexual acts are subject to physical punishment. I happen to follow the Hanafi school of thought, which is the most liberal branch of Sunni Islam; they do not believe homosexuality is cause for physical punishment.

However, the fact still remains that homosexuality is considered, haram, “forbidden,” and those who are gay have merely strayed from the path of Allah and find their inner strength to fight it, yadda yadda. The usual.

I’m at a point of conflict here. Obviously, I don’t like this attitude towards the gay community. The problem, however, lies in that I don’t know if it’s enough to turn me away from Islam. As far as religion goes, I’ve always been a person who believes that you can agree with some and disagree with some as long as the core principles are the same, but Islam is a very by-the-book religion. It’s very explicit with what is allowed and what is not allowed.

I suppose my problems are these:
1. I can live without alcohol, the tattoo I wanted, gambling, etc. Can I live with giving up the gay part of me, despite the fact that I am perfectly fine with a straight relationship?
2. Does the fact that as far as the sexuality spectrum goes, I’m more of a between-straight-and-bi-but-more-towards-bi lessen and/or discredit my predicament?
3. Should I give up on Islam because of this?

I obviously haven’t reconciled religion and sexuality yet, but I am in the process of seeking how to do so. But anyway, yes, that was a bit of personal insight on the matter. I hope it was a good enough contribution!”

I think one of the best things this writer did was to identify key questions- because in my opinion, identifying your core questions about a problem is 3/4 of the way to solving it.  What are your thoughts?

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