Fog Rukkers

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:30 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

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Image description: A coffee hut, made of barn board and a bit of paint sits on the beach in Campbell River with a mixed bunch of tables and chairs.

I spotted Fog Rukkers coffee shop on our first drive through Campbell River on the way to see my father in the hospital. I made a mental note of it wanting to go in for a cup of tea and hopefully to sit at the ocean side of the hut and wonder at the view. But then, we got busy. With family visits and gallons of tea consumed all over town with various branches of the Hingsburger or Jobes families (Joe and I met in high school here so both families are here) we just never got there.

On our last full day in CR I told Joe that I really wanted to make it there if we could. We got in touch with Shannon, our niece and she was more than game to go with us. Was it wheelchair accessible? Didn't know. Were we going to make it wheelchair accessible if it wasn't? If we could, we would. We pulled up and took a good look. With some manoeuvring we got me out and on the bicycle path. The as they parked, I rolled up and onto the front patio. Was there a patio at the back? Yes. There was no way I could go around the hut because it was too rocky. So it had to be through.

The door was too narrow when one was opened, we then unlocked it's partner and swung both open and I was through. The concrete was uneven, it was difficult to push and go in the direction I wanted to go, the wheels and the tilt kept suggesting a different course, but we made it through to the back patio and took a table.

I haven't sat on a beach, anywhere, since becoming a wheelchair user. I gloried in it. We chatted and we laughed and we marvelled at the beauty of the world. It was beyond nice. I felt myself relax. It had been a race out here to see Dad while he was in the hospital, and he was doing so much better and we had had a really good visit and now was time to just let go of the tension.

Driving away I thought to myself that this place and this moment was now going to be my new 'happy place' when I need to take a breath.

Sometimes that's all we need.

A breath.

Of fresh ocean air.
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Posted by Jay Livingston, PhD

Originally posted at Montclair Socioblog.

“Freedom of opinion does not exist in America,” said DeTocqueville 250 years ago. He might have held the same view today.

But how could a society that so values freedom and individualism be so demanding of conformity?  I had blogged about this in 2010 with references to old sitcoms, but for my class this semester I needed something more recent. Besides, Cosby now carries too much other baggage. ABC’s “black-ish”* came to the rescue.

The idea I was offering in class was, first, that our most cherished American values can conflict with one another. For example, our desire for family-like community can clash with our value on independence and freedom. Second, the American solution to this conflict between individual and group is often what Claude Fischer calls “voluntarism.”  We have freedom – you can voluntarily choose which groups to belong to. But once you choose to be a member, you have to conform.  The book I had assigned my class (My Freshman Year by Rebekah Nathan*) uses the phrase “voluntary conformism.”

In a recent episode of “black-ish,” the oldest daughter, Zoey, must choose which college to go to. She has been accepted at NYU, Miami, Vanderbilt, and Southern Cal. She leans heavily towards NYU, but her family, especially her father Dre, want her to stay close to home. The conflict is between Family – family togetherness, community – and Independence. If Zoey goes to NYU, she’ll be off on her own; if she stays in LA, she’ll be just a short drive from her family. New York also suggests values on Achievement, Success, even Risk-taking (“If I can make it there” etc.)

Zoey decides on NYU, and her father immediately tries to undermine that choice, reminding her of how cold and dangerous it will be. It’s typical sitcom-dad buffonery, and his childishness tips us off that this position, imposing his will, is the wrong one. Zoey, acting more mature, simply goes out and buys a bright red winter coat.

The argument for Independence, Individual Choice, and Success is most clearly expressed by Pops (Dre’s father, who lives with them), and it’s the turning point in the show. Dre and his wife are complaining about the kids growing up too fast. Pops says, “Isn’t this what you wanted? Isn’t this why you both worked so hard — movin’ to this White-ass neighborhood, sendin’ her to that White-ass school so she could have all these White-ass opportunities? Let. Her. Go.”

That should be the end of it. The final scene should be the family bidding a tearful goodbye to Zoey at LAX. But a few moments later, we see Zoey talking to her two younger siblings (8-year old twins – Jack and Diane). They remind her of how much family fun they have at holidays. Zoey has to tell them that New York is far, so she won’t be coming back till Christmas – no Thanksgiving, no Halloween.

Jack reminds her about the baby that will arrive soon. “He won’t even know you.”

In the next scene, Zoey walks into her parents room carrying the red winter coat. “I need to return this.”

“Wrong size?” asks her father.

“Wrong state.”

She’s going to stay in LA and go to USC.

Over a half-century ago, David McClelland wrote that a basic but unstated tenet of American culture is: “I want to freely choose to do what others expect me to do.” Zoey has chosen to do what others want her to do – but she has made that individual choice independently. It’s “voluntary conformism,” and it’s the perfect American solution (or at least the perfect American sitcom solution).

* For those totally unfamiliar with the show, the premise is this: Dre Johnson, a Black man who grew up in a working-class Black neighborhood of LA, has become a well-off advertising man, married a doctor (her name is Rainbow, or usually Bow), and moved to a big house in an upscale neighborhood. They have four children, and the wife is pregnant with a fifth.

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

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A Picture of My House

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:28 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Just before leaving on this trip, I mentioned to Ruby, who is now 10 years old, that my father was in the hospital. She stopped and looked at me, "Why didn't you tell me?" she asked. I told her that she knew he had been in before and he had to go back. "You should have told me," she said again and then began rushing around looking for paper, for pens, for anything that could put colour on paper. Now this was happening in our new apartment and all there were were boxes upon boxes upon boxes. Soon both Joe and I became distracted with the move and didn't notice Ruby in the kitchen working away.

A half an hour or so later she comes out with a piece of crumpled yellow paper, all she could find, and on it she had drawn a picture of our new home with Joe and I, her mom, her sister and herself out front. She wrote a note to Jerry. This 10 year old was writing a 93 year old and addressing the note as if he's her best friend. She said in the note that Joe and I had just moved and she wanted him to see our new house so that he, Jerry, would know we are all okay. She thought he might be worried.

We carefully packed the paper away to bring to dad in the hospital here in town where we are now. Dad had heard about Ruby and Sadie of course because they are a big part of our lives and we talk about them. Dad has never questioned the fact that the girls are like family to us and has treated them in our lives with the interest that they deserve. So when I told him about Ruby scolding me about not telling her about him being in the hospital and about not having the stuff she needed to make a drawing, then I handed over her drawing.

Ruby's writing at 10, she prefers cursive to printing, is better than mine. He lay in his bed while reading the note, his face brightening at the boldness of her determination that she could call him Jerry as if they were friends. It was a nice moment, he loved the picture and he asked for it to be put up where he could see it. It's there now, a note from a child who never met the man who is my father, a note telling him that he didn't have to worry that we were all okay. A note that said, "though we haven't met, I love you because you are Dave's dad."

Before he asked for it to be put up he said, "She's quite the little girl isn't she?"

And she is.

It only take a moment of thoughtfulness to make someone feel cared for and loved.

Ruby took that moment.

I need to do that more often, I've got papers, I've got pencil crayons, I've got time, though I pretend I don't. I just need a little more of what Ruby's got ... the will to do something for someone else even if it seems there's nothing I can do.

What I'm Doing Today

Jun. 20th, 2017 10:51 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Guess what I'm doing today?

I'm doing a webinar.

Guess why I'm excited about it?

Glad you asked.

Today I'm part of a webinar about an article which was published in the International Journal for Direct Support Professionals, it was about pride, and about the LGBTQ+ community and about how that intersects with the community of people with intellectual disabilities. I am one of the co-authors of this article. The article itself felt good to write, it's been a long time since I published on the issue, and we live, here, in very different times. When I published the first time, I believe it was the first journal article suggesting that people who were LGBT+ and who had a disability had a right to receive service that was respectful of their sexuality. I lost a lot of work because of that article.

This time we are talking about PRIDE and sexual diversity and, again, the need for people who provide service to be aware of their actions and their attitudes. And because of a partnership with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and we do monthly webinars on the topics raised in the newsletter.

I am thrilled to be speaking to people who, most probably, have a lot of influence and power in the lives of the people we serve. I hope that what we do today will further the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to be fully human and for their hearts to be fully free. How great is that?

If you want to sign up, it's easy ...

Let's Talk: Speaking OUT: Understanding Sexuality and Diversity in LGBTQ+ Individuals with Developmental Disabilities on Jun 20, 2017 2:00 PM EDT at:

Hope some of you drop by.

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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Based on analyses of General Social Survey data, a well-designed and respected source of data about American life, members of the Millennial generation are acquiring about the same number of sexual partners as the Baby Boomers. This data suggests that the big generational leap was between the Boomers and the generation before them, not the Boomers and everyone that came after. And rising behavioral permissiveness definitely didn’t start with the Millennials. Sexually speaking, Millennials look a lot like their parents at the same age and are perhaps even less sexually active then Generation X.

Is it true?

It doesn’t seem like it should be true. In terms of attitudes, American society is much more sexually permissive than it was for Boomers, and Millennials are especially more permissive. Boomers had to personally take America through the sexual revolution at a time when sexual permissiveness was still radical, while Generation X had to contend with a previously unknown fatal sexually transmitted pandemic. In comparison, the Millennials have it so easy. Why aren’t they having sex with more people?

A new study using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) (hat tip Paula England) contrasts with previous studies and reports an increase. It finds that nine out of ten Millennial women had non-marital sex by the time they were 25 years old, compared to one in eight Baby Boomers. And, among those, Millennials reported two additional total sexual partners (6.5 vs. 4.6).

Nonmarital Sex by Age 25, Paul Hemez

Are Millennials acquiring more sexual partners after all?

I’m not sure. The NSFG report used “early” Millennials (only ones born between 1981 and 1990). In a not-yet-released book, the psychologist Jean Twenge uses another survey — the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System — to argue that the next generation (born between 1995 and 2002), which she calls the “iGen,” are even less likely to be sexually active than Millennial. According to her analysis, 37% of 9th graders in 1995 (born in 1981, arguably the first Millennial year) had lost their virginity, compared to 34% in 2005, and 24% in 2015.

Percentage of high school students who have ever had sex, by grade. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 1991-2015.

iGen, Jean Twenge

If Twenge is right, then we’re seeing a decline in the rate of sexual initiation and possibly partner acquisition that starts somewhere near the transition between Gen X and Millennial, proceeds apace throughout the Millennial years, and is continuing — Twenge argues accelerating — among the iGens. So, if the new NSFG report finds an increase in sexual partners between the Millennials and the Boomers, it might be because they sampled on “early” Millennials, those closer to Gen Xers, on the top side of the decline.

Honestly, I don’t know. It’s interesting though. And it’s curious why the big changes in sexually permissive attitudes haven’t translated into equally sexually permissive behaviors. Or, have actually accompanied a decrease in sexual behavior. It depends a lot on how you chop up the data, too. Generations, after all, all artificial categories. And variables like “nonmarital sex by age 25” are specific and may get us different findings than other measures. Sociological questions have lots of moving parts and it looks as if we’re still figuring this one out.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Silly O'clock AM

Jun. 19th, 2017 12:30 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

We were up early for the flight. It was complicated figuring out how to do get me to the airport, then Joe back to park the car and then on the shuttle back to meet me where I would be waiting. The complication was of course, timing. So we were up at silly o'clock and down in the lobby leaving shortly thereafter. Joe loaded the car as I was pushing over to it.

It was dark.

It was early morning.

There was no one around.

I didn't feel particularly unsafe because it's a hotel parking lot, and we were in disabled parking, near the door. Joe passed me on his way back with the cart and I was pulling up beside the car. It was a slight incline and the pavement was rough so it took a bit of strength to get up to the passenger side door.

Just before I got there, I felt a shadow fall over me, cast by the streetlight a ways away. I knew it wasn't Joe, I turned to see a man approaching me, his hands out as if to grab ...

... now in other circumstances I would have immediately thought that he was going to grab the handles on the back of the chair to "assist me" but it was early, it was dark, it was deserted.

I panicked.

I didn't scream but I startled away from him, throwing myself hard and wrenching my back in the process. He saw me do this and then realized what was going on in my head and he said, "I was just going to help you." He seemed angry now and paused. I just stared at him. He turned and stomped away.

He scared me.

Really scared me.

He reminded me of how vulnerable I am.

Yes it was early and dark and deserted but I have a right to feel safe when it's early and it's dark and it's deserted. He had no right to intrude upon me in any way. I was pushing myself. I was alone. It was clear that if I'd needed help I would have had it with me.

Joe came back and saw the fellow walking angrily away from the car.

"Oh, no," he said.

"Indeed," I said.

It took me until we landed to tell him what had happened. I'd been sorely shaken and I was left physically sore from the encounter.

Mr. "Just trying to help" acted as if I'd hurt his feelings, he'll never know the damage he did to me and I suspect he wouldn't get it.

Dads Plain and Simple

Jun. 18th, 2017 04:43 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Getting ready right now to head to the airport for a quick flight to B.C. for a visit with family. Will see my Dad for the first time, on Father's Day since I left home at 16. Should have written a blog last night but was busy with so many things associated with moving and travelling, mostly packing and unpacking.

So, just a quick Happy Father's Day.

You will note that I'm not going to separate out Father's of kids with disabilities for a 'very special' Father's Day. Loving your kid doesn't make you special, being loved by them does. Any kid. Any where. Any dad. That's the way it works.

There is no hyphenated parenting.

Special needs Dads, I heard that yesterday and thought, what on earth might a man need in relationship to his child that makes him special? I hate the term 'special needs.'

Adoptive Dads, so why is that information necessary, what makes it matter and if it does, take Dad out of the title.

Substitute Dads, what even is that?

So happy (no hyphen) Father's Day.

A Sheep in Sheep's Clothing

Jun. 17th, 2017 05:50 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo will be described in the body of the text of this post.
Sadie proudly pulled out of her school bag the gifts she had made for her dad on Father's Day. There were a lot of them. She quietly sorted them out so that she could display them properly. I got a chance to see the gifts and, as always, I was quite moved by them. She put so much effort into hers. At the end, she looked at one last gift, sitting on the side table where she'd sorted them all out. After some thought she brought it over. It was a picture of a sheep. A one eyed sheep. It had the words Jesus Love's Us Always and Jesus is always in our hearts. She explained to me that when she made it, she had glued on two eyes.

She became a little upset when this happened, she said, and almost threw the artwork out. I asked her why she didn't. I know Sadie and she is very serious about her work and wants it to be just right. I was curious as to her reasoning.

"Well," she explained, "It's okay for a sheep to have one eye. It's still a sheep. It would be fair to throw a sheep away or hurt a sheep just because it had only one eye, would it?" I agreed that it wouldn't.

I asked her if Jesus would love a sheep just with one eye, or would the sheep have to have two eyes to be loved.

That I was told, was a silly question.

And she refused to answer it.

Because it was silly.

It should be a silly question shouldn't it? The answer is obvious to a seven year old girl. We are loved, perfect or not, and we are worthy of being kept and loved. We should expect kindness, different or not, and we are worthy enough to be seen has a gift. We should not be thrown away, two eyes or one, and we are worthy of welcome and belonging.

People will say, I know, that children can be wise, and of course they are. But worries me that is that the wisdom of children is seen as more cute than wise. What worries me is that we listen and smile at the words rather than being moved into action by the words.

Sadie's view of the value of everyone is a direct challenge to all of us, who find her words wise, to demonstrate that every day.

Every. Day.
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Posted by Josh Coleman PhD

I work with one of the most heartbroken groups of people in the world: fathers whose adult children want nothing to do with them. While every day has its challenges, Father’s Day—with its parade of families and feel-good ads—makes it especially difficult for these Dads to avoid the feelings of shame, guilt and regret always lurking just beyond the reach of that well-practiced compartmentalization. Like birthdays, and other holidays, Father’s Day creates the wish, hope, or prayer that maybe today, please today, let me hear something, anything from my kid.

Many of these men are not only fathers but grandfathers who were once an intimate part of their grandchildren’s lives. Or, more tragically, they discovered they were grandfathers through a Facebook page, if they hadn’t yet been blocked. Or, they learn from an unwitting relative bearing excited congratulations, now surprised by the look of grief and shock that greets the newly announced grandfather. Hmm, what did I do with those cigars I put aside for this occasion?

And it’s not just being involved as a grandfather that gets denied. The estrangement may foreclose the opportunity to celebrate other developmental milestones he always assumed he’d attend, such as college graduations, engagement parties, or weddings. Maybe he was invited to the wedding but told he wouldn’t get to walk his daughter down the aisle because that privilege was being reserved for her father-in-law whom she’s decided is a much better father than he ever was.

Most people assume that a Dad would have to do something pretty terrible to make an adult child not want to have contact. My clinical experience working with estranged parents doesn’t bear this out. While those cases clearly exist, many parents get cut out as a result of the child needing to feel more independent and less enmeshed with the parent or parents. A not insignificant number of estrangements are influenced by a troubled or compelling son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Sometimes a parent’s divorce creates the opportunity for one parent to negatively influence the child against the other parent, or introduce people who compete for the parent’s love, attention or resources. In a highly individualistic culture such as ours, divorce may cause the child to view a parent more as an individual with relative strengths and weaknesses rather than a family unit of which they’re a part.

Little binds adult children to their parents today beyond whether or not the adult child wants that relationship. And a not insignificant number decide that they don’t.

While my clinical work hasn’t shown fathers to be more vulnerable to estrangement than mothers, they do seem to be more at risk of a lower level of investment from their adult children. A recent Pew survey found that women more commonly say their grown children turn to them for emotional support while men more commonly say this “hardly ever” or “never” occurs. This same study reported that half of adults say they are closer with their mothers, while only 15 percent say they are closer with their fathers.

So, yes, let’s take a moment to celebrate fathers everywhere. And another to feel empathy for those Dads who won’t have any contact with their child on Father’s Day.

Or any other day.

Josh Coleman is Co-Chair, Council on Contemporary Families, and author most recently of When Parents Hurt. Originally posted at Families as They Really Are.

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Jun. 16th, 2017 12:30 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

We've moved.

Joe has spent the day with the movers. I've spent the day at the office. I'd get in the way, not because I have a disability but because I get stressed in these situations and that can make me difficult to be around. Joe wasn't at all disappointed that I decided to come to work.

He's on his way down to pick me up.

It's taken much longer than they anticipated or gave us an estimate for. I can feel the dollars falling out of our wallets. We'll face that bill when we get it.

All day I've been calling to check in. Because distance and distraction isn't enough of a barrier to stop me from being an annoyance to the process.

So I'll get to a place with movers still piling in stuff.

Boxes will be strewn everywhere.

But, I'll roll in to my new home.

It was weird leaving our old place. I was terrified that I might fall in the bathroom just one last time and relieved that I didn't.

I rolled down the hallway realizing that the past was now behind me and the future now before me.

Our life in a new place began, for me, the first time I realized today that I was going to be going north, not south, to get home.

Different roads.

I will sleep with my head to the south instead of my head to the west. I wonder if that will matter.

Accessibility waits for me.

I'm excited but I'm scared, we were so happy where we were.

This is why moving is so unsettling, I know how the past worked out, I don't know the future will.

I was told today that this is the stuff that keeps you young.

I'd prefer potion in a jar.

What I'm Proud Of ...

Jun. 15th, 2017 09:45 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

"I respect your work regarding disability as many do, but I find when you post about your sexuality that I am quite uncomfortable. I'm not homophobic but it seems out of place on your Facebook page or on your Blog both of which deal mostly with issues affecting people with disabilities or, like myself, parents of someone with a disability. What I don't understand is why there is a need for the public display of pride in one's sexuality. You often write about boundaries, aren't you contradicting yourself when it comes to pride? By the way have you noticed that your posts regarding you being homosexual get fewer comments and shares than your posts regarding disabilities, I think that might tell you that many feel the way I do."

Nice way to kick start the morning.

Yes, I have noticed a distinct difference in response to posts about my life as a gay man and posts regarding my life as a disabled man or as a disability professional. So what? I'm not sure it means what is being stated here. Both my blog Of Battered Aspect and my Facebook page have specifically courted readers from the disability community and of course posts about other issues would get less of a response. So, no biggie and, more importantly, no message.

Why Pride?

I get this question a lot about gay pride and disability pride. Why? What does it achieve? Well, I'm going to write about Gay Pride here and I think you'll easily be able to extrapolate to disability pride as well.

Pride isn't about my sex life. Don't you get that?? My desire to love and have sex with another of my gender is the source of my oppression, surviving that oppression is the source of my pride.

Let me tell you, surviving is exactly the right word because many don't. Many kids are thrown out of their homes by parents whose promise of unconditional love vanishes upon learning their child loves in ways not approved by faith or by tradition or by deeply held prejudice. Many teens commit suicide because they can't endure another day of bullying, another day of hiding, another day of lying. There are no words to describe what happens, inside when, as a teen I heard the words you used, about me, in my presence. The fact that you didn't know I was gay mattered not, what mattered was it showed me who you were and how you felt. I internalized those words, 'fag,' 'pansy,' 'sissy,' 'gearbox' 'queer' 'fairy' and when you weren't there to call me names, I was. I learned from you how to throw these rocks at myself. Whenever I saw a man that I was attracted to I hurt myself. Inside I was bloodied by the words you taught me to call myself. The postmaster of my town was gay. They tortured him. His house was routinely vandalized. He was spoken to with contempt while he simply was carrying out the functions of his job. The fact that he went on, quietly living his life, was one of the few things that gave me hope. His pride never wavered, but mine did. I attempted suicide when I was 15 and fell in love a year later with the man I still love now.

I survived.

I survived the messages of disapproval of my nature.

I survived the messages of condemnation for how my heart worked. (Rather than celebration for the fact it worked at all.)

I survived you, and those like the woman who wrote me the letter.

I survived and I want to dance in the street to flaunt the fact that, though you tried, your hate didn't kill me.

I am not proud of the fact that I love a man named Joe. Why would I be proud of that? He's probably the easiest person I know to love. He's just naturally a good guy. I also am not proud that Joe loves me. This would mean that I believed that Joe's love of me is extraordinary because I'm disabled and I'm not traditionally considered attractive. But you know what, that doesn't matter, what matters is that I think there are things about me that are lovable. So, my pride isn't about that. My pride is that our love and our relationship survived.

Let me tell you surviving is exactly the right word because many relationships and many loves didn't. Yep, your oppression killed love. your oppression took away from a world that desperately needs more hearts to be filled to the brim with adoration for another. When a heart is full of love, there is no room left for hate. Joe and I got together in Grade 12 and back then no one could know. The secret was so deep that we couldn't even effectively talk about who were were and how we felt to each other let alone anyone else. We pretended friendship. We pretended not to care. We pretended that our hearts beat to straight time. And it nearly tore us apart. Over and over and over again we endured losses. Friends, discovering and friends leaving. Family discovering and family leaving. Landlords guessing and apartments denied. So much betrayal. So many lies. But, we endured. We're celebrating our 48th anniversary on the 29th of this month.

We survived.

We survived a life lived in the shadows of your discomfort and your disapproval.

We survived the constant insistence that gay men couldn't form relationships, that we were too promiscuous to form a home with another.

We survived, those of you who still see our relationship as worth less than your own.

We survived.

And if we want to hold hands as we parade down the street, and if we want to have a little kiss in full view of you and those like you, who could blame us?

But I am proud of my sexuality. I am proud of the community that formed around sexuality and gender and the multiple and intersection ways that these interact with each other and with the other identities we carry in our lives. I understand that my disability sometimes feels unwelcome in parts of the LGBT+ community. I understand that though we are all different and that we have the experience of difference we haven't conquered the baggage that comes with that. Understanding our own difference does not mean that we are more likely to understand the difference of another.

Racism, and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and ableism and disphobia exist in my community. But even with deep divisions and even with distrust and even with hurt, we move forward to change the world. We move forward towards a day when kids who are different don't die early deaths, stabbed in the heart with the ice pick of prejudice. We move forward towards a day when people can walk safely down the street and that we can predict with some surety that when we leave our homes, we will come back to them. We move forward to a time when being able to go for a pee doesn't require meetings and policies and, for heaven's sake, training. We move forward.

I am proud of what my sexuality has brought me. I am proud of the gifts that lay hidden under layers of hatred, and I'm proud of those who struggled in the years before I was born and the years before I came to the realization of difference for hiding amongst the rubble the message that I am part of the history of a people who have a tradition of surviving and a history of loving anyway.

We are community and we have survived repression.

We are a community always under attack.

We are a community where young gay men are thrown off rooftops and young transexual people of colour are murdered in the street.

We are a community that survives and continues on and loves anyway.

This is cause to dance down the street. This is cause to flaunt our bodies, our loves, our selves in any way we want. When you could no longer put is in actual cages, you attempted to put us in emotional cages and we broke out.

We are free.

We survived.

And we love anyway.

So we dance, prance and roll down the street and make our visibility our statement.

And for the record, I don't care how many people 'like' this post. I don't care how often it's shared. Why? Because that's what you think matters. What I think matters is that this post exists because I survived and I am loved and I am freaking proud of who I am.
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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

I discovered a nice gem of an insight this week in an article called The 11 Ways That Consumers Are Hopeless at Math: the symbolism of the number 9.

We’re all familiar with the convention of pricing items one penny below a round number: $1.99 instead of $2.00, $39.99 instead of $40.00, etc. Psychologically, marketers know that this works. We’re more likely to buy something at $89.99 than we are at $90.00.

It’s not, though, because we are tricked by that extra penny for our pockets. It’s because, so argues Derek Thompson, the .99 symbolizes “discount.” It is more than just a number, it has a meaning. It now says to us not just 9, but also You are getting a deal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a carton of eggs for $2.99 or a dishwasher for $299.99. In both cases, putting two 9s at the end makes us feel like smart shoppers.

To bring this point home, in those moments when we’re not looking for a deal, the number 9 has the opposite effect. When marketers want to sell a “luxury” item, they generally don’t use the 9s. They simply state the round number price. The whole point of buying a luxury item is to spend a lot of money because you have the money to spend. It shouldn’t feel like a deal; it should feel like an indulgence. Thompson uses the example of lobster at a high-end restaurant. They don’t sell it to you for $99.99. That looks cheap. They ask you for the $100. And, if you’ve got the money and you’re in the mood, it feels good exactly in part because there are no 9s.

Definitely no 9s:

Photo by artjour street art flickr creative commons.

Not yet convinced? Consider as an example this price tag for a flat screen television. Originally priced at $2,300.00, but discounted at $1,999.99. Suddenly on sale and a whole lot of 9s:

Photo by Paul Swansen flickr creative commons; cropped.
Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Sitting Outside as Rebellion

Jun. 14th, 2017 06:25 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I was sitting outside. The weather had just crossed from warm to hot. I was waiting for Joe to bring the car. I wasn't doing anything more that watching people go by and soaking in the heat. I was loving it, remember we Canadians can wait a long time for summer. A man was coming my way, I saw 'the look.'

I wonder if other disabled people notice it as well. It's a look that says, "I'm going to intrude into your life, even knowing I am a stranger to you, because you need me.: At lease when I see it I can prepare for what's coming.He got close to me, not weirdly close, just conversation close and he, this man a year or two older than me, "You need to go in to where there is air conditioning. It's too hot to sit where you are." I told him that I was good where I was, he said,"Well at least move into the shade." I told him that I was enjoying the sun. He actually threw his hands up in frustration as if he'd just spoken to a disrespectful child who wouldn't do what he was told.

I'm 64 and, I have no illusions about this, I look 64. Yet people still feel compelled to parent me. People still feel it's their right and their role and their responsibility to act as parent towards me as if I've never actually grown up.

While I'm used to it, it bothers me every time. I think it's because, in that situation I often forget the dynamics, intrusive stranger/me, and retreat to parental concern/me. I explain what I want, I hold my ground but I forget they have no right to tell me where I can and cannot sit on any particular day.

This innate need to parent the disabled that some people have, I wonder if it sometimes creeps into care. I wonder if staff start seeing those they support as those they parent. Yikes. That's a mistake.

I wonder if parents of kids with disabilities are able to transition to parents of adults with disabilities.

I know you know that I have the assertion skills to deal with these instances which many with intellectual disabilities don't. But do you know how it chips away, slowly over time, at my sense of self as a fully adult man? Maybe because the damage can't be seen, like if he'd punched me with his fist. But he did punch me, with his assumptions and stereotypes, and though I never bruised physically doesn't mean no damage was done.

Prejudice and assumption hurts, when done by a stranger.

Imagine how it feels when done by someone who says they love you or someone who says that their job is to support you.




Jun. 13th, 2017 08:07 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I'd known her since she was a teen. She'd been referred for her 'rebellious nature.' Well no behaviour program in the world can ethically try to eliminate someone's nature. And when 'rebellion' is an appropriate developmental step, eliminating it simply stunts growth. I'd had all these thoughts in my mind when I want for my first meeting with mom. It took a lot of listening to a very frustrated mother. Her child was disobedient and moody, she was bucking authority and talking back. She missed her daughter the smiling happy child that loved her and listened to her. That child, a kid with Down Syndrome, had hit her teens and thrown every 'forever happy' stereotype, that's tucked behind that extra gene, in the garbage.

After she vented, I took a risk, I said, "I'm afraid your child's primary diagnosis is no longer Down Syndrome, she is now, and I'm sorry to say this, a teenager." She laughed and after a moment said, "Yeah this is what all my friends with teenagers are talking about, I just didn't expect," and here she stopped herself, "that my daughter would get there too." It was a moment of realization. So I did come, and we worked on coping strategies and teaching her daughter skills that teens need in order to be safe.

I tell you this because I ran into teen turned young woman a few days ago. She had bright pink hair and a nose ring. I almost didn't recognize her but when she stopped to look at me, recognizing me without remembering me, it all came flooding back. I called her name and said mine and she walked over laughing. She asked me why I was in a wheelchair now and then I told her that I loved her hair, it could not be more pink, it was the pinnacle of pink. She said, and I'm quoting here, "Yeah, fucking awesome isn't it?"

I was taken aback. Now before going further here's full disclosure, I am not surprised or startled when the f-bomb is dropped into a conversation. It is so frequent in conversation that it's punch has lost a bit of strength. But I was taken aback because I don't often hear people with intellectual disabilities, who aren't 'having behaviours' as people like to say, just use it calmly as part of a conversation.

She watched my reaction, smiling, then she said, "I'm an adult, I get to pick my words."

I agreed that she was.

Afterwards I thought that what she had said was interesting. "I get to pick my words." It's a statement of some power and complete autonomy. That's what free people do.


That's it.

That's what free people do.
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Tristan Bridges, PhD

Originally posted at Inequality by (Interior) Design.

I’ve been following a couple different data sets that track the size of the LGB(T) population in the United States for a few years. There’s a good amount of evidence that all points in the same direction: those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and possibly transgender too are all on the rise. Just how large of an increase is subject to a bit of disagreement, but the larger trend is undeniable. Much of the reporting on this shift treats this as a fact that equally blankets the entirety of the U.S. population (or only deals superficially with the really interesting demographic questions concerning the specific groups within the population that account for this change).

In a previous post, I separated the L’s, G’s and B’s because I suspected that more of this shift was accounted for by bisexuals than is often discussed in any critical way (*the GSS does not presently have a question that allows us to separate anyone identifying as transgender or outside the gender binary). Between 2008 and 2016, the proportion of the population identifying as lesbian or gay went from 1.6% to 2.4%. During the same period, those identifying as bisexual jumped from 1.1% to 3.3%. It’s a big shift and it’s even bigger when you look at how pronounced it is among the groups who primarily account for this change: women, people of color, and young people.

The thing about sexual identities though, is that they’re just like other kinds of meaningful identities in that they intersect with other identities in ways that produce different sorts of meanings depending upon what kinds of configurations of identities they happen to be combined with (like age, race, and gender). For instance, as a sexual identity, bisexual is more common than both lesbian and gay combined. But, bisexuality is gendered. Among women, “bisexual” is a more common sexual identity than is “lesbian”; but among men, “gay” is a more common sexual identity than “bisexual”–though this has shifted a bit over the 8 years GSS has been asking questions about sexual orientation. And so too is bisexuality a racialized identity in that the above gendered trend is more true of white and black men than men of other races.

Consider this: between 2008 and 2016, among young people (18-34 years old), those identifying as lesbian or gay went from 2.7% to 3.0%, while those identifying as “bisexual” increased twofold, from 2.6% to 5.3%.  But, look at how this more general change among young people looks when we break it down by gender.

Looked at this way, bisexuality as a sexual identity has more than doubled in recent years. Among 18-34 year old women in 2016, the GSS found 8% identifying as bisexual.  You have to be careful with GSS data once you start parsing the data too much as the sample sizes decrease substantially once we start breaking things down by more than gender and age. But, just for fun, I wanted to look into how this trend looked when we examined it among different racial groups (GSS only has codes for white, black, and other).Picture1

Here, you can see a couple things.  But one of the big stories I see is that “bisexual” identity appears to be particularly absent among Black men in the U.S. And, among young men identifying as a race other than Black or white, bisexuality is a much more common identity than is gay. It’s also true that the proportions of gay and bisexual men in each group appear to jump around year to year.  The general trend follows the larger pattern – toward more sexual minority identities.  But, it’s less straightforward than that when we actually look at the shift among a few specific racial groups within one gender.  Now, look at this trend among women.

Here, we clearly see the larger trend that “bisexual” appears to be a more common sexual identity than “lesbian.” But, look at Black women in 2016.  In 2016, just shy of one in five Black women between the ages of 18 and 34 identified as lesbian or bisexual (19%) in the GSS sample! And about two thirds of those women are identifying as bisexual (12.4%) rather than as lesbian (6.6%). Similarly, and mirroring the larger trend that “bisexual” is more common among women while “gay” is more popular among men, “lesbian” is a noticeably absent identity among women identifying as a race other than Black or white just as “gay” is less present among men identifying as a race other than Black or white.

Below is all that information in a single chart.  I felt it was a little less intuitive to read in this form. But this is the combined information from the two graphs preceding this if it’s helpful to see it in one chart.


What these shifts mean is a larger question. But it’s one that will require an intersectional lens to interpret. And this matters because bisexuality is a less-discussed sexual identification–so much so that “bi erasure” is used to address the problem of challenging the legitimacy or even existence of this sexual identity. As a sexual identification in the U.S., however, “bisexual” is actually more common than “gay” and “lesbian” identifications combined.

And yet, whether bisexual identifying people will or do see themselves as part of a distinct sexual minority is more of an open question. All of this makes me feel that we need to consider more carefully whether grouping bisexuals with lesbian women and gay men when reporting shifts in the LGB population. Whatever is done, we should care about bisexuality (particularly among women), because this is a sexual identification that is becoming much more common than is sometimes recognized.

Tristan Bridges, PhD is a professor at The College at Brockport, SUNY. He is the co-editor of Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Inequality, and Change with C.J. Pascoe and studies gender and sexual identity and inequality. You can follow him on Twitter here. Tristan also blogs regularly at Inequality by (Interior) Design.

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