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A hookup isn’t worth your life in COVID era

Find other ways to pass the time in quarantine

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Holding my infant son to soothe him at 3 a.m. today, I thought about how important the touch of another human is. It helps us feel safe and loved and cared about and connected. And not just when we’re teeny. The feel of my son’s chest rising and falling with his breath soothed me as well, in this grim time.

No wonder this social isolation feels so terrible. Without touch, we really feel alone.

Of course, once we’re past a certain age, sex enters the picture as a form of touch that has the power to make us feel amazing in all sorts of ways. Having sex gives many of us the feeling that we’re attractive, desired, even valuable. And those feelings are pretty awesome.

While this is true for people of all genders and sexual orientations, I often hear from my gay male therapy clients in particular how important sex is to their identity. This makes sense. We’re a group that is defined by and organized largely around our erotic and affectional preference. Much of gay culture encourages the message that to be a successful gay man, we should be sexually desirable, open to sex, and have frequent conquests. I’d also posit that many gay men have grown up feeling defective because of their sexual attractions. Sex and its companion feeling of being desired can soothe this wound.

So my heart has been going out to some of my gay male therapy clients this week as I listen to their descriptions of how they’re struggling not to have sex in the current coronavirus situation. “I have to keep hooking up or I won’t feel good about myself,” one man told me. “I’ve had sex a few times this past week, but only with guys I know and they didn’t have any symptoms,” said another. “Hooking up is what I do for fun,” said a third. “I don’t know what else to do in my free time.”

Well, now is the time to learn. It is not worth impairing our health or losing our lives for sex.

Taking a risk with your health is not actually a route to feeling good about yourself or improving self-esteem. Sadly, it is likely to reinforce the belief that you aren’t worth much.

What to do instead? It is for each of us to discover what else we care about, to look for what intrinsic value we have other than our attractiveness as sexual partners, to find additional ways to connect with others and to respect ourselves.

And just as we have had to struggle against the larger society telling us who we should be and how we should act, some of us may want to challenge ourselves to transcend the expectation that as gay men we “should” always be interested in and ready for a hookup.

Expectations and shoulds can be restrictive. When we decide for ourselves how we want to behave, we have a lot more power over our own lives.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m certainly not “sex-negative.” I’m just concerned that many of us are now putting our lives at risk to keep hooking up.

My bottom line: This awful crisis is giving us an opportunity to keep our pants zipped and discover some other ways of taking care of ourselves that don’t endanger our health and our lives. And when we behave in ways that are respectful of ourselves, our self-respect increases.

Hoping all of us get through this!

 

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay individuals and couples. Reach him via michaelradkowsky.com.

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Advice

Tips for strengthening your relationship

On Valentine’s Day, recommit to tackling challenges together

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This Valentine’s Day, take these steps to strengthen your relationship.

Working as a couples therapist, I’ve had many people tell me over the years how difficult they think it is to have a happy relationship. “The divorce rate is over 50%.” “It’s so much work.” “If it’s this hard, something must be wrong.”

Here’s some very good news: The high divorce rate and the number of failed relationships you see around you need have no impact on the success of your own relationship. 

While building and maintaining a healthy relationship takes effort, doing so is possible, and the ongoing challenge of finding creative and loving ways to handle tough challenges can actually be fun. 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are my top suggestions for steps you can take to have a great relationship. 

Please keep in mind that while these steps are simple in concept, they are not always easy to practice. So don’t get discouraged. And remember that if you consistently work at doing your best in your relationship, doing so will likely get easier over time.

  • Strive to always have a sense of humor about how difficult relationships can be.  We’re all different in big ways, so of course it’s hard to share your life with someone at times. If you can keep this in mind instead of thinking “this should be easy,” you will actually have a much easier time navigating the challenges of being coupled. 
  • Avoid wanting to be “right.” By this, I mean both trying to prove to your partner that you are right, and simply maintaining the belief in your mind that you are right.  Wallowing in this belief gives you a sense of superiority, competition, and grievance, all of which are corrosive to your relationship. In addition, if there is a winner in the relationship, there is a loser, and that’s a terrible dynamic for a couple to have.
  • Aim to be generous: Be open to saying “yes” to your partner’s requests whenever possible; endeavor not to keep score on who has been more generous; and make it a priority to support your partner’s happiness. And at the same time:
  • Have a boundary when necessary. When you say “no,” do so from your integrity, not from scorekeeping or spite. This means understanding why something is important to your partner, while at the same time being clear that something different is even more important to you that requires saying “no” to your partner’s request.
  • Accept that disappointment is inevitable in every relationship. Because we are all different, we will at times see, understand, think, prioritize, and behave in ways that are very different from our partners, including on important matters.  Therefore, it’s inevitable that we will occasionally be gravely disappointed in our partners, just as they will be gravely disappointed in us. That’s life.  Accepting this truth can make it easier to bear. 
  • Advocate for what is important to you. Two caveats, though. First, you don’t want to weigh down the relationship with too many requests. Second, be prepared to not always get what you ask for. It is not your partner’s job to meet your every want.
  • Don’t wait for your partner to make the first move when you want something to happen. If both of you are waiting for the other person to go first, nothing will happen.  This includes (but is absolutely not limited to) apologies, initiating sex, planning vacations, and starting hard conversations.

On a related note:

  • Focus on what you can do to improve a situation, rather than on what your partner is doing, is not doing, or should be doing. We don’t have much power over the other person, but we have a lot of power over ourselves.

A special note for gay men: Open relationships appear to be practically the norm these days, but they are tricky to conduct well. (Yes, monogamy has its own challenges.) Jealousy, messy boundaries, dishonesty, and trust issues get easily activated. If you want to build a strong open relationship, be aware that doing so takes a lot of skill, a lot of honesty, a lot of acceptance, and some ways of keeping your primary relationship special. 

Also keep in mind that being a gay man doesn’t automatically provide skills such as:

  • The solidity of self to be trusting and generous.
  • The ability to sense how far boundaries can be pushed without doing too much damage. 
  • The capacity to transcend feelings of jealousy and pain. 
  • The strength of character not to idealize outside sex partners.

Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day!

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].

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When one half of a couple wants kids and the other doesn’t

How to navigate the biggest decision spouses will make

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Dear Michael,

I’m wrestling with my fiancé about becoming parents and it’s delaying our getting married.

We’ve been dating for three years and would like to spend our lives together. But the issue of becoming parents has always been a source of disagreement for us.

Will says he has never been that interested, while I’ve always wanted to be a dad.

Will says he is willing to do it if it’s important to me but he’s really concerned he will be resentful. He doesn’t want to give up having an active social life that includes going out a fair amount, drinks, dinners, and vacations with our friends, lots of time at the gym, etc. 

I like doing those things too but I’m feeling that I’m at a stage of my life (I’m 31) where I can put a fair amount of that behind me in order to focus on creating and raising a family. I wish he would also be willing to do so, but I know I can’t change his priorities.

I am hopeful we can work this out. For starters, I think that since he wants to go out more than I do, I could stay home a fair amount of the time and take care of the kids when he’s doing what he wants to do.  

Also, we are both pretty successful and could afford a fair amount of child care (especially as we advance in our careers—and we’re not going to be having children right away) so I’m thinking we could have a nanny who could take care of the kids when we want to stay out late or go away for a weekend, or even come with us sometimes when we travel so that we’re able to also do what’s important to Will and not just be with the kids at every moment. 

I’m thinking we can have the best of both worlds.

Will’s not as optimistic as I am and this worries me. I think I’ve come up with some good solutions and would like him to be supportive and on board. He says he doesn’t think it’s that simple but when I press him for what that means, he won’t say.

I don’t feel like we can get married until we’ve figured this out. What are your thoughts for how we can get to a place of agreement on this?

Michael replies:

If you and Will are going to build a successful long-term marriage, you both will need to develop your ability to discuss hard topics, including your differences of opinion on important matters.  Otherwise, you will have a lot of resentment, anger, and misunderstandings over the years.

Your current gridlock is an opportunity for both of you to work on tolerating hard conversations and the possibility of tremendous letdowns. This isn’t fun, but it’s an essential part of being in an intimate relationship.

My hunch is that Will won’t give you a straight answer because he doesn’t want to let you down. You can’t force him to tell you what he’s thinking, but perhaps you can get his answer by letting him know that you want to know what he’s thinking, even if what he’s thinking may gravely disappoint you.  

For you to have this conversation with Will, you will have to mean what you say: You must be prepared for him to tell you that he doesn’t want to be a father.

Unless Will is willing to parent with an open heart and without resentment, going forward with parenthood would be a mistake. The resentment would be corrosive to your relationship and would damage any children you might have. Children should never be made to feel that they are a burden or annoyance to a parent.  

Let’s look at your thoughts on making parenting more palatable for Will. 

With regard to your idea that the two of you could frequently go out and travel, while leaving the kids with a nanny: Good parenting is time-intensive. Especially in the early years, it’s vital that you consistently convey to children through your presence and actions that you are there for them, that you love them, and that they are your top priority.  This is how children develop a “secure attachment” — the bedrock of strong self-esteem, a sense of security that comes from inside, and the ability to form healthy relationships.  

I certainly don’t mean being present every minute — obviously, most parents have jobs, rely to some degree on childcare and babysitters, and need some time to occasionally have at least a bit of a life apart from being a parent. And I can’t tell you exactly what “enough” is, other than to say that parents should generally be the ones to wake their children up, feed them at least some of their meals, take them on adventures, bake cookies together, just hang out, read books to them, do the bedtime routine, and be there in those middle-of-the-nights when a child needs comforting.  

Your idea of staying home while Will does his thing seems like a quick road to resentment. Do you think you’d be happy wishing him a fun night on the town while you’re staying home for the umpteenth time with a sick or wound-up toddler who refuses to go to sleep, or simply stuck doing the bedtime routine solo, yet again? Moreover, it would be awful for your child to have a sense that one of his or her parents is somehow distant or unreliable. You want to aim for your kids to feel like they are the apple of your eye.

Here’s an idea: You are apparently doing all the work to figure out how to make parenting easy on Will. How about asking Will for his ideas on what it would take to make parenting something he’d be willing to do? Perhaps if the two of you collaborate, you could find a way forward that works for you both. 

On a related note, talking with parents (gay and straight) of young children about their experiences would be helpful and eye-opening to you both in all sorts of ways. 

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].

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Erin’s guide to the holidays for Transgender people & family

Holidays can be very hard- They don’t have to be. Family members who strive to support their trans relatives or friends play a crucial role

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Trans snowflake graphic courtesy of Erin Reed

By Erin Reed | MISSOULA, MT. – The holidays can be particularly challenging for transgender individuals. Families often take time to “get it,” and during this period, most transgender people simply want to be treated like any other family member, with their names and pronouns respected, and their identities not becoming the “controversial dinner table topic” during what should be a joyous time.

For those without accepting families, the situation can be even more daunting. Many transgender individuals face difficult decisions, such as dressing in a gender that does not align with their identity or using the wrong name, just to be allowed at the dinner table. Bearing this in mind, I wish to share insights and tips aimed at both transgender and cisgender individuals who want to ensure the holidays are memorable for the right reasons.

For Trans People

I understand more than most the difficulty of dealing with family during the holiday season. My own family has never been very accepting. This year, the holidays are even more challenging, as we are in the midst of one of the most significant assaults on our ability to live and exist publicly and safely in recent history. While each transgender person’s experience is unique, I want to address a few common concerns that have been brought to me for advice, and share what I believe are the best ways to handle these issues.

Family has a broad meaning. Before delving into the practicalities of holiday gatherings, it’s crucial to define what “family” truly means. For numerous queer and trans individuals, family extends beyond biological ties to include those we find in our community. This family consists of people who support us in tough times and those we care for when no one else does. As you decide how and where to spend the holidays, remember that you have agency in this choice. Often, the most significant family members are not those related by blood who may reject us, but rather those we’ve found in the margins and embraced as our own. Celebrating the holidays with your chosen family can transform the occasion into one of the most magical and joyous experiences.

Find the supportive family members when traveling. If you’re fortunate enough to have an entirely supportive family, that’s fantastic! Enjoy the festivities, even if the “overly supportive family member” can sometimes be a bit much (I’ll offer some tips to those folks later in the guide). However, for many in our community who face a lack of support from family, finding a safe, friendly, and accepting relative can be invaluable. Often, family attitudes towards gender identity are not uniform. This is something I’ve experienced personally. If you can identify such a family member, try to spend time with them. During challenging moments, suggest they join you for various activities – a walk, playing a video game, or even a quick trip to the store. These family members can be true lifesavers.

Show grace, but advocate for yourself. In today’s time, cisgender people and especially cisgender family often struggle with things that come very simply to trans people. Names, pronouns, probing questions, and struggling with boundaries is already common enough in many trans people’s day-to-day lives. This all magnifies around family. Keeping this in mind, practice discernment when it comes to navigating the questions and missteps. We truly can move the needle on trans acceptance for so many people if we can help them understand. I remember one family member, when I came out, said “it’s just really hard” every time they used a different name or pronoun. I responded to them, “It’s good that it’s hard. That means you’re trying. Thank you for trying.” This family member has since used my name and pronouns in many situations.

That said, there is a difference between helping someone who wants to understand and someone who refuses to. If a family member consistently uses your old name and shows no intention of learning or respecting a fundamental aspect of who you are, you shouldn’t subject yourself to an abusive environment in pursuit of an idealized family holiday. Assert your identity confidently and don’t hesitate to correct family members who use the wrong name or pronouns for you.

Be safe and communicate your safety concerns. One of the most common questions I get from trans people is how to tell their family of their inability to visit due to restrictive laws in certain states. For cisgender people, this concern might seem distant, but for transgender individuals, the impact of these legal challenges is a constant reality. States like Florida, Texas, Kansas, and Tennessee have enacted numerous laws that can significantly affect transgender individuals participating in everyday activities. For instance, Florida’s criminal bathroom ban can make the idea of visiting even supportive family members in such states a daunting prospect. It’s essential to prioritize your safety and clearly communicate the precautions you need to take when visiting a state with laws that could potentially target you for activities as basic as using a bathroom.

If you are not out… It’s important to find a private space where you can express your true self. Join your favorite affirming Discord server or keep phone numbers of trusted individuals who know and understand your real identity. Consider wearing an item of clothing feels affirming, like a necklace, a bracelet hidden under a long-sleeved shirt, or even a special pair of socks. Remember, it’s entirely normal for dysphoria to intensify during family gatherings. Plan for recovery time afterward, where you can spend time with people you’re out to and focus on your wellbeing.

For Family

Family members who strive to support their transgender relatives or friends play a crucial role. If you’re committed to being that supportive figure, know that your efforts are deeply appreciated by many trans individuals who lack such support. Importantly, your active acceptance can be life-saving. Studies show that family acceptance is linked to a significant reduction in suicidality risks, halving them for those with accepting family members. Bearing this in mind, let’s explore how you can help make the holidays more comfortable and enjoyable for your transgender family members.

Be the person they can turn to. Even with your support, transgender individuals may encounter a range of reactions from other family members regarding their transition during the holidays. This can create significant stress. Be accessible to them and communicate that they can always turn to you if they need someone to talk to. Offer them an “out,” a way to spend private time with you if they ever feel the need. Reassure them that they can always rely on your support.

Invite their queer and trans friends. This is important for so many reasons. Nearly every transgender person knows friends who won’t be welcomed by their families this holiday season. Your transgender family members might hesitate to invite their queer and trans friends, uncertain about the family’s readiness to provide both physical space and an accepting environment. Make it clear to them that your family is open to supporting not just them, but also their friends. This gesture also offers the added benefit of allowing transgender or queer individuals to feel that there are others present who genuinely understand their experiences.

Help alleviate their safety concerns in public spaces. Often over the holidays, families will go out to local events, restaurants, movie theaters, and more. Practically, transgender people often have to plan out public outings, especially in places where acceptance may be lacking or where people might even be openly hostile. If your trans family members express discomfort about bathrooms or other public spaces, let them know you’ll accompany them if they need it.

Just love and treat them like any other family member. While their transition may be the biggest change you’ve seen in their life recently, know that often, trans people feel much more free to explore so many other things they love after transition. You’ll hear most say that “transition is the least interesting thing about me.” While it is important to do the basic things like getting their name and pronouns right, don’t make their holiday experience mostly about their transition. Instead, allow them to thrive and share all of the things they love with you.

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I hope that these tips will be helpful over the holidays. These times can be very hard, but for many, a good experience can be healing. 

And for all of my readers and all of the people who are seeking to make the world a little bit better out there, Zooey and I wish all of you the happiest of holidays.

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Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

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The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Gay clone wonders if he’s part of an ant colony

Why do we cede control of our social lives to others?

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(Image by Tamara Luiza/Bigstock)

Michael,

Looking at some photos from my weekends at the beach this summer, it struck me that me and my friends (gay men in our 30s-40s) all pretty much look alike. Practically the same haircut, gym body, swimwear, smile. I almost couldn’t tell who was who.

This got me thinking. I live in the same apartment building as a lot of my friends. We all have similar furniture and watch the same shows and eat at the same restaurants and go to the same clubs and dance to the same music and drink the same drinks and vacation in the same places and work out at the same gym and belong to the same sports leagues and go to the same concerts and have the same routines.

I’m not even sure who makes the decisions about what to do. Something is popular, or becomes popular, and it seems like fun and we’re all doing it. Then it’s on to the next thing. But who is deciding what all of us are doing, not doing, or no longer doing?

I think I’m happy, generally, having fun, but I have this strange feeling like I’m part of an ant colony instead of being an individual.

Is this just the way it is? We find our tribe and then we’re all going through life together like this?

Michael replies:

I think you are facing an unavoidable dilemma that comes with being human. How much do you give up your own individuality to fit in? Put differently, what price are you willing to pay, to live an honest life and be known as the person you really are?

Did you come out—which takes great effort and brings some risks—to live a life that is right for you? Or to live pretty much the same life that your friends are living?

If you are happy doing all the same things as your friends, without even knowing for sure why you’re spending your time (that is, your life) doing these things, no problem.

But you feel like you’re part of an ant colony. So clearly, this way of living doesn’t sit all that well with you.

What would you be doing if you weren’t following the group agenda? How would you cut your hair? Would you go to the gym as much? What shows would you like (or not like) to watch? Where would you vacation? Do you like the drinks you’re ordering?

And some more important questions: What do you deeply care about? What are your values? What are the sorts of things you want to dedicate your life to? Are you living in a way that reflects any of this?

This may be the only life you get. Using it well (in my view, at least) means deciding for yourself who you want to be and how you want to live.

Sometimes people are afraid to be different out of fear that they won’t fit in with their friend group. People often tell me they’re worried they will be criticized or viewed negatively for wanting to do things that are different from what “everyone” likes to do. No one wants to be left out of parties or dinners or vacation plans.

Do you think your friends would still want to spend time with you if you weren’t always on board with “the plan,” or suggested some new ideas for activities that you were genuinely interested in?

It’s possible that if you start developing more of an individual identity, you might fit in less with some (or even all) of your friends. Feeling lonely or unpopular is not fun. You may have to decide if that’s better or worse than putting on a persona to fit in and be accepted.

It’s also possible that you can be more thoughtful about what you do, sometimes say “no” and still be part of your friend group.

Even if your friends aren’t always on the same page, I’m hopeful you can continue to have close relationships with at least some of them. A real friendship should be able to tolerate different views and different interests. How could it be otherwise, when all of us are different in some big ways, even from our closest friends?

Thinking about your dilemma through this lens, you could view sharing more of yourself with your friends and letting them know you better as an invitation for greater closeness.

If you make any moves along these lines, perhaps you will find that some of your friends have similar feelings. You might be less alone than you think.

In any case, you will be choosing a more honest life and the opportunity to be known for whom you really are.

(Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].)

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Trans 101 by Rose Montoya: Sexual assault awareness month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, LA Blade columnist Rose Montoya chats about two deeply related personal issues

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Graphic courtesy of the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, NC State University

Los Angeles Blade featured columnist, Rose Montoya, is a hugely popular YouTube, Instagram & Tiktok creator with her‘Trans 101′ 1 minute video shorts which offer tips, advice, and support for Trans people and solid information for Trans allies and others seeking answers.

LOS ANGELES – April has been Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I’m a survivor of multiple sexual assaults before I transitioned and since. I want to say if it’s happened to you, remember that it’s not your fault no matter what. Make sure you’re safe. It’s okay to tell someone you trust what happened. You shouldn’t have to carry this alone. If you choose to report, try not to change anything about your physical appearance, so they can collect any evidence that may be on your body.

Dealing with the aftermath can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. Consider seeking medical care at places like Planned Parenthood or reach out to a hotline such as RAINN 800.656.HOPE (4673) or Trans Lifeline 877.565.8860. I never reported mine, because I didn’t feel safe to do so. The decision should be yours and yours alone. If you’re minor, however, and tell an adult, they may legally be required by their job to report it.

I Have Herpes

This is really hard for me to talk about. But because it’s important to destigmatize and April is STI Awareness Month, I want to let y’all know that I am living with herpes. I continue to have healthy relationships, intimacy, and am healthy and happy.

Herpes is a super-common virus that will always stay in my body. It can cause blisters or sores on my genitals and/or mouth. They can be painful and embarrassing, but usually don’t lead to serious health problems for people. More than half of Americans have oral herpes also known as cold sores or fever blisters and 1 in 6 people ages 15-49 have genital herpes. It is spread from skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during sex and kissing.

Many people don’t notice the sores or mistake them for something else, and may not know they’re infected. It is most contagious when sores are open, but it can even be spread when someone is asymptomatic. Herpes can live in the body for years without causing symptoms, so it’s hard to know for sure when and how it is contracted. There is no cure, but medication can ease the symptoms and lower chances of giving the virus to a partner. And luckily, outbreaks usually become less frequent over time.

There’s no shame in having an STI. The best thing is to be educated, communicate honestly, and play safe.

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Rose, is a Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary transgender woman. Rose’s pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/their/theirs. She works as a model, actor, public speaker, makeup artist, advocate, and content creator.

Rose is also a board member of Aadya Rising, a nonprofit working to fill in the gaps to help the transgender community. She has been in campaigns and featured by TomboyXSavage X FentyYandyFX NetworksNew York City PridePlanned Parenthood, and more. Their goal is to spread love and education about their community as they share their story.

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To follow Rose:

rosemontoya.com 

TheTrans101.com

Instagram.com/TheRoseMontoya

TikTok.com/@rosemontoya

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Trans 101 by Rose Montoya: Trans Day of Visibility

“This Trans Day of Visibility I urge you to educate yourself, uplift Trans voices, and fight for our rights”

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

Los Angeles Blade featured columnist, Rose Montoya, is back with her hugely popular ‘Trans 101′ 1 minute video shorts from Insta which offer tips, advice, and support for Trans people and solid information for Trans allies and others seeking answers.

LOS ANGELES – Visibility is a double-edged sword. Trans people are more visible than ever, and with all the applause also comes attacks against our community. This year a record breaking 400+ anti-trans bills have been introduced.

At the time of filming this video, 6 states have banned gender affirming care for youth. Tennessee banned public drag which can be interpreted to banning trans people from appearing to be trans in public.

Trans people deserve to exist without fear. People of all gender identities deserve civil and human rights, including the right to bodily autonomy, to use the restroom, to access high-quality, affordable health care and accurate, relevant education and information so we can live full, healthy lives.

This Trans Day of Visibility I urge you to educate yourself, uplift Trans voices, and fight for our rights. Learn more at thetrans101.com

WATCH:

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Rose, is a Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary transgender woman. Rose’s pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/their/theirs. She works as a model, actor, public speaker, makeup artist, advocate, and content creator.

Rose is also a board member of Aadya Rising, a nonprofit working to fill in the gaps to help the transgender community. She has been in campaigns and featured by TomboyXSavage X FentyYandyFX NetworksNew York City PridePlanned Parenthood, and more. Their goal is to spread love and education about their community as they share their story.

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To follow Rose:

rosemontoya.com 

TheTrans101.com

Instagram.com/TheRoseMontoya

TikTok.com/@rosemontoya

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Trans 101 by Rose Montoya: Gender Affirming Care

Gender affirming care is a human right that shouldn’t be outlawed by individual states. Trans rights are human rights 

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Photo Credit: Emily Wray via Equality Florida

Los Angeles Blade featured columnist, Rose Montoya, is back with her hugely popular ‘Trans 101′ 1 minute video shorts from Insta which offer tips, advice, and support for Trans people and solid information for Trans allies and others seeking answers.

By Rose Montoya | LOS ANGELES – Gender affirming care looks different for each trans person, as it depends on what feels right for each individual, it’s not one size fits all. This may or may not include changing pronouns or one’s name or wardrobe, it may include hormones or surgery. Everyone, including trans kids, trans adolescents, and trans adults deserve access to high-quality, affirming, and affordable health care. Gender affirming care is a human right that shouldn’t be outlawed by individual states. Trans rights are human rights 

🏳️‍⚧️

 To learn more follow me and visit https://thetrans101.com

WATCH:

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Rose, is a Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary transgender woman. Rose’s pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/their/theirs. She works as a model, actor, public speaker, makeup artist, advocate, and content creator.

Rose is also a board member of Aadya Rising, a nonprofit working to fill in the gaps to help the transgender community. She has been in campaigns and featured by TomboyXSavage X FentyYandyFX NetworksNew York City PridePlanned Parenthood, and more. Their goal is to spread love and education about their community as they share their story.

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To follow Rose:

rosemontoya.com 

TheTrans101.com

Instagram.com/TheRoseMontoya

TikTok.com/@rosemontoya

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Advice

Trans 101 by Rose Montoya: International Women’s Day 2023

We must work in solidarity together in the fight for our rights. Trans women are women and Trans rights are human rights

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Photo by Rose Montoya

Los Angeles Blade featured columnist, Rose Montoya, is back with her hugely popular ‘Trans 101′ 1 minute video shorts from Insta which offer tips, advice, and support for Trans people and solid information for Trans allies and others seeking answers.

By Rose Montoya | LOS ANGELES – On International Women’s Day, remember to celebrate all women — cisgender women, Transgender women, femmes — and our incredible achievements. This includes the BIPOC Trans women who paved the way for the acceptance and the rights the Queer Community has today.

Sadly, though, we still have a long way to go on this journey. According to the World Economic Forum, none of us will likely see gender parity in our lifetimes, and most likely, neither will many of our children. We need to close gaps across health, education, pay, political representation, and more.

Many lawmakers  in the US are currently stripping women and trans people from bodily autonomy, reproductive access, and gender affirming care. We know we cannot achieve gender equity until ALL people are empowered to control their bodies, lives, and futures and have full access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

To truly honor women around the world, we cannot just thank them — we must work in solidarity together in the fight for our rights. Trans women are women and Trans rights are human rights.

 WATCH:

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Rose, is a Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary transgender woman. Rose’s pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/their/theirs. She works as a model, actor, public speaker, makeup artist, advocate, and content creator.

Rose is also a board member of Aadya Rising, a nonprofit working to fill in the gaps to help the transgender community. She has been in campaigns and featured by TomboyXSavage X FentyYandyFX NetworksNew York City PridePlanned Parenthood, and more. Their goal is to spread love and education about their community as they share their story.

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To follow Rose:

rosemontoya.com 

TheTrans101.com

Instagram.com/TheRoseMontoya

TikTok.com/@rosemontoya

Continue Reading

Advice

Trans 101 by Rose Montoya: The Importance of Condoms

Visit your local @PlannedParenthood Health Center for free condoms, lube, free or affordable screenings, and so much more!

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on

Courtesy of Global Protection Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts

Los Angeles Blade featured columnist, Rose Montoya, is back with her hugely popular ‘Trans 101′ 1 minute video shorts from Insta which offer tips, advice, and support for Trans people and solid information for Trans allies and others seeking answers.

By Rose Montoya | LOS ANGELES – Because of discrimination and transphobia in our society, trans people are at higher risk for STIs. Condoms and dental dams are the best way to protect against STIs. Visit your local @PlannedParenthood Health Center for free condoms, lube, free or affordable screenings, and so much more!

In this lesson I also debunk a common misconception about trans people. Because there is a lack of studies and information, gender-affirming hormone therapy cannot be relied upon as a form of contraception even though it does generally decrease fertility. A fertility test can confirm whether or not hormones are a reliable contraceptive for each individual.

WATCH:

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Rose, is a Hispanic, bisexual, nonbinary transgender woman. Rose’s pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/their/theirs. She works as a model, actor, public speaker, makeup artist, advocate, and content creator.

Rose is also a board member of Aadya Rising, a nonprofit working to fill in the gaps to help the transgender community. She has been in campaigns and featured by TomboyXSavage X FentyYandyFX NetworksNew York City PridePlanned Parenthood, and more. Their goal is to spread love and education about their community as they share their story.

********************

To follow Rose:

rosemontoya.com 

TheTrans101.com

Instagram.com/TheRoseMontoya

TikTok.com/@rosemontoya

Continue Reading

Advice

Am I the only gay man who doesn’t sleep around?

Seeking friend group less interested in drugs, partying

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Feeling isolated because your friends don’t share your values? Time for new friends.

Dear Michael,

I am a 22-year-old man and I am starting to hate being gay.

It’s not that I feel bad about being attracted to men. I would love to date a guy, get married, and spend my life with him. My problem is that the values of the gay men I am meeting have nothing to do with what I want in life.

Pretty much all I come across are guys who want to have sex with as many hot men as possible.  

Relationships, commitment, and honesty don’t seem to mean anything, as far as I can tell. I’ve had guys in long-term relationships hit on me or propose threesomes with their partners.  My ex-boyfriend was hooking up on Grindr multiple times per week after we had agreed to be exclusive. When I found out, he told me that it’s impossible for a gay guy not to sleep around.

What is it with gay men? Everyone seems to predominantly focus on sex. Whenever I go out to brunch with my gay friends, people are showing pictures and sometimes even X-rated videos of their latest hookups. Sex isn’t something special, just a recreational activity/competition.  
None of my straight friends act anything remotely like this.

Also, pretty much every gay man I spend time with seems to love getting trashed. I’m not anti-alcohol but I don’t see the fun in getting completely drunk regularly. I’m wary of recreational drugs but guys around me use them nonchalantly all the time. What kind of connection can you have with people around you when all of you are drunk or high on something?

I’ve tried to talk with my gay friends about how I feel but they respond like I’m from another planet, as if I’m questioning why they want to breathe oxygen.

I just think there’s a lot more to life than hooking up, that people should treat each other as more than just potential sex partners, and that sleeping around when I’m in a relationship doesn’t make for a great relationship. But I seem to be the only gay man I know who feels this way.

I don’t want to live the kind of life I see all around me. But I worry that unless I give up my values, I’m going to be lonely.  

Michael replies:

What kind of life will you have if you give up your values? Could you respect yourself or create a life that is meaningful and that you would enjoy?

We all face pressure to conform to those around us so that we will fit in. Doing so is understandable. As you describe, it can be lonely to be on the outside. But betraying who you actually are is a high price to pay for acceptance.  

This is why people come out. And this is why, despite the peer pressure, you are the only person who should decide the kind of life you want to lead as a gay man.

There is little point in discussing the many possible reasons why many gay men dedicate so much time and energy to sex. Everyone is free to choose how they want to live and what they want to focus on. And this includes you.

You can’t change other people or a community. But I’m hopeful you can find a community of friends with whom you are a better fit. I know you are far from alone in feeling as you do, because I regularly hear stories similar to yours in my practice. So rather than settling, keep looking, and look beyond the ways in which you’ve made your social life so far. The friend group you develop may not be as large as your current circle of acquaintances. (Or it may be larger!) In any case, you’d likely find it far more nurturing, and a lot more fun, to spend time with others who are more like-minded.  

It is not easy to feel like the odd man out. And when you want a different life from what most of your peers are seeking, it’s easy to doubt that you are OK. I’m sure you already know this from having grown up gay.  

When we come out, we have the hope that we will finally have a real peer group and won’t feel so different anymore. But that’s not always the case. Gay men are not one homogenous group and many of us have to do some searching to find some people with whom we really connect.  
You are doing important work in thinking about who you are and how you want to live. I hope you will make the choice to honor your time on earth by living it authentically.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality.

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