Welcome to the Summer Edition of Journeys.
Summer is heating up and so is the battle for equality.
You can hardly escape a news cycle without hearing the latest barrage of negative messages designed to inspire fear about LGBTQ equality. And yet, the progress is also evident.
I had the good fortune of hearing a wise leader in our community share about her experiences of our historical movements and the origins of many of our traditions as queer people. Listening to Judy Grahn gave me new inspiration for my work and for my own identity development as a lesbian.
This issue of Journeys is dedicated to discovering how the Queer Stories of our history can enlighten and empower us.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" - Ralph Waldo Emerson
|© 2010 Lisa Maurel, MFT, Lic. 32416
recently attended several films at OUTFEST. In a discussion with
friends and colleagues, we hotly debated the question of how homophobia
and heterosexism were modeled in the films we saw. While it was
refreshing to see a major film reflecting two lesbian mothers in "The
Kids Are Alright" many of us questioned the films story line which
sexually injects a man into the lesbian relationship. While this chain
of events is not unheard of...we wondered...was this perhaps a
reflection of anxiety about lesbian empowered relationships. All of us
left expressing a desire for films that present affirmative queer
As sexual minorities we constantly absorb overt social messages through media, culture and of course institutional forms of discrimination and prejudice of which Prop 8 is a stellar example.
A more subtle and perhaps destructive impact of this
chronic negative messaging occurs at the level of our
unconscious process. As we absorb the psychic impact of homophobic and heterosexist messaging, shame and fear makes its
way into our hearts and minds, eroding our self esteem.
Perhaps these unconscious messages were being played out through the narrative of "The Kids Are Alright".
It takes intention for us as sexual minorities to identify these subtle narratives and to consciously seek out affirming reflections of our community.
An important way of combating the internalized shame that our community has endured for generations is discovering our own history.
I've found inspiration and insight in the work of Judy Grahn. Judy is a feminist, a poet and a leader in the LGBTQ community. Her work brings to life the buried and obscured history of queer people across the world and throughout history; the offices we have held as healers, leaders, warriors and artists. Through myth and story, Judy shares the roots of our traditions to our unknown ancesors.
In her bookAnother Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, she shares her discoveries about the origins of symbols and offices in our community: from the meaning of lavender, to the origins of the term bull dyke. Discovering our history can be a real source of pride and heal some of the wounds that we carry collectively and individually as we find our stories reflected in so many cultures across time.
LGBT people enjoy diverse racial, religious, and cultural traditions which are vital to preserve. Developing our own unique and affirmative identities as double or triple minorities, strengthens our vision and our community.
Our community is alive and evolving. Many of us are creating families who need and deserve the rights and privileges of heterosexual pairings. Many of us are pursuing singlehood or monogamy, without the trappings of a heterosexual model of relationship. All of these ways of being are deserving of respect and equality.
Let us not forget that while our families are equal, we are not the same. We bring a unique and beautiful perspective to coupling, parenting, home making and community.
I encourage you to explore these resources which can give us strength for the journey towards equality and vision for our own lives as prideful people.
Peace on your journey, Lisa
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