Living In The South Begs The Question: What Even Is Fall?

Living In The South Begs The Question: What Even Is Fall?

Fall, I know you exist. Send a girl a sign.

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Fall is one of those times of year where I become so excited, I can practically feel the cinnamon spice in my veins, but every single year, I am immensely disappointed. Why? Because I am cursed with living in the south.

Fall doesn't exist here. It's this mythical being that we read about in books and see in movies but have never actually experienced. Fall is the unicorn of the seasons, the one that we all wish for but never get to see. When everyone is supposed to frolicking in pumpkin patches and breaking out the sweaters, southerners are wearing as little clothing as possible and breaking out in a sweat instead.

It sucks, it's hellish, and oh my god can fall please get here already?!

To me, fall is the most beautiful season and the fact that I don't even really get to experience it makes me both irritated and sad at the same time. In the south, we are lucky if we get maybe one week of fall. Usually, the weather goes from straight from summer to winter. Why do I have to miss out on a season that is known for its beautiful colors, amazing weather, and just overall ambiance? Why do southerners get the crap end of the stick?

We're already dealing with the humidity, the traffic, and the pollen, so Mother Nature, can you please help a girl out and SEND ME SOME FALL WEATHER? Please and thank you, ma'am.

You might think I am being dramatic and over exaggerating but while you northerners are cannonballing into piles of leaves and enjoying a hot cup of coffee, I am still wearing shorts, still sweating, and still VERY disappointed.

All I'm asking for is some weather that is below eighty degrees. I think we have all deserved this, don't you think?

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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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'Baby, It's Cold Outside,' Let's Find Something To Keep This Relationship Hot

Best ways to keep your relationship hot when it's cold outside.

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December is coming around and so are the holidays. Here are some great ideas to keeping your relationship spicy and hot while its cold outside.

1. Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate

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It's so cold outside and after a nice time ice skating with your boo thing, grab some hot chocolate and warm up. Ice skating is the perfect time to see if your baby's got you. Literally, if he's there for you when you fall.

2. Fireplace & Smores/Indoor Picnics

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Nothing beats sitting by the fireplace and spending some quality time while making smores. Yummy! That sounds delicious as it is. But we don't have to just eat smores. How about a romantic picnic at the comfort of your home around the fireplace? You don't have to go outside for a picnic! Food for thought?

3. Tree Decorating & Holiday Music

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You can't not decorating a Christmas tree with your significant other. Tree decorating gets you in the Christmas spirit. What comes after the tree is Christmas music, so it's time to get in the Christmas spirit. Also, holiday music just adds a little jazz. For example, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

4. See The Lights

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Go see the lights. They're always beautiful and it's always a great time to see them with someone you care significantly about. It will be cold if you plan to walk around, but you be my guest. It can be a bonding time while you walk. Just make sure to pack some gloves and a hefty jacket. But I am sure you can drive through certain neighborhoods in your car.

5. Christmas Movies & Chill

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There are so many Christmas movies out there and Netflix always has some available. Now, my favorite would have to be the new one out, "Princess Switches" or, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." There is nothing better than just relaxing in your own home and just chilling with the one you love.

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