hop against homophobia and transphobia 2013

Contest Winner…s Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

This year’s Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia was even more exciting than last year’s and I just chose a winner for the contest, plus I’ve decided to add a consolation prize for those who commented and didn’t win.

The winner’s name was simply chosen from a hat. It was Sophie Bonaste, and I’ll be e-mailing her two e-books in a few minutes: Chase of a Lifetime, and Chase of a Dream (Unabridged Version).

And because everyone left such nice comments, and participated in the HAHaT event, I felt bad there could only be one winner so I’ve decided to send those who didn’t win a consolation prize. I’ll be e-mailing them one of my ravenous romance e-books, The Bachelor.

I noticed a few people didn’t leave me e-mail addresses. If you still want a free copy of The Bachelor, please contact me here, rfieldj@aol.com, and I’ll send you a copy.

(Update: If anyone didn’t receive a copy from me, please e-mail me and let me know.)

Once again, a huge thanks to everyone who followed all the blog posts. It’s a great event that supports a cause we all need to worry about at times.

What is Homophobia? Internalized Homophobia

In keeping with the theme of my post for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I thought I’d check out a few links about homophobia and share them. Each web site is dedicated to homophobia for LGBT people in one way or another. Though some cover broad territory, they are all working hard to stop homophobia.

What is homophobia?

As defined by ADL, Anti-Defamation League, homophobia is put this way.

Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals – that is, lesbians and gay men – sometimes leading to acts of violence and expressions of hostility. Homophobia is not confined to any one segment of society, and can be found in people from all walks of life. Organized hate groups have viciously attacked homosexuals and have used especially violent language in attempting to persecute and intimidate them.

This web page gets into more detail, and there’s a link to the ADL main web site at the top of the page where you can read tons of interesting articles. I’m going to link to them on my sidebar as soon as this post is up.

Straight People and Homophobia

This web site, Teaching Tolerance, which is a project of the southern poverty law center, talks about how straight people react to homophobia in various ways…and how it affects them. The site actually list ten different ways, and here’s number six.

6. Homophobia prevents vital information on sex and sexuality to be taught in schools. Without this information, youth are putting themselves at a greater risk for HIV and other STDs.

This one is actually something I never even considered, but I get it. It makes sense. Due to a lack of information because school officials practice subtle forms of homophobia (and probably don’t even know it; or have their own internalized homophobia, below) most kids aren’t getting the facts about things they need to know. I would imagine some parents are guilty of this as well.

Internalized Homophobia

This web site talks about something a little different than what I’ve mentioned so far. It gets into the psychology of shame and homophobia gay people themselves experience. I have talked about this before on the blog. It involves the shame many LGBT people experience because of who they are. We all experience it at one point or another, which is why I think there’s such a huge problem with anxiety and depression within the LGBT community. And sometimes we don’t even realize it consciously.

They talk about what internalized homophobia actually is, and the shame that goes along with it, and then they list a few things from an almost behavioral POV.

 1. Aggressive Denial. Some people feel so strongly that they should not be gay that they will repress their feelings and desires and speak out with some of the most hateful and homophobic language you will ever hear. You often see this happen with fundamentalist religious figures, like Ted Haggard. This never ends well. (Usually it ends with a gay sex scandal, talk show appearances and a lot more denial.) This is the worst kind of internalized homophobia because the hateful rhetoric and actions that these “aggressive deniers” exhibit really hurt other gay people and the movement.

We’ve all seen this more than once, and not just with public figures. It’s a fascinating article I think most people who are gay can relate to. When you read that list at least one thing will hit home, trust me.

Once again, all these things above have prompted this Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia this week, so check out the link above to see what other bloggers are doing. There is also a chance to win prizes where you’ll be provided with links and directions.

Hop Against Homophobia and Transgenderphobia…HAHaT

(Update: 5/28 …The contest is over now, but I wanted to mention that I found a comment in spam and google blogger ate it. Sorry about that. It happens and it’s why I hate comment moderation. But I can’t get it back. So if the person who left that comment wants a free book, please contact me through e-mail. I think I’ve gotten to everyone on the comment thread by now, but if you didn’t hear from me, please e-mail me here rfieldj@aol.com thanks again!!)

(Update: 5/27…I wanted to remind everyone today is the last day of the free give away for HAHaT. I am leaving the comment thread open all day, and I will announce a winner later tonight. Thanks for participating and following all the blog posts. Events like this help make life a little nicer for everyone!)

Last year I missed out on the Hop Against Homophobia and Transgender phobia (HAHat) because I was so completely engrossed in self-publishing I literally didn’t pay attention to much else that was going on around me. And when I found out about it after the fact, I made a point to remember to do something about it this year. This brand of hate and bullying is something that’s gotten better over the years, but is still around in many places. And I think it’s important to make people aware of it with as much information as possible. Events like this help do that.

At the end of the post I’m going to offer links, a prize, and how to win that prize. But first I’d like to share a personal story that happened to my partner and me about six years ago. It’s every gay couple’s worst nightmare. But it also turned into one of the most positive experiences of my life to date.

I’ve already posted about the health issues my partner, Tony, suffered about six years ago. You can read more about that here. But there are many little parts of that story I didn’t share, and they often pop into my head when I least expect them. I’ve also posted about how we’ve experienced other brands of homophobia, here.

This particular story happened during a time when I was arguing with a doctor during Tony’s hospitalization in 2007. Tony had what was called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) from a serious case of pneumonia. Thankfully, we were prepared in the sense that we both had legal power of attorney for each other at that point. And because I’m not allowed to be legally married in the US, I was forced to file those POA papers with the hospital, and carry them around with me wherever I went in that hospital. Tony was hospitalized from May 17th (yes, the exact date of this post), until Labor Day Weekend of 2007. And during that summer I faced subtle brands of homophobia I never thought I would have to deal with. We were both still in our thirties.

In this one particular case, one of the doctors wanted to DNR Tony. This means Do Not Resuscitate. This was around July 4th 2007 and Tony was not responding to the drugs, he was in an induced coma, living on life support with a ventilator, and he’d been trached (a hole in his neck to let him breath on the ventilator). And when I discovered through a nurse this doctor wanted to DNR him, I went looking for him. Anyone who has ever been a caregiver knows what I’m talking about here. Most doctors are not easily accessible. And I had to hunt this idiot down, and literally corner him in the ICU one morning.

When I told him I did NOT want Tony listed as DNR, and that I wanted them to give Tony all the resuscitation required, the doctor dismissed me completely. He turned his back on me and made believe I wasn’t even there. He would not have done this to me if I’d been legally married, or if I’d been Tony’s wife. He clearly didn’t want to deal with me because I was gay. He even said he wanted to talk to Tony’s family, not me. He completely ignored the POA papers.

As I continued to speak, with his back in my face, he sent me a backward glance and told me to have Tony’s family talk to him. He also said, in a deadpan tone, that there was no hope for Tony, he would die, and that I was only prolonging the inevitable. Unfortunately for him, he not only underestimated me, he underestimated Tony’s family. That same day I phoned my gay attorney in Princeton who had drawn up the POA, I called Tony’s family and asked them all to gather in his ICU room that evening, and I called the doctor and asked him to meet us there. At the time, I was so focused on dealing with this I missed everything that was happening around me and failed to notice how the nurses were reacting.

That evening Tony’s family (four sisters and two brothers) arrived, his father arrived, and our attorney arrived. We waited in that tiny ICU room for the doctor for twenty minutes before we almost gave up. But he finally did arrive, with a smug grin, and started to explain how he felt it was important to DNR Tony. And how he didn’t believe Tony would survive that kind of damage to his lungs. But he got a huge surprise. Before he even finished the first sentence Tony’s one sister who is a nurse practitioner at U of Penn in Philadelphia went for him in such a way his face turned red. Don’t screw around with a nurse, especially if the nurse isn’t working for you. To make a very long story short, my attorney and Tony’s family informed the doctor that they didn’t want Tony to be listed as DNR under any circumstances, and then I looked the doctor in the eye, pointed to the door, and told him he was fired and we didn’t want him in that room or anywhere near Tony from that moment on.

After the doctor left, all the nurses in the ICU started to applaud. I was drained by then, physically and emotionally, and all I wanted to do was go home and fall into bed for the next month. I’m not a confrontational person, and when you’re POA for anyone you have to face confrontation all the time. But when I saw the reaction from the nurses, and the way they supported us, I felt a new sense of energy I hadn’t expected. Two days later, one of the ICU nurses gave me a pair of paper hands attached to a string. At first I didn’t know what they were. She smiled and put them around my neck. This is what she said: “All the nurses know what you’ve been going through and we know it hasn’t been easy. So last night we traced Tony’s hands on paper, cut them out, and put them on this string. Now when you go home at night you can put them on and you’ll be getting a hug from Tony.”

Of course I started to cry, the nurse started to cry, and then half the ICU was in tears. But I never forgot that one nasty homophobic doctor and how he’d dismissed me. I never forgot how Tony’s family supported me as his POA, and I never forgot those hugging hands the nurses made for me. Those are the hands in the photo above. Tony did live through that nightmare in spite of what that doctor said. He still has permanent lung damage, but he didn’t die and that’s what mattered to me. It was my job, as his legal POA, to make sure I did what he would have wanted me to do while he was in that coma. I took that seriously.

And when he was discharged from the hospital that Labor Day, and I emptied his hospital room and put all the things we’d accumulated that summer into boxes (photos, cards, gifts, etc…), I made sure I placed those hugging hands on top. After I pushed him up the front walk of our home in a wheel chair  and got him settled into a hospital bed that remained in our master bedroom for almost six months, I put those hugging hands around a bronze statue where they have remained ever since. Even though I did suffer my share of homophobia and fear that summer, I also met wonderful people who were willing to support both of us, and that’s something I never want to forget.

As a side note, on the way out of the hospital the day Tony was discharged, I actually ran into the doctor in the elevator. Tony had no idea what had happened, and I didn’t tell him about it until much later. But I looked that idiot right in the eye and smiled at him. He never said a word.

This is only a sliver of what I had to deal with that summer, and for the twenty years Tony and I have been together. Before that, I could go back in time to when I was single and talk about more homophobic experiences I’ve had and I’ve seen others deal with. So this blog hop is important, and for those who are following it there will be prizes to say thank you. I’ll be offering two digital copies of my books, Chase of a Lifetime and Chase of a Dream to the winner. They are the first two books in the Chase series and combined they amount of over 100,000 words.

And I’m going to keep it very simple. In order to win the prize all you have to do is comment on this post and give me your contact info. If you don’t want to leave your contact info on the comment thread, you can e-mail me here at rfieldj@aol.com and put HAHaT contest in the subject line. I will choose the winner at random and get back as soon as the blog hop is over on 5-27.

(Update: If I choose a winner who has read the Chase books, I will offer another book, like Fangsters, they haven’t read. That’s not written in granite, and I’ll keep updating.)

Here’s the main link to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transgender Phobia.

And here’s a link to homophobiaday, where you can read more interesting information about how we’re trying to put an end to this.

And, here’s one to the facebook page that will lead you to many others.

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013

I wanted to devote this post to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013, an event which seems to be growing each year. It’s an important event for anyone who is LGBT or knows anyone LGBT because there’s still homophobia and transphobia happening all the time all over the world. Sometimes it comes in aggressive forms, sometimes it’s subtle. But when you get down to the bottom line it’s equally harmful and events like this that call attention to it make people aware it’s happening.

I also love the fact that this event actually mentions transphobia. I don’t know of many that do mention it and I’ve known a lot of transgender people who have suffered frustrations we can only imagine. One was so terrified of actually accepting herself as a woman she wore pink toenail polish under her socks for years when she was living as a man…it was the one thing that made her feel comfortable…until she finally reached the point where she couldn’t deny who she was any longer.

But I’m not going to ramble on any longer. We all have stories and this is a great event. To read more about HAHaT 2013 you can check out this link, where you can read the requirements and check out what you need to do to be part of it. This is an excerpt from the post:

Participating requires that you create a post on your blog for the hop on May 17, 2013. The post must include:

» The HAHAT image, with a link to the official hop site: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/

» Note that it’s the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in the post, and include a topic that relates to LGBTQ.

» An LGBTQ-related prize, such as donations in the winner’s name, paperbacks or ebooks (your own or someone else’s), swag, t-shirts, or anything you like that is connected to the LGBTQ community.

» (Optional) Links to the other blog participants (we’ll offer a code that you can put at the bottom of your post to link to multiple other participants).
 
I’ve signed up, and I’ll be posting something I’ve been saving for a long time. It’s something very personal that happened to me and I don’t usually share that much information in such a public way…it’s also related to something I don’t like to revisit often. And, ironically, the date I’m supposed to do this…May 17, 2013…is also highly significant because it’s the exact date this event happened to me six years ago in 2007.