Gay and Lesbian Connection

Support and Acceptance for the Gay and Lesbian Community

This Month is Ally Week

October 2nd, 2012 by Admin

October 15-19, 2012 is Ally Week

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) and students across the country,  members of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar student clubs, will celebrate Ally Week on Oct 15-19 in schools and communities nationwide.  For more information and to take the pledge to be an Ally online go to:  www.glsen.org.

What is an Ally?

Allies are people who do not identify as LGBT, but who support this community by standing against the bullying and harassment LGBT youth face in school.

Become an Ally.

Change Attitudes.

Change Behaviors.

Change Directions.

Change Lives.

Change Policies.

Change Voices.

Be an Ally.

Be the Change.

Homophobia can be the cause of a great deal of pain for LGBT youth who just want to be themselves.   For more information about homophobia go to www.restoftheway.com and read the chapter, “Effects of Homophobia.”

Category: Gay-Lesbian | No Comments »

Does Reparative Therapy Work?

September 16th, 2010 by Admin

This was in response to an article that appeared in The Heritage in Orlando Florida.

I recently read Steve Lipman’s article in the Heritage; Controversy Stirs Over Therapy for ‘Curing’ Homosexuals, that tells of the goings on at the AOJS  (Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists) annual conference in Connecticut.  The AOJS gave Arthur Goldberg, director of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), a “reparative therapy” organization for gay Jews, permission to speak at their annual conference after a telephone conversation where Goldberg cited supportive biblical verses.      

I couldn’t help but wonder if there are any members of our community who are gay and considering “reparative therapy.” If you are, you should know that “reparative” or “conversion therapy” is soundly rejected by virtually every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America.  My advice:  Save your money. It doesn’t work. 

While it was encouraging to know that AOJS is showing an interest in the subject of homosexuality, from the article it is apparent that there was a lack of knowledge about JONAH, Arthur Abba Goldberg, and  “reparative therapy.”

Goldberg’s credentials are questionable.  According to the Lipman article, Goldberg was disbarred in New Jersey and spent 18 months in prison in 1987 for investor fraud. Truthwinsout.org described him as a mini-Madoff for defrauding people out of millions of dollars.  A simple search on Google would have revealed a wealth of information about Goldberg and JONAH that the AOJS should have known about before allowing him to speak, and, as the Lipman article suggests, give Goldberg and his organization a step toward respectability.  As far as the value of “reparative therapy”, suffice it to say that The American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, The National Association of Social Workers, and almost half a million mental health professionals have rejected and discredited “reparative therapy” programs.

“Reparative therapy” is not about teshuvah, as Goldberg would have people believe.  It is about trying to remake someone into something they are not, in order to “fix” them.   The trouble with that is I can’t help but wonder why anyone needs to repent or change his or her natural God-given sexual orientation in the first place. 

As a practicing psychotherapist for over 14 years specializing in gay and lesbian issues, one of the things I’ve learned is that we can change many things about ourselves—like the color of our hair, even the color of our eyes with contact lenses, and with plastic surgery we can change the shape of our nose.  But in my opinion, and in the opinion of the majority of psychotherapists what we cannot change is our sexual orientation.  That is part of our fundamental nature.  And that is what JONAH and other reparative therapy groups try to do. 

The reality is if someone is gay, he or she is gay. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change a bird into a fish because you don’t like the song it sings. You might teach a bird to swim, but eventually it will fly; that’s what birds do.

To purposely try to change someone who’s gay into someone who’s straight by attempting to change his or her natural sexual orientation is not only psychologically damaging, it’s downright Orwellian. 

Gay people do not need to be cured or changed. There is nothing wrong with being gay. Homosexuality is not the problem in our world today. 

Homophobia is—and it’s not a gay problem.  It’s society’s problem.

Enid Jackowitz is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice at the Center for Counseling & Consulting in Casselberry, Florida.  She is the author of, “The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children.”  www.restoftheway.com

 

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The Rest of the Way

May 10th, 2010 by Admin

The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children by Enid Jackowitz is now available at Malaprops Book Store and Cafe in Ashville, NC.  Hear Enid speak about her journey from rejection and homophobia to acceptance and advocacy at Malaprops on Monday, August 9, 2010 at 7 PM.

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Book Available at Borders in Orlando Area

January 24th, 2010 by Admin

The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children, by Enid Duchin Jackowitz is now available in the Orlando area at Borders at the Winter Park Village. In telling the story of how her son’s coming out effected her family, the author takes us on a journey from homophobia and rejection to a place of acceptance and advocacy.  People from over 30 Countries have visited the author’s website.  

 For more information and to read Testimonials check out www.restoftheway.com.  

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Press Release

December 20th, 2009 by Admin

REST OF THE WAY PUBLISHING                                                                

Press Release

 For Immediate Release

Announcing A New Book To Help Gay Children And Their Parents

Navigate Through The Coming Out Process

 

Orlando, Florida, December 20, 2009—Enid Jackowitz, a psychotherapist and mother of a gay son has written a new book, The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children. Enid sheds light on where the roots of homophobia, shame, and guilt  come from, allowing parents to see issues that may be keeping them stuck.  The book will not only help parents come to a place of greater understanding and acceptance of their gay child, but also gay people will gain a new awareness of the complexity of the coming out process from a parents’ point of view. 

The Rest of the Way tells the true story of Enid’s journey of personal growth and transformation after her son came out to their family over twenty years ago, and how ultimately she became a psychotherapist specializing in gay and lesbian issues.  A prominent theme of the book is that there is nothing wrong with being gay.  But there is something very wrong with our homophobic world.  It isn’t our children who need to change; it’s society that needs to change.  This quote from Lexi W., Melbourne, PFLAG:  I purchased Enid’s book for our PFLAG chapter in Melbourne, FL. I always read the books we place in our library first. This book proved to be just as helpful for me, a lesbian woman, in my opinion, as it will be for parents of gay children. Enid’s story covers not just her struggle with her son coming out but also other issues that anyone in any family can relate to-relationships and self-esteem.

Very often when children come out the closet parents go into the closet.  But there is a way out.  Enid’s story of personal growth offers hope and compassion to families struggling with the coming out process. Quote from Dawn L. LCSW, Orlando:  The Rest of the Way is a look at the process that many parents of a gay or lesbian child go through in coming to terms with the ‘coming out’ of their child.  …Give this book to any family who has a gay or lesbian member.  Use it as a way to begin deeper conversations and build bridges back to one another and to your own deepest self. This book can change your life and that of your family or friends. 

 The Rest of the Way is now available at Amazon.com or Enid’s website www.restoftheway.com.  Orders placed at Enid’s website from now until January 31, 2010 will include a free copy of 8 Things Parents Need To Know When Their Child Comes Out.

 Enid Jackowitz is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Casselberry, Florida.  Knowing personally as well as professionally how difficult the journey from homophobia to acceptance is for both parents and children, Enid felt compelled to tell her story, to help parents on this journey. 

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Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly

November 23rd, 2009 by Admin

Here is the speech given by Enid Jackowitz at the Stand Up Florida rally this weekend in West Palm Beach

I am honored to be here today as the proud mother of a gay son and a PFLAG mom. 

When my son came out over twenty years ago I had a very hard time accepting that he was gay.  Back then I thought being gay was a choice.  I didn’t know it then but I was filled with homophobia.  A word I didn’t know but one I would become very familiar with.  Thankfully I found a wonderful therapist and as I began educating myself, I learned that what I knew about homosexuality was tinged with half-truths and misconceptions.   Over the years I went back to school and became a psychotherapist.  Now I specialize in Gay & Lesbian issues.

One of the things I’ve learned is that we can change many things about ourselves—like the color of our hair, or with contact lenses even the color of our eyes, and with surgery we can change the shape of our nose.

But, what we can’t change is our sexual orientation. That is part of our fundamental nature. And that is what these reparative therapy groups try to do. The reality is if someone is gay, he or she is gay. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change a bird into fish because you don’t like the song it sings. You might teach a bird to swim,  But eventually it will fly; that’s what birds do.

To purposely try to change someone who’s gay into someone who‘s straight by attempting to change his or her natural sexual orientation is not only psychologically damaging, it’s downright Orwellian.  And why is this done?  For what purpose —To make gay people “straighter” and therefore more acceptable to mainstream society.

These “reparative therapy” programs persist, even though organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, The American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, almost ½ million mental health professionals have rejected and discredited their position.

There is nothing wrong with our children. They do not need to be cured or changed. Homosexuality is not the problem in our world today. Homophobia is—and it’s not a gay problem.  It’s society’s problem.

Knowing personally as well as professionally how difficult the coming out process can be for both parents and gay children I wrote a book to help parents through the coming out process.

The book is called, The Rest of the Way.

The title comes from an ancient story about a king and son who had a major disagreement. The son, feeling angry and misunderstood, gathered his belongings and departed his father’s kingdom and settled in a distant land.    After many years had passed, the king, missing his son greatly, sent word for his son to come home.  Although time had healed some of the pain, the son could not bring himself to return to his father’s kingdom. So he sent word that he would not come because it was too far to travel. The king then sent this reply to his son: “Then come as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way.”

 Isn’t it time for all of us to travel the rest of the way and end homophobia NOW.

www.restoftheway.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: ex-gay ministries, harassment, Gay-Lesbian | No Comments »

This From The UK

July 15th, 2008 by Admin

TUC (Trades Union Congress) General Secretary, Brendan Barber called on the Government to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) equality education in the school curriculum, as the only way to address homophobic bullying in schools.

Mr. Barber said that schools need to protect their pupils from homophobic bullying, and that promoting LGBT equality in the classroom is the best solution:

“While the UK’s education system ought to be in the vanguard of the fight against homophobic discrimination, all too often it is in fact part of the problem,” he says.

“Whereas our schools and colleges have done much to counter racism and sexism, the same cannot be said when it comes to tackling homophobia.

“Despite some notable exceptions, too many educational establishments are breeding grounds for the worst kind of casual prejudice.”

Referring to the Stonewall survey, The School Report, published last year, Mr. Barber continues: “A survey by Stonewall last year laid bare the huge scale of the problem.

“Indeed its shocking findings ought to act as a wake-up call to us all.  Almost all LGBT pupils reported hearing homophobic abuse.

“No less than two thirds reported being the victims of bullying.  And perhaps most alarming of all, one in six said they had been subjected to death threats.

“The consequences of all of this don’t just impact on academic attainment, which takes a pretty big hit. Don’t just impact on mental health, which is suffering as incidences of self-harm rise. But also on the self-esteem of young LGBT people, which is being shattered.

“And while 99 per cent of schools told the Stonewall survey they had general anti-bullying policies, just six per cent had anti-bullying policies that dealt with LGBT issues.

“That’s why the TUC has joined forces with the teaching unions, Stonewall and other LGBT groups to make LGBT equality education becomes a priority for Government.

“By working, campaigning and by lobbying, genuine progress can be made,” he concludes.

 

  

Category: Self-esteem, LGBT Community, Homophobia, Discrimination, Bullying | No Comments »

Obama’s Letter to the LGBT Community

June 8th, 2008 by Admin

           I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I cosponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have cosponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non- Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives.

We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma - too often tied to homophobia - that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president.

That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones - and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign - from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.

Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

 

Category: Don't Tell, Don't Ask, Homophobia, LGBT Community, Equal Rights, Civil Unions, Ending Hate Crimes, gender Identitiy, Support, Discrimination, Ending Discrimination, Same-Sex Couples, Gay and Lesbian | No Comments »

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