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LGBT Families and Committed Relationships

Marriage can mean a lot of different things to LGBT people. Right now, there are only a handful of states that allow same-sex marriage or civil unions for LGBT individuals.  There's an active movement to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the US (the Freedom to Marry movement).
 

On the other hand, significant numbers of LGBT people say they wouldn't want to marry even if same-sex marriage were legal. Some LGBT families wouldn't fit a model of marriage that's based on couples -- for instance, sometimes a gay couple and a lesbian couple form a family to parent their children together (and that's only the beginning of the creative, thriving non-traditional family structures that aren't unusual in the LGBT community). Some LGBT folks take pride in the way their community has formed strong, flexible relationships and families outside the boundaries of marriage, and have no desire to take part in the institution when same-sex marriage is legalized.
 

Although civil marriage is still not an option for most LGBT people in the U.S., growing numbers are married. Some are lucky enough to live in states that allow same-sex marriage; some have traveled to the provinces in Canada or other countries that recognize same-sex marriage. Some people marry a different-sex partner and later come out as gay or lesbian. Bisexual people may not be able to marry if they fall in love with a same-sex partner, but can if their sweetie is different-sex. Depending on state laws and the legal gender of the partners, some transgender people are able to marry. Lots of bi and trans people who have the option to marry choose not to, in solidarity with their LGBT friends who can't.

(From Alternative to Marriage Project)

 


LGBT Relationship Notes

 

Weird and Annoying Questions Gay Couples Get Asked
Jennifer Aniston Interviews Ellen and Portia

Suze Orman Talks About Her Wife and Soulmate

HHS/OAH: Healthy Relationships

Sometimes I Wish I Was a Lesbian

Dan Savage: Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex

Healthy Relationships Among LGBT Youth

Nothing Taboo: Love Song for the Outcast

 


LGBT Relationship Commentary

 

"To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."
-
Quote

 

"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"
-Ernest Gaines

 

“If you were expecting Prince Charming, I'm sorry. He's with his boyfriend.”
― Shayla Black, Wicked Ties

“The whole world goes on and on about love. Poets spend their lives writing about it. Everyone thinks it's the most wonderful thing. But, when you mention two guys in love, they forget all that and freak out.”

― Mark A. Roeder, Outfield Menace
 


LGBTCouples

Laura & Fawn
Hattie & Amorie
Dick & Bob
Jan & Lauren
Jon & Robert
Octavia & Deborah
Eric & Stan
Steve & Mark

 


My Life as a Lesbian

 

Since coming out, I've realized that being a lesbian is so much more than preferring one type of person to another, it's a matter of declaring your independence, an ability to live without having to be always associated with a man. Not to say, however, that two women cannot become totally and utterly dependent upon one another, but society does not hold so many preconceived notions about relationships and how they should be. I feel so much more freedom in a lesbian relationship - we are free to define the relationship ourselves!
 

 

Despite what many people seem to think, lesbians are not a couple of women waiting for a man to "help out". I have no need or desire to have sex with a guy - hence the term "lesbian". I've tried dating guys, from long-time buddies to people met at parties. I am just not as comfortable with them as I am when I'm with a woman. Women provide me with support, security and a sense of truly understanding me. It's the fundamental male/female differences that make me unable to love a man. I recognize all that women have to offer and I am looking for that in all my relations. People in a heterosexual relationship always have issues that they cannot speak to their spouse about; things they just cannot understand. I am lucky enough to be in love with someone who can understand me, my hormones and desires and all that, because she has them too!


I'm not just proud to be a lesbian, I'm proud to be a woman!
 

(From Just Ask Sandy)

 


Famous Gay and Lesbian Couples

 

Elton John & David Furnish

George Takei & Brad Altman

Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka
TR Knight & Mark Cornelson

Rufus Wainwright & Jorn Weisbrodt

Johnny Weir and Victor Voronov
Cheyenne Jackson and Monte Lapka
David Hyde Pierce and Brian Hargrove

George Michael and Kenny Goss

Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi
BD Wong and Rickie Jackson

John Barrowman and Scott Gill

 

Ellen Degeneres & Portia DeRossi
Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner
Jayne Lynch & Lara Embry

Chely Wright & Lauren Blitzer

Brandi Carlile & Catherine Shepherd

Wanda Sykes & Alex Sykes

Rosie O'Donnell and Michelle Rounds

Mario Cantone and Jerry Dixon

Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni

KD Lang and Jamie Price

 

LINKS:

 

Celebrity LGBT Couples

Famous Same-Sex Couples

Famous Gay Couples Montage

 


Grindr: LGBT On-Line Dating


August 2012

 

You may know the names of several good on-line dating sites, including e-Harmony, Match, Chemistry, Skout, Tingle, and Tagged.  You may be familiar with dating apps like Picksie and Blendr.  Have you heard of Grindr?

 

Grindr is the name of an on-line dating site and app for gay men.  It was first launched in 2009 by Joel Simkhai.  It is currently used in over 192 countries and includes millions of members; at any given time, 71,000 users are logged onto Grindr and close to a million users log into the mobile app daily.

 

Grindr has been described as the best "geosocial networking" service and a "revolutionary dating tool."  some have even called it the "scariest gay bar on earth."  Whatever the perspective, Grindr has made an indelible mark on the dating scene for gay men, winning many prestigious awards.

 

Grindr offers an uncomplicated dating service. You simply download and open the application onto your mobile device. You choose a profile name, upload a photo of yourself, answer a couple of questions, and sign into the application.  Grindr is a GPS location-based service app that will quickly and easily locate other users in your immediate area.

 

(From Kaitlin Moore)

 

LINKS:

 

All You Need to Know About Grindr
Grindr Home Page
On-Line Dating University

Carnival of On-line Dating

On-Line Dating Apps Gain Popularity in LGBT Community

Gay Dating Sites
One Good Love

 


Dating Tips for Gay Men

10 Tips to Help Gay and Bi Men Make Better Choices About Dating & Relationships


"Check in" with yourself to understand what’s behind your motivation for dating or being in a relationship. How much are you affected by others’ opinions of you based on whether you’re single? Do you feel more alive when you’re involved with another guy? Are you genuinely attracted to this guy? Are you reacting to feeling lonely or rejected?

Identify what kinds of experiences have been satisfying when dating or being in a relationship in the past… and what has left you wanting something else. How you've felt about past experiences can direct you to what will work for you in the future.

Get in touch with what you value, what you need and what you desire in another guy and in a relationship. Without this awareness, you may well make choices that don’t satisfy what’s really important to you. This is your life... follow your bliss!

Recognize that dating or being in a relationship makes demands on you – and not only time, effort and sacrifice – it demands that you reveal who you are to another guy. It's important to know how prepared you are to do this at this time in your life.
 

 


Timing is (almost!) everything… are you really ready to date or be in a relationship? Or are difficult life circumstances – dealing with significant health changes, substance use, experiencing oppression, grief over a loss, etc. – stressing your ability to handle the additional challenges of connecting with another guy?

Be aware of the power balance between you and the other guy. If you feel you have little power, how will you be able to negotiate what you need or desire? If you feel you have most of the power in a relationship (not an easy thing to recognize!), will you be able to really hear what the other guy wants or desires?

People change over time… and so do relationships… particularly in the early stages of getting to know someone. It’s important to be prepared for the natural evolution of relationships -- and the first step towards this is to accept that change is inevitable.

Before you begin to date or start a relationship, make sure friends and family are there for support – you’ll appreciate them helping you celebrate the highs and deal with the lows!

Recognize you have a choice in saying "yes" or "no" in any situation – and that choosing to be single is a choice.

Be prepared for the feeling that dating or being in a relationship is not always easy! Many dates do not lead to an ongoing relationship and most relationships you’re in will not be the "final one" (if this was true, we would all still be in our first relationship!)
 

(From Greg Garrison, Counsellor, David Kelley Services)

 


Breaking Up
 

My boyfriend and I just broke up. After a year and a half of loving and living together, we have decided that, for lack of all originality, we simply "weren't right for each other." I won't bore you with the specific reasons and events which brought this about ~ though I will say that there is rarely a single issue or action which ends a solid romance. The question at hand is why all of my relationships seem to break up, and more importantly why gay men seem to have so much trouble with keeping romantic relationships together.


First and foremost among the reasons is the homophobic stigma of the sad, depressed, ever-alone homosexual. It's what our parents always feared and fed us ~ by being gay we were throwing away all chances at happiness in the arms of a committed wife and family. It was a self-hating prophecy, one which robbed us of our hopes just as they were being kindled. Even I, stable-Mabel and ever-optimistic-in-romantic-affairs, fell victim to this societal trap: after every break-up I would wallow in pity and misery, bemoaning my gay inability to sustain a romance for longer than a month.

 

Of course, after a while I saw what a complete pile of crap this was, and how it was mostly in my (and everyone else's) head. That doesn't make it any less powerful: when people found out I had been going out with someone for a while, they raised eyebrows and questioned constantly "You're still together?" as if doubting that any gay man could stay with someone monogamously and not have it end in pain and heartache. Sometimes it seemed as if the whole world was conspiring against us, and this is a difficult hurdle to get over. Maybe this is why our relationships don't last.


Second, there's the sex that we as gay men must constantly have with each other. Another stereotype to be sure, but one which has grounding in truth. The simple fact is that we can find sex much easier than straight people can. I'm going on my own experience and the ready admittance of all of my straight friends and acquaintances. Call it what you will, we know who's gay, we know how to hook up sexually, and we're not afraid to do it. With such ease and availability of sex, staying committed in a relationship can prove difficult for many of us. (Personally, I've never understood why ~ if you truly love someone but are feeling sexually tempted by another person, go home and jerk off ~ the feeling passes.)


Still, sex is often messy for us (in many ways) and if it's indeed true that men have a greater biological and instinctual need for sex than women, then two men together in a monogamous relationship is doubly more difficult. Perhaps this is why our relationships don't last.


Third, gay men have not had an open history of committed couples to look back upon. There are no great historical couples or romances from which to draw hope and inspiration. Heterosexuals are constantly reminded of successful romance ~ almost everything in the entertainment world revolves around heterosexual love ~ from the very first Victorian novels of the 19th century to the cinematic super-couples of the 1930's to the lovey-dovey sitcoms of the 1960's all the way to the ballads of the boy bands today, where a "girl" must be mentioned at least seven times per song to ward off any gay rumors.

 


 

Gay men in successful relationships certainly did exist, but no one talked about it, including the gay men themselves. Only recently have we begun to look back on old diaries and writings and decipher what exactly is meant by "special friend" or "roommate." Then again it may be a mistake to attribute our romantic failures today to the lack of role models in the past: prior to the sixties and seventies there was barely a public gay anything, and we seem to have had no problem in refuting that. Even so, we have not had any prominent gay couples thus far to prove that we can do it. Could this lack of a gay-couple history be why our relationships don't last?


Finally, the reason for our failed long-term romantic endeavors may be the law: it just isn't legal for many of us to get married where we live. Such inherent homophobic oppression is a heavy burden on the most stable of gay relationships, and whether or not we know better, the fact that our unions are not recognized legally can still take an expensive toll. A healthy, happy marriage is difficult enough ~ denying us the chance to even try is an attempt to keep us alone and unhappy. Maybe people are simply afraid that gay couples will prove to be better at being married than straight couples, just as we have proven to be better parents (if people can bring themselves to acknowledge the latest studies.)


Now, I realize that marriage is in no means a guaranteed way of staying together, as straight people have proven over and over again, but it is one more way in which we are denied the rights of heterosexuals, and one more way in which the cards are stacked against us. This must be why our relationships don't last.


Which brings me to my latest break-up, and a revisiting of my past six break-ups. They don't seem to have happened because of the reasons just proffered. None of those reasons seems important enough to have been the sole cause of the disintegration of love. I never broke up with anyone because of an innate self-hatred and self-fulfilling idea of unhappiness as a gay man. I broke up with someone because they fell in love with someone else. I never broke off a relationship due to an insatiable sexual need that caused my partner to stray ~ all of the guys I've dated have remained faithful to me while we were going out, and if they wanted sex on the side then I knew enough to end it.


My romances did not dissolve because of any lack of successful gay couples in history. We make our own history. Besides, all of the straight romances of the past don't seem to have helped any of my straight friends with their hapless romantic plights either; one recently called off a wedding. My boyfriend and I did not break up because it's not legal for us to be married. We were smart enough to know that we didn't even want to be bound for life at such a young age. We broke up because we weren't right for each other right now. So maybe the reason that our relationships don't last isn't because we're gay, but because we're human, and living in the 21st century. That's why any of us breaks up. Sometimes being gay just doesn't matter.


(From Alan Bennett Ilagan / Rainbow Arch)

 

 


Safer Sex and Partner Communication


To reach mutual understanding and agreement on sexual health issues, choose a convenient time when you will both be free of distractions.

 

Choose a relaxing environment in a neutral location, like a coffee bar or a park, where neither of you will feel pressured.


Use "I" statements when talking. For example, "I feel that abstinence is right for me at this time." Or, "I would feel more comfortable if we used a condom."


Be assertive! Do not let fear of how your partner might react stop you from talking with him/her.


Be a good listener. Let your partner know that you hear, understand, and care about what she/he is saying and feeling.


Be "ask-able"—let your partner know you are open to questions and that you won’t jump on him/her or be offended by questions.

Be patient with your partner, and remain firm in your decision that talking is important.


Recognize your limits. You can’t communicate alone or protect you both alone, and you don’t have to know all the answers.

 

Understand that success in talking does not mean one person getting the other person to do something. It means that you both have said what you think and feel respectfully and honestly and that you have both listened respectfully to the other.

 


Get information to help you each make informed decisions.


Avoid making assumptions. Ask open-ended questions to discuss relationship expectations, past and present sexual relationships, contraceptive use, and testing for STIs, including HIV, among other issues. For example, "What do you think about our agreeing to avoid sex until after we graduate?" Or, "What do you think about our using hormonal contraception as well as condoms?" Not, "Did you get the condoms?" Or, "When will you have sex with me?"


Ask for more information when unsure. Ask questions to clarify what you believe you heard. For example, "I think you said that you want us to use both condoms and birth control pills? Is that right?" Or, "I think you want us both to wait until we graduate to have sex? Is that right?"


Avoid judging, labeling, blaming, threatening or bribing your partner. Don’t let your partner judge, label, blame, threaten, or bribe you.


Do not wait until you become sexually intimate to discuss safer sex with your partner. In the heat of the moment, you and your partner may be unable to talk effectively.


Stick by your decision. Don’t be swayed by lines like, "If you loved me, you would have sex with me." Or, "If you loved me, you would trust me and not use a condom."

(From Youth Resource)

 


What Straight Couples Can Learn From Gay Couples

October 2003


Research suggests that married heterosexual couples can learn a great deal from gay and lesbian couples. Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley have published what is said to be the first published observational studies of homosexual relationships.


John Gottman, one of the lead authors is quoted as saying that "Gay and lesbian couples are a lot more mature, more considerate in trying to improve a relationship and have a greater awareness of equality in a relationship than straight couples. I think that in 200 years heterosexual relationships will be where gay and lesbian relationships are today."


In the first of two papers, the researchers explored the conflict interaction of homosexual and heterosexual couples using mathematical modeling techniques.

 

In the second study, they looked at factors influencing gay and lesbian couples' relationship satisfaction and dissolution.

"In the modeling paper we looked at processes, and they look so different you could draw a picture," said Gottman. "Straight couples start a conflict discussion in a much more negative place than do gays and lesbian couples. Homosexuals start the same kind of discussions with more humor and affection, are less domineering and show considerably more positive emotions than heterosexual couples.


"The way a discussion starts is critical. If it starts off in a bad way in a heterosexual relationship, we have found that it will become even more negative 96 percent of the time. Gays and lesbians are warmer, friendlier and less belligerent. You see it over and over in their discussions, and their partner is receiving the message they are communicating. In turn, their partner is allowing himself or herself to be influenced in a positive way. With married heterosexual couples a discussion is much more of a power struggle with someone being invalidated."


Gottman describes gay and lesbian relationships as being characterized by "the triumph of positive emotions over negative emotions." He stated that "Negative emotions have more impact in heterosexual relationships. This is why our previous research has shown you need a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative statements. This seems to be universal in heterosexual couples. But it may be different in gay and lesbian relationships where positive emotions seem to have a lot more power or influence."

 

The subjects of the studies did more than complete questionnaires. Researchers videotaped discussions each couple had about what occurred that day, a topic of ongoing conflict, and a pleasant topic. They analyzed the verbal and nonverbal content of their interaction during the talks and again at a later time when the partners viewed the tape individually. The researchers also collected an array of physiological data, including heart rate, during the conversations.


Homosexual couples were recruited in the San Francisco Bay area and they filled out a questionnaire that assessed relationship satisfaction. Forty pairs – 12 happy gay couples, 10 unhappy gay couples, 10 happy lesbian couples and 8 unhappy lesbian couples – were chosen to participate in the study. The comparison sample of married couples was drawn from a larger study that recruited couples from around Bloomington, Indiana.

It was matched in terms of age, marital satisfaction, education and income to the homosexual couples and consisted of 20 happy and 20 unhappy couples. The researchers went on to collect data for 12 years on the relationships of the homosexual couples. By then eight couples (20 percent) – one gay and seven lesbian – had broken up. This rate, if projected over a 40-year period, would be almost 64 percent, which is similar to the 67 percent divorce rate for first marriages among heterosexual couples of the same time span.


The research found that high levels of cardiovascular arousal among straight couples during a conflict predicted lower relationship satisfaction and higher risk for relationship dissolution. The reverse was actually true with homosexual couples. With gays and lesbians, low physiological arousal was related to these negative outcomes.

 

The gay and lesbian couples talked more openly about topics such as monogamy and sex. Heterosexual avoided talking about sex. This may be because their sexuality is already an issue when they deal with a largely heterosexual world. The authors content that such open and honest communication may improve the relationships of heterosexual couples.


(From Leonard Holmes PhD, Journal of Homosexuality)

 


LGBT Relationship Resources
 

Gay Dating Sites

Alternatives to Marriage

LGBT Domestic Violence & Abuse
LGBT Scotland Relationship Advice
Family Institute: Tips for LGBT Couples & Families
Internet Resource Guide for the LGBT Community
Amazing Dreams Publishing Co.
Bi The Way: Lesbigay Resources
Queer Theory: Queer Families
In The Family
Story Digest

UCSB Sex Info
Gay Law Net
Handy Dandy Relationship Advice
Gay Love And Sex Advice
Quote Cache: Love
Whispy: Gay Relationship Advice
Queer Theory: Relationship Resources

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama