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LGBTQ Lives: A global view (TED Talk Video)

Aloha, friends … as we enter the busy, crazy holiday season, I hope that you have family and friends to celebrate and commune with. There are many in our communities that may be feeling lonely and isolated because they are not accepted, loved or understood for being LGBTQ. Many of you are in positions where you are reaching out your hand to help and welcome those who don’t have a place or people to belong with but, I don’t want us to only dwell on the heartbreak, I hope that we will also celebrate the hope and positive strides that are happening in the journey for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights worldwide.

photo courtesy of TED.com

photo courtesy of TED.com

Today I’m sharing a TED Talk, given by Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazlos in May 2015, which takes us on a quick global journey to peek into the lives and movements of LGBTQ individuals and communities in countries from around the world.

Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazlos’ talk: This is what LGBT life is like around the world.

You can read more about their adventures and access additional resources at their website: Out and Around

May your Thanksgiving be filled with laughter and gratitude, my friends. I am so grateful for each and every one of you – the work that you do and the heart that you do it with. Aloha!

#amreading: Two Boys Kissing

 

 

{Our lives are a multitude of stories strung together. For many of us, one of the most profound ways for us to understand, connect and exist in this life is to sink into narratives – the stories and words of others and how they live and move in this world. For many LGBTQ youth, finding narratives and stories that reflect their experiences or explore the complexities, joys and difficulties of existing in this world as an LGBTQ person can be difficult to find. Over time, we’ll be sharing books and stories about and/or by LGBTQ community members. If you have suggestions, please don’t hesitate to share them with us.}
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“We wish we could show you the world as it sleeps. Then you’d never have any doubt about how similar, how trusting, how astounding and vulnerable we all are.”

“We no longer sleep, and because we no longer sleep, we no longer dream. Instead we watch. We don’t want to miss a thing. You have become our dreaming.”

David Levithan has become my narrative idol. Effortlessly quilting together the threads and voices of a handful of characters, Levithan nudges as though all of their stories and then stands aside as the connectedness between us all is revealed.

Craig and Harry are setting out to conquer the record for the world’s longest kiss (which, by the way, is currently held by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat from Thailand – 58 hours 35 minutes 58 seconds). But Craig and Harry have a complicated history and emotions are unpredictable. Although the boys aren’t a couple now, they used to be. And kissing your ex can make things complex and confusing.

Meanwhile, kisses between Peter and Neil say something altogether different. Still together. Still entwined. Peter and neil’s kisses carry through the ridges and seams of coupled young loves. The comfort and safety of a love known and wanted and yet a longing for … well, for what?

Avery and Ryan. Their kisses are new. As is their introduction to one another. Self-knowledge is a skill to be proud of – but knowing how to become a part of an “us” possesses a steep and slippery learning curve – especially when the “us” is a LGBTQ couple in a place and time when teens are callous with themselves and brutal with others.

Alone. There are so many ways to be alone. And Cooper’s steps out of his world without a someone – without his “it” person – and into a reality that can slice through and person’s soul and decimate one’s being. While Tariq knows alone. He also knows what being alone isn’t. And how one can come back from being alone, holding onto the knowledge and wisdom and strength of being alone can forge in someone yet still able to believe that there is so much more – of everything – in human connection.

Levithan reaches deep into the collective history of the LGBTQ community, selecting the foundation threads of our deepest soul-flaying depths and our quiet triumphs to offer up this reflection of humanity through the eyes of our gay brothers.

Two Boys Kissing dares people to say, “it is not okay to be so public about being gay”. In this time, when society is changing by the hour and taking momentous strides in LGBTQ equality and civil rights, its the microaggressions that we experience in our lives and our own fears of drawing “too much” attention to our presence in the daily world which steadily chips away at the wholeness of our presence and happiness as LGBTQ people, families and community.  Levithan’s book steadfastly declares that our disappearing acts will no longer be our M.O. With each generation that comes of age, fear of being gay – lesbian – queer – non-conforming – gender-neutral or simply non-hetero erodes even further. The throat-clenching terror that declared us outcast and unwanted is abating. We’re gathering in the light now – holding each other close, propping each other up, sheltering each other and proudly showing off our loves and our families. Our moments of tenderness and affection are no longer relegated to the privacy of our rooms or stolen moments in shadowed darkness. He will reach out and touch his shoulder with the gentle tenderness of a new-found lover; I will lean into her shoulder and let my hand slide down her arm until our fingers entwine in the familiar way that long-partnered mates know; their son will run to them at the end of the school day screaming, “Daddy! Papa! It was an awesome day!” … and we will not look away in shame. Our shoulders will not hunch in fear or concern that someone will see or hear or judge. Because these beautiful everyday moments – these common, run-of-the-mill lover – parent – partner inclinations are ours as much as they are yours. We no longer need to hide our smiles when we see two boys kissing.

Voices of Change: Bias Breaker – Gaming Style

Never let it be said that our youth are not innovative or wise. Two young ladies, New York high school students who participated in the Girls Who Code program, created a role-playing game (RPG) that challenges sexist, racist and anti-lgbtq stereotypes that are still so prevalent in media and pockets of society. The appropriately named it, Bias Breaker.

How does it work? When players begin the game, they can choose from three diverse characters:

PC BuzzFeed News – Photo Courtesy of Game Creators

These students, Shazim and Jaymi, are using their RPG platform to literally blast away commonly-held stereotypes such as, “all Asians are good at math” or “bisexuals are confused.” Players can choose their character and shoot the bad guys, represented as green blobs labeled with stereotypes. According to BuzzFeed News, Shazim said, “We thought it would be funny if we took ‘breaking stereotypes’ in a literal sense.”

Kudos, ladies! Keep breaking those stereotypes and showing this world that we are so much more than the boxes and labels that others wish to place on us.

This story was brought to our attention via BuzzFeed News. You can find the original story here.

Multimedia Moment: “Fifty Shades of Gay” – iO Tillett Wright

“Who is responsible for equality?” (iO Tillett Wright)

iO Tillet Wright’s TED Talk: Fifty Shades of Gay

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iO Tillett Wright                    (photo acquired via Google)

One of the most fundamental elements of our human condition is our deep-rooted desire and hope for connection. We also possess a natural inclination to classify and label aspects of our humanism – our personal characteristics – so that we can find others that we understand and, hopefully, understand us. We connect with the familiar. We find common ground with those with whom we identify.

The TED talk given by iO Tillett Wright is an eloquent discourse about the experience of living in the grey areas of gender and sexual orientation identities – those spaces where we are not quite male or female, not all gay or all straight. Wright was raised by parents and in a place that who she is was matter-of-fact; there was no need for her to claim her difference or employ labels to identify herself – she was who she was. Wright shares with her audience qualitative evidence that demonstrates a large number of people in communities do not identify as 100% gay or 100% straight. There is a long-standing concept of a sexuality continuum and there is greater evidence that gives credence to the fluidity of sexual orientation identity.

Wright poses a provocative question – if so many people identify as not 100% gay or straight, when discrimination is codified, accepted and active, where do you draw the line as to what is acceptable parameters for discrimination? This TED talk is emotional, provocative and sincere. Give yourself 18 minutes to sit down, set aside any of your preconceptions about sexual orientation and differences and listen. Wright’s words and the stories and pictures that she shares just may give you something new to think about.

You can find more on iO Tillet Wright at:

website: DarlingDays.com

project: Self Evident Truths

Aloha mai – who and what we are

Welcome to LGBTQ Resources Hawaii. This site is for you – as providers, allies, supporters, advocates and community members – to discuss and access a variety of resources, engage in pertinent and valuable discussions, push the boundaries of your own comfort zones  and connect with others.

In May 2015, Hawaii’s family court hosted a one-day conference for human service providers for Hawaii’s local LGBTQ youth populations, coordinated by Ms. Jo Chang. Jo had approached me to see if I’d be willing to help create an accessible and dynamic resource cache that providers and community members could depend upon. I was honored that Jo had asked – but then I was overwhelmed with the what if’s?, why me?, how can this be helpful? doubts that inevitably crept into my mind. Pushing all of those critical voices aside, I created this space that, we hope, will become a valuable tool and connection hub for anyone that is part of or interested in serving and supporting Hawaii’s LGBTQ community.

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Time and again, research has supported the importance of building community through personal engagement and interaction; therefore, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself.
My name is Lisa Seese-Paterson. Born and raised in Kailua, O’ahu,  life has taken me down a variety of paths that led me to the mainland for a bit before finding my way home to Hawaii where I am now settled with my wife and our young son. In 2014 I left my career in higher education student affairs to pursue my next career chapter as a secondary English Language Arts teacher. I continue to work and serve in our local community as a family and diversity educator. For those moments when I am not writing, reading, learning or teaching, I entertain myself and loved ones by cooking, crocheting and daydreaming.

As one-half of a bi-national, same-sex couple raising our son within our local community, I’ve dedicated myself to building bridges between people and groups as well as creating and cultivating safe spaces for anyone and everyone to jump into conversations, ask tough questions or simply explore their own understanding and personal development about the LGBTQ community. Our family has personally experienced and witnessed the challenges and joys of being a diverse ‘ohana within Hawaii. These past four years have been a particularly emotional and amazing era in LGBTQ rights to be present and involved in, but what is even more exciting for us as LGBTQ women, mamas and educators is how the experience of LGBTQ families and our children will be impacted in the future.

This site will be guided and advised by a team of individuals who are dedicated to making our communities welcoming and inclusive. As time goes on, this site will be bringing you dynamic and informational content including:

  • People Profiles: community is built through engagement and engagement is most successful when you get to know others. These profiles will introduce community members within the LGBTQA community and those who serve and support our community.
  • Organization Profiles: there are so many local organizations that are committed to supporting and serving the LGBTQ community in big and small ways. As with the People Profiles, we will be offering you glimpses and insight into the who, what and why of these local groups that are on the front lines and doing such amazing work.
  • Resource Shares: at times it can be a daunting task to wade through the ocean of informational resources that exist. We’ll do our best to share resources that have proven valuable, that may be of interest, explore best practices or recent research and informational knowledge.
  • Personal Stories: one of the most profound tools that allow for community building and understanding is the power of personal stories. We all posses millions of stories that, when shared, can help us to connect and embrace one another as a fellow person rather than a foreign identity.
  • Multimedia Moments: another treasure trove of resource material can be found in the digital world. We want to highlight the content out there that may help all of us be better community members.

Coming Soon:

  • Comprehensive events calendar
  • Interactive message boards
  • Historical archive of the LGBTQ Hawaii community and experience

We have BIG hopes and exciting plans for this space. If you are interested in contributing ideas, sharing your stories and experiences, being profiled, or have any other comments or thoughts, please connect with us via email at lgbtresourceshawaii@gmail.com or use our “contact us” form.

Please join us as we support, celebrate and empower Hawaii’s LGBTQ community.

Building Competency in Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Youth

Aloha, and welcome! If you attended today’s conference, Building Competency in Serving LGBT Youth, at Ko’olau Ballroom, we appreciate your participation and support. We are pleased to introduce this website as an additional resource to support and encourage you as you continue your valuable and challenging work in serving our LGBTQ youth within our Hawaii communities.

Please take your time in navigating through these pages. You will find resource lists on the pageslisted on the navigation bar at the top of the page. We have divided the resources by category and they include links (when available) to the resource websites. If you are looking for something or a topic in particular, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to guide you to an appropriate resource.

The focus of today’s conference was on building competency in serving LGBTQ youth, a highly at-risk youth population in our schools, health and social services, and our juvenile justice system. We hope that the information provided and introduced to you today will allow you to increase your understanding of who our LGBTQ youth are, the risks they face in our society, their needs, ways to improve services to these youth and resources and tools to assist you in making these services inclusive, safe, respectful, supportive and appropriate to address their needs.

For many programs and professionals, this training conference is a beginning step in the journey of understanding and competency in how to engage, support and nurture our LGBTQ youth and the greater community.

If you are interested in continuing to learn and do more, we will continue to inform and work with you to develop local resources, networks and best practices that address the needs of our Hawaii LGBTQ youth. Thank you for you aloha and kokua.