Christians, it’s time to stop picking bad fruit from a bad tree.

  
I hope I start to see changes in how many American Christians talk about LGBTQ people and equality issues. Because if you tell us that you’re sorry for our suffering today, but go back to opposing our rights and demeaning us for being LGBTQ tomorrow, then your words of love are empty and pointless. If you falsely accuse trans people of putting you in danger in bathrooms but you don’t work to stop the REAL violence we face every day, then you are a hypocrite.

You must reevaluate how you address LGBTQ issues. You MUST start accepting us, even if you personally still disagree with us. You can’t claim to care about me and still oppose legislation that would help protect me and those I love from violence and discrimination. You can’t claim to care about us when your anti-LGBTQ teachings are literally driving young people into depression and suicide at record rates, and encouraging people to see us as threats which results in violence. You don’t get to claim to be loving when you spread misinformation about us that puts us in even more danger. Many Christians believe in sin, but they don’t expect non-believers to follow their religion’s standards and they don’t put us down for it or fight our legal equality. This I understand and can even respect. But you have NO RIGHT to expect anyone else to live by your religion’s standards, or to socially punish people for not conforming to your personal ideas of morality and normality. It’s literally killing us, and has been for a very long time. But you don’t see it. You don’t want to see it. You want to see us as bad people who are persecuting you, instead of the other way around. 

  
You keep picking bad fruit off the tree and saying it’s a good tree. But the fruit of homophobia is pain and death. Why are you still watering a poisonous tree? 

Do I have to scream for you to hear me? Do I have to bleed for you to see me? Cause I grieve; you’re not listening to me. (A song from my Christian days. It seemed appropriate.)

Please don’t be silent.

  
You’ll post about us when you want to oppose our rights, but you won’t post to condemn those that massacred us. 
You’ll talk about how immoral you think we are, but you won’t tell us you care when we’re scared and hurting and facing increased risks of violence.
You’ll talk about how LGBTQ people are ruining *your* nation, but you won’t apologize for how your anti-gay attitudes have contributed to the violence and social oppression that we face every single day. 

You’ll pretend we don’t exist unless it fits your anti-LGBTQ agenda. We don’t exist unless you are putting us down or opposing our rights. We don’t exist unless you are preaching about our “debauchery” or accusing us of trying to ruin your lives. But when we suffer? Silence. It’s been the same exact pattern for decades. 

Whether it’s publicly or privately, show us that you acknowledge what happened to us and that you care. Pray if you want. But if that’s all you do, you’re not really helping. We can’t hear your prayers. We need solidarity and acceptance much more than prayers. We need to be acknowledged as human beings who didn’t deserve this. 

It can be as simple as “My prayers are with the LGBTQ community today. I’m so sorry that you were treated this way. Nobody should be murdered for who they are.” There! It’s that simple! Why is that so hard for so many Christians to say?! 

Perhaps it’s because they believe we deserved it, or it’s our own fault. Or perhaps it’s because they’ve finally realized that we, not them, are the ones who are actually being rampantly persecuted in the US, and they are too embarrassed to admit it. Perhaps it’s hard for them to support us because then they’d have to admit that they were wrong about the violence and oppression we face because of homophobia. Perhaps they’d rather be silent than admit they were wrong. 

Perhaps you have other reasons for being silent. But we need you to not be silent right now. It’s the worst thing you can do, aside from telling us that we deserved to be shot. Share a support meme or rainbow picture if you can’t get out the words. There are lots of ways to show solidarity even if you are grieving. Trust me, we know how hard it is. We live it all the time. If you can’t support us publicly, message us privately. 

This explains it well.

The LGBTQ community won’t be ok for a while, and that’s ok.

  
Please be patient and supportive of your LGBTQ loved ones right now. Many of us are angry, sad, scared, numb, frustrated, and/or grieving. We will each be processing our feelings about the attack in different ways. Some of us may not be ok for a while. Some will never be ok again. We may be less trusting and more angry for a while, and understandably so. 
Going forward, many of us will be fighting even harder for society to treat us with dignity. We may be asking our loved ones to get off the fence of neutrality and start standing up for us. We will be asking others to hear our stories, and to treat us with compassion and dignity. We will challenge homophobia even more because it is literally killing us. 
We need to stand together and not let this horrible act turn us against each other. We can’t change what happened, but we can choose how we respond to it.

Orlando Gay Club Shooting

  The worst shooting in US history was targeting a club full of gay people. While we don’t know his motives for sure yet, it’s possible that the shooter was a religious extremist and he was definitely homophobic. Homophobic people are already gleefully saying that this was “God’s work”. The shooter may have possibly been Muslim (we don’t know this for sure yet), but Christian extremists and other homophobic people are already applauding his actions. Even if he’s not a religious extremist himself, he’s revealed the violent natures of so many others in the US. 

Can you see why so many LGBTQ people live in fear? Why we are trying to get society to accept us? It’s about survival, not us pushing our “lifestyles” on you. When a minority group of people is not accepted by their culture at large, it makes them a target for violence and abuse, and it encourages terrorists like this to target them.
LGBTQ people face discrimination and violence all the time in the US, and from people in every belief system. Religious doctrines that condemn homosexuality or gender differences, plus rampant general social stigma against us, have resulted in a culture where LGBTQ people are regularly abused and targeted for violence. But many Americans don’t believe them because they aren’t personally affected by it. A mass shooting targeting a gay club is pretty hard to ignore though, isn’t it? 
I’m really glad I’m in Canada right now. The US scares me. It’s not a very safe place to be LGBTQ. 
My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I hope people of all beliefs come together to help them. 

Socially accepting the LGBTQ community is important.

  My artwork above.
We need society to accept LGBTQ people as normal. Not because we care about what other people think about us, or because we want others to become gay or to give up their beliefs, but because we are abused and mistreated and shot down in cold blood because so many people see us as immoral, disgusting, and deviant. Being treated as abnormal and immoral is not only hurtful and emotionally damaging, it is dangerous. 
When you say there is something wrong with us or that we are abominations, remember Orlando. 
When you say gay marriage or gender non-conformity will ruin our nation, remember Orlando. 
When you oppose our equal rights and are silent when we are bullied and oppressed, remember Orlando. 
Remember that hurtful and violent people will listen to what you say about us, and and they will always take it much farther than you intend. Your words against us are not harmless, even if your intentions are good. Are you encouraging them to love us, or fear us? Accept us as equals, or see us as threats to their way of life? 
Silence only benefits the people hurting us. Silence encourages their awful actions against us even more. How much violence and harm could be avoided if more people stood up for us when people put us down or mistreat us? 
It’s a shame that it takes a mass shooting for people to take the rampant oppression and violence against the LGBTQ community seriously. How many more of us have to suffer or die before people will put aside their judgements of our personal lives and stand by us as human beings? 

Thoughts on Syrian Refugees and Terrorist Attacks

It makes me so angry to hear so many people talk about refusing Syrian refugees because of their race or religion. Are we truly so calloused that we would let people suffer and die so we never have to face any risks or deal with inconveniences? Are we so selfish that we aren’t willing to share the freedom and safety we take for granted because those who need it are a little different than we are?

Not long ago, the US turned away Holocaust victims over similar concerns. This makes me sick to my stomach; I’ve seen the documentaries, I’ve heard the stories of the survivors, and what they faced is far beyond what most of us can imagine. People were sent back to suffer and die because of “security concerns”. Entire groups of refugees were denied rescue because of the small chance that someone bad might try to sneak in. But terrorists can and do find other ways to get in; banning refugees will not stop terrorism. It never has, there are far easier ways to get into the country. 9/11 was not carried out by refugees. It’s debatable whether Paris was either.

Banning refugees is exactly what Daesh (another name for ISIS that they hate) wants. If no one will rescue their victims, then nobody will dare to leave their regime. How many militants and supporters secretly wish they could leave, but know that there’s nowhere for them to go? By giving into fear, the rest of the world is strengthening the very terrorist group they’re trying to get rid of.

The thought of so many people suffering and dying when we could be helping them makes my blood boil. There isn’t much that fills me with rage, I’m not prone to anger and can take a lot of personal hurt before I get truly angry at someone, but this… This makes me wish I could force these naysayers to spend a few hours in a refugee camp to see the desperate plight of the people that they’re refusing to help. I wish I could stop everything I’m doing right now and go help there myself. I wish I could go to the border and embrace someone who’s running from terror and war, and offer to share my home with them until they can build a new life of their own. I want to sit with them, cry with them, to show them that not all people in the world want to hurt them, that there is love and compassion still in the human race. I want to give them hope.

Sometimes all the hurt in the world is a bit overwhelming. I’m a very empathetic person, so I feel others’ pain deeply and the thought of others suffering brutal atrocities like this disturbs me so much. I don’t always know what to do about it; sometimes there’s not much I can do except spread awareness of ways we can help. But even though it can be overwhelming now and then, I wouldn’t change any of it. If we can’t empathize with others, we’ll never be moved to help them or to stop our own actions when they cause harm.

Call me an idealist, or a dreamer… I don’t care. I want a world that knows peace. I want an end to war and unnecessary suffering and injustice. And we’ll never get there if we don’t fucking help each other.

If you’re able to donate to help the refugees, here’s one place to do so. If you know of any other donation sites, or of any other ways we can help Syrian refugees as well as victims of the Paris attacks and all the other attacks that have been going on in the world lately, please comment with the information. If I can’t go and help them myself, at least I can try to spread awareness for what we can do from over here. [https://donate.unhcr.ca/index_custom.php?page_id=sy…

This song has been running through my head all day. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y96WY5Do_bs]

Starbucks Red Cups: War on Christmas?

FOX_and_Friends_First_-War_On_Christmas_Starbucks*sigh* Yet another “War on Christmas!” battle cry. This year it’s over a red cup.

Yes, let that sink in. Some Christians think they are being persecuted or that there is a war on Christmas because Starbucks chose a plain red cup this year instead of one with snowflakes or reindeer. Even though there was never an image of Jesus on past Starbucks cups, the change to a plain colored cup has caused outrage and boycotts.

Here are some reasons why this is ridiculous.

1. Starbucks is not, and never was, obligated to celebrate Christmas.

They are a business, not a church. They are not obligated to promote the specific beliefs or holiday celebrations of some or all their customers. Many companies do promote Christmas, but not because they are obligated to do so; they do it to sell you more stuff. If you didn’t buy it, they wouldn’t sell Christmas themed products. Isn’t rampant consumerism and focus on profit what’s wrong with the Christmas season anyways? For once a company is refusing to give in to this financially motivated holiday mindset, and people are attacking them for it. I applaud them for not making this season all about profits at the expense of their core values. 

2. Christmas is NOT just a Christian holiday.

465934851People of many faiths as well as atheists and agnostics celebrate various versions of Christmas that have nothing to do with Jesus. Plus, there are other winter holidays! There is Kwanzaa, Hannukah, pagan winter holidays for the Winter Solstice, etc. People have many different reasons for celebrating the winter holiday season, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or Jesus or even religion at all. Which leads me to my next point:

3. Christmas was NOT originally a Christian holiday.

According to many Biblical scholars, Jesus was likely born in the Fall, but the Bible does not give a specific date as to his birth. Let me say that again: There is no evidence that Jesus was born on December 25th, or even in the winter season at all.

Christmas started out as a pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, which is where most of our popular Christmas traditions come from. Much later on, Christian leaders combined their celebration of the birth of Christ with the already well established pagan winter holiday celebrations to please the people. The people could keep their pagan celebrations while adding in a dash of Christian doctrine. The combination of Christ’s birth and the Winter Solstice celebration is a prime example of Christianity taking over pagan holidays to make the public more accepting of their religion. I have met many Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas for this very reason. In times past, it was generally accepted that Christians should not celebrate Christmas because of its pagan origins. So why are some Christians upset that Christmas isn’t being promoted the way they want? It was never their holiday to begin with; it was pagan long before Jesus’ birth was added. At the very least it’s equally pagan and Christian. But many selfishly want to claim it as ONLY theirs. This is grossly unfair and ignores the very clear historical roots of this holiday. 

In summary: Starbucks can do whatever they want with their cups. It is not a slight against Christians, nor is it a “War on Christmas”. It’s simply a business opting to not promote one specific winter holiday, but instead remaining neutral and celebrating holiday cheer in general. Given the diversity of their customers in regards to beliefs and holiday celebrations, I think this was a very good call.

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