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How to Cope: LGBT and Loneliness

Being Gay and Lonely

by JD Greene ()

Loneliness

Loneliness (Photo credit: Alex Abian (Also on flickr.com/alexabian))

Loneliness is defined as the state of being that comes from feeling lonely, which Dictionary.com says is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone” and “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship.” Of these two definitions, the second one is much more to the point. True loneliness comes not necessarily when you’re alone, but when you feel as if you don’t have someone who really knows you, supports you and you can count on.

LGBT and Loss

If you’ve lost a partner or perhaps been through a divorce you’ve have probably felt loneliness. Some people deal with loneliness better than others. If you are having difficulty with feelings of loneliness this article may be just what you’re looking for. I’ve been in a relationship- and who hasn’t- you probably didn’t expect to be single again. However, things happen and here you are. It happens to the best of us and is a fact of life. It is rare to find one person who you spend the rest of your life with, and it is more likely to have to test the waters a few times before you find the right person. Normally, in a relationship, you will most likely be busy building a career, a family or raising children. If you are in a gay or lesbian relationship, you most likely are doing the same exact things as a traditional couple. All the things that kept you from feeling lonely.

LGBT Support Groups

Unfortunately, there is much less of a support system for gays and lesbians and all too often, things don’t exactly work out and you find yourself alone. It doesn’t matter whose choice it was to end the relationship, both sides equally sting. When you are focused on building a career and earning enough money to make ends meet you don’t have much time to think about how alone you are. Having children around helps cushion the depth of any loneliness, as do grand children or an extended family. Family can be great company! With work and family in your life, it should seem seemed complete. Lonely is not something you should often feel.

Things have changed for me recently though- after a relationship ended- and I’m more aware of the fact that I’m alone and those feelings of loneliness creep in at times. My career is not blooming, we can say, I have no children and my family lives over 5 hours away. I get to, for the first time in a long time, deal with me, myself and I. When you go through a break up or divorce and lose the company and support of a spouse or partner, and finally settle down alone after years of focusing on career or children or that special partner, you may feel the loss sharply.

Coping Strategies to Fight Loneliness

What can you do deal with the loss and loneliness you feel as a result? Below are a few tips that have helped me:

  • Distract yourself! Keeping your mind occupied and off the fact that you are now alone is good medicine. It may not be the most fun you’ve ever had but, tackling housework if at home is better than sitting around ruminating over how alone you are. Try it, the house will appreciate the cleaning and when you get your mind off your loneliness it frees your mind to open itself to other possibilities.
  • Take up a new hobby. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, join a watercolor or oil painting class and give it a go. If you want to stay fit and cure your loneliness think about getting a gym membership, taking frequent walks in your local park or perhaps even taking tennis lessons or joining a karate class.
  • Get a pet, a dog or cat, even a hamster. I have had many pets over the years and have found that the unconditional love they offer helps lessen the loneliness I’ve felt at times. I’m never alone if I have a furry friend around. If you love animals as much as I do, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. For 4 hours a week you are among other people, building new relationships, helping pets (who could really relate to being lonely) and doing something that gets you outside your current problems and yourself.
  • Check out MeetUp.com. This is a great online resource if you are looking for others in your area with similar interests. You can find a local social group, cooking group, spiritual group, scrap booking group, or maybe even a gay, lesbian, or divorce support group.
  • Take a look: you will be surprised how many people out there are looking for the company of others. Consider volunteering at a local community center.
  • If you aren’t an animal person think about volunteering at a local hospital, nursing home or homeless shelter. Doing so will not only help relieve your loneliness it will also help the community.
  • If you don’t feel able to cope with your feelings of loneliness, make an appointment with a mental health professional, there’s nothing wrong with talking things out with someone trained to help you.

The idea is to fill your day with activities that will keep your mind occupied and your life full. You will probably begin to feel better about yourself, meet new people and share new experiences and it is quite likely you will forget how lonely you once were. If you don’t feel less lonely or find that you aren’t able to cope with your feelings of lonliness, make an appointment with a mental health professional, there’s nothing wrong with talking things out with someone to support you, or at the very least someone trained to help you.

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THE HISTORY OF THE GAY PRIDE RAINBOW FLAG

The History of the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag

by JD Greene (Google+) Gay Pride Rainbow Flag

Have you ever wondered exactly where the multi-colored rainbow flag that we LGBT People wave during gay pride parades and proudly fly outside our homes through the year came from originally? Well, this article will explain the humble and defiant origin of the Gay Pride Rainbow flag and how it has been adapted and adopted through a half century of emerging gay pride and gay history.

Gay Pride

It all began with a single person, having a vision of a world where a man or woman could be accepted for who they are inside and for their differences to be celebrated and the hope that one day it would be possible to freely and without shame demonstrate their Gay Pride!

Gilbert Baker was born in Kansas in June 1951 and served in the U.S. Army from 1970 until 1972. After an honorable discharge he taught himself to sew. He began making banners and ultimately the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag for his friend Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office of San Francisco City Supervisor in 1978 and who was later assassinated on 27 November 1978.

The Rainbow Flag was designed in response to a local activist’s call for the need of a community symbol for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender – LGBT pride, liberation and diversity. A flag was needed that could be easily recognized and could be used year after year. It was about breaking free of an existence limited by fear and conformity, the right to express sexuality without shame or retaliation.

The Pride Flag Makes its First Appearance

The Rainbow Flag first appeared on 25 June 1978 at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Gilbert Baker and thirty volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed two huge prototype flags for the parade. In 1979, Gilbert Baker went to work at Paramount Flag Company in San Francisco (which closed in 1987).

Gilbert Baker has designed flags for many dignitaries and political figures, including then San Fransisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein. He also designed the flags for the 1984 Democratic National Convention. The Rainbow Flag theme has since been used around the world as a symbol of Gay Pride unity. The Rainbow Flag is also recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.

The Rainbow Flag resides in the public domain.
The Rainbow Pride Flag originally had eight stripes symbolizing the diversity of the gay community:

COLORS OF THE RAINBOW FLAG

  • Pink = Sex
  • Red = Life
  • Orange = Healing
  • Yellow = Sunlight
  • Green = Nature
  • Turquoise = Magic
  • Blue =Serenity
  • Purple Spirit

The Power of a Symbol

After the November 1978 assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk the Rainbow Flag began to be used in San Francisco as a general symbol of the gay community.

To meet demand, the Paramount Flag Company began selling a version of the pride flag using stock rainbow fabric consisting of seven stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, and purple. Gilbert Baker increased production of his version of the flag, and he also dropped the pink stripe due to the unavailability of the pink fabric.

Rainbow Pride Flag at Gay Pride | www.Pridemall.biz

Pride Flag: Castro District San Francisco, California

In 1979, the flag was modified again after it was hung vertically from a lamp post; the center stripe was obscured by the post itself. Changing the flag design to one with an even number of stripes was the easiest way to rectify this, so the turquoise stripe was dropped, which resulted in a six stripe version of the flag – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Pridemall.biz | Gay Freedom, Pride Symbol

“Gay Freedom Flag”

In 1989 the Rainbow Pride Flagcame to nationwide attention in the USA after John Stout sued his landlords and won when they attempted to stop him displaying the rainbow flag from his West Hollywood apartment. In 2003 a 2km (1 1/4 mile) long, 8 colour nylon Rainbow Flag was produced for the 25th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag. It was used in the Key West Parade and later Gilbert Baker had it cut up and distributed with a limited worldwide release of 1100.

Each smaller portion of the flag was personally signed by Gilbert Baker, numbered and each came with it’s own Certificate of Authenticity. However, the eight-striped version has seen little adoption by the wider gay community, which has mostly stuck with the better known six-striped version which now has international recognition.

PRIDE FACT: The Rainbow Pride Flag is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top or on the left side, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow.

The Modern Pride Flag

Many variations of the flag have been created. For instance, a black stripe is added to some symbolizing those lost to AIDS. There are also variations to represent bisexual, bears and many other segments of the LGBT community.

The Gay Pride Flag has become a beacon of hope and a symbol of modern LGBT liberation and is flown or waved across the world as a symbol of a very important universal truth that everyone, regardless of where you come from or who you love, is deserving of respect, tolerance and acceptance.

 

Additional Pride Resources