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Posts Tagged ‘bisexual’

UPDATE: Two more episodes about Kirk’s story has aired since I posted this entry. You can view the stories and read about it over at CNN Anderson Cooper 360.

Abigail Jensen, a friend and activist over at Transmentors International, contacted me about Kirk Murphy’s story. Abigail and I have worked together on initiatives to address the  oppression of  transgender  people at the hands of non-transgender gays and lesbians. She shared with me a link to the story: Reparative Therapy for Trans Youth: Kenneth Zucker is different from George Rekkers how? It is well worth reading.

Yesterday (as I was in the cosmetic aisle buying new eyeliner and concealer for my transgender Bible play) Abigail and I talked on the phone about how so often transgender and gender non-conforming narratives get co-opted by gays and lesbians on blogs and such and then get absorbed into a political discussion about sexual orientation. As a result, the reality of transgender identities and experiences get erased and get folded into the “gay” narrative. In Kirk’s case he ultimately identified as gay, but there are many sissy boys (and tomboys/butch girls) who identify with a gender different from the sex assigned at birth based. They may be assumed gay or lesbian because they present in gender non-conforming ways, but in reality theirs is a distinctly different narrative.

When addressing stories with gender variance in a child, we simply do not know who that child will grow up to be. Transgender and gender non-conforming children and young adults may fall into the hands of reparative therapists who attempt to “fix” their gender. The impulse to seek “help” from parents and other adults in the child’s life arise from a gay panic with the hope that therapy will curtail any gay or lesbian desires/identities in the future. But the gender presentation may very well have nothing to do with the individuals orientation.

In sharing Kirk’s stories and others like it, we need to be careful to be inclusive of the transgender experience. This sort of terrible treatment does not just happen to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

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Kirk Andrew Murphy

Last night Anderson Cooper 360 featured the story of Kirk Andrew Murphy, who as a young boy exhibited gender non-conforming behavior. Kirk did not act like the other boys, and after seeing a therapist on TV, his parents turned for help to  who they thought were experts. Seeking a cure they ended up subjecting their child to cruel and dangerous treatments at the hands of George Rekers and other anti-gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender practitioners.

Kaytee Murphy (Kirk’s mom) took Kirk to UCLA, where he was treated largely by George A. Rekers, a doctoral student at the time.

In Rekers’ study documenting his experimental therapy (PDF), he writes about a boy he calls “Kraig.” Another UCLA gender researcher confirmed that “Kraig” was a pseudonym for Kirk.

The study, later published in an academic journal, concludes that after therapy, “Kraig’s” feminine behavior was gone and he became “indistinguishable from any other boy.”

“Kraig, I think, certainly was Rekers’ poster boy for what Rekers was espousing for young children,” said Jim Burroway, a writer and researcher who has studied Rekers’ work.

And of course the treatments did not “work” in the ways that Reker’s reported. Kirk did not change, he simply suppressed whole parts of himself. Like many ex-gay survivors he went underground. He took on masculine roles, and according to his sister, avoided love and possible partnership. He ended up moving far away from the US to India where we ultimately took his life at age 38.

This is a tragic tale about the dangers of  people who offer help while dishing out colossal harm. People like Alan Chambers of Exodus International. People who run local “ex-gay” ministries. Ministers and Christian therapists who counsel lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people in their congregations that “change is possible.” People who insist that heterosexuality and gender conformity are God’s best and the only healthy way to live. People who target girls and boys who do not behave according to society rules regarding gender and desire. People who offer false promises of a happy fulfilling life if one embarks on a straight and very narrow self-abusive path.

I once forced myself down that very path.

While a few claim they are happy and healthy living ex-gay, seeking an alternative to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identities, the vast majority of us who went down this path say we experienced a world of woe as a result. I spent 17 years chasing the promised change in hopes of being a masculine, heterosexual man of God. Oh I changed, but not how I had dreamed. I grew depressed, isolated, self-destructive, and confused. I have met thousands who have had similar experiences. We have begun to gather, to connect and to share our stories. You can read about some of our experiences at Beyond Ex-Gay.

I am so grateful to Jim Burroway for his in depth, thorough, and thoughtful research and reporting about Kirk and his experiences.  I have consistently been impressed with Jim’s attention to detail and his compassion that runs deep and in many directions (read his report about parents who seek a cure for their queer children.) I feel grateful that Kirk’s brother and sister found in Jim someone willing to get to the bottom of the story. I am also grateful to Anderson Cooper and his producers for properly covering this story–highlighting the harm and not falling into the trap that they somehow have to “show all sides.”

If you went through “change” treatments or on your own attempted to change or suppress your gender identity, gender presentation, or orientation, and you see the harm that has come from it, please get help. As Kate Bornstein repeats over and over–Stay Alive. To me this means not merely surviving, but finding how to reclaim our lives, to embrace lief as we undo the damage of these soul crushing experiences.

One resource that may help is Dr. Jallen Rix’s excellent book Ex-Gay No Way–Survival and Recovery from Religious Abuse.  For my part I used comedy and storytelling to expose the horror of my own experience. Also, visit us at Beyond Ex-Gay where you will discover narratives, many articles, artwork (including our survivor collages created by Christine Bakke) and more.

Ex-gay survivor John Holm

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Zack and Peterson are back in person with each other, but it might be the last time for a while, as Zack has accepted a job in the DC area! But don’t worry, the podcast isn’t going anywhere! This week we take a trip to Harding University in Arkansas, Flour Bluff School District in Texas, and even Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas! The topic? Free speech and queer identities in education. Take a listen to learn all the latest happenings about how queer people are being erased!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week’s episode:

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» This week’s erotic poem: Episode of Hands by Hart Crane.

» Read the Harding University Queer Press, follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook, and watch the President’s scathing speech.

» Learn more about the decision to prevent the GSA in Corpus Christi.

» Zack’s response to the Westboro SCOTUS decision and Bill O’Reilley’s discussion with Megyn Kelly.

» Learn more about the “Be Happy, Not Gay” t-shirt controversy.

» OUTspoken 2011

» True Colors 2011

» Adelina Anthony

» Jade Esteban Estrada

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Peterson is desperate for you love and attention:  Like him on Facebook !
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Bisexual Superhero Robyn Ochs

Peterson and Zack are delighted to welcome the fabulous Robyn Ochs to the Queer & Queerer Podcast. Robyn is a renowned speaker at conferences and on college campuses and is particularly known for her bisexuality activism. In this episode, we discuss the complicated nature of sexual identities and the history of bisexual advocacy. Robyn also reminds us of the power of the personal narrative with a story of her own. Join in the conversation by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page!

Queer & Queerer Ep. 40 “Bi and Bier–featuring Robyn Ochs

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Check out Robyn Ochs’ homepage and Like her on Facebook.

» Find this week’s erotic poem and other bisexual testimonials in Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World.

» Get details on the upcoming central PA GSA Leadership Summit!

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Peterson is desperate for you love and attention:  Like him on Facebook !
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Good queer news out of Kansas! The city commission of Manhattan, KS (aka The Little Apple) voted in favor of extending its anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation AND gender identity. In other words they have moved to protect people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual . My friend Jonathan Mertz wrote to tell me the good news,

Last night the Manhattan city commission voted 3-2 to add sexual orientation AND gender identity to the city’s human rights ordinance! Yes, a 5-0 vote would have been better, but we’ll take it.

We are particularly proud because Manhattan is the first city in Kansas to include gender identity as a protected class. I should say proud to be the first, embarrassed that we are the first. The good news we may not be the last.

Earlier today on the Queer and Queerer podcast, Zack Ford and I shared how trangender people have often been excluded in the “gay rights” struggle. In 2007 the gay backers of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, stripped gender identity and expression from the bill even after promises to keep it in.

In our program we reference blogger, LGBT activist, Navy veteran, and transgender woman, Autumn Sandeen, and her work towards the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She points out that the way has been opened for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to serve openly in the military, but not yet transgender people. Autumn advocates non-violent action to shame LGB(t) organizations into putting  money and action behind the lip service they play to the transgender community.

What is heartening about this LGBT rights victory in Manhattan, KS is that the backers of the ordinance remained committed to the inclusion of transgender people even though that meant they had to work harder to get it passed. Jonathan goes on to explain,

I’m chair of the board of the Flint Hills Human Rights Project, the group that lead the charge to get the ordinance passed. One of our first questions we considered was “Would we support an ordinance that just included sexual orientation?” The board was unanimous that we would only support an ordinance that included sexual orientation and gender identity. It did make it more of a challenge, but it passed!

The Topeka Capitol-Journey has a short piece about the ordinance. Warning: Some of the comments are cruel and stupid. If you are up for it, add some light and insight. Better yet, share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and your blog. It’s good news.

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Freshly back from Creating Change and AWP, Zack and Peterson are energized to be advocates and writers. This week’s episode focuses on a roundup of news related to the transgender community, including unfunny sketches on Craig Ferguson and SNL, hate crimes, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell/trans people, and a big new study that reveals “Injustice at Every Turn” for the trans community. We also share our experiences from our conferences and, of course, an erotic poem!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!


Listen to this week’s program

or Download it on iTunes (see link below oh and also rate us if you do that whole iTunes thing)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» This week’s erotic poem: “Song for a Lakota Woman” by Chrystos (Listen to Chrystos read it.)

» Chris Geitner’s report on Craig Ferguson and SNL

» Murders of transgender people in Honduras

» Sentencing of Ashley Santiago’s Murderer

» Autumn Sandeen speaks out about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

» The Task Force and NCTE Study: Injustice at Every Turn

»I Too by Langston Hughes

» Peterson’s Post about the Trans-Inclusive Commercial from Argentina

» Robyn Ochs!

» Peterson’s Schedule

» The Trans-Ponder Podcast!

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Peterson is desperate for you love and attention:  Like him on Facebook !
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Who Made You The Drag Queen of the Gay Agenda?

Alright, so we admit we have an agenda, but what is it? Lots of people, like straight pastors and well-funded Glb(t) political operatives, think they know. Zack and Peterson try to suss out who sets the agenda and what it happens to be today. What are the bars by which we measure the success of the LGBTQ movement? We also talk about folks who are trying to bridge gaps, but might just be helping to maintain them. From Egypt to Hollywood to Washington, D.C., we look at who is shaping the agenda and chime in with our hopes and concerns.

Episode 38 of Queer and Queerer

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo preaching

Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin preaching

Ahmed Saad's Book

» This week’s erotic poem: “A Glimpse,” by Walt Whitman.

» HRC’s Trans Job Campaign in Massachusetts

» Egyptian “Gay Rights Activist,” or Ex-Gay Proponent?

» Discussion about Andrew Marin:

Belmont May Change Actions Toward Gay Groups

FriendlyAtheist: “I’m Sorry” Is Not Enough for the Gay Community

» The Second LGBT General Assembly (Facebook Event) – (Saturday, January 20)

» Creating Change in Minneapolis! It’s not too late to register! – (February 2-6)

» A Night with Robyn Ochs at Bucknell University – (Tuesday, February 15)

» See Peterson at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX (February 28-March 1)

Subscribe to Queer and Queerer in iTunes!

The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.

If you use a different podcatcher, the Queer and Queerer raw feed can be found here.The feed has the 25 most recent episodes; the rest are archived on this page.
Like us on Facebook for instant updates, new episodes, and discussion!
Follow Zack (@ZackFord) and Peterson (@p2son) on Twitter.
Even though the podcast is hosted on Zack’s blog, please make sure you Like ME on Facebook as well!
Our theme music is “Appalachia” by Machelli. Download his album, “Opus,” on iTunes.

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Over at Facebook I have many different types of friends (like 2200 friends) and of course they have friends who represent many perspectives. Today on a friend’s wall posting about wearing purple in support of LGBT youth two straight folks raised objectives revealing that they felt “bullied” into showing support of gay kids. In frustration one of them said, “We need to have a Heterosexual Pride Parade.” The other agreedMr. & Mrs. Salt & Pepper.

Now I know a lot of straight people. Some of my best friends are heterosexual. In fact, I come from a distinctly heterosexual family that I love. I know that some straight folks feel put upon by all of the recent news about gay. lesbian and transgender suicides and bullying. “Why do we have to hear about THEM all the time?” Hmmmm. Welcome to my world where I constantly have to go out of my way to hear about anything other than straight lives.

Lately I have been thinking of the subtle powerful force of heterosexism, like high blood pressure, I consider it the “silent killer” insistent and constant in its messaging that heterosexuality is NORMAL, the idealized norm, what everyone is expected to be, an identity that is celebrated, rewarded and represented to the exclusion of all others.

Like a low-grade fever or undetected high blood pressure, non-straight, non-gender normative people live with a steady barrage of pro-heterosexual messages mixed in with anti-LGBT messages. Even in US states where they offer “gay marriage” everyone knows it is not the same as a straight marriage because of the federal protections granted to heterosexual couples and denied to all others. But beyond the legal protections or lack of protections in the household, on the job and elsewhere, we get a deluge of pro-straight messages in pop songs, commercials, movies, religious ceremonies, proms–shoot even salt and pepper shakers! I know that there is a growing movement to include LGBT lives and voices in the media and on the agenda of the board of education, but it’s spotty at best and is often drowned out by the heterosexism that exists in almost every encounter silly and sublime.

Here’s an example of straight pride & privilege.

Marueen says, “My husband Bill & I got together w/ our two daughters & their husbands to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and Cindy & Todd’s first baby. At church the pastor said a blessing over the family & we recommitted our vows.”

And everyone says, “Oh, that is so nice.” And it is and there are gifts and cards and photos and public sharing on Facebook and beyond revealing pride and affirmation and celebration of Bill & Maureen’s successful heterosexuality.

Of course most don’t think of Maureen & Bill expressing “Heterosexual Pride.”

It’s just “normal.”

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