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Happy New Year

January 2022 Blog feature image with the title "New Year: Queer Affirmations"
New Year Queer Affirmations 495 400 cj

New Year Queer Affirmations

January 2022 Blog header image with the title "New Year: Queer Affirmations"

New Year Queer Affirmations

By Dr. Joselyn Valle (she/ella)

The start of the New Year often represents new changes and a fresh start. Millions of Americans usually take this time to create New Year resolutions and affirmations surrounding their health and fitness goals. However, for some LGBTQIA+ young folx*, it might mean taking a new step in their identity journey. Whether it means coming out to your loved ones, trying on new pronouns, wearing gender affirming clothing, or connecting with more queer friends (even just thinking about these things is a huge step in itself). Wherever you are in the sexual and gender spectrum(s), know that Kaleidoscope is here to support you!

As you lean into your unique 2022 goals, we encourage you to practice self-care by using queer affirmations. Affirmations at their very core, are statements made with purpose that can help you become motivated to take action, self-soothe, and/or challenge negative thoughts. But why are queer affirmations so important? Sometimes LGBTQIA+ folx adopt limiting beliefs about themselves from living in a cis-hetero society and queer affirmations are a small (but mighty) way in which LGBTQIA+ folx can continue to empower themselves.

Practicing daily queer affirmations can help set your intentions and build self-esteem by focusing on what you can control: how you treat yourself. Become intentional with your queer affirmations by creating a space to connect with your authentic self. Maybe it’s the first thing you do before you get up, or the last thing you do before you go to bed, or in all those in-between moments of the day when you really need a pick-me-up. There’s no right or wrong way of practicing queer affirmations, so we invite you to play around with them. Try saying them out loud, writing them on post-it notes to place on your mirror, or even dance as you sing along with them. Other ideas include, placing a hand on your heart as you repeat each queer affirmation or ending your practice with a self-hug…because remember, you are magic.

Below are a list of 15 queer affirmations. Feel free to use these or create your own!

  • I am enough/I am queer enough
  • I accept myself as who I am
  • I will treat myself with kindness
  • I am proud of who I am
  • I get to define what queerness means to me
  • I decide when and how I will come out
  • I am worthy to take up space
  • I am valid/I am valid even if I’m not out yet
  • I choose to love myself unconditionally
  • I take pride in my identity/identities
  • I am grateful for my sexuality
  • I love myself for who I am
  • I will honor my gender journey
  • I will practice self-compassion
  • I will not shrink myself for the comfort of others

*Folx, a variation on the word folks that is meant to be an inclusive and gender-neutral way to refer to members in the LGBTQIA+ community.

HAPPY 2021! 495 401 cj

HAPPY 2021!

HAPPY 2021!

The new year is the perfect time for reflecting on what you want out of life and for taking intentional steps to create your future. This can be done in the form of a New Year’s Resolution. It is an opportunity to think about engaging in new behaviors and routines that can help you grow psychologically, emotionally, socially, or physically.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who make a New Year’s Resolution are 10 times more likely to actually change their behavior than people who don’t make a yearly goal. This means that the idea of a “fresh start” can really spur you on to make positive changes in your life.

Here are ideas for New Year’s resolutions for 2021 that may speak to you:

1) Love YOU more!

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” —Oscar Wilde, writer

An example of a New Year’s Resolution designed to increase self-love is the practice of daily affirmations. These are positive phrases or statements that are used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. Practicing positive affirmations is actually rather simple; all you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself.

One strategy is to write your affirmation, such as “I am a kind person” on a post-it note and put it up on your bathroom mirror where you will see it every morning. This will remind you to say your daily affirmation. Some other examples of daily affirmations are, “I am brave” and “I deserve respect.”

After a few days of practicing your daily affirmation, you may be pleased to see that you feel more motivated, and you feel more positive. Good for you! You are now on your way to replacing negative narratives to more positive self-talk.

2) Challenge Prejudice in all Forms

“If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” – Zanele Muholi, South African activist and artist

Sometimes LGBTQ+ individuals feel different from their peers even if they know that everyone is equal and everyone deserves respect, love, and support. But bringing about the change needed to create a future where LGBTQ+ people do not feel different requires that the LGBTQ+ community and their allies speak up when prejudice exists.

Advocating can be scary and overwhelming. One strategy to help find your voice is to think about the people you care about who are being mistreated. Often, we find it easier to advocate on behalf of someone else rather than ourselves. Ask yourself what kind of friend you would be to someone who is being treated with prejudice – would you stand by them and stand up for them? You probably would! Practice advocating for yourself and your friends, and maybe consider joining an LGBTQ+ Advocacy group. You are braver than you think!

3) Face Challenges With Courage

“Once you have done something that you used to think was impossible, what could ever scare you again? – Elliot Page, actor and activist

We all tend to tell ourselves stories about how the world operates. This helps us to make meaning out of our experiences. But sometimes, without really understanding why we are doing it, the stories we tell ourselves are not actually true. We make the story fit the way we see ourselves as helpless or to describe an experience we found overwhelming

The good news is that we can all reframe the stories that we tell ourselves. One way to do that is to look at a situation as a close and trusted friend would view it. A close friend may find the situation stressful but they would encourage you by telling you that they believe in you and your abilities. The trick is to treat yourself as well as your good friend would do. This shift in perspectives is called “reframing.”

Reframing can help you to face challenging situations with courage. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t,” you can say “I am willing to try this.” Or instead of saying, “This is too overwhelming for me!” you can say, “I am going to just take this step by step.” Reframing can help you to feel more competent and courageous.

Happy New Year from Kaleidoscope! Every January brings opportunities for positive change, for new optimism, for fresh starts – anything is possible!

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources 495 400 cj

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources

Reflections, Resilience, & Resources

Happy New Year!

While we’re engaged in a moment of reflection, let’s take a moment to reflect upon how far the LGBTQ+ community has come on the path to being accepted as equals and acknowledged for the beautiful diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression that are represented.   Let’s also take a moment to acknowledge the brave LGBTQ+ folks who came before us, paving the way for us to live more openly and equally.  While it’s true that we still have a long way to go to achieve equal rights and overcome anti-gay and anti-transgender bias, it’s also true that we have come a long way toward achieving that goal, as this reflection of the following historical event in Los Angeles will demonstrate.

You may have heard of the Stonewall Riots in New York 50 years ago.  It’s a lesser known fact that two years before that, Los Angeles experienced its own uprising from the LGBTQ+ community.   On New Year’s Eve in 1966, a sting operation by undercover police officers targeted patrons of gay bars by arresting same-sex people who kissed at midnight.  As it was illegal at the time to engage in homosexual acts, including giving a New Year’s kiss to a loved one, an estimated 14 people were arrested from the Black Cat Tavern in Silver Lake. They were charged with lewd conduct, and many of them were forced to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.  Back then, with  arrests like these, pictures and names were often published in newspapers and could lead to LGBTQ+ people being legally fired from their jobs, ostracized by their families, or even placed in mental institutions and subjected to shock therapy.

Following this event, though, many members of the LGBTQ+ community decided to take a brave stand against such biased atrocities.  More than two hundred people ultimately gathered outside of the Black Cat to peacefully protest the police raids, risking losing their jobs, families, and friends by potentially being photographed by the papers.  The community had begun to risk everything to achieve basic rights that so many of us now take for granted.

Today, many of us enjoy the right to live openly, including being able to kiss a loved one on New Year’s Eve, without the fear of being arrested or placed in a mental institution.  We’ve come a long way as a community.  Even so, we could also use some individual support and assistance connecting to peer groups.  Many LGBTQ+ people still live in fear of losing loved ones or even facing violence simply for expressing their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  Such fear often contributes to mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression, poor self-esteem, suicidality, and alcohol/substance misuse.

At Kaleidoscope, we understand these challenges and the associated impact on one’s mental and emotional health.  We  are here to help.  We offer an array of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and individual coaching, as well as free social groups and events with peers and allies – all to help LGBTQ+ teens and young adults receive necessary support and improve their sense of well-being.  We also offer support for parents who are struggling with acceptance but want to become stronger allies for a LGBTQ+ loved one.   If you feel that you could benefit from any of these services, groups, or events, please reach out to us!

For more information about The Black Cat protest, we recommend reading this interview with Alexei Romanoff, the last surviving organizer of Personal Rights in Defense and Education (P.R.I.D.E.), one of the groups that helped stage the 1967 protest.