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“Christian discrimination” on WWYD – No, you’re wrong!

So this segment has been online for about a week now and I wanted to write a blog post, but before I did that, I wanted to calm down and get my senses together.

So for those who don’t know this show. There is a show on American TV, called “What would you do?”. It usually shows you an every-day situation, that you might encounter but for the show you will have actors staging the situation. This usually happens in public places like restaurants or on the street. The focus is on the reactions of people who witness the staged situation.

In the case of the video “Christian discrimination”, as they call it on their YouTube channel, the set up is as follows:

A Christian family (actors) is praying over their meal in a restaurant. An atheist (also an actor) is interrupting them. The atheist in this scene is asking them to stop or to pray quietly, to take their religion home and practice it in privacy, etc. This atheist is acting as if anybody was doing her harm or bothering her while in reality, in this scene, the family is simply quietly praying.

Here is the problem:

Atheists are already being mistrusted and disliked. There is often so much hate towards atheists that those people who lost their faith have to be scared to lose their job, family, living situation, friends, and in some cases even their lives. If you are an outspoken atheist in America and a lot of other countries, you will be a social outcast in no time.
Atheists are fighting very hard to remove all the negative stigmata and to be accepted in society while mainly churches and extremist believers keep spreading bad messages and lies about atheism.

WWYD is a very popular show and people are in general gullible. So they are spreading the message that this is a normal, every-day situation, that the good Christians of the world may have to face.

But that is untrue. It depicts atheists as obnoxious people who can’t mind their own business.

Here is reality:

  • I know a lot of atheists and none of them, zero, would ever dare to act the way depicted in the video.
  • It is indeed religious people who keep imposing their faith on those who do not share their beliefs.
  • A lot of atheists fight hard for freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
  • Most atheists are for separation of state and church but will not try to remove religion from places where it is legal to practice faith.
  • No atheist I know, including myself, would ever impose their own lack of belief on to others.
  • No atheist I know, including myself, would ever ask anybody to stop practising their faith.
  • Christians are amongst the most annoying religious people, to knock at your door to spread the “good news” or to stop you on the street in order to preach to you. Atheists don’t do that at all.

I am a pretty laid back person and the only time, you will see me acting aggressively when it comes to religion, is when someone tries to convert me. As long as no one pushes their religion down my throat, I will be quiet and mind my own business.

What bothers me most is the lack of response of ABC and/or WWYD after thousands of atheists have responded to this segment in disgust. There has not been an official statement but I see more and more blogs posting about it and more and more atheist activists spreading this. Still no “sorry”, nothing.
Well WWYD is getting lots of clicks, it makes them money. And it is the media, so nothing is easier than to just ignore the angry crowd, right?

I personally have responded to the post they made on Facebook and I sent them a feedback to the show. For privacy reasons, I am not posting my comment, that I made on Facebook. But here is the feedback I provided to the show directly.

abcWWYD

Now here a few links:

Feel free to discuss or comment or mail me. Also feel very free to provide feedback to the show itself.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Some people are SO annoying

I have a gaming community. This community has a forum. On that forum I am the top poster. I really write a lot as I have a lot to say.

If you have ever had a conversation with me, either on a forum, a chat, or voicechat, you know that I am an honest person and always willing to change my mind when new info is presented to me as long as it makes sense.
Ergo: Me = reasonable person because you can reason with me. Makes sense so far?

As I have been on the mighty inter-webs for a while now, I learnt when to shut up. Part of that is, when I announce that I consider a conversation as over, I will not reply there again, no matter what anybody says after that point.
I will say that I am done with a conversation usually after everything has been addressed clearly and there is simply nothing to add.

So why do people, after such an announcement, and when there is REALLY nothing to add to the topic any more, still have to try to get another answer?

Here is an example:

I was in a conversation with a group of people about an edge topic (in this abortion and the term “pro choice”). And in this conversation I stated that I agree on the points made but that I do not like to use the exact terminology. I gave a clear explanation on why that is and answered when someone still had a question.
Turns out that someone is either stupid, very closed minded, or trying to drag the conversation on – no matter the cost. (In this case I can safely exclude trolling). This person, although on the same side of the argument, chose to interpret stuff into my posts that I did not write at all. And at the same type she was very passive aggressive for no good reason other than her not liking that I don’t use the term “pro choice” on myself, which in all fairness is none of her business. If she wants to use it for herself, so shall she do it but why push it down my throat?
So I stated that I consider the conversation with that specific person as over because I was very clear and have nothing to add.
And 2 seconds later that person answers and wants a reply from me.

So I sit here, completely dumbfounded, as no one else in that conversation acted that idiotic. Of course I don’t reply again because that would make me the idiot, right…

Still this type of people is so annoying with the passive aggression and this complete stubborn…nes to ever try and understand a point made. No one has to agree on everything, but at least honestly trying to understand something… Is that asked too much?

I am always a bit split between saying what I think and risking this type of bullshit conversation or deciding to just not saying anything to avoid the unnecessary drama.

People suck…

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Finally Honeymoon

When we married, we had no money for a honeymoon. Now we are 4 years into the marriage and I got my first tax return which I was able to claim for 3 years in one go. So I can finally afford this honeymoon!

And of course, why not, it is Paris.

Didn’t exactly start out great because the plane that were going to take originally had some serious technical problems. And they tried to fix it for two hours until they decided to put us on another plane and finally lift off.

So we were in Paris 2 hours late at about midnight and it took us another hour to get to the hotel. The hotel looked closed and we had to ring about four times until someone came to let us in. After all, I paid the night, I wanted to go there and sleep.

Today we had our first day in Paris and although we did not catch nearly enough sleep, it was great.
Most of my life I have lived in big cities that partially live off tourism so I know how you can lose sight of how beautiful the place is you live in.

But Paris is next-level-beautiful. No matter where you go, you turn around a corner and have another “WOW” moment. Even in residential areas. The houses, the churches, clocks, street lanterns, tiny parks and flower beds, etc. It is so beautiful everywhere.

We took the Metro into the city. And the Metro is another thing that was super interesting. You get those tiny tickets that you put into a machine and it comes out again. You take your ticket and go through a barrier and a doorthing.
Finding connections is very easy though. You just check out where you want to go in advance and you will find the stop where you need to get off really quickly. Even when you have to swap trains multiple times, they go so frequent and the signage is so clear, it is unbelievable what a great system this is. I have seen great subway systems believe me but the Metro so far tops it all. You cannot get confused or lost. It is really well thought out and executed.

The people also seem to be mainly very respectful towards each other. I haven’t seen much ugliness. Sure there was this guy who smoked one joint after the other on the Metro out of the window. There were the normal occasional acts of vandalism that you see like people scribbling their initials on walls or something. But nothing that really stands out and that is something.

Anyway, here are a few photos to give you a taste.

We got off the Metro somewhere close to river Seinne. And the area looked residential. I loved the ornaments on the buildings and some of the doors were impressive too.

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After that we decided to walk down the Champs Elysee. So to get there we had to walk along the river Seinne for a while

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and we came across an art museum that had free entry!

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We walked down the Champs Elysee and ended up at the Arc de Triumph. That is when we turned around to walk down towards the Louvre. I am skipping the Arc de Triumph pictures because they just didn’t turn out well. But on the way back down and towards Louvre we found a few nice places. The two highlights were a very old Restaurant where we had lunch. It was away from the tourists, mainly catering towards locals. The restaurant is almost 100 years old and had very old cutlery that looked handmade. We also found a very nice park where a lot of people went to rest. It had a great fountain.

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In the end we saw the Louvre and Notre Dame from the outside. Louvre was closed and the queue at Notre Dame was ridiculously long. As we were tired and our feet were killing us we decided to go back to the hotel at that point.

This was Louvre

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This was Notre Dame. And yes at times I prefer to make photos off the main attraction because in this case the little towers etc were really nice…

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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Pride Photos

I just wanted to show the internet a few photos from the pride parade 2015 in Dublin. I won’t write about it, just enjoy the pictures.

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Pride Parades

I went to my first pride parade when I was 15. It was in Munich and they called it “Christopher Street Day”.

My mom took me there back then. She told me that it is fun to see all the people so happy and dressed up in a big parade. She was right actually. I remember seeing a fun parcour-race-thing through our window, where some cross-dressers were running on high heels. Very fun and entertaining.
But I realised relatively quick that day that I enjoyed being there for more than just entertainment.
Well at 15 it wasn’t clear to me why I connected so well to the people in the parade and why it made me so extraordinarily happy to be there.
I went again the next year and then didn’t make it for the following few years. Only in recent years I have the time and the means to go again.

I have never been a big activist although I always held strong opinions. I just feel like I personally accomplish more for myself if I am simply true to myself. That is something that I only understood slowly and the full bandwidth of what that means is becoming more and more clear to me. It is not easy to be true to myself in every day life.

The Pride Parades all over the world stand exactly for that in my eyes.
They are about:

  • Being true to yourself.
  • Being honest to others.
  • Educating society
  • Acceptance
  • Equality for everybody
  • Showing that people who are not sexually and gender conform are still people

In every day life it is so difficult sometimes. People are used to stereo types. It just helps them understand the world. And if you are not the stereo type, people find it weird and difficult to deal with. They are unequipped to deal with a person that is not like the rest.
born this way

So what do people like me do on a daily basis?
Keep quiet, put on the “conformity mask”, and be our true self only at home behind closed doors. We tend to push aside the fact how much this can hurt us deep inside. We tend to push aside the fact that society should just accept people for who and what they are. It is difficult.

I am bisexual.
This is something that most people at least kinda get. For being bisexual, I am not a complete weirdo. Somehow I am “normal” but I also like girls. Somehow I am conform enough for people to not start asking silly questions. Sometimes I am being seen as the person that just can’t decide whether to be gay or straight but I am fine with that. Porn, the media, and the fact that girls sometimes randomly complement each other, did their job well in society.

I am gender queer.
This is something I need to hide. Every day when I leave my flat I gotta put on a mask. Yes, people know that I like odd things for a girl. But they, of course, do not understand that my whole brain is just not female. And no, “tomboy” does really not fit my profile. If I’d be myself outside my home, people would have a problem with my behaviour. It is not conform at all. There are a few outlets and the fact that at home, with my husband, I can be myself.
I do not behave lady like and being treated like a woman is very odd to me. I understand the good intention, after all I do look very female. But it feels weird.
Behind my closed doors, when I am with my husband or with very close friends, I will have too many male treats and that confuses people.
My behaviour sometimes seems contradicting, when, for example, I play with a nice knife and half an hour later do my nails. But that is me.

Pride Parades give me the hope that one day, people like me will be accepted fully and as a complete person, not just as what the eye meets.

I want to be able to:

  • go to work with a “man shirt” and a vest without being looked at weirdly.
  • talk about what I want and the way I want outside my home
  • talk technical details about stuff at a shop instead of the fact that I can buy this item in different colours
  • sit with open legs instead of having to close or cross them just because I look like a woman
  • address some of my interests without being told that this is for girls or for guys
  • walk through a clothing store without feeling odd because I wanna try on “men clothing”
  • the list could go on and on

It is ridiculous how deep the gender norms go and how much they influence every day life when you have to hide who you are most of the time. People make so many assumptions about you and this is one of the things I would love to see gone from society. But it probably won’t happen, not in my lifetime and likely never.
The examples above look like small issues that aren’t worth complaining about. And yes, if it were only one or two things, I wouldn’t feel the need to say anything. But knowing that this is just a fragment of all the tiny things that add up over time, it is worth to address the issue as a whole.

Society needs to become more accepting towards people who do not fit into these neat boxes:

  1. Vagina = Female = Behaviour xyz = Look xyz
  2. Penis = Male = Behaviour xyz = Look xyz

Here is the thing.
We all tend to claim that we are open minded and have no prejudice. But the reality is, we see a person and automatically put them in a box. We are doing that because it kept us alive during evolution and probably still does in many situations.
But people should not be boxed and shelved in a binary system for sex and gender.

There are countries that officially recognize more than two genders independent from what sex someone was born with.
There are lots of things going very positive, especially in recent years.

  • Germany added a third option for sex on birth certificates
  • Ireland voted gay marriage into the constitution
  • More and more countries accept that there are other orientations, not only straight
  • Countries who treat lgbt people lower or unequal to the rest of the people are being more and more frowned upon
  • There are children’s books about equality

So yes, change is happening and it is a good thing. 

And because change is happening, we cannot stop educating and being open. We cannot stop marching once a year. We need to stay open and friendly so society loses it’s fear and feels safe to ask questions and learn more.


Gay Pride Banner Rainbow Flag Long

A few points that I want to address because I read and hear these arguments so much. These are just the arguments that I see most frequent and that is why I address those:

  • “Why do you even need a pride parade? Can’t you keep that at home?”
    No we cannot keep that at home. The parades are to show people that we are normal, fun, and open. We want to give society the chance, once a year, to just have fun with us and to approach us with all the questions and critiques. These parades are more educational than you might think and they have done a great job in the past. Let’s continue.
  • “Our children should not see this!”
    Why not? Promoting equality to your children is a good thing. Promoting love and acceptance to your children is a good thing. Educating your child that, no matter how they turn out, they will be valued for who they are is a good thing. These events are positive and good for all age groups.
  • “You chose this life style!”
    Yes, I chose my life style BUT my sexuality and my gender identification are not my life style. I was born this way. I cannot chose to be straight and I cannot chose to become a woman or a man. I can chose to hide, but it is unhealthy and hurts.
    If you want to prove me wrong: Go ahead, be gay for a year and while you are at it, also change your gender for that time. Should be easy.
  • “You are not behaving natural!”
    I would like to see your scientific proof for that. Fact is that homosexuality has been observed across species on earth. From apes to cats to swans to even guinea pigs. Why those behaved the way they did, no one knows. But you personally are not the one deciding factor as to what is natural and what is not.
  • “All religions forbid this behaviour. That must have a good reason!”
    First of all, it is not true that all religions forbid non-straight and/or gender queer behaviour. Second, religions are a construct that humans put in place conform to their norms and rules at the time the religion has been constructed. Especially anything about sex and gender roles has always been a big thing in religions. But the fact that they have always been a big thing doesn’t mean that religions are right about the teachings concerning these issues.
  • “I don’t agree with homosexuality!”
    You don’t have to. It is ok to disagree. But you not agreeing with someone else’s sexual preferences will neither change them nor do society or yourself any good. Just deal with the fact that not everybody is the same. This is a learning process and it takes time. So take all the time you need and please ask questions if you have any.

Just be nice, be kind, have fun, and enjoy your life.
Accept each other and if you disagree with someone, be mature about it.

Cheers,
Leela

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Month of pride

sex-rb

A year has passed and once again the pride parade is knocking at my door. 

Recently I read something about pride parades not being there because we want to march but because there is a need for society to acknowledge and accept people the way they are, no matter who they love and as what gender they identify.

Every year around this time, I think back at my journey. How I found my sexuality and how I started accepting myself the way I am. How I started to understand that it is okay to be me the way I am.
It was a bumpy road but it was worth walking this bumpy road.

I identify as a bisexual, gender queer person. I do not like to address myself as woman or man because I am neither. I am this weird thing somewhere in-between. If I like a girl, I will be a perfect gentleman. If I am with men, I can do the perfect “guy talk” without seeming weird. But if I am talking to women, I can have this discussion about dieting, motherhood, and hair dye. There might be more guy in me than there is girl but I feel good the way I am, especially since I started accepting myself.

Until society everywhere on the planet treats lgbt people just like everybody else, we shall keep marching every year!

I hope everybody is having a great June and at some point a great pride parade!

genderqueerprideflagsma

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Selfharm and Depression

self-harm-cycle

At my current place of employment, a big website, I mainly work on things that get reported by the user. There are different filters in place so you can always work a certain type of report.
One of those is for everything self-harm and depression related. That’s a good thing because that way I can give special attention to people who actually need real help.
The problem here is that the majority of cases I check are 12 year old girls who think that cutting themselves is an acceptable form of “dealing” with the normal issues of growing up and being a teenager.
Anybody remember “cut for bieber”? There are lots of incentives like that.
The fact that parents aren’t there for there kids as much as they should be any-more because of all the distractions of life, doesn’t help. When a child has a problem, the first place for them to turn to should be the family or friends.
When the family is more interested in Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix, then there is a big problem.
When the friends are so lose friends that you cannot really talk to them about your worries and troubles, at some point you sit there and have no idea how to deal.
I do understand that growing up is a bitch! I grew up too. Everything changes. Your body, your thinking, your environment. Your interest in relationships starts, you have to get more and more ready for adulthood. Nowadays the internet plays a huge role in our lives. So bullying attacks as well as self-promotion on the net are a big part of the lives of kids nowadays. Then comes school being more and more pressuring. It all mounts up to something that current adults did not have to deal with when they were teenagers.
So yes, I actually understand what kids are going through.

The problem comes in when I have to treat “real self-harm” and “kiddie self-harm” equally when they are not equal.
Let’s take cutting because it is the most known form of self-harm:
I see a lot of arms that are full of little cuts, not too deep but visible. Kids like to make a photo and post it wherever they get attention. I get it, you need your problems addressed, but cutting into your skin is not the way to do that. What people will react to is the fact that the skin is cut and not why it has been done.
But the other type I see, are the real cuts. The ones that stem from a soul that has been deeply hurt and the only way to silence this psychological pain is to inflict physical pain to overwrite what is happening in the mind. It is to shut up the voices and to stop the thoughts. Even if it is only for 2 minutes of piece, it will be done. Those cuts are very deep, they need medical attention and stitches.

Somehow cutting your skin and saying you are depressed has become a very accepted form of dealing with the problems of life and me being a former self-harmer and highly depressed person find it appalling to see how “I am cutting but I don’t want attention” is just fine and dandy.

Before I met my husband, I cannot remember a time when I was not depressed. I grew up with deep depression and I had enough good reasons for it. There were more and more very valid reasons added throughout the years until at some point, the depression became so unbearable that I had to find ways to free my mind even if it was only for seconds. I became quite good in finding new ways to shut my brain up for a little.

<removed a paragraph>
Originally I had a very descriptive paragraph here where I described the things I used to do in order to stop my brain. In order to stop circular thoughts that kept me awake. In order to turn off memories that I did not want to remember. In order to just have my damn mind shut up for just a minute.
I removed this list because I don’t want to give the kids ideas.
I did a lot of things that were very harmful for my health and those things helped short term but they did not help long term.

At some point I broke down in tears in front of my boss because I was unable to deal any longer and I was sent to the doctor. My GP sent me straight to the psychosomatic clinic to be checked there.
The doctor there had me fill out a questionnaire and after talking to me, she was determined to put me on the closed psych-ward because I was suicidal at that point. I agreed to go to the day clinic instead.

I actually took the help that was offered to me instead of laughing it off and saying that no one will stop me from doing what I did. I did not WANT to harm myself and the second someone offered to help me I was there ready to heal and ready to learn dealing with my problems in a healthy way.
Once I had worked out my traumata, the self-harm stopped as well. It is all connected. Nowadays I am not the happiest person alive but I know how to deal with my problems, with memories I don’t want to have, and with everything in-between. I still have the tendency to get depressed, simply because my brain is wired that way, after all I grew up depressed and my brain adjusted physically. But the good thing is, I learnt to identify when I am getting there and I can stop it.

If you do have troubles other than the normal stuff about growing up, you should seek professional help instead of jumping into this trend of “I am cutting because Tim broke up with me”.
As I said, I know growing up is a bitch. Puberty is a bitch, School is very stressful. The other kids are mean. First love and first breakup are really shitty. The body and mind changing is scary. Knowing that you have to prepare for being an adult is scary.
All of this is normal and what you need is > talk to your parents, a trusted teacher, a good friend.
When I had no one to talk to, I found people on the internet who, on the long run, turned out to be very good real friends and I talked to them.

Here another tip: A good friend is not defined by “we can cry together”. A good friend listens to your problems without judging you and without telling you what to do. A good friend is just there for you if you need them.

At all the parents: Shame on you if you are unavailable for you kids. Don’t be surprised when they start doing stupid things if you never taught them any better! Do you think that your kids will be able to function in live if you miss educating them during the most important years of their lives? Shame on you!

This is for the ones who need to talk but have no one:
I am offering my ear/eye and a virtual hug, if you need someone to talk to and you have no one else. If you need someone, you can always comment or send me a mail to clos3rlook at gmail dot com 
I promise I will read it and if you want, I will answer as well. Just don’t do something that hurts your body in order to deal with your mental pain.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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