Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Gay Through The Ages

This post is from another person but I love it so much I had to re-post it! I have quotes these finding for years so it was so nice to see someone who painstakingly put it into written form. I hope you enjoy and get as much out of it as i do!
Dearest Queer Person,
Chances are you don't even know that you are holy, or royal or magic, but you are. You are part of an adoptive family going back through every generation of human existence.
Long before you were born, our people were inventing incredible things. Gifted minds like the inventor of the computer Alan Turing and aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont live on in you. The imprint that bold and brilliant individuals like Lynn Conway and Martine Rothblatt (both transgender women alive today) made on modern technology is impossible deny as present-day engineers carry their torch in the creation of robots and microprocessors. More recently speaking, one of the co-founders of Facebook publicly acknowledged his identity as a gay man, as did the current CEO of Apple.
We were so often gods and goddesses over the centuries, like Hermaphrodite (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite), and Athena and Zeus, both of whom had same-sex lovers. In Japan it was said that the male couple Shinu No Hafuri and Ama No Hafuri, "introduced" homosexuality to the world. The ability to change one's gender or to claim an identity that encompasses two genders is common amongst Hindu deities. The being said to have created the Dahomey (a kingdom in the area now known as Benin) was reportedly formed when a twin brother and sister (the sun and the moon) combined into one being who might now identify as "intersex." Likewise, the aboriginal Australian rainbow serpent-gods Ungud and Angamunggi possess many characteristics that mirror present-day definitions of transgender identity.
Our ability to transcend gender binaries and cross gender boundaries was seen as a special gift. We were honored with special cultural roles, often becoming shamans, healers and leaders in societies around the globe. The Native Americans of the Santa Barbara region called us "jewels." Our records from the Europeans who wrote of their encounters with Two-Spirit people indicates that same-sex sexual activity or non-gender binary identities were part of the culture of eighty-eight different Native American tribes, including the Apache, Aztec, Cheyenne, Crow, Maya and Navajo. Without written records we can't know the rest, but we know we were a part of most if not all peoples in the Americas.
Your ancestors were royalty like Queen Christina of Sweden, who not only refused to marry a man (thereby giving up her claim to the throne), but adopted a male name and set out on horseback to explore Europe alone. Her tutor once said the queen was "not at all like a female." Your heritage also includes the ruler Nzinga of the Ndongo and Matamna Kingdoms (now known as Angola), who was perceived to be biologically female but dressed as male, kept a harem of young men dressed in traditionally-female attire and was addressed as "King." Emperors like Elagalabus are part of your cultural lineage, too. He held marriage ceremonies to both male-identified and female-identified spouses, and was known to proposition men while he was heavily made-up with cosmetics. Caliphs of Cordoba including Hisham II, Abd-ar-Rahman III and Al-Hakam II kept male harems (sometimes in addition to female harems, sometimes in place of them). Emperor Ai of Han Dynasty China was the one whose life gives us the phrase "the passions of the cut sleeve," because when he was asleep with his beloved, Dong Xian, and awoke to leave, he cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than wake his lover.
You are descended from individuals whose mark on the arts is impossible to ignore. These influential creators include composers like Tchaikovsky, painters like Leonardo da Vinci and actors like Greta Garbo. Your forebears painted the Sistine Chapel, recorded the first blues song and won countless Oscars. They were poets, and dancers and photographers. Queer people have contributed so much to the arts that there's an entire guided tour dedicated just to these artists at New York's Museum of Modern Art.
You have the blood of great warriors, like the Amazons, those female-bodied people who took on roles of protection and had scarce time or interest between their brave acts to cater to the needs of men. And your heart beats as bravely as the men of the Sacred Band of Thebes, a group of 150 male-male couples who, in the 4th century B.C.E., were known to be especially powerful fighters because each man fought as though he was fighting for the life of his lover (which he was). But your heritage also includes peacemakers, like Bayard Rustin, a non-violent gay architect of the Black civil rights movement in the U.S.
We redefined words like bear, butch, otter, queen and femme, and created new terms like drag queen, twink and genderqueer. But just because the words like homosexual, bisexual, transgender, intersex and asexual, have been created in the relatively recent past doesn't mean they are anything new. Before we started using today's terms, we were Winkte to the Ogala, A-go-kwe to the Chippewa, Ko'thlama to the Zuni, Machi to the Mapuchi, Tsecats to the Manghabei, Omasenge to the Ambo and Achnutschik to the Konyaga across the continents. While none of these terms identically mirror their more modern counterparts, all refer to some aspect of, or identity related to, same-gender love, same-sex sex or crossing genders.
You are normal. You are not a creation of the modern age. Your identity is not a "trend" or a "fad." Almost every country has a recorded history of people whose identities and behaviors bear close resemblance to what we'd today call bisexuality, homosexuality, transgender identity, intersexuality, asexuality and more. Remember: the way Western culture today has constructed gender and sexuality is not the way it's always been. Many cultures from Papua New Guinea to Peru accepted male-male sex as a part of ritual or routine; some of these societies believed that the transmission of semen from one man to another would make the recipient stronger. In the past, we often didn't need certain words for the same-sex attracted, those of non-binary gender and others who did not conform to cultural expectations of their biological sex or perceived gender because they were not as unusual as we might today assume they were.
Being so unique and powerful has sometimes made others afraid of us. They arrested and tortured and murdered us. We are still executed by governments and individuals today in societies where we were once accepted us as important and equal members of society. They now tell us "homosexuality is un-African" and "there are no homosexuals in Iran." You, and we, know that these defensive comments are not true--but they still hurt. So, when others gave us names like queer and dyke, we reclaimed them. When they said we were recruiting children, we said "I'm here to recruit you!" When they put pink and black triangles on our uniforms in the concentration camps, we made them pride symbols.
Those who challenge our unapologetic presence in today's cultures, who try to deprive us of our rights, who make us targets of violence, remain ignorant of the fact that they, not us, are the historical anomaly. For much of recorded history, persecuting individuals who transgressed their culture's norms of gender and sexuality was frowned upon at worst and unheard of at best. Today, the people who continue to harass us attempt to justify their cruel campaigns by claiming that they are defending "traditional" values. But nothing could be further from the truth.
But now you know they are wrong. Just imagine the world without that first computer or the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, or a huge part of the music you've ever heard from classical Appalachian Spring to classic YMCA (I mean, we've held titles from the "Mother of Blues" to the "King of Latin Pop!"). How much less colorful would the world be without us? I'm grateful that you're here to help carry on our traditions.
So, happy LGBT History Month! I hope to celebrate with you here at Quist. This list of LGBTQ history online resources is a good place to start in exploring more specifics about this heritage.
Sarah Prager
*Actually a term as a way someone signed a letter for a lesbian organization in Mexico decades ago!
This piece was inspired in part by facts and sentiments from Another Mother Tongueby Judy Grahn (published 1984). Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia edited by Gilbert H. Herdt (published 1993) is also referenced. Many of the referenced facts are cited so many places it has become common knowledge. Christianne Gadd contributed significantly to this piece. This post originally appeared in The Advocate.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What's Your Color

What's your color? I'm sure you have a favorite color. Is it BLUE? Or RED? Maybe it's GOLD or even WHITE? There is a surprising amount of information that can be told by what one's favorite color is. Interesting things like what a person is more likely to eat or how they are in bed and I'm not just talking about sleeping. Our mental health can be noted through our color choice and it can also clue in others as to how one is feeling.

Blue is claimed to be the favorite color while brown is least liked. Men prefer strong bold colors like red and yellow while women prefer the softer tones of violet and pink. Men who prefer softer shades of their favorite colors tend to be gentle in nature and very thoughtful while the men who choose brick or gold tend to eat spicier foods and are more aggressive during sex (and not necessarily in a bad way). Women tend to like grays least of all and drive more white cars then men. Those of you who choose orange tend to live or have lived in a very gloomy/rainy place and yet black is the car color of choice in the southwest.

The younger generation tends to lean toward the brightness of pink which then fades off only to then return again with the elderly. If you're a character that tends to run on the jealous side of life, may I suggest green as your color. The favorite color for eyes is blue while blond hair is still preferred the most by both sexes. More red roses are given while white lilies are a favored flower. Mint and blush are the current wedding color trends. While chocolate is one of the top chosen colors for furnishings. We all know to wear black to help us appear slimmer and the most sold color for bathing suits is hot green.

If you're more daring and look to the more unique colors magenta is more likely your favorite and just because you favor gray doesn't mean you're gloomy. Those among us that love the color silver tend to have "shiny" personalities while those of us that love gold often tend to be selfish. Indigo people tend to have the most harmony and those that scream turquoise tend to be narcissistic. I myself am a tried and true lover of royal purple, the color of sensitivity, creativity and spirituality. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Woody Sheep Year To You 2015


RAT – Life is comfortable and you can find peace in relationships. You can recover from any 2014 Horse year problems. So use this Sheep year to really get to know your loved ones. But launch your serious wedding or engagement plans in Monkey year 2016, your lucky year. Monkey 2016 is excellent for you to marry or have a child. Rat is most compatible with another Rat, a Dragon, or Monkey. 
OX – Sheep is your opposite so observe how Sheep thrives. Sheep year is fun so join the party and don’t work so hard this year! But Sheep year energy can be superficial and frivolous at times, which is not your style. So stay true to your convictions, and give relationships more time to develop. If love is really serious, you will know by winter. Ox is most compatible with another Ox, a Serpent, or Phoenix (Rooster). 
TIGER – Anticipate a quieter year to focus on home and family. Relax, unwind, and enjoy life. Your natural sociability attracts new admirers. For you Tiger, finding love is not a problem. But keeping love can be a problem! So it’s OK to move on to your next love this year. No need for a serious commitment if it feels forced. Tiger is most compatible with another Tiger, Horse, or Dog. 
RABBIT – Your lucky year! Sheep is your best friend who loves beauty and the healing arts. If in a partnership, your relationship can deepen. If single, now is your time to find love and to be appreciated for who you really are. Plus your gentle diplomatic skills bring rewards in relationships. It’s OK to be fussy and not settle if a partnership is just not right for you. Sheep year is an excellent year for you to marry or have a child. Rabbit is most compatible with another Rabbit, a Sheep, or a Pig. 
DRAGON – A year of social pleasantries when affairs can run smoothly. Enjoy life with ease. Popular Dragon often has a sea of admirers. So in Sheep year you can enjoy social pleasantries when your affairs run smoothly. Prepare for your lucky year Monkey 2016 because Monkey year is excellent for you to marry or have a child. Life is easy so if single, date whomever you please. Should a relationship become serious, make your grand gesture in Monkey 2016. Dragon is most compatible with another Dragon, a Rat, or a Monkey. 
SNAKE – Enjoy life with your charmed circle of insiders. Art, beauty, and aesthetics are valued, the common interests of Sheep and Snake. You and Sheep are on the same wavelength because you are both the creative artists of the Chinese zodiac. Snake can be very serious about love, so be discerning and discriminating in your selection of a partner. For you it’s quality not quantity, and you only need one! If in a relationship, your bond will deepen. Snake is most compatible with another Snake, an Ox, or Phoenix (Rooster).  
HORSE – You’ll have opportunities to complete endeavors because Sheep year is easier for you. Your good luck continues from the previous Horse year 2104, and that includes luck in love! You’ll have many opportunities to meet new people, and have less stress in life. Continue exploring relationships, but the time to get serious is at the end of the year. Plus Sheep is an excellent year for you to marry or have a child. Horse is most compatible with another Horse, a Dog, or Tiger. 
SHEEP – Success! Sheep benefits from Sheep year flourish of creativity and romance. Finally, others are on your wavelength and progress is made. Travel is highlighted so fine for a little romance this year during a relaxing vacation. Now is an excellent year for marriage or to have children. Sheep is most compatible with another Sheep, a Pig, or Rabbit. 
MONKEY – Use your natural Monkey charm to avoid confrontation. But no schemes or tricks. Your time for action is Fire Monkey year 2016. Romance is highlighted in a Sheep year when you can use your Monkey charm to attract new admirers. Date, explore, and get to know people. You time to get serious is Fire Monkey year 2016. Monkey year is excellent for you to get married or have a child. Monkey is most compatible with another Monkey, a Rat, or Dragon. 
PHOENIX (Rooster) – Roster, Chicken, Cock, Hen? I call you Phoenix, offering lifetime opportunities to be reborn and transformed. So look for positive energy in this Sheep year, a time of less stress and fewer challenges. Try some rest and relaxation. Take your time in relationships, and no need to make a serious commitment just yet. In Phoenix year 2017 you’ll start a new life cycle, your year that’s fortunate for marriage and children. Phoenix is most compatible with another Phoenix (if they don’t peck each other), an Ox, or Snake.
DOG – Your luck continues from the previous Horse year 2014. But at times be more diplomatic with others, and try to be more flexible. Sheep is a fortunate year for romance and love. Just avoid the Dog pattern of rescuing a partner in distress; make sure they can carry their own weight before you make a commitment. And Sheep year energy can be frivolous at times, so be less serious and demanding of others. Dog is most compatible with another Dog, a Tiger, or a Horse. 
PIG – Sheep year is very fortunate for you so put your plans into action. And a festive year to eat, drink, and be merry — the favorite activities of Pig Finally you can find love, it’s OK to indulge in romance, and all seasons are lucky for you this year especially winter. Now is an excellent year for you to marry or have a child. Pig is most compatible with another Pig, a Sheep, or Rabbit. 
ARIES – Mild Sheep is not a powerful Ram like you. So your bravery and brashness could be a turn off. The gentle approach is best this year.
TAURUS – Sheep loves art and beauty just like you! A very good year for the Bull when all things ruled by Venus are admired and appreciated.
GEMINI – Your mercurial ways and quit wit can take you far in social Sheep year. Time to expand your circle. Plus travel is highlighted.
CANCER – An excellent year for you! Sheep correlates to the Western sign Cancer so focus is on hearth and home. You can feel safe and secure.
LEO – Sheep year brings romance and intimacy to you Lion. But at times, you might need to tone down the roaring or you’ll scare people!
VIRGO – You can help others with your keen organizational skills. Be the true server that you are and contribute. Your efforts will be rewarded.
LIBRA – Time to cultivate art and beauty. But life won’t always be fair because Sheep plays favorites. So stay balanced in your relationships.
SCORPIO – Sheep year offers you many opportunities to lighten up, play, and enjoy. No need for intensity. Just follow your intuition.
SAGITTARIUS –  Time for easy travels to places of beauty. You can keep your affairs light and breezy the way you and Sheep like it.
CAPRICORN – Sheep is not a mountain climber like you Goat. So this can be your easy year to work a bit less and enjoy life a bit more.
AQUARIUS – You have many eclectic interests. Time to pursue and develop them in this Sheep year, especially your artistic interests.
PISCES – You will cherish the kindness and compassion that Sheep year brings. Plus you can make steady progress to achieve your goals.