CNN’s Anderson Cooper is the proud father of a newborn baby boy. Wyatt Morgan Cooper was born on Monday weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces.
Cooper, 52, shared photos of Wyatt at the end of Thursday’s televised weekly global town hall on the coronavirus pandemic.
Cooper said in his on-air announcement that “I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I am so grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son’s birth.”
“Most of all,” he said, “I am eternally grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, watched over him lovingly, tenderly, and gave birth to him.”
The news came as a big surprise to CNN viewers, as Cooper had not spoken publicly about his plans to have a baby.
I live under the flight path of JFK Airport, and I am used to hearing the roaring noise of planes descending over Brooklyn as they are making their way to New York’s largest airport – usually every few minutes. Right now, however, I hear barely any planes, and what used to be a familiar sound now startles me every time it occurs. The sound of airplanes over New York City has become rare – which is something that I didn’t think was even possible.Empty street in Brooklyn
But that’s only one of the many changes that I’m experiencing in New York City right now, one of the many things I am getting used to as I am adjusting to what’s referred to as “the new normal” by the media. When I leave my apartment to go grocery shopping, I don’t double check anymore if I have my wallet and my lip balm – instead, I am checking if I have my face mask and my hand sanitizer. I didn’t even carry hand sanitizer on me on a daily basis until only a month ago. And the only reason I even own a small bottle of hand sanitizer is because a friend of mine happened to find a few bottles in her parents’ pantry (finally, their hoarding of pretty much everything for an “emergency” was paying off.). Because a month ago, it was absolutely impossible to find hand sanitizer anywhere in New York City.On 10 March, a friend of mine arrived in New York; she was visiting from Europe. When she boarded her flight in Spain, she didn’t expect to be scrambling to get on a flight back to Europe just ten days later – cutting her 3-week U.S. trip considerably short. But when she arrived, New York City was still “open”. We were able to do some sightseeing, we had dinner at TimeOut Market, we climbed the Vessel, we walked the High Line. On 12 March, I took the subway after work to meet my friend to see a Broadway show when I got a text message that all Broadway theaters were closing until further notice – effective immediately. I was in disbelief. All Broadway theaters closed.. had that ever happened before? I knew what this meant: the city would shut down completely, it wouldn’t stop at the theaters.And within days, everything in New York City changed. In less than a week, the entire city had transformed: TimeOut Market closed two days after we ate there, the High Line closed, all the museums closed. Schools and universities closed. On 15 March it was announced that all restaurants would be closing on 17 March (with the option to stay open for take-out and delivery).When I walked through my neighborhood the day after restaurants and bars closed, it already felt considerably emptier. New Yorkers were bracing themselves for a “shelter in place” order, which basically meant a lockdown of NYC. Most of the shops were already closed. Back then, New York City had “only” around 800 Coronavirus cases, and a handful deaths. A week later, New York City had 15,000 Coronavirus cases.
Now, four weeks later, walking through my neighborhood feels strange. New York has been on lockdown since 20 March. All the shops have their roll-down gates down, barely any people are outside. It is eerily quiet. I take a stroll around the neighborhood and see some people outside the few shops that are still open. They all have hand-drawn signs on their doors, stating how many people are allowed inside at a time. Some stores allow four people, others only two. Most people cover their mouths with face masks, while others use bandanas or scarves to cover their mouths and noses. Every once in a while, I see someone without a face mask.While walking through this strange new world, I keep hearing sirens. They come and go, but they are recurring. A constant reminder of the fact that I am not walking through the movie set of a post-apocalyptic thriller, but that this is still very much New York City. A city that, sadly, has been hit harder than any other city in the world by COVID-19. Every time an ambulance passes me, I can’t help but think of the person inside the ambulance. A month after the “Shelter in place” order went into effect, New York City has just under 139,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases, and over 10,000 people have died. Over 10,000 people in my city have died from COVID-19 in less than a month – let that sink in for a moment.It didn’t take very long for me to be personally affected by this virus: while my friend from Europe was still in town mid-March, someone close to me started feeling very ill. All the symptoms sounded like COVID-19, and she went straight to the doctor. There, they ruled out a number of flu strains, and told her that she probably has Coronavirus, but at the time, they didn’t have any tests to verify their suspicion. They told her to go home to self-quarantine for 14 days, since her symptoms weren’t severe enough for hospitalization.
Since I was still feeling well and was able to leave the house to pick up groceries, I became her personal delivery person, supplying her regularly with fresh produce and the occasional treat, to keep her spirits alive. Seeing her struggle through this disease, which took the typical course of first improving before symptoms worsening a week later, made me even more scared of the virus than I already was. A field hospital had been erected in Central Park to treat overflow Coronavirus patients that hospitals had run out of room for, and a similar makeshift hospital had been set up inside the Javits Convention Center in Manhatten. My biggest fear was ending up in one of these field hospitals, so other than the occasional grocery haul I stayed away from people as possible, and I became so obsessed with washing my hands that my skin started to suffer.I thought I had seen the worst when I saw a person being taken out of an ambulance outside the local hospital one day, a person that looked to be in such a bad state that at first, I didn’t even know if they were alive. But then I saw the morgue trucks. What I saw first was a flower bouquet on the ground, and a big poster thanking the healthcare workers. I wondered why they’d left the flowers there, on the side of the road, when I noticed the humming coming from a truck right behind the sign. And that’s when it hit me. This was one of these morgue trucks in which they stored the bodies that they didn’t have room for inside the hospital’s morgue. I had a hard time breathing when I realized I was standing in front of a truck filled with corpses.These images – the morgue trucks, the sick person on the stretcher, but also my sick friend who I’d see every week through the entrance glass door of her building, and whose face looked ashen, with hollow eyes – are images I cannot erase from my brain, and probably will never forget. The sound of sirens will always remind me of these dark times, and I am not the only one. “I feel their presence in my body as an ever-increasing tightness in my shoulders and neck. It is as though, around the clock, the city itself were wailing for its sick and dying.”, writes Lindsay Zoladz in her New York Times article about the ever-present sirens.Going grocery shopping has turned from a routinely task into a wearying and sometimes nerve-wrecking undertaking (depending on how many people decide to shop that day, ie. how many people I come in contact with) that requires preparation and caution. Before I leave my house, I have to make sure that I have some wipes in my bag, my mask, hand sanitizer and gloves. Then I make my way to the grocery store on the bike, no matter if it is raining or hailing – I have only used the subway once since the “shelter at home” order went into effect, and that was when I did my first big quarantine shop. I wasn’t even supposed to be here in New York when the city started shutting down, so my fridge and my pantry were as deserted as the shelves in the supermarkets.That first shop was so big that I wasn’t able to haul it back home on a bike, which is why I took the subway for two stops. But I shouldn’t have been nervous about it: There were barely any people on the train. Every time I went out do my grocery shopping, the restrictions got tighter. First, they limited the amount of people inside the store, which is how I ended up in a line that went all the way down the block one time, thinking to myself in panic, “I am too close to too many people.” The next time I ventured outside for groceries, they had drawn lines on the sidewalk with chalk, marking the required six feet safety distance in between each person. These markers were also added inside the grocery store, so that when you get in line at the checkout, you keep your distance, as well.Since 16 April, masks have been mandatory when entering a grocery store. A day later, on 17 April, the governor announced that “New York on Pause”, which had initially been issued until 30 April, would be extended until 15 May – for now. That means a total of nearly nine weeks of New York City on pause. And to be honest, I don’t think that New York City will ease restrictions in mid-May – at least not to the extent that life in New York City as we know it will be possible.Last weekend I ventured into Manhattan for the first time since the lockdown started, and it was a bizarre experience. I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, which was deserted. It was a beautiful spring day, and normally, the bridge would’ve been packed with tourists. Chinatown felt like a ghost town. I only saw two restaurants that were open there, and I saw almost no people out on the street. I cycled up Broadway in SoHo, where you usually find hundreds of shoppers on any given day, but Broadway was empty. I passed only a few people who were taking their dog out for a walk or ran some errands. Some shops were boarded up completely, as if they were expecting looting and riots. This just added to the dystopian feel SoHo had.Chinatown feels like a ghost town
I rode my bike past Washington Square Park and Union Square, which, again, would’ve been busy on a sunny spring day. I missed the familiar sounds you usually hear in these places: singing buskers, chatter, laughter, the hip hop music that the dancers usually blast from small portable speakers. The only places that were busy were the Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s supermarkets, where people lined up outside. A few blocks further north, in Madison Square Park, a few people were sitting in the park, and there was a line in front of Eataly, but the little square right across the Flatiron Building was deserted.The line outside a grocery store
Grand Central Terminal felt like a shadow of its former self. On a regular day, you’d see thousands of people rush through the Grand Concourse, on the way to or from their train. Now, all I could think was how strangely quiet it was. The only people in the station that day were people who wanted to take photos of the abandoned station. Instead of announcing train departures, the announcements that came through the speakers were all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.Grand Central Terminal completely deserted
I walked over to Times Square, and 42nd Street was so empty that I could’ve walked in the middle of the street. Normally, this is one of the most congested streets in Manhattan. Experiencing the city “on mute” was heartbreaking. Not only the hustle and bustle of the city had disappeared, but also that pulsating energy that makes New York feel so unique. There’s usually a vibrancy in the air that makes me walk with a spring in my step, and it made me realize how much of New York’s energy comes from its busy street life. The hot dog vendors, the yelling of people, the traffic noise, even the honking of the cars.Silent New York is not the same. You don’t realize how much things like cafes, street kiosks, restaurants, bodegas, and street vendors contribute to the overall atmosphere of a city until they’re gone. Seeing the Broadway theaters shuttered was depressing – theaters, comedy clubs and other performance venues are such a big part of the social life in New York.Times Square without any tourists was something I never thought I’d see. Even when I walked through Times Square at 5.30am in a snowstorm a few years ago, there were more people around than now. I also never thought I’d say this: Times Square without any tourists feels kind of dull.I’ll be the first one to admit that I curse the crowds every time I have to pass through Times Square on the way to something, but seeing it so empty changed the entire atmosphere. The ever so bustling area felt like a sleepy square. The only two things that were the same: The glitzy billboards which were still advertising clothes companies and streaming services, and the Naked Cowboy, who was entertaining the few people that were lingering in Times Square.Instead of souvenirs, the street vendors are now selling hand sanitizer and face masks
What’s the most devastating about the city on lockdown is how many people’s livelihoods are affected or even destroyed by this pandemic. My heart breaks for all the owners of the small independent shops, the bodegas, the coffee shops and restaurants that contribute so much to the lively, social atmosphere of New York City. They are now struggling to pay the rent for their shops while they cannot use them, they had to lay off employees, and they may not even be able to reopen their businesses. Every week I read about restaurants that announce will not re-open, about people who were laid off and aren’t able to pay their rent and bills now. Over 40% of layoffs related to COVID-19 happened in the restaurant industry. In a city with a restaurant scene as thriving as New York City, the impact of the lockdown is absolutely devastating. Over half a million restaurant workers are out of work right now in New York State – and this number is still growing.Life in New York is never easy, even when the economy is doing great, a lot of people work harder than elsewhere to make ends meet. But now, with the city heading into a recession, piling up debt, life in New York will be even challenging, and it’ll take a long time for things to go back to normal. And what does that even mean, normal? Nobody even knows what the “post-COVID-19 normal” will look like. When will the theaters be able to re-open? When can we go to bars and restaurants again and will it be possible the same way it was pre-COVID-19? Will sports bars be ever as packed again for major sports events as they were before this pandemic? When will we be able to enjoy concerts again and watch a baseball game in Yankees Stadium? When will tourists return to New York?All large parades scheduled for June, including New York Pride, have been canceled. It was announced that public pools wouldn’t open at all in 2020. Beaches may not open this summer either. This summer will not be like any other summer, because most of the things that make New York in the summer so great will not be possible: enjoying beaches, rooftop bars, outdoor concerts and movies, having drinks in a backyard patio of a bar, strolling around flea markets and street fairs. The unemployment rate in NYC was at around 4.3 per cent before COVID-19: in the entire month of February, 137,391 people filed for unemployment in New York City. In the first week of the lockdown, 521,112 claims were filed. That’s more than three times the amount of claims the city usually sees in a month. Unemployment claims have now increased by 2,637%. During the financial crisis in 2008, the entire state of New York lost around 300,000 jobs. New York City alone has already lost more jobs than that. The Mayor of New York City is facing a projected $7.4 billion deficit in the city budget (mostly in lost tax revenue) and the economic impact of COVID-19 can be compared to the Great Depression. This deficit means that many city programs will be canceled, for example summer camp programs and the youth employment program which usually enrolls about 75,000 low-income students. Even when this pandemic is over, New York City will struggle to get back to its former glorious self. But instead of with a depressing and gloomy outlook on post-COVID-19 New York City, I want to finish this article with this beautiful video and the optimistic words of New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo:
“And we’re going to get through it because we are New York, and because we’ve dealt with a lot of things, and because we are smart. You have to be smart to make it in New York. And we are resourceful, and we are showing how resourceful we are. And because we are united, and when you are united, there is nothing you can’t do. And because we are New York tough. We are tough. You have to be tough. This place makes you tough. But it makes you tough in a good way. We’re going to make it because I love New York, and I love New York because New York loves you.
New York loves all of you. Black and white and brown and Asian and short and tall and gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That’s why I love New York. It always has, it always will. And at the end of the day, my friends, even if it is a long day, and this is a long day, love wins. Always. And it will win again through this virus.”
On the 16th March my boss made the decision for us to start working from home, due to concerns in the rising numbers of Covid-19. The little dude was still in attendance at school and Clara was still teaching.
Each day we watched the news covering increasing numbers in cases and then deaths in the UK. Schools were eventually closed and we went into lock down and our temporary new normal was created.
It’s been a very odd time, as I imagine it has for everyone else in the world. The corner of our living room has become my office, the dining table has become Clara’s office and our little dude moves between living room and kitchen for his home schooling.
We’ve tried our best to make the time at home fun for our little man. But don’t get me wrong, there have been frustrating moments and arguments.
Our days are a mixture of school work for M, work for both C and I and on top of that we are both studying for additional qualifications. Our aim is to provide a happy space for M to learn what we manage to teach him from his school work, as well as teaching him some life skills and enjoying time in the garden.
Since lock down started we’ve enjoyed a home cinema trip, a stay at home Camp Bestival, lots of trampoline time and the addition of Disney+ to our lives.
A couple of weeks into lock down I suggested ‘Fancy Fridays’, a day we can get dressed up and either watch a new film or have a nice dinner at the kitchen table. It really made a difference to how we all felt by the end of the week, plus it gives us something to look forward to.
We’ve decorated our front window with messages for key workers and a couple of rainbows for the NHS, including a gorgeous knitted one from M’s Nanna.
It all still feels very strange, not seeing friends and family. But we are lucky to have technology that bridges the gap. We’ve played virtual Cards against Humanity with friends, I’ve had a weekly horror film Netflix Party, M has enjoyed games via House Party with school friends and Clara has FaceTimed friends.
We are so thankful for the NHS and everyone that is keeping the country going. This may change us all for ever, but hopefully the history we are helping our little dude create isn’t too scary.
The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ students and allies all around the country take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools.
This effort was started in the mid 90’s by two college students but since then the Day of Silence has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Every April, students go through the school day without speaking, ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive. Now due to the unusual circumstances, GLSEN has decided to go virtual.
As a young ally I think that this is an amazing event to rally against the violence seen in schools around the world that target LGBTQ+ students. I myself will be taking part in this day and hope that many others will consider it.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS Our community shared a collective sadness with the news of Phyllis Lyon’s passing on April 9th at the age of 95. An indicator of how much the world has changed in her lifetime, her fierce and indomitable presence was celebrated and honored well beyond the LGBTQ community. We have linked to some of this national coverage below.
For the National Center of Lesbian Rights, Phyllis Lyon and her partner of 58 years, Del Martin, were guidestars. One of the proudest moments in NCLR’s history was representing Phyllis and Del in California’s marriage equality case. Phyllis and Del’s courage paved the way for marriage equality under the California Constitution.
Phyllis and Del were the first same-sex couple to be married in San Francisco on June 16th, 2008. Merely weeks later, Del passed away at age 87 with Phyllis by her side. What came before that moment was decades of activism, boldness, humor and love.
NCLR’s former executive director and dear friend of Phyllis Lyon, Kate Kendell, shared this incredible timeline of Phyllis’ life.
This moment to celebrate Phyllis is also a moment to reflect. In 1955, Del and Phyllis were founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian civil and political rights organization. They were the first lesbians to join the National Organization of Women. Phyllis, once an administrative assistant to Rev. Cecil Williams at Glide Memorial Church, and Del played key roles in launching the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) and the Alice B. Toklas Democrative Club and, in 1979, became the namesakes of an activist-created health clinic, Lyon-Martin Health Services. These are just a few examples of their activism and involvement.
As a feminist-founded organization, NCLR stands on the shoulders of Phyllis and Del. At our inception in 1977, the women’s rights movement and the Gay movement were changing the political landscape, but lesbians had difficulty finding a seat at either table. Phyllis Lyon was just what we needed. When Donna Hitchens founded NCLR, it was to meet the immediate and dire needs of women losing their children because of their sexual orientation. Today, NCLR’s mission is to hold the heart and create equity for our entire LGBTQ community. No one left behind. Period.
Phyllis Lyon knew no boundaries when it came to her intellectual and activist power and we are forever indebted to her for her bravery and leadership. She set an example for us all. We know for us at NCLR, we intend to do whatever it takes to follow her lead and hold up her legacy.
Let’s take a few minutes to talk about something unpleasant: Breaking up with your girlfriend. Especially around the holidays, break-ups can send you into the deepest, darkest pits of your soul, holding your happiness captive. Sometimes break-ups are messy, and people get hurt. You invest so much of your time, energy, and emotion into this one person and it gets harder to see the other people out there. This is especially true at the end of a toxic relationship where the partners are so involved in one another’s lives that they’ve literally lost touch with the outside world – friends, family members, anyone who used to mean the world to them before they entered their relationship.
To make matters worse, the brain doesn’t really like the idea of change – even positive change. Our brain, masquerading as our heart, takes bits and pieces of things and refuse to fully let go. It’s why you get nostalgic when looking through old pictures, and why you get teary-eyed when you remember your childhood pet. We appreciate things more after we’ve lost them, after all – so why would our romantic partners be any different?
Properly handling a break-up is one of those life-skills that isn’t automatically programmed into us, though – we’ve got to learn it (often the hard way). One of the first steps in resolving your break-up process is understanding that these 11 things are total bullshit.
“One last romp… For old time’s sake.”
There is absolutely no reason you need to sleep with someone one more time when you break up. Not only does it set the precedent that you’re only good for sex – which can drastically lower your self-confidence – but it also reinforces all the bonds you’re trying to break. Think about it: That’s like finding out you’re allergic to peanuts, and then chomping down on one last bag “for old time’s sake.” It’s not going to make the pain of the allergy any less severe, and it won’t make the pain of your break-up any less severe, either. It’ll just encourage you to fall into the same patterns you have, and make up with someone you really don’t belong with.
“The fastest way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”
Whoever started this line of thinking was clearly not looking out for anyone else’s interests when they first said it. The idea that you can move on by forcing yourself to move on completely undermines the grieving and reflecting process – both of which are essential to healing after a break-up. Your brain has withdrawals from oxytocin and it wants them to be dealt with as soon as possible – pushing you toward making irresponsible sexual decisions and placing unfair expectations on your new partner. Love yourself first, in every sense of the word, and be prepared for what the next relationship has in store for you, instead of forcing yourself to relieve your past relationships indefinitely. It might sound hokey, but it’s absolutely necessary.
“We can still be friends.”
I’ve always marveled at people who could stay friends with their exes after a bitter break-up. Once someone has crushed your feelings so completely, can you actually completely forgive them? Well, yes – but not right away. It’s impossible to be “just friends” with someone you have romantic feelings toward. Once those feelings are gone, things might be different – but they might be so different that you have no desire to be friends with this person anymore. It’s important that you focus on your mental and emotional health instead of trying to hold onto the past. It’s always going to sting a little to see when she’s moved on, but if you’ve still got feelings for her when it happens, it’s going to be devastating. Save yourself the heartache and opt to do your own thing until you’ve healed.
“It’s all her/my fault.”
Okay, so technically this one counts as two misconceptions, but the basis of both of them is exactly the same. Break-ups are very rarely (with extra emphasis on both parts) black-and-white or one-sided. Even if the relationship itself felt unbalanced, there was still one of you who frustrated the other, and the other who didn’t tackle those frustrations head-on. Everyone makes poor choices, but the wise among us learn and grow from those mistakes. Learning how to forgive can be difficult, but it’s essential that you forgive both yourself and her. I’m pretty partial to the forgiveness meditations within the Calm app myself – these forgiveness meditations are offered for free and have done wonders for improving my ability to let go of the past.
“Break-ups make you fat.”
I’ll admit that I’ve gone through a number of break-ups where I had gained a fair amount of weight by the time I met my next partner. I’ve also had break-ups where I lost a tremendous amount of weight before it was all said and done. It really comes down to how you handle it. The most successful way to handle a break-up is to use it as an opportunity to improve yourself – join a gym, start eating healthier, or just spend some time walking in nature every day. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes.
“Being single again sucks.”
Many people (myself included) don’t like the feeling of being single. Humans are social creatures, after all – even the most antisocial introverts among us need some type of interaction. But that’s not singledom that sucks – it’s loneliness, and they’re not one and the same. It’s all about your attitude: Will you choose to be happy today? Have you made a plan for how to handle your new single life? And, perhaps most importantly, have you taken the time to cherish, appreciate, and revel in your freedom?
“I’ll never fall in love again.”
Of course you will. Humans are social creatures, remember? Eventually the day will come when you’re drawn to someone else, and if you’ve closed off your heart to the idea of finding love again, it’s going to be really hard to cope with the “what might have beens” that are soon to come your way. I do believe that everyone is capable of having a truly timeless love, but to be quite blunt, if you broke up… This one wasn’t it.
“It came from totally out of the blue.”
When you hear someone say this about the end of their relationship, you can guarantee that – in their mind – they are painting their ex as a saboteur of romance. But break-ups are rarely spontaneous. There are almost always signs that things are on the rocks, but many people choose to ignore what they consider “bad news.” It’s good that you choose to focus on the positives, but ignoring the fact that your relationship was on the rocks is not the right type of optimism. Someone else’s feelings are on the line here, too.
“I can get through this break-up the same way I’ve gotten through every other break-up.”
Wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out the secret formula and end all the pain of break-ups for the rest of your life? Well, that would be great – but chances are, finding that formula would get rid of the need for a break-up in the first place. It’s not a lost cause, though, as long as you’re actually learning things from the relationship. Each and every person – and every relationship – is different, so if there really is a pattern forming, there might be some tough introspection to do – repeating the exact same mistakes will never lead to new results.
“I’m already damaged, so what’s the point in trying?”
If you’ve ever thought that it was too late to improve your life, or that you were just “bad at relationships,” you’re not alone – but you’re also the victim of a fixed mindset. It’s never too late to make your life better, because humans are ever-evolving and growing into different people. As long as you’re steadily making progress towards the better version of yourself, you are improving. Even slow progress is better than no progress at all.
“I can change. I deserve another chance.”
Well… Yes and no. It’s entirely possible that you can change, but do you really want to be making those changes to appease someone else? If you’re not making changes for yourself, your motivation will waver and you will mess up. It’s part of the process. (Even if you are doing it for yourself, slip-ups happen.) These slip-ups will damage the trust, respect, and self-worth in the relationship – are you sure you want to risk resentment?
More than just that, your ex is allowed to be happy, too, and she doesn’t owe you a second chance any more than you’d owe her one. No one has the right to expect someone else put their own happiness on the back-burner to your wants. Let her go find her own happiness, and take care when cultivating yours. Your second-chance will come, but it might not be with her, and you need to accept that before you can move on.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred my own company over the company of others. Some of it is anxiety, I’m sure. Some is probably insecurity.
But so much more of it is simply because I’m an introvert. I spent a lot of my childhood trying to fix my introversion – mistakenly thinking it was something I was just doing wrong. As I’ve grown up, however, I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with taking time for myself. Not only is it something I enjoy, but it’s something that I need as an introvert.
Introverts aren’t necessarily shy (although many are), they just cherish their quiet stillness and value their alone time. They recharge by themselves, as opposed to extroverts who are recharged by the energy of other people. That doesn’t mean an introvert and an extrovert aren’t compatible – it just means you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Introversion isn’t just one personality type.
While people are generally categorized as “an introvert” or “an extrovert,” the truth is that there is a lot of complexity within those two core types. When it comes to introverts, there’s a spectrum ranging all the way from antisocial introverts (those who would prefer to be alone because they think other people are terrible) to ambiverts (those who need time to be alone, but also need time around other people). Somewhere in the middle, there are selective introverts and shy introverts – those who are particular about the people in their lives and those who get nervous around new people, respectively.
Most introverts fall in the middle.
When you think of an introvert, you usually think of the antisocial introvert, but realistically most introverts aren’t antisocial – just selectively social. No one is in their life randomly; every day they interact with someone is a conscious choice. They are very choosy about who they get close to, so they’re not generally surrounded by a very large circle. You can trust that, if you’re in the circle of an introvert, they’ve already decided that you’re worth their time.
Introverts prefer deeper conversations.
Where extroverts can strike up a conversation with whoever they encounter, introverts don’t have such a luxury – so they’re very selective about the things they say, as well as who they say them to. Their conversations have direction and purpose, which means they’re not drawn to drama or mindless bickering. They’d prefer to work things out rather than just fight and argue.
Introverts are amazing listeners.
Introverts are attentive and thoughtful, and they take time to thoroughly process things before replying. This means that they won’t jump to hasty conclusions or speak just to hear themselves talk. They are concise with their own words, so they can better understand yours – including the ones you can’t express so well. If they can tell that it’s important to you, they’ll do their best to help you work through it.
Introverts are understanding, but they need you to understand, too.
Maybe it’s because of how much understanding they require in a relationship, but introverts tend to be some of the most understanding partners – as long as you’re not hurting them in the process. They need to feel appreciated and loved, so they’ll make sure you feel appreciated and loved. They need you to reach out first, because sometimes it’s hard to take that first step, but once the conversation starts, they’re ready to face it.
Introverts aren’t strangers to leaps of faith.
Generally speaking, introverts would prefer not to take unnecessary risks – so if the intro you’re interested in has given you the greenlight to pursue, understand that they’ve already invested a lot of thought into whether or not you’re worth it. They understand that love is a risky game to play, so just taking a chance on you is already a huge deal – make sure you’re playing fair!
Introverts need their own place to retreat.
It’s nothing personal, and it speaks nothing of your relationship, if the introvert you love needs to retreat to her own sanctuary occasionally (or often). Introverts need peace and intimacy, and they’d rather spend quality time with you than spend every minute by your side. Trust them, and respect their boundaries – the time you spend together is immensely valuable to them.
Introverts want to know their partner is satisfied.
Introverts are natural-born people-pleasers (well, with the exception of the antisocial introverts, of course). They will step out of their comfort zone if they think it will make their partner happy, and they remain concerned about their partner’s satisfaction during the entire relationship. They want to make sure you feel loved, appreciated, and happy from the first date to the very end.
Introverts are respectful whenever possible.
Your introvert love interest understands your need for personal space and privacy, because those are some of the deepest needs they have. They have high levels of emotional intelligence and would never want to impose. They also want to know that you feel your opinions are valued in the relationship, and they want you to speak up if something feels off – a roadmap to your happiness would likely be followed to the letter if you gave one.
Introverts are committed and loyal.
Relationships are a serious commitment to an introvert – they won’t enter one until after they’re sure of the other person. They may opt for loyalty before official title, and you might expect that you’re the only one they’re talking to even if you’re “just talking.” Cheating is out of the question – why would they stray from the person they’ve already committed themselves to?
Introverts will surprise you with their joy.
Just because an introvert needs a little extra time for themselves doesn’t mean that they’re boring – they just get joy from the simpler pleasures in life. The experiences they share with their most important people are precious, and they’ll enjoy those memories for years to come. To top it all off, they’ve got a witty sense of humor and are sure to make you laugh in the most unexpected ways.
It should go without saying, but… This post is gonna have some spoilers in it. Just getting that out of the way ahead of time.
The past few years have been a miracle in terms of queer representation on TV. More and more shows are starting to include (or at least allude to) non-heteronormative storylines, even if the LGBT characters aren’t the greatest representation of queer culture at large.
Still, even with all the representation we get these days, it’s still really, really hard to find a show that not only has queer characters, but lets them stay alive and partnered up and… You know… Not total jerks. (Sigh, PLL… Why did you have to make the only transgender character a psychopath, who then dies in a horrible way? And, of course, there have been two other queer ladies to die in that show, too. But I digress.)
With all that being said, there are a few shows which offered their lady-loving-ladies a happy ending when the show ended. Join us as we count them down now:
1. Ellen and Laurie, Ellen (1998)
It might be safe to assume that Ellen DeGeneres wouldn’t have allowed for her own character to have a horrible ending… But still, Ellen and Laurie finish out the show by confirming their commitment to each other, with the vow that they would be legally married as soon as it was possible to do so. 17 years later, it finally was – so the fandom should rejoice that the couple (presumably) made it down the aisle eventually.
2. Helen and Nikki, Bad Girls (2001)
Most jailhouse romances don’t seem to make it – partially because there’s the twisted idea that what happens behind bars “doesn’t really count.” Regardless, though, Helen and Nikki ended up running off into the proverbial sunset together, promising to take things slow onto the future. Aww. Slow-moving lesbian couples are my favorite.
3. Jessie and Katie, Once and Again (2002)
As a huge Evan Rachel Wood fan, it always makes me super happy to see her in anything… Even if she’s not playing a queer character. However, her character in Once and Again was definitely queer, and the two were still together when the show was cancelled. We can only assume that they’re still together 14 years later, because hello, who doesn’t dream of marrying their high school sweetheart? (At least, you dream of that while you’re with that person. I’m sure things change if you break up. I didn’t exactly have a high school sweetheart, so I can’t confirm.)
4. Willow and Kennedy, Buffy (2003)
Okay, okay… Kennedy isn’t Tara, and maybe we all hated her for that for a little while. But, to be fair, Willow seemed pretty happy with her – and they were still together when the show ended. TBH, our opinion about their relationship doesn’t matter as much as their happiness in their relationship, am I right? I’m right. Just trust me on this one.
5. Carol and Susan, Friends (2004)
Again, regardless of how you feel about the couple – and the fact that they were often paraded in front of poor Ross’s face at every available opportunity – there’s no doubt that they made each other happy. They even got married and raised little Ben together as a couple. Plus, Lea DeLaria and Candance Gingrich were in attendance at their wedding, which sort of gives them extra cool points. (We all wish we had such cool lesbian friends. Don’t even try to pretend you don’t.)
6. Melanie and Lindsay, Queer as Folk (2005)
Does it count as “happily ever after” if you break up and then get back together? I’d like to think it does. When they moved to Canada to get away from the US government, the rest of the LGBT community in the United States wanted to be right there with them. Sadly… I’m still stuck in the middle of California myself… But one day I, too, will flee to Canada with my other half. One day.
7. Kerry and Courtney, ER (2007)
Dr. Kerry Weaver went through more than her fair share of lesbian relationship woes before ending up with Courtney, but apparently the writers and producers came to their senses and made her fall for… a hot TV producer. Of course. Pat on the back to themselves, here, but whatevs – at least she’s happy at last!
8. Spencer and Ashley, South of Nowhere (2008)
Fun fact: This particular show had a lot to do with the timing of me coming out. Spashley went through a ridiculous number of bisexual back-and-forth, often trading turns with Aiden, the third side of their love triangle. However, once everything was said and done, Spashley ended up Uhauling off into the sunset together like every millennial queer chick in the fandom always knew they would.
9. Olivia and Natalia, Guiding Light (2009)
GL fans weren’t super happy about all the crazy trials and tribulations that these two had to face, but thankfully the writers came to their senses in the end and let the two stay together, “forever” – or at least until after the show ended.
10. Bette and Tina & Alice and Tasha, The L Word (2009)
It’s rare enough for a TV show to let one queer couple ending, but for one show to allow two couples to stay together and live happily ever after? Pure joy. However you might feel about Bette and Tina (I’m not a big fan, myself) it’s nice to know that they were able to work through things, I guess.
And, Alice and Tasha will always be my favorite couple from the show, even if it wasn’t exactly confirmed that they were getting back together. They totally were.
11. Chris and Kris & Jen and Sam, Exes & Ohs (2011)
Chris and Kris end up getting married and having a baby, while Jen and Sam happen to end up together too. Sure, it might have been another lesbian-centric storyline to begin with (which does increase the odds of an all-female relationship making it through), but still… Good job, Michelle Paradise, for making everyone happy with this one.
12. Remy and her girlfriend, House (2012)
As sad as it is that Thirteen lost her job, and she’s got Huntington’s Disease (probably), and that her girlfriend’s name wasn’t ever revealed… They had a lovely relationship, we’re sure of it. And, as far as we can tell, they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together, because if you break up off-camera in a TV show it doesn’t really count.
13. Brittany and Santana, Glee (2015)
I never really got into Glee when it was super popular, but Tumblr taught me all about the wonders that were the Brittana ‘ship. Once I ended up (briefly) dating a girl who was Brittana-obsessed, I got a little into it… And it turns out, the Brittana fandom got their way in the end, when the producers decided to let Brittany and Santana get married finally.
14. Julie and Nikki, The Returned (2015)
In a show that is literally about dead people, it’s hard to picture anything resembling a happy ending… Well, that is, anything about dead people that wasn’t directed by Tim Burton, of course. Anyway, Julie and Nikki not only made it in the end, but they even got to kiss when it was all said and done. Aww.
15. Alana and Margot, Hannibal (2015)
When the main character is a serial killer, you just know that people are going to die left and right. It was quite a shock, then, that Alana and Margot got to stay alive all the way to the end. Kudos, Alana and Margot… You guys really made it.
16. Bo and Lauren, Lost Girl (2016)
Any show that deals primarily in the supernatural is sure to have extra pressures put on the characters… Especially when most LGBT characters get killed off pretty early on. However, Bo and Lauren made it, which just proves that things can work out – as long as you’re a supernatural entity, at least.
Let’s face it: We’ve all had a crush on a straight girl at some point in our life. Sure, sometimes we convince ourselves that she’s not really straight, or that we’ll be the exception, or any number of things we tell ourselves so we feel just a little bit better.
But, to be clear, if she tells you she’s straight… Most likely, she does identify as such, and pushing her to give you a chance is a jerk move even if she is questioning. Trust me. If she wanted to question things right now, she’ll ask – but until then, respect her identity.
All disclaimers aside, let’s move onto the 15 truths of falling for a straight girl, as told through Tumblr posts.
Cupid, can you just… Not?
Straight girls, can you just not either?
But, then again, we could be totally awesome together.
But, she’s probably going to wait until it’s too late.
And we’ll probably feel like this once we say it’s too late:
Maybe we’ll just be friends.
… or not.
“I’m so gay for you!” … Yeah, right.
It would be kinda funny, if it wasn’t also super sad.
Most of us have Googled “how to get over a straight girl.”
But this is what we end up doing instead:
Rest assured, you’re far from alone.
And it’s not really the straight girl’s fault (usually).
All in all, though, it’s best to avoid it as much as you can.
But you can’t, because life is cruel. No Tumblr for this one, just some cold-hard truth!
“We lost a giant today,” tweeted California State Sen. Scott Weiner, who is chairman of the LGBTQ caucus. A giant is exactly what the ninety-five-year-old Phyllis Lyon was, along with her partner Del Martin, who died at age eighty-seven in 2008.
My friend the sailor broke the news to me. She e-mailed, Del and Phyllis made a difference in my life. Yours too? No finer compliment could be given.
I responded: Oh, this hurts. They certainly made a difference for me. I was able to read their creation, “The Ladder,” from age fifteen on. They were role models as a couple and in their activism. Thanks for breaking it to me.”
Yes, with my hair slicked back by my father’s Vitalis, in the hand me downs from a boy across the court, hoping to someday own a pinky ring, and waiting to reach an age when I could frequent the rough and tumble gay bars downtown, my girlfriend Suzy and I spotted the magazine founded by Phyllis and Del.
It was an unthinkable accomplishment then, the production of a periodical about ourselves. We weren’t even old enough to legally buy it. Suzy, the bolder of us, probably took it to the register anyway. Or maybe some other babydyke swiped it, afraid to take it to a cashier, and passed it on, afraid to take it home to Brooklyn or New Jersey where she lived with her parents.
If Suzy and I were afraid to purchase “The Ladder,” I cannot imagine the enormous courage of Del and Phyllis. They gathered material from closeted lesbians, signed their real names to their own writings, and, braver still, approached a printer. I remember the struggle Tee Corinne and I had twenty-five years later, getting our local copy shop to print our self-published works.
Where had this paper miracle come from? Who was behind it? I was a contributor to “The Ladder” before I knew its history. By 1960, the year I first read it, “The Ladder” was on Volume 5. It was published in San Francisco. How had it been distributed to a magazine store in New York? Of course, we were still children and adults ran the world, even our world. We might question and defy authority, but the magazine was a product of adults and whatever magic they supplied to make things work. I was in awe.
Today, “The Ladder” might look like a dinky little magazine. In 1955, when they first achieved this marvel, it must have represented a logistical obstacle course for Del and Phyllis, whose activism consisted of much more than the printed word. Like so many lesbian projects right up to the present day, the work they and their cohorts produced was all volunteer. They risked loss of their jobs, their birth families, their lovers, their homes, their very sanity, to assert the legitimacy of our condemned lives. There was nothing dinky about that magazine, or the men’s equivalent, “One.” Both periodicals were powder kegs fueling what was to become the gay rights movement, a movement that changed government, schools, religious institutions, the military, and the lives of fearful, confused, often self-hating individuals who found our way to fuller lives and healthier psyches.
Phyllis Lyon made a profound difference in my life. It was due to Phyllis that I survived my otherwise unguided, unmodeled teens. It was due to Phyllis I was able to resist the course of conversion therapy (not called that then) my college unofficially required of me. It was due to Phyllis that an outlet existed for my words. It was due to Phyllis and her union with Del that I saw I could commit to a woman I loved and stay for better or worse. It was due to the tenacity and victories of Phyllis Lyon and our other giants that I lived to embrace who I am because she so publicly embraced who she was.
So yes, my sailor friend, let’s just say she made it possible for me to be a very happy, stable, exultantly married woman and published lesbian writer today. I am one of her accomplishments. I hope she was just as proud of me as I’ve always been of her.
Phyllis Lyon dedicated her life to LGBTQ+ equality and rights. She died today of natural causes at the age of 95.
She and her partner Del Martin (who passed away in 2008) met in the 1950s. In partnership, this indomitable pair fought for same-sex marriage. Lyon and Martin were the first couple married in California in 2008. Now-Governor Gavin Newsom officiated their wedding.
Gov. Newsom paid tribute on Twitter, posting “Phyllis and Del were the manifestation of love and devotion. Yet for over 50 years they were denied the right to say 2 extraordinary words: I do. / Phyllis—it was the honor of a lifetime to marry you & Del. Your courage changed the course of history./ Rest in Peace my dear friend.”
Kate Kendall, activist and former executive director of the National Center from Lesbian Rights, tweeted, “She and Del are dancing again.”
Three months into 2020, more than 220 Pride celebrations scheduled worldwide have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with rights coming under threat in various places and exacerbated by the virus outbreak, organizers are finding innovative ways of reaching out to their communities to provide alternative spaces online to celebrate.
InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association announced they’re working with international LGBTQ organizations to present Global Pride 2020, a live-streamed festival scheduled for Saturday, June 27. This means the event will be accessible regardless of disability, location, or socioeconomic status. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to participate. For many Pride events around the world, this level of accessibility will be a first.
“LGBT people around the world are insanely resilient, but they face isolation every day in their life,” says J. Andrew Baker, co-President of Interpride, the international association of Pride organizers. “One of the challenges we find today is that LGBT people are even more isolated.” To overcome that isolation, the world’s biggest international Pride networks, Interpride and the European Pride Organisers Association, are organizing a “Global Pride” to be celebrated online on June 27. Global Pride organizers are planning a 24-hour live streamed event, including remote contributions from international Prides, speeches from human rights activists, workshops with activists and high-profile performers yet to be confirmed.
For many, Pride is much more than a one-off party or day-long festival. It’s an opportunity for people who may not be “out” publicly to feel comfortable, surrounded by others in their community. The Pride movement emerged after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and some Prides today have carried on that tradition of protest, using events as an opportunity to connect with other marginalized communities. “It’s become the cornerstone of LGBTQ communities,” says Jed Dowling, the festival director of Dublin LGBTQ Pride. “It’s our Patrick’s Day, it’s our 4th of July, it’s a symbol of everything that was achieved through the year.” This year, activists around the world were planning major celebrations, from Dublin, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, to Zurich, where a recent vote backed proposals to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal.