There Is One Group Being Left Out Of The Sexual Assault Conversation

There Is One Group Being Left Out Of The Sexual Assault Conversation

In the age of the #MeToo movement, some people are being left out of the sexual assault discourse.


When we talk or think about sexual assault, we only tend to think about cisgender women, but we often forget about men, the LGBTQ community, especially trans people, and that sexual assault happens to them too.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, forty-seven percent of trans people experienced sexual assault at some point in their life.

Earlier this year, Rose McGowan, an actress and feminist, was confronted by a trans woman about her comments about trans women about not being like "regular women" during an interview that she did on RuPaul's "What's the Tea," in July 2017. During the outburst, the trans woman said: "We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often." As of 2015, Twenty-one percent of TGQN (Transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to eighteen percent of non-TGQN females and four percent of non-TGQN males, according to Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

McGowan responded, "Hold on. So am I. We are the same. My point was, we are the same. There's an entire show called ID channel, a network, dedicated to women getting abused, murdered, sexualized, violated, and you're a part of that, too, sister. It's the same,"

The trans woman then said: "You do nothing for them. Trans women are in men's prisons. And what have you done for them?"

McGowan stated, "What have you done for women?"

It then turned into a shouting match and the trans woman was removed from the Barnes and Noble, where they were, by security.

The transwoman shouted, "cis white feminist."

McGowan got angry and started shouting about not putting labels on her.

However, the moral of the story is: Rose McGowan is a cis white feminist. She does not do anything to support trans women, but she yelled about how women and trans women are the same only after her previous comments against trans women.

The fact of the matter is, feminism is not for marginalized identities, but when confronted, it claims to support everyone.

This situation makes Rose McGowan look bad because she was one of the faces of the #MeToo movement, a movement created by a Black woman with the intent of including every identity.

Men are also affected by sexual assault. According to National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, about three percent of American males or 1 in 33 have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

Terry Crews, a former NFL Player and current actor, talked about being sexually assaulted in 2016 by a Hollywood agent in front of his wife. Crews, who supports the #MeToo movement says, "This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture."

As a society, we need to support everyone because sexual assault is real, and it affects everybody. It is a huge issue and there is no room to exclude anyone from standing what they believe is right also to stand for justice.

Terry Crews details alleged sexual assault by Hollywood talent agent

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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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Being A Bystander Is Just As Bad As Being The Predator

To see the bystander effect in real life, watch "Surviving R. Kelly" and see how damaging it can be to relationships with friends and families and then get back to me.


I will admit that I am late to the party of watching "Surviving R. Kelly" that premiered on Lifetime and if you're like me and late, let me fill you in. A docu-series consisting of six episodes (all very disturbing episodes) that recounts the abuse (physical, mental, and sexual) from multiple women who are openly sharing their stories of, well basically surviving ongoing abuse from R&B; singer, R. Kelly. The series features the survivors, old tour buddies, and old friends alike.

Many people in the docu-series said they recognized the predatory behavior that R. Kelly exhibited, like seeing underaged girls lounging around the studio or having girls sent to his house in private.

Demetrius Smith recalled that because he (and others) worked for him, they had to do whatever he wanted. A music executive said that he would see these girls and see that they looked young, but he never bothered to ask how old they were or even ask for identification. His ex-wife (and survivor) Andrea Kelly made a good point by saying that he had to have people helping him because he was too busy doing video shoots and recording songs for his albums. Musician Sparkle recounted an executive saying that he didn't care that R. Kelly was on a tape (that featured him doing repulsive things to a minor who just so happened to be her niece), he, being R. Kelly, was too expensive to lose.

Just by hearing these things, I saw that he surrounded himself with people who chose to not intervene and watched these girls, who were as young as 12 years old at the time, be abused by a man twice their age and nobody bothered to check him; nobody bothered to help these children.

I don't know about you, but that makes my stomach turn over and I get sick thinking about how grown-ups are enabling this to happen - how grown-ups are abetting human trafficking.

In my opinion, they are just as sick as R. Kelly.

If they had spoken up, multiple girls would be at home with their parents - in a loving and caring environment - and not in a prison cell waiting to be abused. They wouldn't have to worry about when they would eat next or hold their inner fluids because they were told when to go to the restroom (which just so happened to be a bucket in the corner of the room). They don't get how dehumanizing that makes a person feel because I felt like crap watching these women talk about their experience. I got so upset at one part of hearing how the employees and friends would turn a blind eye that I had to get up and walk away from the television. Needless to say, I am disgusted by not only R. Kelly's actions, but the people who helped him run his cult - his prison.

The bystander effect is real and it happens far too often, not just in the cases of R. Kelly.

People witness abuse every day and choose to say nothing (not believing someone is also enabling the behavior, just FYI). People dismiss stories and accounts of abuse daily and that's why so many live in fear, stay silent, and suffer alone. If there is a group of four or more people around someone who is being abused (or know someone who is being abused), the likeliness of them stepping in and helping is 31%. I don't know about you, but those numbers are far too low for only four or more people to intervene.

You can have as many self-defense classes as you want or implement Good Samaritan laws, that does not change the fact that far too many cover abuse or enable the continuation of abuse. People blame the victims for putting up with the abuse, but it's not as easy as packing a bag and walking away. There is a psychological block that they feel (especially if they have children) that prevents them from leaving. Statistics show that it takes a woman up to 7 times to finally leave an abuser. The bystander effect is real and it's a problem. Being a bystander may be the equivalent to being the abuser; you do nothing, say nothing, and allow for someone to be hurt repeatedly.

Help bring an end to abuse and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

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