Happening in Kansas City
Trending around OUTvoices
When I was growing up in a nice, Jewish, middle-class family on Long Island, I was told there wasn’t any domestic violence or alcoholism in nice, Jewish, middle-class families like mine. My mother always told me, “If your father ever...,” their marriage would be over. There was always alcohol in our house. I probably dusted the same bottles for 10 years.
So, in my nice, Jewish, middle-class family, at least, there was no domestic violence or alcoholism. It took me a few years, but once I left my parents’ home, I came to realize that what they told me were just well-intentioned myths. My synagogue has an AA group, and I’ve heard the stories of abusive husbands who started out as “nice Jewish boys.”
My parents needed to believe those myths. They were part of what made them who they were. Sadly, the LGBT community has fallen into the same trap.
While no one has ever said the LGBT community didn’t have its share of people with drinking problems, we have tried to hold on to the notion that, since we struggle so much to love the ones we love, we could never, ever think of abusing them.
That’s just a myth. The reality of our lives is really no different from that of our heterosexual counterparts.
“LGBT intimate partner violence is as prevalent in our relationships as it is in heterosexual relationships,” Avy Skolnik, the coordinator for statewide and national programs for the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told me in a recent phone interview. “One in four relationships experience some type of abusive power and control dynamic.”
Just as in straight relationships, this dynamic runs the gamut of emotional and economic abuse, such as the abuser isolating the victim from friends and family, using jealousy to control the victim, or threatening to tell an employer the victim is gay or lesbian; or the abuser controlling the purse strings and forcing the victim to ask for money. In other cases, the abuser may treat the victim like a servant or engage in actual physical abuse, such as hitting, pushing, biting, grabbing, and beating. And at times, physical abuse can culminate in death.
It’s sad to think that we do this to one another and that, just like many straight women who are abused, we stay in these destructive relationships. But we’ve got to remember, not only did we grow up in this society - which is so violence-centric - but we’re doubly burdened with internal and external homophobia.
“Part of the community’s resistance to talking about sexual abuse and intimate partner violence really comes from people not wanting to feed the fires of homophobia and transphobia,” said Skolnik. “We think we always have to put our best face forward and keep this stuff quiet. We’re all exposed to seeing violence as almost normal in relationships. LGBT people have few role models of what a healthy LGBT adult is. If you’re not exposed to that, especially if you’ve been dealing with violence your whole life, what you’re experiencing in your relationship may not be that big of a deal.”
Skolnik also explained that it takes an average of seven to nine incidents of intimate partner violence for anyone to leave a relationship, and for LGBT folks it can be even harder because of living in a small community or having the same network of friends. He said that LGBT youth (under 18 years old) in abusive relationships have an even harder time breaking the cycle of violence because they have no legal rights at all, and may be trying to keep the relationship secret for family and perhaps friends.
“LGBT young people are some of the most vulnerable,” said Skolnik. “They have fewer options, and because there’s so much homophobia that they can’t always distance themselves from, their intimate relationships are more precious. They don’t want to break up. Some may even think that ‘the violence I experience out there is worse than in here.’ ”
Despite some of our common assumptions, the frequency of intimate partner abuse is pretty much the same for gay male couples and lesbian couples, and there is absolutely no correlation to butch-femme/top-bottom roles and who the abuser is within relationships.
When an LGBT person does decide to leave an abusive relationship, the next question is, where does he or she go? By and large, according to Skolnik, domestic violence shelters are not going to turn away lesbians or bisexual women - something they did with regularity a decade or so ago. But there are only a handful of shelters across the country that will admit transwomen and treat them with respect. There are even fewer shelters that will take transmen, and hardly any will take gay men.
With very few places for LGBT people to turn, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (www.ncavp.org), which is housed out of Skolnik’s shop in New York City, is working with domestic and anti-violence programs throughout the country to get them to deal more positively with this issue. Right now, NCAVP’s 37 members throughout the country and in Canada will work with victims to find them shelter through the safe home network, or provide hotel vouchers and advocacy with law enforcement and health-care providers, and accompany the victims to their court appointments.
The myth versus reality here is very clear. Intimate partner violence and abuse are dirty secrets we can no longer afford to sweep under the rug. We’re not doing ourselves any favors by ignoring the violent reality in which many of our community members live. I’m not talking about the asshole down the street who shouts “faggot!” at a gay man - I’m talking about the partner who abuses him because the bed wasn’t made just right.
Libby Post is the founding chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and a political commentator on public radio, on the Web, and in print media. She can be reached at LesbianNotions@qsyndicate.com.
Victims of Violence Can Turn to KCAVP
We at the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP) applaud this issue’s Lesbian Notions column and its author, Libby Post. This nationally syndicated column will provide thousands of LGBT people vital information about domestic violence in our community — a topic that some consider taboo. The type of violence that Post refers to does happen in Kansas City.
KCAVP is the only LGBT anti-violence program in Kansas City, and in fact, there are no other similar programs in western Missouri, Kansas, Iowa or Nebraska. KCAVP is an active member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which Post referred to in her column, and collaborates with anti-violence groups locally and nationally.
Since our inception five years ago, we have helped more than 300 LGBT victims of domestic violence. Our staff provides free and confidential assistance, including:
• Providing emergency assistance to LGBT domestic violence victims, such as short-term housing, transportation, food and other necessities, so victims can stay in a safe place. There are no domestic violence shelters in the area that house gay, bisexual, or transgender men, so KCAVP is their only resource.
• Working with victims to assess their situation, identify resources and, if necessary, provide referrals to meet their needs.
• Helping victims obtain orders of protection and provide personal support and assistance during court proceedings, as well as advocating for victims in hospitals and through law enforcement.
• Providing 10 free counseling sessions to LGBT victims of violence.
Please note that KCAVP serves LGBT victims of sexual assault and hate crimes as well as victims of domestic violence. We also facilitate training sessions about LGBT violence for groups and participate in events to get the word out about KCAVP and the services we provide. If you are interested in a training session for a group or employer, contact Beth Savitzky at 816-561-0550.
Visit our Web site at www.kcavp.org for more information about KCAVP or domestic violence, or to sign up for our eNewsletter and Action Alerts. Remember, nobody deserves to be a victim of violence, including LGBT people. If you think you may be in an abusive relationship, reach out to KCAVP at 816-561-0550.
– KCAVP staff
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.