Monday, November 30, 2009

Stone Mountain Park Must Be Honest about Its Racism

Saturday, I went to Stone Mountain with my family. Stone Mountain has a troubling history-what started out as sacred space to Native Americans became the meeting place for the KKK for many years. Every time I go, although I love looking at the beautiful scenery everywhere, there is a slight sadness that follows me and it is hard to find things there that are troubling.

This time, I noticed three things: first, in the gift shop there was a book all about farmgirls and although every picture was of a different girl, they were all white. Now I do not know the exact ratio of white and black farmgirls, but surely there are at least some farmgirls of color in the South. It was a nostalgic book, with no story line, just quote after quote about how great and precious farmgirls are, so by only having pictures of white girls, it is basically saying that the only farmgirls that are worth knowing are white. Le sigh.

The other two have to do with Stone Mountain's history. I found out that the original designer of Stone Mountain wanted to have a shrine built that honors confederate womyn (Stone Mountain, with its carving of Gens. Lee, Grant, and Davis, is a confederate monument). This, of course, was never completed. Many other sculptors had designs that included womyn, but in the end a design was chosen that only glorified three male generals. Now, while I am not one that neccessarily wants there to be any monument glorifying the confederacy, if the men get a monument, then I am not opposed to womyn getting their own shrine.

The last one was pointed out by my mom several times-that in the exhibit about Stone Mountain's history, it talked about the KKK's involvement excruciatingly briefly and said that they stopped meeting there when Stone Mountain become a state park in 1958, but this is simply not true. My mother said she can remember KKK meetings being held at Stone Mountain until the 1980s.

I know it is tempting to whitewash history, but that does not do anybody any good. If there is one thing I have learned in my own recovery, it is that honesty is vital. If an organization cannot be honest about its darkest secrets, then the past horribleness will continue to fester. Racism is an evil and we must deal with it openly if we expect there to be any real change and this goes for organizations, as well as individuals.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Article by The Captain, Himself about Domestic Violence - Trigger Warning

"Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence" - a wonderful article written by Patrick Stewart. "Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Need a Book? Read Worlds of Honor!

Science fiction can be quite the boys' club, but if you want a series of hardcore scifi with a kickass female heroine and really cute, empathic aliens called treecats, then you should read the Honor Harrington books by David Weber. I must say, the novels are sometimes a little too technical for my tastes, but I am absolutely loving a collection of short stories about the world of Honor Harrington and her cool cats, called Worlds of Honor.
In this collection, some of the short stories are written by David Weber, but other authors include Linda Evans, Jane Lindskold and Roland Green. What I like about all of these stories is that all of them have really strong multi-dimensional female characters. The stories are pure escapism and yet one does not feel guilty about reading "trash," unlike probably a lot of the popular science fiction that involves, say, vampires and werewolves...cough...Twilight...ahem... Random Babble provides a great post about the racism in Twilight. Call me a purist, but I just do not believe that vampires should sparkle EVER! (I guess I'm sparkle prejudiced...)
While popular fantasy is having a lot of thematic problems lately, the stories in Worlds of Honor are a breath of fresh air. I think this book would be a lot better for teen reading, as it provides strong female role models, depth, excitement, and did I mention the cool treecats?! One thing the stories do not provide though is cheesy romance, so I guess the stories will not be put into movie form or be ravaged by teenage girls any time soon, which certainly is a shame.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

AAAFDD Guest Speaker Event & Womyn of the Week - Dottie Adams

from an email:

AAAFDD Guest Speaker Event

Monday, November 23, 2009
7:00 - 9:00 PM

The Tucker Recreation Center - Room 2
4898 LaVista Road
Tucker, GA

Dottie Adams, Individual and Family Support Director
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Dottie Adams has demonstrated her commitment, service, and dedication as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities for more than 30 years. Her passion and love for people drive her to help individuals with disabilities and their families find and get the services they need and deserve.

Ms. Adams’ career began in 1977 as a case manager at the Barrow County Mental Health Center where she conducted assessments, developed individual service plans, and advocated for individuals and families. Beginning in 1984, she served as Coordinator of the Clinical Evaluation Team on the Northeast Georgia Community Service Board. She joined the staff of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2002 as the Individual and Family Support Director.

She coordinated person-centered planning efforts and the move of 65 individuals from five institutions in Georgia under the SH/PF Class Action lawsuit. She helped pioneer early intervention services, family support, supported employment, person centered planning, and supported living in Georgia. She has also conducted numerous training sessions to develop person- centered plans and train providers to develop services that allow individuals to move or remain in the community.

Ms. Adams has been a keynote speaker on person-centered planning, individual service planning, circles of support, and PASS. Currently, Ms. Adams is working on promoting self-determination, workforce development of direct support professionals, and organizing navigator teams to help guide families to resources.

Sponsored by Answers And Alternatives for Families of the Developmentally

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NAMI Wins Fruit and Nut Bowl Award

At the annual “Alternatives Conference” organized by the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, NAMI’s Multicultural Action Center and received the conference’s “Fruit and Nut Bowl Award.”

No, the name of the award is not a slur.

It’s an honor.

The award recognized NAMI’s leadership in helping to "make it safe": for the LGBT community "to be proud and diverse" in addressing mental health needs.

The Multicultural Action Center mission includes public education to decrease stigma. In many respects, the Fruit n’ Nut award is a statement of pride that stands stigma on its head and unifies the LGBT and mental health consumer communities.

The award was first presented in 2007 to Bert Coffman of the Zappolarti Society, which runs a weekly LGBT peer support and recovery group in New York City.

Coffman presented the award to the center’s director Majose Carrasco and coordinator Marin Swesey. He specifically cited NAMI’s creation of the center in 2002 to eliminate disparities in mental health care among diverse communities and the organization in 2007 of the GLBT Leaders Group.

"MAC stepped to the plate," Coffman said in recognizing sexual and gender communities as "a culture deserving status akin to African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, American Pacific Islander and Latino cultures."

With the GLBT Leaders Group, the center has set a course for education and advocacy, including “outstanding products” such as Mental Health Recovery and Community Integration Guide for GLBTQI Individuals and its companion publication, GLBTQI Mental Health: Recommendations for Policies and Services.

In presenting the award, Coffman stood in for Mark Davis, a member of the GLBT Leaders group, who like too many people in recent weeks, was side-lined at home with the flu. Davis himself recently received a Voice Award from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
I think it is really great that my organization won this award! When I first joined NAMI, one of the reasons why I was nervous is because I am "out" about being bisexual and I was afraid that I might experience some stigma due to this, but I did not. In fact, to my surprise I was not the only queer person in attendance! I am very proud to say that I have never experienced any stigma or even weirdness due to my sexual identity. I told a fellow NAMI member about how excited I was that NAMI got this award and she said, "Of course, people that are marginalized due to mental illness are going to be accepting of everybody..." It is true that people that are in recovery are more accepting of other people, because they are aware of their own struggles and so know that it would be a foolhardy thing to judge another. Still, I was suprised at just how open everyone was and continues to be. When I read about the award, I knew that it would be what I would write about in our next newsletter. I am out and am proud of NAMI!

Trangender Day of Remembrance - Remember To Be Kind To All

I am really sorry. Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance and since I was not on the Internet much, I did not learn what day it was until now, but I would have posted. Here is a list of many of the trans people who died this past year. It is shocking to me how many of them were young people and how violent their deaths were. Scanning through the list, it seems that the majority of them were from Latin America, but no matter what country the deceased was from, they all should be honored.

But the living should be honored too! We are all people and it should not matter if a person's gender matches what some believe they should look like. The best way to honor trans people is by showing compassion, by being a friend, and by educating yourself. And do not become friends with someone just so that you can find all the answers to your questions about their status, but do the majority of the work yourself. In this information age, there is no excuse for ignorance.

So, light a candle and have a moment of silence, for all the transgendered people who died due to hate in 2009 and then make it your mission to make this world more loving for all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Time Flarf

This is my first try at Flarf poetry, which is a type of poetry that uses only random search items from Google. It's supposed to be funny and random, but I could not help trying to put some kind of meaning to mine. What do you think? I sorta like it and it was a lot of fun to do. Try it!

Elmo's Got a Gun

--[Not for Kids]—
They sell guns, pizza, beer, computers, coffee, and they have an internet cafe! Everything a growing boy needs. ...
Elmo's got a gun.
2006Elmo is a crazy mother fucker!
Elmo Sighters Anonymous: "Only SLIGHTLY Insane ;)"
Diamonds in Elmo, UT • Guns in Elmo, UT • Jewelry in Elmo, UT • Loans in Elmo, UT • Pawn Shops in Elmo, UT • Saddles in Elmo, UT ...
... and rescuing Elmo from threatening-looking terrorists bearing Nerf guns. ...
according to federal investigators who ...
Guns make him jumpy
A Colorado drug operation hid large quantities of methamphetamine inside Elmo dolls,
Intended to help Elmo-sighters deal with their problem, ESA
cause him trouble with the androids that work for
people like Mr. & Mrs. Elmo in Palm Springs. ...
Our granddaughter loves Elmo.
... At one point, Elmo doses a gang of skinheads with a super-powerful laxative and watches ...
Drugs, Guns, Car Chases And a Chemist in a Kilt
: Fad or Crazy?
throw it away or to sell it.
Elmo thinks hard,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menstrual Massage Therapy

I am on my period!!! Sunday, my arithritis, combined with the soreness generated from starting my period prevented me from being able to drive and my dad had to drive me to church. But did you know that there is massage therapy for menstruation? I found a site called "Spire Med" that is very womyn friendly, but I want to know what professional offers this kind of massage therapy and what health insurance would cover it?! I suggest showing this website to your significant other, if you are like me and have trouble with menstrual pain, or dysmenorrhea. I do not even have a lover right now, so I am simply favoriting this site and saving it for the day I do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Had No Idea...

That there is a Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta!

About the organization:

Since 1977, the Feminist Women's Health Center has strived to empower women through service, education, and advocacy. As Atlanta's leading non-profit feminist women's health resource, we have earned an outstanding reputation for providing quality care and community education, while working unceasingly to improve women's health. Our center embraces a holistic approach to health care and wellness, and we believe that education and knowledge are vital components in a women's ability to make health care decisions.

Through our three programs, Cliff Valley Clinic, Division of Reproductive Medicine, and the Community Education & Advocacy Network, the Feminist Women's Health Center offers a wide range of services and education for the community.

Emergency Birth Control is a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. Our Trans Health Initiative offers sensitive, friendly and affordable gynecological health care to gender variant and intersex individuals. We offer Assault Survivor Sensitive Care which addresses the specific physical and emotional needs of our clients by offering a unique program for survivors of violence to include domestic or gang violence, sexual assault, abuse, or incest.

Here is information on an open event there on November 19th:

Do Rape Victims Get Justice In Georgia?

Thursday Nov 19th

For directions: Call (404) 929-1738

Join us for a panel presentation addressing the problem of untested rape kits and strategies for advocacy. Representatives from the DeKalb Rape Crisis Center and The Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault will discuss the process of testing rape kits in Georgia and the implications for those left untested.

Please RSVP to Claire at
or 404-248-5445

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Womyn of the Week - Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage is a phenomenal speaker and writer, who I heard for the first time at Charis Books & More 35th anniversary celebration. I was captivated and I highly recommend hearing her if you ever get the chance. I especially liked her piece that was in honor of Rihanna, in which she apologizes for the fact that domestic violence still happens everyday. It was a painful piece to hear and yet its message is still so important to not just hear, but really listen and comprehend what she was powerfully saying.

Pearl Cleage has produced several best-selling novels, plays, essays, articles, and more. She is also a contributing writer to Essence magazine and frequently performs her work on college campuses. Pearl is the mother of one daughter, Deignan, and lives in Atlanta with her husband, Zaron W. Burnett, Jr.
This was her first bestseller and was featured on Oprah's Book Club!

Pearl Cleage is one of America's most produced African American female playwrights!
"Flyin' West and Other Plays," 1999

I have never read any of her works, although after hearing her speak, I really, really want to-looks like I need to get started!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day and Mental Illness

This Veteran's Day, let us not only remember all those that physically died or became wounded in war, but also all those who suffer from horrible mental illness.
(picture from the blog, SteveAudio, portraying a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)



Almost one in three veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq confront mental health problems.

On an average day in this country, suicide claims another 18 veterans.

Approximately 30 percent of veterans treated in the veterans health system suffer from depressive symptoms, two to three times the rate of the general population.

More Vietnam veterans have now died from suicide than were killed directly during the war.

Approximately 40 percent of homeless veterans have mental illnesses.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street - Women Can Be

Sesame Street is 40 years old today!!! In 1969, Sesame started bringing inclusiveness and feminism PLUS the ABC's, how to share, and Spanish to children's programming on television. Not only that, but they provided very catchy songs that were both enjoyable to parent as to child. Thank you, Sesame Street! May you last forty more!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marcus J. Borg - "Politics of Compassion"

If you are part of Western culture, then you are probably most familiar to images of Godde that support the patriarchy, i.e. the "Heavenly Kingdom" or that Godde's only parental quality is like that of a "Father." But according to Marcus J. Borg, in his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, this was not always so. In fact, Jesus refers to God as a "womb:"

And to complete the imitatio dei, to "be compassionate as God is compassionate" is to be like a womb as God is like a womb. It is to feel as God feels and to act as God acts: in a lifegiving and nourishing way. "To be compassionate" is what is meant elsewhere in the New Testament by the somewhat more abstract command "to love." According to Jesus, compassion is to be the central quality of a life faithful to God the compassionate one (49).

Later, Borg states that Jesus is promoting a new subversive way to live, "the politics of compassion," (49) and he demonstrated that in having a '"discipleship of equals" embodying "the egalitarian praxis" of Jesus' vision (82). According to Borg:

Indeed, his words, "call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" may very well be directed against the patriarchal family, which as the primary social unit in that world was a microcosm of a hierarchical system. If so, this is a fascinating instance of Jesus using the image of God as Father in a way that subverted patriarchy.

But in at least the American society, we think of compassion as an individual act. We are taught to support politicians or ideologies that are not compassionate in order to get what we want. We are taught that compassion is a private action, but according to Borg, Jesus did not, contrary to popular opinion ("Render to Caesar what is Caesar's" for instance).

This book has inspired me to think about my own political viewpoints recently. I used to be strongly libertarian. My parents are independent, with Republican leanings and I have been told all my life that Democrats have "nice" ideals, but that they are too naive.

I am not saying that I am leaning more towards becoming a democrat now, but I am taking the idea that politician and that politics should have compassion as a core value much more seriously. Hell, I might even be a communist or a socialist!

There is no pressure for me to come up with all the political answers any time soon, but one thing I do know: it is increasingly becoming more difficult for me to support any candidate, as punishment, intolerance, and negativity are more popular ideals to promote than ones of compassion, tolerance, and love. And while I of course know that there are no perfect people, I am looking for the whole package! I do not believe that one can have a horrible moral life and be a great politician. I just don't!

Most likely, I am going to become fiercely independent. Too many people in too many parties only set high bars for themseles politically and not spiritually or morally, and no, when I say "moral," I am not talking about "family values," unless those family values include a call to inclusiveness. I am not "naive," but I do have high standards. Won't you join me?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Take Good Care of Your Heart! Put Yourself First!

This is cross-posted at Hope is Real!

I am taking a CPR/first aid class and today I hearned that hear attacks are the number one cause of death in both womyn and men in the United States. For men, the biggest sign for a heart attack is chest pain,m but so for womyn-they usually experience back, head, or jaw pain. Womyn are also less likely to report their symptoms and so less womyn get treated for heart attacks and heart disease.

This scares me! How many times have you hidden a headache or a backache, because you did not want to worry others or be a bother? How many times have you dismissed your own health in favor of someone else's? For myself, the times are countless.

But knowledge is not only power, for true wisdom requires one to take action!

Ladies, we must stop dismissing ourselves! Not only will we not be able to take care of our loved ones if we die due to our own carelessness, but the simple fact is true-you must advocate for yourself, because no one else will.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tomorrow: "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China"

Professor Yinhe Li, Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing
Title: "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China"
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Place: Rm. 270 (Lanier Suite), GSU Student Center, 44 Courtland Street, Atlanta, GA 30303

Cosponsored by the Asian Studies Center, Department of Sociology, and Women's Studies Institute

Noted Chinese Sociologist (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1988) and activist for gay rights in China, Professor Yinhe Li, will be speaking on campus on Wednesday, November 4. Topic of her talk is "The Public Attitude Toward Homosexuality in China."

A professor at the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, Dr. Li also serves as a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In the latter capacity, she has submitted proposals to legalize same-sex marriage in China in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

Dr. Li has published extensively on issues of sexuality and marriage in China.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Support Gray Matters Behavioral Health Caucus on Nov. 9

From a NAMI email:

Support the Gray Matters Behavioral Health Caucus on November 9, 2009. This is the second quarterly caucus for mental health champions in the legislature to meet and learn what is happening and what can be done about it. Our first caucus was held on August 8.

We all know how often we hear or talk about Georgia ’s broken and failing mental health system. Now we can do something about it.

Last year, we had maybe 10 - 12 Champions, legislators who really went to bat for mental health, and we got a new department of Behavioral Health and a new mental health ombudsman Imagine what could happen if we had 50 legislators this year to champion our cause. We could really make things happen.

We began working on this idea in May. Then in June, the new Commissioner of the Dept of BHDD suggested that a Caucus of 50 legislators would be a great idea. We said “We thought so too, and had already begun working on it!”

We’ve done a lot to set it up, like getting Host legislators and a place in the Capitol to have the event. We have 12 legislative and 19 organizational co-hosts. Everyone is getting on board, even the Governor and Lt. Governor’s offices support the initiative.

But we need your help. We need to make sure that as many legislators show up as possible. So we’re asking you to contact both your State Senator and your State Representative and ask them to attend. Let them know how important it is to you that they care about mental health.

Go to, which allows you to send an e-mail while on the web site. Click on the link below and then, in the box that is titled My Elected Officials, enter your 5 digit zip code in the top zip code box and then enter your 4 digit "+4" numbers in the bottom zip code box and click "GO". There is no need to enter your full address. On thee next page, in the same box, you will see the titles and names of your elected officials. Find your state Senators and Representatives and click on their name's. You will be taken to a page with additional information about each.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spook Somewhere Else, Please!

Happy All Saint's Day!

Did everyone have a wonderful Halloween? I was a little disappointed in that we had very few trick or treaters this year and even fewer gory/spooky costumes!

But I was more than disappointed when I was watching a show that day telling about various commercial haunted houses in the USA and several take place in an old insane asylum. Sure, these places are creepy and so are the perfect places to scare people for money, but these places were at one time real places where people were tortured in the name of health. People have really died in these places! Does honoring our dead only apply to the sane?

I know that because of my being hospitalized several times that I am more sensitive to this issue, but even so, I just feel like all people who have suffered so horribly deserve our respect and that all the dead should rest in peace.
Light a candle in honor of a loved one today.