The Tip Of The Iceberg

The Tip Of The Iceberg

Living to be more than the 10% people see.

People are like icebergs.

People are indeed like icebergs not just because a part of them is hidden but more so of just how much of them is hidden.

When you look at icebergs (or in my case at least pictures of them) you only see 10% because the ice has 90% of the water’s density. Beneath the surface, there's a buttload of ice chilling and undiscovered.

Think about how that applies to us, humans.

Let’s be upfront with the fact that not everyone shows their full 100% self to others. I know for a fact I don’t. I don’t show my full 100 because that means not only am I showing who I am during the times I feel the most pretty and strong but when I am feeling ugly and vulnerable.

I didn’t typically share those moments because that is not how I wanted to portray myself. I didn’t want people to see someone who is painfully shy and insecure. Even in college, I didn't want people to see a girl who sometimes wished she could just hop in the car and drive home when life got tough.

I didn't want people to see the girl I felt like I was.

At least before I started writing, I didn’t. Before I started writing and revealing different pieces of who I am, I wanted to be perfect. I still do. I want to be well-liked, to make little mistakes, and to feel flawless. The more I write the more I start to reveal myself and the less scared I am to do it in person.

I know I am not alone when it comes to displaying the very best side of myself. Come on, don’t we all? I mean look at social media posts like on Instagram.

The typical photo supposed to show off our best side whether that be a nice thing we did for someone or how hot we look on the beach. Either way like to show people that our lives are #GOALS worthy. We filter, we tweak, and we retake pictures to give off an air of perfection.

Personally, I know people from back home who felt like their freshman year was hard and it was a rough time for them. Until I asked, I would have never been able to tell.

Now, you don't have to post how miserable you are if life sucks at the moment. If anything maybe staying off social media could help unless you need to reach out to someone then do it to get help.

I can't help but think that seeing people live the "perfect" life does more damage than good to someone struggling. When I'm having a bad day I stay far away from social media because it only makes me feel like I'm doing things wrong thus worsening my day.

Part of what I am trying to get across is don't assume that just because someone's Instagram is aesthetic or their pics are bomb AF that they don't have struggles. That's not really fair to them because you're assuming they don't have their own problems. And for the sake of being real, we all have our own things we carry with us. That's okay, it makes you human.

If you don't have a single care in the world then keep on keepin' on, girl.

The other point I want to get across is to make sure you're taking time to get to know those people around you. Whether it be a classmate, a sorority sister, or someone you volunteer with. Put in some work. I challenge you to engage in more self-disclosure and less selfie exposure.

Self-disclosure is when we open up to each other about ourselves, share information and slowly get to know each other for who we really are. Thus building relationships on a foundation of trust. We get relationships that can last because it's more than just a shallow "Hey, how are ya" in passing or likes and "yas queens" on photos.

When we engage in self-disclosure we begin to push the rest of our iceberg out of the water.

Cover Image Credit: Becca Steele

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9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

The rainbow flag is certainly the most recognizable, but it isn't the only Pride Flag there is.

It's Pride Month yet again and fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating. Normally around this time of year, we expect to see that all-too-familiar rainbow colored flag waving through the air, hanging from windows and sported on clothing of all types. Even when not strictly a flag, the colors of the rainbow are often displayed when showing support of the larger queer community. But what many people do not realize is that there are many, many pride flags for orientations of all kinds, so Natasha and I (Alana Stern) have created this handy guide to some others that you may not yet be familiar with:

1. L is for Lesbian and G is for Gay

The most recognizable letters of the entire acronym, L (Lesbian) and G (Gay), represent the homosexual people of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is defined as being exclusively sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Again, although the rainbow Pride flag is easily the most iconic and recognizable, there is a Lesbian Pride Flag as well. Specifically for "Lipstick Lesbians," this flag was made to represent homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression. Here are the Lesbian Pride Flag (left) and Gay Pride Flag with the meaning of each stripe (right).

2. B is for Bisexual

Bisexuality is defined as the romantic and/or sexual attraction towards both males and females. They often go unacknowledged by people who believe that they cannot possibly feel an attraction for both sexes and have been called greedy or shamed in many ways for being who they are, but not this month. This month we recognize everyone and their right to love. Here is the flag and symbol that represents the big B!

3. T is for Transgender (Umbrella)

Gender identities are just as diverse as sexual orientations. Transgender people are people whose gender does not necessarily fall in line with their biological sex. That is to say, someone who is born male may not feel that calling oneself a man is the best way to describe who they are as a person; the same can go for someone who is born female or intersex (we'll get to that in a bit). Someone born female may feel that they prefer to be referred to as a man. Someone born male may feel that they don't mind being referred to as either a man or a woman. And someone may feel that neither term really fits. Identities can range from having no gender, to multiple genders, to having a gender that falls outside of the typical gender binary of man/woman, to anything in between. The colors of the flag are blue (the traditional color for boys), pink (the traditional color for girls) and white (to represent those who are intersex, transitioning, or have a gender that is undefined).

Okay! Here's where we get into the lesser-known letters of the acronym. You may have heard of some of these before but didn't quite know what they meant or how they fit into the larger queer community, or you may not have heard of them at all. Either way, we'll do our best to explain them!

4. I is for Intersex

Intersex people are people who are have a mix of characteristics (whether sexual, physical, strictly genetic or some combination thereof) that would classify them as both a male and a female. This can include but is not limited to having both XX and XY chromosomes, having neither, being born with genitalia that does not fit within the usual guidelines for determining sex and appearing as one sex on the outside but another internally. It is possible for intersex people to display the characteristics from birth, but many can go years without realizing it until examining themselves further later in life. Here is an older version of the intersex flag which utilizes purple, white, blue and pink (left) and a more recent one that puts an emphasis on more gender-neutral colors, purple and yellow (right).

5. A is for Aro-Ace Spectrum

The A in the acronym is usually only defined as Asexual, which is a term used to describe people who experience a lack of sexual attraction to any sex, gender, or otherwise. People who are asexual can still engage in healthy romantic relationships, they just don't always feel the need or have the desire to have sex and are not physically attracted to other people. If that's confusing, think of it this way: you are attracted women, but not men. You may see a man and think, "He's kind of cute" or "That's a pretty good-looking guy," but you still would not feel any desire towards that person, because that's not what you're into. Asexual people generally feel that way about everyone. That's the "Ace" half of "Aro-Ace."

"Aro," or Aromantic, is a term used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction. Aromantic people still have healthy platonic relationships, but have no inclination towards romantic love. The reason Asexual and Aromantic are together is because they are very heavily entwined and oftentimes can overlap. Underneath that spectrum are also other variations of asexuality (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are asexual but experience sexual attraction in very rare circumstances, or only after they have a romantic connection) and aromanticism (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are aromantic but experience romantic attraction in very rare circumstances).

Below are two versions of the Aromantic Pride Flag (top and middle) and the Asexual Pride Flag (bottom).

6. P and O are for Panseuxal and Omnisexual

Pansexual and omnisexual people are not limited by gender preferences. They are capable of loving someone for who they are and being sexually attracted to people despite what gender their partner identifies as. The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan-", meaning all. Pansexuals or Omnisexuals will probably settle for whoever wins their heart regardless of that persons gender.

7. But what about the Q?!

The Q can be said to stand for Queer or Questioning, or both. "Queer" is more of a blanket term for people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or who identify as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (a term that has come to describe people who feel that their gender does fall in line with their biological sex; i.e. someone born male feels that he is a man). It is also possible for someone to identify as queer, but avoid using it to refer to specific people unless you know they are okay with it; some people still consider it insulting. Questioning means exactly what it sounds like: it gives a nod to those who are unsure about their sexuality and/or gender identity or who are currently in the process of exploring it.

There's no one flag specifically for the letter Q, as all of the above sexualities and identities technically fall underneath this term.

This list is hardly comprehensive and there are a number of other flags, orientations and identities to explore. Pride Month is still going strong, and there's always more to learn about the ever-changing nature of sexuality as a whole and the way we understand it. It's a time for celebration, but also a time to educate and spread the word.

For a more in-depth description of different types of attraction and how they work, click here.

For more complete lists of gender identities throughout history, click here or here.

For a general list of commonly used words in the LGBTQ+ community and their definitions, click here.

Now go grab a flag and fly it high--you've got a ton to choose from!

Cover Image Credit: 6rang

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I'm Straight And I Love And Support Pride Month

You don't have to identify with the movement to support it.


In honor of Pride month, I felt like it should be addressed that while you may not be a part of the LGBTQ+ movement directly, you can still support it just as much.

In fact, you could not be an identifier of any marginalized group, but you could still provide the protection and support they deserve.

Many refer to this support as being an "ally" or using your privilege as an advantaged or privileged demographic in America to spread awareness and protection for this marginalized group.

It doesn't require much, you may not even immediately support the cause, but having an open mind and an open heart are your first tools.

Simple things such as posting your support for their movement or reading up on articles and news about the movement mean so much to the people involved. As a marginalized or oppressed group in America, their voice may always be loud but may not always be heard. Using your platform and ability as an "accepted" part of society, such as a cis male or female, not only makes the people of the movement feel accepted but also raises their voices to be heard.

If you're feeling extra supportive, attend an event or a parade.

Almost all of the Pride parades are about acceptance and celebrating identities, and while you may not directly relate to the cause, attendance may change your life. You may meet people you never thought you'd be friends with, or you might lose preconceptions about those who identify as LGBTQ+. Ultimately, educating yourself about the particular marginalized group will create yet another voice that will hopefully make the change they are seeking for their community.

I do not have any personal reason to support Pride and the LGBTQ+ community besides believing every human deserves respect and love. I do know people who identify with the community and they have become some of my best friends, but I have always supported equality in love.

Pride month is special to me as a cis black woman because I believe every identity deserves a chance in the world. The beauty of the month being so powerfully celebrated shows me that while we are slowly making social progress, our strides are not going unnoticed and the bigger the Pride parades get, the bigger the movement gets.

So, as we celebrate Pride month, remember: you can be straight and still love and support the movement.

You can protect and promote the people within it so their voices are heard and they receive the change they are looking for. You can support the movement and many other movements you may feel you do not fit into.

Happy Pride!

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