View Full Version : Hi -- I'm "Ningmom," new here!
10-16-2008, 12:59 PM
Hi, Everyone! I'm so glad I found this site! I have heard of Soulforce and its program Equality Ride, so I finally looked it up. I'm a forty-something woman who graduated in the '80s from a conservative Christian College but moved away from that kind of spiritual outlook. I'm married and we have two sons. I have a sister who is a lesbian and another sister who is bi. Or maybe she's lesbian now. Not sure. And my last sister is straight and is a religious fundamentalist (Southern Baptist) -- and she is driving me crazy. I want to counteract HER actions, so I joined PFLAG and am becoming an activist for LGBT rights.
Also, I work at a college and I am now beginning to understand how students in their 20s begin to understand their sexuality. Some have known along that they're gay or another gender than the one they appear to be; others are just realizing it. I'd like to learn more about how to support them, too.
I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you! "Ning" is a word for "peace" and that's why "Ningmom" is my name on here. But my real name is Mary Anne; I don't care who knows that! :)
10-16-2008, 01:35 PM
More and more, medical science is finding that gender identity and sexual orientation are determined before birth. I don't know any LGBT person who says that it is a choice.
One of my favorite feminists is named Mary Anne, but that's a whole 'nother story.
We always appreciate straight allies, somehow they help us to be more believable with those who condemn gay people. It's as if they somehow know more about being gay than gay people do. :confused: Go figure. And PFLAG is another great asset to gay and straight people alike. :agree: . :tup:
Come back and post, and tell us more.
Peace and Love, Bruce Chris
10-16-2008, 05:23 PM
I'm so happy you found the site, ningmom. There are many of us here who can help you if you need more understanding and knowledge about LGBT.
I'm am trangender and a cross dresser. BruceChris is right in stating that being LGBT is something that's in-born. I came out only three years ago but the feelings of being different were with me all my life. Now I am content and happy:).
10-16-2008, 05:34 PM
Hello and welcome! We love allies. I only wish my brother would be half as supportive of me as you are of your sisters. I can only hope some day he learns that it really is not a choice. It sounds like you have some pretty good gay genes in your family!:lol: If it was not for people like you, straight allies, we would not be as far and understood as we are now. Thanks for joining our fight.
10-16-2008, 09:34 PM
First: welcome! If your college doesn't already have one, you might consider looking into a safezone training program (http://safezonefoundation.tripod.com/id27.html).
I half-accidentally volunteered myself to get one started at my new school, so I'm on a kick.
I'm always a little bit fascinated as to how allies come to decide to be allies; I look forward to seeing you around the forums.
10-16-2008, 09:44 PM
This forum is a wonderful place to be.
10-17-2008, 03:55 PM
I'm a student at an ultra conservative southern baptist school- Mississippi College. The Equality Riders are actually getting into town here this weekend, and I can't wait to meet them. Since I've become more vocal about my position as an ally on this campus, I've had a handful of closeted students come to me, and hearing their stories and they fear they have about being outed breaks my heart. I would love to talk with you sometime about your experience when you were in school. Views I have aren't exactly popular on this campus, especially not with the administration, and I'm sure you can identify with that.
anywho, welcome to the forums!
10-17-2008, 09:38 PM
Hi Ningmom, glad you found us! Thanks for your support, you sound like a caring and compassionate person who really wants to learn. You've come to the right place, you'll find great conversation and friends. I'm happy that you are here! :):love:
10-22-2008, 12:34 AM
Welcome! Glad to have you here!:rainbow::love:
10-30-2008, 11:27 AM
[QUOTE=BruceChris;61806]More and more, medical science is finding that gender identity and sexual orientation are determined before birth. I don't know any LGBT person who says that it is a choice.
Quoting BruceChris above...yes, and from what I have heard from straight college students over the past ten years, this is becoming normal, accepted fact to them, which is great! I rarely hear the word "lifestyle" or "choice" in discussions about sexuality anymore from people in the 18-22 age group, at least not with the frequency I heard those words ten years ago.
Did anyone read, about a year ago, the article about left-hand finger length in gay people contrasted with straight people? Fascinating. If anyone wants more info, I can dig for it and send a link.
10-30-2008, 11:51 AM
Hi again. Sorry if I end up quoting things wrong; I'm still trying to figure out the inner workings of forums (fora??) here. MCStudent said:
> I've had a handful of closeted students come to me, and hearing their >stories and they fear they have about being outed breaks my heart. I would >love to talk with you sometime about your experience when you were in >school. Views I have aren't exactly popular on this campus, especially not >with the administration, and I'm sure you can identify with that.
Oh, I could write a BOOK on that! I went to a college affiliated (at the time) with the Free Methodist Church. Do not mistake them for United Methodists -- at least SOME UMs are open, but rarely will you find a FM who is accepting of people who are LGBT/otherwise. (Unless it's that "hate the sin, but love the sinner" crap...those of you who grew up in conservative churches will know THAT phrase well....) To be honest, when I was in college, I was really confused about all of this. I was not an ally, at least not in the way I am now. I'd characterize my 20-year-old self at the time as "fascinated." I didn't have the repulsion that my fellow students had toward LGBT people, so maybe I was seen as "safe" by some students who did come out to me, or very nearly so. I finally decided that homosexuality wasn't a sin, but it was just a manifestation of some innate inability to fit in, an outward expression of some "differentness" that had no name, and the people who had it chose homosexuality as the vehicle to express that differentness. Yes, you can throw tomatoes at me -- go ahead. That was a huge leap for me at the time, going from "It's a sin" (a theory I couldn't quite ever embrace) to "It's this other thing but at least it's not a sin."
I am relating this honestly because I think it's important to understand that not all allies were always allies...and this is actually good news because it means that efforts like Equality Ride DO have an impact. If Equality Ride had come to MY campus in 1985...I would have been an ally about 20 years sooner than I was! Remember that in the '80s nobody talked about gay issues the way they are talked about now. The discussions were NOT THERE. At least not in my world. I look back now and am shocked at how naive I was, but then I can use that knowledge and be a kinder, gentler person with my own naively misinformed students today...because I understand where they're coming from. (Even though secretly I think they have no right to be so misinformed in this day and age.)
Here's the other thing. (And I realize I should probably jump over to some other forum for this post...it's way more than just a "Hello, My Name Is..." thing.) My family never talked about my oldest sister's..."thing." Her "problem." They NEVER. TALKED. ABOUT. IT. Can you imagine?! She dropped out of graduate school in Texas and moved back home amidst this heavy shroud of secrecy. I knew something horrible had happened -- I was 12. It was only a year ago, at age 40, that I confessed to her that I had been afraid that she had killed someone in Texas! Oh, not an axe murder or anything, but maybe she had accidentally run over a pedestrian with her car. I was pretty sure it was accidental because she was sweet and kind and would never hurt anyone intentionally. But in my 12-year-old mind, because no one would explain to me what this horrible awful thing was, I had to explain it to myself.
One of my favorite people who ever lived is Fred Rogers. Fred often said, "Whatever is mentionable, is manageable." People, when we do not TALK about things, people dream up all sorts of horrible things. When students at Oral Roberts University never see a gay person, they dream up a gay person -- and that gay person is going to look like a monster, a child predator, an evil person bent on destroying marriage as we know it...you know, all those lies that James Dobson and his ilk put out there. That is why Equality Ride and other forums for open dialog are so terribly important.
The other day at work, I was waiting in line in our dining hall and chatting with a colleague. I can't remember how we got on the topic but I mentioned something about Janet Reno. I said, "Not that I have anything personally against her," and my colleague (a guy, presumably straight), interjected, "Yeah, I think she's a great guy!" and I was just like, silent for a second and gave a weak little laugh. And I regret it...I didn't like what he said, but I should have said, "Ummm, that was...not cool." You know? I've thought about it every day. I wasn't a very good ally. But I learn every day what to do and what not to do.
Too much caffeine = chattiness. I'll rein it in here and take my responses off the air. :)
10-30-2008, 12:25 PM
I for one am enjoying your posts. Betcha someone else is, too. Don't worry about reining anything in.
10-30-2008, 06:03 PM
This lady writes some great stuff. :agree: Any way we can get her on the :dollar: payroll? :dollar:
And hey, the Love That Dare Not Speak It's Name now gets regular wedding announcements in the New York Times. Condolences for your self and your sister.
Namaste', Bruce Chris
10-30-2008, 09:40 PM
Hi Ningmom, I love your posts. They are very readable. And I LOVE that you are here and an ally. We all have our own processes and time frames, but you are here, you are compassion and love. And you are interesting to boot! :love:
I try to keep in mind 'it's their process too' in regards to some family who would prefer not to have anything to do with me. I haven't seen my father in over 8 months, because my stepmom can hardly stand to have me in her house. My wife is completely not welcome. I haven't seen my niece and nephew in probably going on 3 years now, because my wife and I are not welcome in my sister's home or around her children. I have an aunt who no longer talks to me (actually I refuse to talk to her because of the ugliness of her words to me), and I just recently ceased speaking with her uncle because of his condemning me to hell (for voting no on Prop 8). There are others. But I have more family and friends that support and love me no matter what. it doesn't make the hurt go away, but it certainly helps to keep it on a manageable level.
11-09-2008, 10:24 AM
Your journey sounds very similar to mine, except I'm 30, so people were talking about GLBT issues when I was in high school and college. I grew up in a very conservative evangelical personal culture (family, church, and I live in Texas).
I just never could wrap my mind around how being gay was a sin. Although I toed the party line during my staunchest bible-beating days, I just didn't "get" it. I wasn't very vocal about my stance, either. I felt really cruel to me, and I was very fascinated by this whole group of people that I didn't know much about but felt pressure to denounce.
I *never* felt that I belonged with my so-called brothers and sisters in Christ - or anywhere on the planet for that matter - but mostly with the so-called brethren. And, shame has always been a very personal and almost innate battle for me. As I began to learn about GLBT people...and the commonalities of these ...there was no way I could heap that kind of shit onto them. It's just too damn painful. (I'm sure that I've erred and done this...I work really hard not to...I hope to those I have, I'll have the opportunities for ammends)
Sometimes I wonder if it isn't terribly presumptuous of me to compare my own story to those of LGBT people. But, still, I hear the stories, and my heart aches, and it ins't just empathy....
Anyway, back to you, Mary Anne...nice to meet you :)
11-09-2008, 11:45 AM
Hi again. Sorry if I end up quoting things wrong; I'm still trying to figure out the inner workings of forums (fora??) here.
Don't worry about quotes and stuff, every once in awhile I have to have one of the Moderators fix my messes! Or, I have to ask my teen to help, I don't really know wich is worst!:lol::lol:
To be honest, when I was in college, I was really confused about all of this. I was not an ally, at least not in the way I am now. I'd characterize my 20-year-old self at the time as "fascinated." I didn't have the repulsion that my fellow students had toward LGBT people, so maybe I was seen as "safe" by some students who did come out to me, or very nearly so. I finally decided that homosexuality wasn't a sin, but it was just a manifestation of some innate inability to fit in, an outward expression of some "differentness" that had no name, and the people who had it chose homosexuality as the vehicle to express that differentness. Yes, you can throw tomatoes at me -- go ahead.
You are about my age, I am 39 this year. We grew up in a time that homosexaul persons were considered sick and deviant and also had our own DSM code in mental health. Case in point, that is one of the main reasons that I didn't come out sooner than say, mid30s even though I knew for sure in my early 20s what the heck was going on, it was just a matter of lables, BI or Lesbian?. My father certainly did not have anything pleasant to say about gays and my mother knew jack squat, so she could not support me even if I had come out earlier than the one statement I made to her about 16 of "Maybe I'm having trouble with guys because I'm gay, Mom". No heroes or positive roll models, how were we to know that were really normal? You can hardly expect someone who is straight to know much, and see us as not deviant if us gay people were all lost also. So, no tomatoes for you!:p
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