Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Household Guns as a Risk Factor for Domestic Violence and Suicide

If it isn't obvious from other posts, Quiet Song now discloses that she works a lot with individuals on their personal and familial safety issues and the aftermath of safety failures and other unfortunate occurences. And, probably equally as evident, Quiet Song has high requirements of persons she helps in that she requires them to move towards personal accountability in their decision making process. This is especially true of the women she helps, but she sometimes has to sort through these matters with men as well.

If persons wish to dramatically reduce their own or loved ones risk for death or injury due to domestic violence or suicide, they will remove the firearms from their home. It's that simple. Choose accountability. And do it now. No legislation or gun control needed.

For a fact sheet on guns in the home produced by the Brady Center click here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Gun for Hire-Female Bodyguards

One of the true oddities of statements I read online and hear out in the real world is the rather archaic (to my seventies era feminist leaning bent) notion that vocational interests somehow have much to do with one's sexual orientation or gender identification.

It still sticks in my craw.

"We" fought so hard and endured so much to open those doors to women in occupations they hadn't been in before. I'm in my fourth male dominated profession and happily this one has not involved the kind of trail blazing the first three required. No litigation, no consent decrees, no sabotage in the backroom, on the job site, or the boardroom. Nice.

Sorry, but I refuse to buy in that somehow the fact that a guy who likes to sing, make music and not play sports should automatically tip someone off that the guy is gay. Or that women who work closely with other women in a traditionally non-female occupation are automatically thought to be lesbian.

I rather enjoyed discovering that the demand for female bodyguards is increasing world wide and that the field is now dramatically opening up for women to pursue as a career and this post about two in the UK was quite charming and reflective of many challenging jobs women now hold that they couldn't in the past.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Marrwiage, Marrwiage, Marrwiage . . .

Quiet Song discovered the interesting but rather two dimensional debate about the recent civil marriage policy petition over at Mormon Matters belatedly. In a moment of personal retrospection, she wishes she had eloped, and, then, later, when actually making the decision to be sealed, had opted for an even smaller sealing session. It would have been just as meaniningful on both occassions. This would have, of course, cut out Drama Mama (I think she was there), but in the end she really cared less anyway. Other Non-LDS family members have chosen to elope or to have very small ceremonies and no one complained . . . .

On the other hand, one of Quiet Song's children married civilly this year and Quiet Song was amazed at how happy the kids were with their party. But, she also knew what they missed out in terms of the character and promise of a temple sealing. Quiet Song thinks that there is a vast gulf between the civil marriage party and the sacred ordinance of a temple sealing and wonders if the attempt to meld the two vastly different celebrations is inherently bound to be jarring just by their very natures.

Officiating at a marriage is the one priesthood function that Quiet Song wishes she could perform. However, since she will never serve as a temple sealer or a bishop, and would not want the calling of the latter anyway, that would leave other paths to becoming an officiant the only options. Quiet Song has friends who are ordained ministers through various internet entities but would not choose that route either. This leaves the options of becoming a sitting superior or appellate court judge or moving to a state where notaries perform civil ceremonies.

As a result, for the time being, Quiet Song will simply have to be content with assisting the heartbroken, angry, bitter and hateful with ending their legally binding intimate relationships with as much grace and dignity as possible.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

LGBT Intimate Partner Violence

As, I mentioned yesterday, I'm watching the journey of another family dealing with their LGBT daughter. Their child's partner is extremely controlling which is also complicating and burdening the entire family system in coping with their child's coming out. Their daughter also lives with a mild cognitive disability and they fear seduction and or exploitation into the "gay lifestyle" away from the church and by extension (to their way of thinking) away from them by the partner.

No right thinking parent wants their child involved in an abusive partnership be it straight or LGBT, but LGBT intimate partner abuse and violence is further complicated by political gamesmanship over the issue,stereotyping by the media, and a lack of awareness of the scope of the problem among the LGBT community and the overculture at large.

Every year The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs produces a report on Domestic Violence in the LGBT community. The recently released 2008 report includes survivor narratives plus agency narratives regarding eight fatalities among other important facts and analysis.

One of the hardest aspects of coming to grips with Intimate Partner Violence in the LGBT community is the fact of the existence of woman on woman violence. This even extends as far as to rape and these issues have been known for sometime. While most parents and schools try to give their daughters some preparation for dealing with a male perpetrator, little attention is paid to the situation of female same sex rape because it is so geared to existing intimate partner relationships. Jane Lowers article on rape within the lesbian community documents the problem.

Culturally, we have a very difficult time embracing the political incorrectness of the facts regarding woman generated domestic violence. We would much rather focus on the high profile missing wife case, because it feeds our view of the dominant, menacing male. For women who formed a lesbian identity based on egalitarian notions of finding greater equality among a female dominated community and fleeing the patriarchy and its perceived ingrained patterns of abuse to becoming a victim of intimate partner violence is a violation on many fronts. Alan Dershowitz has written very critically of the current societal blind eye towards women perpetrators who murder their husbands and the fact that women are equal opportunity murderers of their partners in opposite sex relationships.

Bringing this back to my struggling friends who are trying to process the issues surrounding their daughter's coming out and her relationship, I would encourage them to become informed of the issues of LGBT Intimate Partner Violence in a healthy and appropriate way. Healthy and appropriate would preclude the use of the existence of LGBT Intimate Partner Violence as a weapon or a reason not to make the choice of being partnered. Instead, I would suggest a careful, loving discussion about the concerns they have about the controlling behavior they have seen in their daughter's partner. And, instead of distancing themselves or cutting their daughter off, they actually need to seek ways to keep the channels of communication open and the door to their home and hearts open should their daughter need to return. And, while still welcoming the new partner as a part of their family.

All of which is easier said than done in any in law relationship regardless of whether a child's relationship is LGBT or straight. Add in the internal conflicts created in all parties due to membership in the church and the scene is fully set for great familial and personal chaos in trying to work through the process. And, in this case where there are cognitive problems and the daughter is living with a disbility the concerns of the parents should not be diminished.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Will You Be Ready or Would You Be Filled With Regret?

It wasn't easy to deal with a child's questioning and or coming out and many LDS families struggle mightily to find their own path when dealing with an LGBT child. I'm watching this unfold in another family at the moment, and, while I wish I could help, I'm not sure I can. If called upon for my thoughts, in addition to doing the best I can to let them know I understand what they are going through, and, that to a lesser degree I understand a little something about the experience of their LGBT child, perhaps I would pose a few questions to the parents and siblings in this family as follows:

If the Church suddenly did change its position on matters of sexual orientation, gender and gay marriage, would you be ready or would you be filled with regret? Bear with me and let's not sidetrack into the obvious arguments and comparisons that could be made with other policy and doctrinal elements of the LDS Church and stay with the exercise at hand.

Would your child know that you unconditionally loved him or her?

Would your child's LGBT loved ones know they are welcome in your family?

Would your child's testimony be intact?

If your sibling or child's testimony was no longer intact, could you be partially or fully to blame?

Would you regret things that you said or did in the past regarding your loved one's sexual orientation or gender identification?

Would you still be able to follow the prophet and the quorum of the twelve or would you feel so entrenched in your previous beliefs that you would desire to leave the church?

Would you be able to rejoice with your sibling or child and his or her partner at the new opportunities for spiritual progression now open to them?

May we all fill our lamps with the light of Christ this holiday season and seek to conduct ourselves in such a way that regardless of where this journey takes us all that we may do so with love, faith, and testimony of a living Christ and his love for all of us.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Please bring Snow . . . Merry Christmas

Quiet Song has a little obsession with antique tractors and old trucks. Actually any old "iron" works for me. So from me to you a Merry Christmas. To the year 2010, more pouring of hot metal and, hopefully, my first participation in a tractor parade!

We are having a wonderful Christmas this year and that is a joy after many, many not so easy Christmas Seasons. The cookies are made, the turkey is dethawed in the fridge, shopping is 95% complete and we are doing a Chocolate tasting tonight Mormon Style (i.e. apple cider, cherry cider and my own 2009 stock of home canned concord grape juice from the backyard). A little more snow would make things picture perfect!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise, that is the Question

So, I'm going to be a grandparent soon. And, the issue of circumcision has crossed my mind. I'm personally firmly in the anti-cirumcision camp. It's one of my more obvious "granola" opinion markers. Being female, I could never support female circumcision, and, given that male circumcision is also thought to decrease male sexual pleasure, it also strikes me as a sexually unethical thing to do to another person in spite of the small protection it may give against the transmission of AIDS. Even so, wouldn't it be better if that decision was left up to an adult male to make? I think the AIDS argument for infant circumsion is rather specious.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Lesbians Next Door

Some years ago, two women and various children moved in next door to our family, and, after hearing them have a loud and rather "coupled" sounding argument, I concluded they were lesbians. A couple of days later I had a conversation with them and one asked me if I was Mormon. I was surprised but she had seen enough in a short period of time lving next door (family heading off to church, kids to seminary, etc.), where she was certain that we were. She then mentioned that she, too, was LDS. I told her when Church was and invited her to attend. She declined the invitation and indicated that she hadn't been in sometime following an awful divorce and didn't plan on going any time soon.

I remember telling my Bishop about my new neighbors and letting him know that I thought they were lesbians. To which he rather testily told me that I didn't know that, that they could just be sharing expenses. As it turned out, both women became friends and after the LDS sister reactivated and married one of the local single guys from the ward, I finally told her and she laughed and laughed, although she admitted that other people had concluded the same thing. Bishop was right and I was wrong.

As I've thought about this over the years, I've decided that this is a profound case of my laying my own bias, experience and preference issues over a situaiton to come to a conclusion that I really had no facts to support. As a practical matter, nothing was different in terms of our family's dealing with our supposed "part member lesbian couple" next door, but I made some assumptions that I think were more based on my own same sex attraction experiences than on any other credible evidence.

Therefore, I have had to acknowledge over the years that people as unique individuals often do perceive the same things differently. Until recently when I had to confront the issue more directly, I had always thought that most if not all people had some same sex attraction. I suppose this is why I never found my own experience troubling. If everyone really is bisexual, what is the big deal? But, as I am now finding out, the overwhelming majority of people claim not to experience sexuality the way I do.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Blame Game

My hiatus lasted all of a week and the end began with my deciding to try to attend a moho "gathering."

Yesterday, I was trying to shoehorn a church activity into my life at the last minute. Thoughts of the parable of the ten virgins and the story of Noah's ark crossed my mind. I missed the boat and it sailed without me.

As I faced the reality that this activity would go forward without me, I briefly mentally played the blame game:

1) "They" should have made extra efforts to help poor "me."

2) Don't "they" know "I" am different and need extra accomodations.

3) This activity is really not geared to people like "me."

4) If only ________ were different, then "I" would have been be able to participate.

5) God's going to hold "them" accountable for failing to take proper care of "me."

I learned this blame game from my dysfunctional family of origin. It's a hurtful, childish and irresponsible way to relate to other human beings. The solid adult that I've become with an understanding of the atonement did take over, and the second part of the analysis went something like this:

1) Quiet Song, you waited until the last minute to get started preparing for this activity. "They" have been working on it for some time.

2) Even though you waited until the final hour, you still could have participated, had you but followed through not just once but at least three different times during the week preceding the event.

3) And, you could have and should have made this a priority but you chose to sit on the fence about actually making the commitment to participate, because you were testing the winds. While its true that some times you have to put out fires, you weren't prepared for a day without the fires! I think there's a special learning experience here Quiet Song-do you prepare as much for the positive as the negative?

4) Quiet Song you had exactly the same opportunities and the length of time to prepare as everyone else.

5) While it's true you asked for help, you did it at the last minute. Your home teacher was nothing but available and helpful but wasn't participating in that activity, what more was required of anyone else, and you certainly could have asked other people.

6) Driving around hoping for a miracle at the last minute, well, Quiet Song, that was a little bit laughable under the circumstances.

7) And, truth be told if you had really, really wanted to, well no one would have objected to your efforts to keep figuring how to participate. After all you had the actual means to accomplish attending the activity, you just wanted it to be easy and without much effort.

8) Heavenly Father is loving and merciful, and not only will there be another opportunity for "me," he loves "them" as well, and there is room for all of us at the many feasts in our father's house.

Fortunately for Quiet Song and everyone else, while we never know exactly when our time is up, we have many, many opportunities to attend the wedding feast. May we choose to do so by being better prepared to experience the fulness of the gospel. Have a great Sunday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last night I dreamed a crazy dream . . .

Last night I dreamed a crazy dream about two persons I "know" only from online connections. I actually have limited connections even online with with only one. Both were setting up businesses near where I had a business location. "Good" online persona dropped by my home to crash our summer backyard Family Home Evening (at a home I've never seen or lived at before) and Drama Mama was actually there without being dramatic. My family enjoyed meeting "Good" as did I. "Bad" online persona knew he was bad and knew that I knew him even though we never had exchanged any direct communication. "Bad" was setting up a Pizza and Deli place around the corner from myself and "Good." "Bad" was very bad, and I had to have a very assertive face to face conversation with him where I set the record straight, so to speak, and laid out my expectations of his behavior, and what the consequences would be if he did not toe the line. "Bad" agreed to comply and gave me a copy of his menu which had a number of tasty looking items on it.

I rather think I am spending too much time online.

In the year and a half I've been reading Moho blogs several have went private or closed. And, I've felt sadness about that. Why, I'll never intellectually understand. Bad and Good personas are not within that group. I don't even think "Bad" blogs, just makes troll posts on various blogs I read throughout the blogosphere. Through reading blogs and posting, I have received comfort on my political/religious/social/familial/emotional interface boundary issues and internal conflicts regarding gay marriage and parenting a LGBT teenager.

I've tried to ascertain what it means to me to be a person who has been attracted to both sexes. I still don't have any clearer answer and cannot determine whether I have a true identity as a straight person or an identity as an LGBT person or if I just stay with the "sexual" person categorization I gave myself years ago. I think the kid has more of an LGBT identity, but he shows signs of possbily jettisoning that as well in favor of the "sexual person" identity his parent has adopted as he grows up.

Thanks to Drama Mama, I'm now also really questioning what I want to keep from my family of origin identity. There isn't much lovely or of good report. I have a small ethnic identity which I'm going to expand upon. Thanks to Drama Mama, that was stripped from me as a child, but I'm now going to reclaim it and make it a bigger part of my life. I have a beloved elder who was in my life and that person is a part of my identity. Drama Mama did provide me the gospel in her inimitable theatrical way, though, and that seems to be the real key to my identity.

This was confirmed through yet another online type of experience, a list serve, it is the gospel part that seems to make the greatest difference to me in defining who I am. It's not my membership in the LDS church, it is my own personal relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And, it occurs to me that this identity is really the only one that matters. That is what blogging has done for me.

I had also hoped to provide another voice, one that doesn't get heard often within the cacophony of debate. I think I've done that. So, like others I'm going quiet for a while although I'll probably leave this blog up for a long time even if I don't post again.

But now back to real life.