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  • "How do I get creative? I just really wanna DO something, but I’m usually pretty clueless. I always end up dreaming about love instead of making myself useful. I’m determined to stop ths behaviour, but I was wondering if you have any concrete tips how to get, like… new ideas!"

    - Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kai Davis as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

    Kai Says:

    While I can’t tell you or teach you how to create new ideas, I can teach you to recognize them when they happen. I think that most people, including yourself, are under the impression that every kind of creative inspiration must be a gleaming beacon of profundity and wisdom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming about love. Love permeates through life in ways we cannot even fathom. There is value in exploring its vastness. Anything that makes us aware of ourselves, of others, the world around us, or even the spiritual word is useful and important art. There is no right or wrong way to be creative. Whatever ideas you find yourself thinking about, no matter what it is, can be interpreted as divine signals to explore those ideas through art.

    You must also let go of “newness.” There is no new idea, especially when it comes to art because art is humanity and our collective consciousness allows us to sometimes think and feel with the same hearts and minds. Every idea you have or I have has been thought of and executed before in a million different ways. That alone should be inspiring, not discouraging. Because now you have the opportunity to make us see something familiar in a unique way. And if you find yourself thinking about the same thing over and over, writing the same poem, drawing the same picture, do not feel disheartened. There are some things that I’ve written about many many times, because some things are always relevant. And some things just need to be written or drawn or sung about a thousand times because this is how we have to cleanse. “New” is just a bright shiny word. We should never dwell on it too long.

    If you want some concrete tips, I can tell you what I do to keep the juices flowing:

    1.      Stream of consciousness free writing. Sometimes you have thoughts in your head that are too stiff or quiet. I recommend writing everything and I do mean everything that comes to your mind for a few minutes each day. That means you don’t stop to think about what you’re writing, you don’t stop to process it and you definitely don’t erase, backspace, or scratch out anything. You’ll find thoughts and ideas you’ve been unconsciously ignoring. This exercise is like consciousness yoga.

    2.      Write down funny or interesting things you hear people say in conversation, in songs, on tv, on the radio, etc. We are often inspired in quick bursts and before we can turn that inspiration into art, it leaves are minds. Keeping a log of thought provoking things you hear day to day can be a great resource.

    3.      Just do it. Yeah I know, easier said than done. But honestly, sometimes creating is like ripping off a bandaid. You have to do it with confidence, quickness, and courage or the process is a lot more painful. Whenever I’m writing a collaboration poem with my friends sometimes we find ourselves writing notes and ideas for days for fear of not having a quality poem once we start. But then we always have to remind ourselves, that if we don’t just do it, we will have accomplished nothing.

    I really hope this helps.

    ***

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  • “How should a new trans man deal with all the increase in anxiety after finally being honest with themself?”

    - Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Liam Lowery as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

    Liam Says:

    You know the expression, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it”? Here is what I perceived from the way you asked this question:

    I am guessing that there was always a nebulous question mark looming over your head when it came not just to sexuality—but to more basic things, like your name or preferred gender pronouns.

    I am guessing that you eventually decided you needed to answer those questions about yourself.

    I am guessing that inevitably, you saw a plot arc on The L Word, or came across a Tumblr featuring cute trans guys in bow ties, and a chord was struck somewhere deep within you. For the first time, maybe, you felt called towards an answer about yourself.

    But, given societal transphobia, lack of inclusion in some LBGT spaces, and the entire overwhelming process of transitioning (though that means different things for different people), maybe you didn’t want that answer to be “trans.” You thought about the process of telling family and friends, and your heart sank. Could you really take this on?

    Maybe I am just projecting.

    You see, the hardest person to come out to is always yourself. Because when you come out to yourself, it sets you on a path lined with decisions only you can make. When I realized I was trans, I wanted to shove the realization deep into the recesses of my mind and never deal with it again. But I couldn’t, and I’m glad for it now.

    I have news for you, new trans man. Since you’ve come out to yourself, you are not so new after all—in fact, you’ve already done the hardest thing. Congratulations!

    For the anxiety:

    [First, I want to say this: if at any point your anxiety is overwhelming, or makes you think suicidal thoughts, seek the help of a mental health professional immediately. Not to be a downer, but it is important to be aware of since one of the sad legacies of our community is an increased rate of suicide and depression.]

    Early-transition anxiety varies a lot from person to person. Some people may have a hard time talking to their family about their new identity. For others, it might be trying to gain access to trans inclusive healthcare or afford things like new gender affirming clothes. For others, it might be gaining trans-specific legal resources to aid in their transition. For others, especially those who are geographically isolated, it might be establishing a trans support system. All of these problems can be solved using the Internet: PFLAG’s website for families, eBay for cheap clothes, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Lambda Legal for legal resources, Art of Transliness, Original Plumbing and Bklyn Boihood for community resources, and to meet cool new friends.

    Then there’s the stress, though. The stress of trying to decide what medical steps, if any, your transition will involve, and how to afford them. The stress of convincing your family and friends to respect your identity and, when they do, reflecting how your relationships have changed as a result. The stress of legally changing your name and/or legal gender, if you decide to do so. The stress that even when you do “transition” (whatever that really means), even if you are stealth and passing, you can never un-learn the questions you had to ask to get there: what does gender really mean, and how does gender inequality inform everyone’s lives.

    Deep stuff, right?! When I was newly out, I felt like I was on a long road with no end in sight. It’s scary. I totally understand. As such, the last thing I wanted was more information on how to start a Kickstarter to fund my surgeries, or how to do a testosterone shot. I wanted to know (preferably from someone a few years post-coming out) how to get through the dark days when you feel bad/ugly and your family isn’t talking to you and everyone at school thinks you’re a freak. I didn’t want advice on the beautiful butterfly I would become (I am sure you know that you, too, are a beautiful butterfly), I wanted to hear how to survive as a caterpillar. In case you can’t tell, I am about to get mad real.

    Take a bath.  No, seriously. Take a bath. Make yourself a nice cup of tea, light a candle, get in the tub. Or if you live in a place with only a shower, go get one of those shower steamer things that makes your shower smell extra good.

    Or: eat an ice cream cone. Clean your room. Do a yoga pose. Buy a plant and keep it alive. Wash your clothes with fabric softener. Take a walk. Paint a picture. Nap. Make yourself a dinner like you’d make if company were coming over. Sleep in.

    The goal of this is two-fold: 1. Remind yourself that you are special and deserve to be taken care of. 2. Spend some time with you, in leisure, since you are already spending lots of time working on you. Get to know you, get to like you. You deserve that.

    Then, after your bath/nap/ice cream/walk/laundry, take a minute to be grateful.

    Take a second to say to yourself: I am so lucky to have the clarity to know myself. I am so lucky have already done the hardest part. I am so lucky to have good things in my life.

    Gratitude is a practice, and often throughout any transition (whether you’re moving away from home for the first time, or changing your life to better reflect your gender identity) gratefulness is often the only thing that can ward of anxiety and fear.  It is one of few sure ways to foster happiness in yourself without any external motivator. It is very good for sustaining you through long journeys, like the one you are on.

    And then, always, remind yourself that the hardest part is behind you.  

    ***

    Click through to read more about Liam and our other Second Opinions panelists!

  • "If I met someone at a party and talked to them for just a little bit and asked for their number is it ok to ask them to hang out even though I really don’t know them?"

    - Question submitted by Anonymous

  • "Hello. How do i tell my friend and her boyfriend to tone down their public display of affection without sounding jealous, bitter, and alone in life?"

    - Question submitted by Anonymous

    Dannielle Says: 

    If it were me, I would 100% make a joke that made me sound MORE BITTER AND ALONE 4EVR. 

    I would say, “Hey, DemiLovato, since I’m going to be alone forever and no one loves me (FACT YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT ME) can you and DannielleOwensReid make out like 40% less. You don’t have to TOTALLY QUIT PECK KISSING ON THE LIPS OR HOLDING HANDS OR ANYTHING, but if you tone it down just a tad it will be a much more enjoyable experience for me and my future-spinster-life.”

    OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. If you make it jokey it won’t make it as weird…at least, that’s how I feel. I don’t know. None of my friends live that hardcore PDA life because it’s RUDE. oH I KNOW. Just read this post aloud to them and give them LOOKS at the parts of the answer that resonate most with you. 

    Kristin Says:

    I actually wouldn’t go the joking route on this one… only because I feel like you run the risk of them either a) thinking you are ACTUALLY kidding or b) thinking you are being rude rather than trying to be ‘silly’. I think that sometimes when we try to joke about things but that actual, real emotion is behind the joke, it can come out sounding more serious than we would have wanted. That’s just me, though, only you know what you are capable of!

    If you don’t want to take the joke-paved path, then I would suggest talking to your friend solo. My common method of talking about things that make me uncomfortable is to lessen the ‘YOU do this and it makes ME uncomfortable’ tone, and to heighten the ‘YOU aren’t doing anything wrong but bc of where I am at in my life I have these feelings’ tone. If this were me, I would ask my friend to get dinner or coffee or wine or whatever you guys DO, and when I felt most comfortable I would say something like the following:

    "Hey, Keisha (your friend)… I don’t want to make this all serious, but somethings been weighing on me lately and I feel like the best thing to do is talk to you about my feels."

    Then Keisha will probs be like, “OH GOD DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG” or “TELL ME WHAT IT IS” or whatever.

    Then you say, “You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that lately I have been feeling a little lonely bc I don’t have anyone in my life, and I know you and Steve (Keisha’s boo) are super in love and stuff. I love that you are, and I really do think it’s great, but it’s just been hard for me to be so close to all the kissing and other love-things. You guys aren’t doing anything wrong, but I just thought maybe I should say something and see what you thought about my feelings.”

    HOPEFULLY, Keisha will be understanding and sensitive, and you all will work out a balance. Be clear that you aren’t asking them to never act like boo-and-boofriend, you are just trying to signal that your heart hurts sometimes and so a little less might help you out.

    Also for the record I don’t understand heavy acts of PDA, but that’s between you and me and everyone else reading this.

  • "I’m in high school and one of my teachers is prone to making rather queerphobic/heteronormative jokes and comments. As a queer person myself do you think I should call her out on it or just stick it out?"

    Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Sara Kost as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

    Sara Says:

    First, I just want to say that no student should have a teacher who makes comments like those. And I hope that you have other teachers who are respectful, positive role models for you and your peers.

    As I see it, you have a few different options, depending on your specific circumstances. It’s going to be easier for you to address these issues if you are supported by other students, your family, other teachers, school administration, and your community. If there is a GSA at your school or an out, queer teacher, you could go to them first and ask for advice or help dealing with the teacher making comments.

    If you feel comfortable, absolutely bring it up with the teacher. Any good teacher should be open to hearing from students if the student approaches them in a calm and constructive way. Perhaps your teacher doesn’t even realize she is saying something offensive. Perhaps your teacher didn’t realize her comments were affecting students. You could say something in class right when she makes a joke or comment, or wait until after class to say something. If it helps, you could ask a friend to speak up with you. Power in numbers!

    Another option, if you don’t want to directly confront your teacher, or if your teacher blew you off after you confronted her, would be to bring the matter up with your school administration. Document the comments that your teacher makes, and try to enlist some friends or other students in other classes to document them as well. Note the date, time, and quote what was said for a few weeks. Once you and other students get enough evidence, go to the school administration and demand they do something about that teacher.

    You deserve to feel safe and supported at school. I hope your teacher will learn from her mistakes and realize that queer people exist in your school and in the world.

    ***

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  • "Hi hello yes HELP! I have a delightful problem. I can’t get out of bed with my girlfriend. I don’t mean like SEX, I mean like she’s warm and soft and and cuddly and smells good and I love her and I physically cannot remove myself from bed with her and it’s taking a toll on my ability to get shit done. This isn’t even a new relationship. We’ve been together for over a year, but we’re still puppy dog nuts in love and I need to do my homework and get to class on time! HOW?! HELP ME!!"

    - Question submitted by Anonymous

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