What a year!

I just finished reading the 60 accomplishments this year on a buzz feed.  It was pretty fun to read!  I am very encouraged by so many people stepping forward to let America know we are out here.  As an educator, I worry because it seems a lot easier to do when you are a celebrity.  But maybe it isn’t.  they have families and friends too.  it is not easy to live one life and then all of a sudden, you announce you are a different person.  it really take guts.  But I still worry for educators.  So much is at risk when we come out.  There are groups out there like One Million Moms (One Million Moms) who consider it trash.  So if that’s the case, how would they feel knowing LGBTQ teachers educate their children?  I think it is ridiculous, but regardless, I am very happy to see that people are standing up and stepping out!  We have congress people who are out!  Future mayors!  And, to top it off, we finally have a president that supports gay marriage!  We have come a long way!

So I challenge parents to consider finding books that include us as families.  Encourage discussion when they use “gay” inappropriately, and continue to uplift us as people, not a different species!  Thank you all for your support, and for your votes.  It does make a difference. Love you!

It’s okay to be gay,


Sixty Reasons to be proud


Where do we stand, because we gotta stand somewhere.

Today, I had raged emotions of frustration and concern.  I was frustrated with so many people thinking that the events that take place within the LGBTQ communities are not as serious as other civil rights issues.  I am still frustrated because I know that the only way we get information is through media, which can depend on the county, state, or country in which we depend upon for “valid” information.  We choose to listen to others more than finding facts for ourselves.  We pick a radio station or tv station and take to heart what is said.  

I am concerned becuae it is beginning to divide us.  I know that there has to be a time where we must take a stand for what we truely believe in.  But the problem is, some of the people I care about may feel differently than me and that can create tension.  This is election year, so a lot of controversy will continue to stir within our country.  But, really, where do you stand?  I used to hear that all the time in church.  We say, you can’t be lukewarm.  You either are or are not for God and all he stands for.  But yet, when it comes to humanity, so many of us are lukewarm.  We are willing to just kind of hang around and watch people around us get hurt or lose their lives or loved ones due to HATE.  It still exists.  

Today I get into a small discussion on FB and here was my last response after a lot of thought and persistence for opening eyes:

This is something that I must share.  I cannot sit back and accept neutral.  There is something that needs more acknowledging.  It is called HUMANITY.  We are all people and yes we have opinions, but unfortunately MONEY DOES OPPRESS PEOPLE.  If there are huge donations going to certain people or organizations, who can say what happens behind closed doors with those people?  I hope none of the people accepting these funds also support the Anaheim police that beat community members or the other leaders in our communities that turn the other way to hate crimes and bullying.  But most likely, if the money is going towards people like Santorum, c’mon.  Let’s be realist here.  When we do not acknowledge equality, we are acknowledging separation, or inequality of people.  People are people.  I did not choose this.  My friends have seen me struggle with this identity.  But I love regardless of what society thinks.  I love even harder.  And what I wouldn’t give to have NATIONAL acknowledgement through paper documents of my partnership.  That has nothing to do with individuals’ thoughts or feelings.  If they are not marrying them, then why the heck does it matter?  We must acknowledge this huge deal for what it is.  It is a political move trying to push more money toward one political party.  Many of these leaders do not support equality for all.  It is equality for who we like or who is similar to what we believe.  This is a big deal.  To me.  To many other LGBTQ people.  I do not name call.  Many of us do not.  But we do get mad.  We get hurt almost daily from bigotry and heterosexism acts that denigrate us.  We do fight for our rights and we continue to work with various organizations to open ALL of our eyes to more than tolerance.  How about acceptance?  We fight, and we will continue to do so… 

With that being said, I ask, what do you really believe in?  Do you truly believe that Ana and I should get married?

Do you believe in equality for all humanity?  Pass it on…

A positive and lots of negative

So, today was a good and bad day for me.  Let’s get the good stuff out of the way.  A quick follow up with my class and moving forward with LGBTQ support in my education department: It was great!  People came in and ate and asked questions.  They took hand outs and signed up to have safe zone orientations within their classes during the fall.  They also said they would like to have a safe zone orientation within the department at some time.  So I know my presence and persistence is making a difference on campus.

But I was reminded again that one, I am losing my mind in grad school, and two, I am tired of working so hard to be successful, but I am always playing catching up.  

As far as losing weight, it is never good enough.  It has taken 5 months to lose only 20 pounds this year, and 7 months to lose a total of 28 pounds thus far.  

I was also reminded that when I am in grad school, I do not have paid vacation days, insurance, or a set monthly income.  This is VERY hard for me because I know what it is like to have this.  I continue to try and adjust, but it is hard. I need check ups.  I need physical therapy for my ankle.  I need fillings in my teeth.  I need a breast reduction for the pain I feel constantly on my body from the excessive weight.  I miss being able to just go and see my family…

Lastly, I am very very tired of working so hard in grad school.  I think I might drop out.  I am not playing.  I am tired.  I continue to try and write to the best of my ability and it is never good enough.  I am not a writer.  I know that.  I am a speaker and a doer.  I feel as if I am not cut out for this. There are other jobs that I can do without this degree. People choose not to finish all of the time and they still make a living.  I am at that point.  I could move out of this conservative town and successfully work the way I know how.  I just- I don’t know.  I am just done…

I was like Nike…

I am currently enrolled in a Multicultural course for my program.  It has been quite uncomfortable for me at times because I am the only person of color in the class.  As far as I know, I am the only LGBTQ person as well. So topics make me cringe, and I often get frustrated or discouraged by the closed-minded mentalities of my peers.  But last night, something phenomenal happened.

For a few days prior to last night, I contemplated about teaching a chapter in front of the class.  If I do this, then it counts as one of my papers.  I could also give a great perspective about what I am researching and challenge my peers to do something.  Of course the chapter was on LGBTQ issues involving erasure and lack of policies, curriculum, etc.  So it was right up my alley!  But, it put me in a vulnerable state.  I would have to come out again, and share my story again, and it is harder with people that you see often and respect as colleagues.  I would rather present in a room full of strangers than present to a few people I have constant contact with.  So after deliberation, the night before class, I decided to email my professor and ask if I could present.  Surprisingly, she agreed!  I was ecstatic but very nervous!  Ana helped me prepare my notes and activity, and I was ready.

In class, I was very nervous, and my professor noticed and supported me along with my vulnerability.  So I taught.  I presented a Prezi that answered the common questions heteros want to know but are afraid to ask.  I used questions such as, “why?” “What did your parents say?” “What have you lost because you came out?”  etc.  As I presented, we giggled at my humor, and asked questions along the way as well.  I then led a discussion in regards to the chapter and shared the idea of “1 teacher in 10.” Kevin Jennings wrote a book titled 1 Teacher in 10 (see link below) that shared stories of LGBTQ educators. I emphasized the point that I have not seen it any other way.  There have been 1 in 10 experiences for me on a daily basis, and sometimes, I am that one, but it is still there.  And if this is the case, teacher educators need to wake up!  They need to adjust their curriculum and implement information to support and teach these gay pre-service teachers.  More importantly, all teachers were once students, which means there are just as many gay youth as there are gay teachers!!! So, we have to teach acceptance, social justice, and provide strategies to ensure equality within school settings.

After making my points clear and encouraging healthy, respectful, inquisitive dialogue, we did an activity titled “Put myself in your shoes.” This activity helped my peers see what it was like for LGBTQ people as they come out.  They experience losses.  Some more than others.  They were put in the position where one student actually shed a tear in the thought of losing her family.  Another student “lost everything” and was still quietly grieving after the activity was over.  He told me, this is so real.  I don’t know how I could handle losing all of this.

My presentation lasted an hour and 40 min.  It went over by 40 min., but she was okay with that.  As I was putting my materials away, my professor said to me, “We will leave here in May after all of this talk, and then what?  We need to put some of this into action.  I think I need to change what I was going to do after the students come back from break.  We should try to get safe zone taught to our undergraduate students as part of their diversity courses.  Where they become an ally or not, I agree with what people have said tonight.  We have to protect these kids.”

That being said, she altered her planned lesson.  She sat down with us and presented an opportunity for us as educators to do something.  She offered the idea of it taking place of an assignment if we wanted to help implement change within our school.  She let the class out early (which never happens) and those that wanted to stay stayed after and discussed what we can do.

There were about 10 of us.  We spoke briefly and came up with a starting plan to begin to present this information to our department.  We have become this LGBTQ ally task force, for lack of better words.  We are actually going to begin to do something about it!

So, I have said all of that to say this-If you have a passion about something, if you feel like there is a feeling that stirs you up inside to the point where you feel strong enough to do something about it, do it.  I was scared.  I didn’t know who really would support me or what could happen because of my name continuously becoming more known on campus.  I put myself in risk more everyday for violence or lack of opportunity for my career in the future because of my “radicalism” (if I even deserve that).  But, I did it.  I took that extra little step that was feasible (with background knowledge and preparedness-don’t be ignorant when moving forward), and it created a small movement.  I am so overwhelmed with the thought that because I was brave, because I took a chance, our department is going to change.  It won’t change overnight, and I may be gone when things begin to fall in place, but the knowledge and ideas will be stirring in their heads.  I did that.  I did that, and the allies that believe in radical change are taking the next steps to continue to make something happen.  I never believed in Nike’s slogan more than now…


It’s okay to be gay,



Happy Birthday Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

I have been really thinking about our freedoms and how far we have come in the past 50 years.  I attended church yesterday (Unitarian Universalist of Bloomington-Normal) and I had an emotional revelation.  I am a part of a group of people that has and continues to feel the discrimination that colored people have felt.  No, colored people are not considered equal everywhere, but they have come a long way.  For instance, the recent posting of an apartment tenant blatantly showed discrimination, but we now have many colored CEOs and business owners.  Colored heterosexual couples can also marry whomever they choose, regardless of color.  My group of people cannot do that yet.

So yesterday, when I was in church and listening to parts of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches, the words touched me in a new way.  Not only have I had an emotional attachment to his words pleading for justice for colored people, I now feel the impact of those words as a lesbian.

I retrieved quotes from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/martin-luther-kings-speech-dream-full-text/story?id=14358231#.TxRSraWPlPI

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s [LGBT community] legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro [LGBT community] needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro [LGBT community] is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

I believe in social justice so strongly that it hurts.  It disappoints me when I see innocent people burned, raped, and denied rights because of who they love.  That’s all-Just who they love.  I will not rest until I educate as many as I can about the importance of social justice and educational equality.

“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

I cannot harden my heart and fill my mind with anger and frustration.  I must continue to love and pray that people will open their eyes and their hearts to all people.  Having a rebellious mind will not give us justice.  Education, peace, love and being a living example is what our world needs to see and experience.

“And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied?’ We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

We cannot be satisfied until jobs are allowed for all, and marriage for all people in every state is legal.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”

We are equal.  We are humans.  We bleed.  We breathe.  We share our land and all components within it.  Why can’t everyone see that?  Who we love does not make up who we are.  I hope I am alive to see same sex marriage legal in our country.  I hope I am alive to hold hands with my love and not get looks and negativity.  I hope I am alive to not have to justify who I am and why I love who I love.  It would be nice to see us just be people and not have to define who we are based on orientation or color.  It would be nice to just be people who make up this world and contribute to healthy living and a healthier Earth.  It would be nice…

*Question*How much do you know about MLK?  Do your kids understand the true meaning of Civil Rights?

It’s okay to be gay,




LGBT Bullying-What are you doing about it?

Lately I have seen many videos on Youtube as well as updates through the media in regards to bullying.  Apparently Wanda Sykes and Hillary Duff are doing PSA’s about saying “That’s so gay.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAga4TV746k&sns=fb  It’s about time people got on board with that.  Wanda is a perfect person to do this too!  She is funny and has that “Momma” tone.

I wrote a literature review (that may need a little work) referring to bullying.  Here is a quote from my paper:

Statistics given by Higdon (2011) are as follows:

            One study found that LGBT students experienced bullying

at twice the rate of non-LGBT students. Further, the bullying these children

receive can be extremely severe. In fact, one study of LGBT youth found that 81%

experienced verbal harassment, 38% had been physically threatened, 22% had

objects thrown at them, 15% suffered physical assaults; 6% suffered assaults with a

weapon, and 16% had been sexually assaulted.  One-third of LGBT youth has faced both verbal and physical abuse from

family members as a result of the child’s perceived sexual orientation (p.842).       

Higdon, M. J. (2011). To lynch a child: Bullying and gender conformity in our nation’s schools. Indiana Law Journal, 86(827), 827-878.

These are statistics that change everyday.  I am so tired of hearing about verbal and physical abuse to people who just want to be happy being themselves.  Who gave anyone the right to hurt individuals because they are not like them?  If anything, they should be admired for not conforming to this boxed society of keeping up with the Jones’ and pleasing everyone else but themselves.  Being a little selfish is a good thing. Taking time to wear that swagg outfit or getting a nice hair style is selfish.  Making “you” time is selfish.  It’s okay to love on yourself a little bit.  But some of these LGBTQ youth only have themselves to even give themselves love.  Does that make sense?  If they don’t love themselves, who will?  If being open about who they are gives them satisfaction of being a whole human being, who is society to take that away from them?

I am tired of hearing about our beautiful transgendered people being found dead on the streets.  Are you kidding me?!  The government can only do so much within a set amount of time.  But we are the people who see these LGBTQ youth at a more intimate level.  The perfect example is the story of Jonah Mowry (I will give you the link to his Youtube video on my poster).  He put himself in a vulnerable position in August and shared with the world that he hurts and he is tired of hurting himself because of what people are saying.  He cried and cried.  He made a wonderful statement at the end, which I will not ruin for you.  But my point is, he is still alive.  He has had over 5 million views of his video in the past week! Not all were positive, but the good definitely out weighed the bad.  People from all over the world reached out to him.  5 million people.

So, what are you going to do about gay bullying? Take a look at my poster.  It’s for a presentation of one of my papers, but it gives resources for you.  It is also proof that a small thing can go a long way.  I will post this to share with others that I am not going to tolerate harm of any  kind upon any person, especially my LGBTQ family!  I would love to hear about wonderful experiences or actions that you are taking in your community.


It’s okay to be gay,


Can Congress Stop Bullying?!

So, I read an exciting article that came out on November 2, 2011 from Education Week.  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/11/02/10bully.h31.html?qs=fight+against+bullying   I appreciate Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota who is standing up for LGBT students!  He believes that the proposal should also incorporate sexual orientation to protect LGBT students.  Sen. Franken gave a statistic that 9 out of 10 students experience harassment at schools.  

This weekend I attended an AESA conference where I was exposed to many intellects that shared their research and concerns on education and social justice.  A young woman named Erin from Canada shared with us the death of a young boy named Jamie Hubley http://www.torontosun.com/2011/10/18/ottawa-councillors-bullied-son-commits-suicide  Why do we continue to sit back and listen to the information?  I know we are in the process of fighting Wall Street and poverty, etc., but how easy is to to tell the person next to you to stop using the word “gay” as an insult!?  Why can’t we take a few moments to get a shirt or bracelet, or make a shirt or bacelet that says “I support the LGBT community!” or “Stop bullying my friends.”  It has to stop.  The easiest way is by example and word of mouth.  We have tons of allies.  We have tons in our LGBT communities. 

Our future is dying right in front of our eyes!  The LGBT kids that can help make an impact on our world and contribute to our future are dying! 

I encourage you to say something nice today.  Blog about it, post it on FB, tweet, whatever.  We as a people need to do just a little bit more to support our youth. 

Who’s comin’ with me!? 

Let me know what you did today!  I would love to hear about it…

To My Beautiful young people-PLEASE READ

This post is dedicated to my family-Brian, Brittani and Destiny.  This blog is also  for my mommy Lynn, my woman, Ana, my besties Jess and Katie, and my long lost kid who I hope still has sense to read what I write-Leslie.  This post is for any man or woman who has fallen, who has been torn down, who has been hurt beyond belief.

Skies are crying
I am watching
Catching teardrops in my hands
Only silence as it’s ending, like we never had a chance
Do you have to, make me feel like there is nothing left of me?

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like i’m made of glass
Like i’m made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

[Demi Lovato]
As the smoke clears
I awaken, and untangle you from me
Would it make you, feel better to watch me while I bleed?
All my windows, still are broken
But I’m standing on my feet

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Demi Lovato Skyscraper lyrics found on http://www.directlyrics.com/demi-lovato-skyscraper-lyrics.html

Like I’m made of glass
Like I’m made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Go run, run, run
I’m gonna stay right here
Watch you disappear, yeah
Go run, run, run
Yeah it’s a long way down
But I am closer to the clouds up here

[Demi Lovato]
You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I’m made of glass
Like I’m made of paper, Oh
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground

Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Like a skyscraper!
Like a skyscraper!

Pain is ridiculous.  When a heart hurts, it really hurts.  People judge based on so many things we can’t control.  As I am diving more into research, I learned about “positionality” from my class.    When we are who we are, there are parts of us that are identified that we cannot help.  I can’t help who I am.  I am a multiracial obese lesbian woman.  This may seem like nothing to some people, but those factors shape what I choose in my life.  I can choose to get married, but my identity doesn’t allow me to do so.  I have applied for a principal job, but my gender didn’t allow me to do so.  These are just small examples of me.  Who are you?  What are biases against you because of your positionality?  You can’t hep who you are, but you need to be the best with what was created for you.  Look at every aspect of your life and think of how you can use your examples and your life to stand higher than you were yesterday.  Use your strength to help others see that even when people try to bring you down, you will still stand.  Be a skyscraper in the midst of the negative actions and words.  I love all of you and I am proud of you.

An Exhilarating Experience and Life-Changing Event

So, this weekend, I embarked on a scary yet exciting journey for myself.  As I am continuing on with my education, I am looking toward my future and what I represent.  When I create my dissertation, I want to give back a part of me.  I want to explore part of my identity and the issues that come with who I am and share it with others.  At this point, I have decided to dive into GLBT studies.  Some of my great friends have already assisted me thus far, and hopefully will continue to do so as I continue on my educational journey.

I say all of that to share my weekend.  I volunteered to attend a diversity retreat that is sponsored by Diversity Advocacy at Illinois State University.  At first, I was really excited because I was hoping to meet more GLBT students and maybe get insight for my paper.  Then we had the orientation.  Immediately I began to change my mind.  There were a bunch of young kids who seemed to know each other and were actually pretty loud when I entered the room.  Immediately I thought of my kids in DC, and said to myself, “hell no, I don’t want to spend the night with a bunch of my students.”  But Ashley continued to reach out to me.  I then felt obligated.  Like maybe I have a purpose at the retreat to help them learn about me.  So I committed to going.

So, this weekend, I met some of the most wonderful people that I may ever cross paths with in my life.  They were mature, insightful, articulate, honest, and vulnerable, just like me.  We all laughed, cried, thought, shared, debated, laughed, and cried some more.  Lives were changed this weekend.  Eyes were opened.  We learned about sexual identities, gender identities, racial identities, and socio-economic identities.  So many activities stand out in my mind: The advantage/disadvantage line, the “life” game, speakers who shared personal moments of their lives, and so much more.

But the best part is that we made mail boxes.  We were able to write small notes to each other throughout the two days to encourage each other or say something nice to that person.  Before we read these note, I was already very touched, because some of the students said that the part they will remember is me and Ana.  They said that they see homosexuality in a different light.  Many said that they will help others who may be struggling, and they will not judge them anymore.  This was all because we went to this retreat. We spoke, and we were living examples of a homosexual relationship.

When I looked in my mailbox and read so many notes, I balled.  “You are my hero.” “Strength is the only word I have for you.” “When I got to live in your shoes during the activities, I see how hard it is for you.  I am sorry that you go through that, and you are strong.”  “Thank you for sharing.” “Thank you for trusting us and teaching us.”

All we did was attend the retreat and participate like everyone else.  I never expected that kind of result, but I am so happy that it ended that way.  I have never been more proud to be me…

Final blog for 579 I’m a new tech woman!

  • What did you do to stretch yourself?
  • What was your intent when you began the development of this project? How did your final product measure up to the intent?
  • What would you do differently for a project like this in the future?
  • What were you satisfied with? What were you dissatisfied with?
  • Write about the process that you went through to complete this activity. Include any other issues that impacted the final outcome.

This final project has truly impacted my technological knowledge.  I had to really research the information and make sure that any person could go online and learn from my workshop, even if he or she was not in the workshop.  That was a challenge for me.

Exposing programs and tools for educators to use is very important to me.  Having my eyes opened wide to all of this technology empowered me to do great things in the classroom.  I wanted to pass that on to others.  I love my final project!  I am very proud of what I have created and I keep trying to show it to everyone.  It gave me a sense of pride.

Future projects I create will have a video made by me or Voicethread to make it easier and more entertaining to follow.

I was very satisfied with the text capturing I did to help with the directions.  I  don’t think I including enough visual stimulation on the wiki.  I would have like to add more color or background to the pages, but I am not sure how to do that yet.

My process was lengthy, yet rewarding.  I first outlined what I would present and make a schedule.  I then created questions with the titles of each element on the schedule to help guide the participant in what to look for.  this helped me find research for each of the topics.  After I researched each topic and felt more confident about what I was presenting, I began to create a wiki for my topic.  As I created the wiki, I created the instructions for using the wiki and my presentation in writing.  I registered to different sites to become comfortable with them before I presented them to others.  I also posted my online resources as I completed my wiki.  Eventually I finished and double checked to ensure that my written presentation flowed with the wiki.  I added an online survey for practice because I would do that for a presentation that I would present.  My challenges were not knowing how much to write on the written presentation, and not knowing how to make the wiki more interesting.  Time was the biggest factor in this project.  It was easy to go over four hours to present all that I wanted to.  I had to cut down and make sure that I stayed on topic when deciding what to present.

Overall, the workshop was challenging, yet rewarding.  I would love to really present it one day!

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