Having A Holiday Birthday: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Having A Holiday Birthday: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

For all you unfortunate holiday babes, this article explains our struggle to the more fortunate normal birthday types.
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So, unfortunately, some of us happened to be born around the holidays. The time of the year where everyone is frantic. October is full of making costumes, carving pumpkins, decorating, scary movies and candy galore. Not birthdays. November is cooking, cooking and more cooking, family visits, preparations for Christmas, Black Friday sales, and if you're from the south, Iron Bowl. Not birthdays. December is caroling, baking, Christmas movies, decorating the tree and hanging stockings, more family visits, shopping, wrapping presents, Hallmark movies and Christmas parades. Not birthdays. And, to end the chaos, New Year's Eve, and then into January, New Year's Day, which is parties, traveling and more time with family. Not Birthdays.

However, in all the hustle and bustle of these crazy months, some of us were born. I myself was born on January 2. For many years, I have endured the late Happy Birthday wishes, usually a few days after New Year's when people return from trips, or recover from NYE hangovers. I have given up on birthday parties after awkwardly sitting at Chuck E. Cheese's with my close family and the one friend who showed up, as a child. I've smiled politely as friends use the "this is your Christmas/Birthday present" excuse to keep them from buying me two gifts, even though they receive two from me. Since my birthday is also in the freezing cold part of the year, I also never got to experience the coveted pool party. All these "consequences" of having a birthday near the major holidays have just become the usual for me.

Even though there is a definite downside to having a birthday near the holiday season, there are a few perks. For the few friends who are especially nice, I get a Christmas present in December, and then two weeks or so later, I get a birthday present. The holiday season is my favorite time of year, so my birthday being around this time makes it even better. Also, since my birthday is at the most unfortunate time of the year, my family always goes the extra mile to make it more fun, like better presents, The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and shopping at my favorite outlets.

Since unfortunately science has not advanced enough to allow us to choose our birthdays (I kid), us holiday babies are stuck where we're at. It is definitely annoying at times, but it's not all horrible. So to all you holiday kiddos, Merry-hallo-thanks-new years-birthday!

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Moore

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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Reality Check: Snowy Winters Are Not As Magical As You Think They Are

Yes, it's white but no, you don't want to move to the north and shovel it alone.

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If you're from the North where you get hit by inches upon inches of snowfall every year your most had at one time enjoyed it due to the fact you could have a snowball fight, make angels or even attempt to make an igloo (If you ever successfully done that please teach me how) or most of all when school was canceled, delayed or dismissed early because the street where not in great condition.

If you are from a state that receives little to no snow every year you most likely have a different picture of what it like. Which may be like not being able to see the grass and having your version of Frosty the Snowman on your front yard where you dug up rocks and sticks and grabbed someone in your family scarves and hat because you didn't want the snowman to be cold. That when that is all done and your cheeks are rosy red and you just now starting to lose a little feeling in your fingers you finally head inside and enjoy a hot cocoa which may have some mini marshmallow or a candy cane while sitting near the fire under a fuzzy blanket to become warm once again before going out and doing it all again until your school decides to open up again.

I'm sorry to break it to you but most of the time it's not going to be anything like it. Most of us wish it would be but it sadly can`t.

What really happens when its snow is sometimes it is too cold to even go outside and do anything. Or it is not the right type of snow where you cannot build anything as it will not stay how you wanted it. The snow doesn't magically move, so you are probably going to be the one shoveling its meaning after a while your back will probably going to hurt from the repetitive motion and picking up something heavy and throwing it.

Yes, snow can be heavy especially after lifting up a lot at one time. After shoveling it once you may have to go out at least three more times during the day and repeat it depending on how hard the snow coming down. And after that, you will need to throw down either rock salt or cat litter to help melt the ice underneath or give you some traction when walking so you don't fall. Yes, those videos of people falling from ice are hilarious to watch but if you're the one who fell you probably won't be laughing. And those days off of school you will either make up during your spring break, other days off the school was going to give you or your last day will be pushed back until you reach 180 days.

So, before you go your so lucky to have snow and it must be so fun to play in or you probably get great photos because it looks so pretty. (I will agree to get great photos).

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