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biphobia and bisexuality: image of a person with glasses a hat and tattoo on forearm looking down

Biphobia is Real…and Really Hurtful: Part 2

By Heather, an advocate. This is part two of a two-part series. This post is for partners, friends and parents of bi+ folks. Read the first post for bi+ folks here!

There are a lot of harmful myths out there about bisexual people and bisexuality. If you love someone who identifies as bisexual, (or pan- or polysexual, hetero- or homoflexible, or Queer & non-monosexual), here are a few examples of the hurtful things they’ve probably heard at some point:

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Biphobia is Real…and Really Hurtful: Part 1

By Heather, an advocate. This is the first of a two-part series. This post is for bi+ folks!

Hey bisexual readers, we see you! March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, so we want to talk about the health of your relationships.

If you’re bisexual (or pan- or polysexual, hetero- or homoflexible, or Queer & non-monosexual) it’s possible that your sexuality has caused some concerns or confusion in your relationship. (Sadly, bisexual women are more likely than any other group to experience intimate partner violence.) We’re here to tell you that none of this is your fault! Healthy relationships are based on trust, honesty, respect and equality. Everyone, of every sexual orientation, deserves that. No matter which gender you or your partner are, your bisexuality is valid.

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7 Ways to Lovingly Support Your Gender Non-Binary Partner

by Sam Dylan Finch. Originally posted on Everyday Feminism.

I still remember the moment I came out as genderqueer to my then-partner. I was finally sharing a deep and important truth about myself: I was ready to transition and was overjoyed at the prospect of having my partner by my side.

But for him, my transition was threatening.

“I just wouldn’t find you attractive anymore,” he told me.

That was all he would say about the matter. My heart broke that day.

While his sexual preferences are his prerogative, he had failed to be supportive. That made me afraid to transition. I was afraid of being abandoned, afraid that I could not be loved as I was.

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Are You an LGBTQ Survivor? We Want to Hear from You!

This post was contributed by the National LGBTQ DV Capacity Building Learning Center

The past year and a half have been huge for trans*, bi, lesbian and gay people across the United States. Communities big and small are grappling with Marriage Equality and the unprecedented visibility of LGBTQ relationships and families. With this visibility comes greater awareness of the violence that many in our community continue to face. For example, trans* women of color continue to bring much needed attention to the ongoing violence experienced by trans* people across the country. Additionally, the CDC recently released a report showing that LGBTQ people experience domestic abuse at higher rates than heterosexual and non-trans people.

As we gain awareness about the extent of violence experienced by trans*, bi, lesbian and gay people, we must also learn more about how to help those experiencing violence. Where do LGBTQ people go for support? How useful is that support? How can individuals, agencies and communities more effectively work with diverse LGBTQ survivors to meet their needs?

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Support the Real Education For Healthy Youth Act!

By Selena Torrado
National Youth Advisory Board Member (NYAB)

If you are visiting this website, you probably have an interest in promoting healthy relationships, either for yourself, your loved ones or your community. Well good news, healthy relationship advocates — I have an opportunity for you to do so on a national scale!

Show your support for the Real Education For Healthy Youth (REHY) Act, a comprehensive sex education vision bill that would mandate a healthy relationships curriculum to be included in sex ed at high schools and universities across the United States. Read on to learn what exactly the bill would do and what you can do to help it pass in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

What Would The Real Education For Healthy Youth Act Do?

The REHY act outlines criteria for content in federally-funded sex education programs. The bill provides funding for comprehensive sexual health education programs which, among other things, include information on healthy relationships and protection from dating violence, sexual assault, bullying and harassment. All information taught would be required to be evidence based, medically accurate, age appropriate and inclusive of all students — be they lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or heterosexual.

Who Is Provided Funding Under The Real Education For Healthy Youth Act?

Federal funding would be provided to institutions teaching comprehensive sexual health education to adolescents and college students, including departments of education; nonprofit organizations; state, local, and tribal organizations; departments of health; and any institution of higher education. Priority funding is given to communities with high rates of health disparities in domestic violence, sexual assault, unintended pregnancy and STIs, ensuring that communities receive education tailored to their needs. Funding is also directed to teacher training for k-12 educators to increase effective teaching and student support.

Why Is a Healthy Relationships Curriculum as Mandated by the Real Education For Healthy Youth Act Necessary?

Too many American youth face bullying, harassment and dating violence. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Approximately one in three young people experience physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
  • Eight out of ten LGBTQ students reported being harassed in the last year, three-fifths reported feeling unsafe and one-third skipped at least one day of school in the past month because of concerns about their safety.
  • Surveys show that eight percent of high school students have been forced to have intercourse and ten percent have experienced dating violence.

We deserve better than that. Comprehensive sex education can give us the information we need to help prevent dating violence and bullying. One study reported that students were 60 percent less likely to perpetrate forms of dating violence against a partner after being taught a safe dating curriculum. Those of us who attend LGBTQ inclusive schools are less likely to feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation (42 percent vs. 64 percent) or gender expression (28 percent vs 41 percent) and about half as likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable (17 percent vs. 31 percent).

By supporting the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, you are helping reduce these statistics and set yourself and your peers up for academic and emotional success. We young people have the right to lead healthy lives. We want to make responsible decisions about our health and well being. In order to do so, we must be provided with honest, age-appropriate sexual health education.

What Steps Can You, As A Young Person, Take To Help Pass The Real Education For Healthy Youth Act?

Contact your representative and ask them to be co-sponsors or champions (if they are already co-sponsors) of the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. This is not at all as scary as it sounds! You can find your representative and their contact information at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Write them a letter, send them a tweet or give them a phone call — and tell them what this act means to you!

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On Watching “Freaks and Geeks”

With the help of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, we are able to settle in and watch marathons of TV shows we might have missed. We’ve been catching up on Netflix favorite Freaks and Geeks, which has some pretty relevant stuff for a show about teens in the 80s.

For instance in the clip below, James Franco and Busy Phillips, aka Daniel and Kim, are in a fight because Kim suspects Daniel is cheating on her with one of her best friends. It’s pretty hard to watch — starting with Daniel swearing at her and then with Kim responding by hitting and slapping him. What’s more shocking is the other people in the room don’t try to stop the violence.

* Warning: explicit content

This is not a healthy relationship. It’s abusive.

Men Can Be Victims Of Abuse

Because men are traditionally thought of as physically stronger than women, it can feel weird to identify physical abuse when the man is the victim and the woman is the perpetrator.

The fact is abusers come in all shapes and sizes. Simply being the larger person in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t suffer abuse.

Dating violence against guys takes the same forms as it does against women. It can be emotional, physical or sexual and be present in heterosexual or same sex relationships.

Warning Signs

Some warning signs to watch out for are if your partner:

  • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
  • Gets jealous when you spend time with family members or friends
  • Tries to control how you spend money, where you go or what you wear
  • Doesn’t trust you and constantly accuses you of cheating
  • Gets angry toward you when drinking or using drugs
  • Threatens you with violence
  • Becomes physically violent with you while your sleeping, after you’ve been drinking or while you’re not paying attention to make up for a difference in strength

If someone is gay, bisexual or transgender, there are some additional signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Threatening to tell friends, family or others of your sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Telling you authorities won’t help you because of your sexual orientation
  • Telling you that leaving the relationship means you agree that gay, bisexual or transgender relationships are wrong
  • Saying that men are just naturally physically violent or that this is just how women fight

Using your sexual orientation or gender identity to gain control in a relationship is abuse. All relationships will have their share of arguments, but no matter who’s in the relationship you can disagree with getting abusive.

Everyone deserves a healthy relationship.

Let’s Talk About Freaks and Geeks

Daniel and Kim are clearly in an unhealthy relationship. What about the other couples on the show? Where would you rank them on the Relationship Spectrum?

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LGBTQ Relationships and Dating Violence

By Tara, a loveisrespect advocate

One in three adolescents in the U.S. will be the victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. This figure is much higher than any other type of youth
violence. And abuse isn’t just happening in heterosexual relationships. It affects all types of people and relationships. It doesn’t discriminate.

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Be Heard! Support A Law That Will Help End Dating Abuse

Intimate partner violence is an issue many young people face. In fact, girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national no more logoaverage.

Young people will see many benefits in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA, first passed in 1994, is the most important piece of federal legislation in the movement to end dating abuse. It expired in 2011 and must be reauthorized to ensure a continued federal response to these crimes.

Reauthorization is the process by which Congress makes changes, additions and deletions to a law. The Senate and the House of Representatives do not currently agree on what VAWA should look like in the future and so passed two different versions of the bill.

The Senate’s version, Senate Bill 1925, was passed by the Senate 68-31 votes in a true bi-partisan effort, meaning Democrats and Republicans put aside their differences for this issue. The Senate bill helps females but also males. Under it, all students will be educated about teen dating abuse, because despite stereotypes, males are victims of teen dating abuse too. This bill also offers more protection to the LGBTQ community, native populations and undocumented individuals. In addition to excluding critical protections for those groups, the House version, H.R. 4970, left out the vital Campus SaVE provisions, leaving college students behind.

These omissions are wrong. It is so important to urge the adoption of the Senate version of the VAWA during the reconciliation process, when the Senate and the House merge their bills and send one final version to the President.

It is important that protection extends to all groups because everyone can feel pain. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 7 states all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection. There are many issues in politics that do not have a definitive right or wrong. This issue, however, does. This hold up of the Senate-approved version of VAWA is wrong. How can you deny someone protection under the law?

It is time to step-up and say intimate partner violence isn’t acceptable in our country no matter what your ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or immigration status may be. It is time to step-up and say that everyone has the right to security at home and in relationships. It is time to step up and have your voice heard.

Sign the Campus Survivor’s petition here: http://bit.ly/NmIzEg

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LGBTQ Relationships & Abuse

It’s Pride Month and we wanted to dedicate a post to looking at how dating abuse happens in the LGBTQ community. What dating challenges are unique to same sex couples? We had the opportunity to sit down with Tonya Turner, Senior Staff Attorney at Break the Cycle and ask her about what she sees in her programs with LGBTQ youth.

Tonya shared that unhealthy relationships are often continued because young adults struggle to answer one big question — what does a healthy relationship look like?

This can be a hard question for anyone to answer. Tonya shared that when she first asks young people this question, almost everyone assumes they are in a healthy relationship. Then later when red flags for unhealthy behaviors are discussed, the students begin to change their minds about the health of their relationships.

Why is this?

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