Bound Blog (249)

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:48

Meet Laura: A Short Story (Part 3)

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We’d known each other for ten years. We’d been lovers, in the privacy of our own homes and out and proud in the small gay clubs we were able to sneak off to every once in a while. It was a whole new world with her. A world neither of us ever wanted to end. We’d met by a fluke. I’d had a business meeting at a local restaurant and my partner had gotten food poisoning the night before. She’d elected Laura to take her place. I’d never met her before, and wasn’t too happy about having someone who’d barely been on the job a few weeks take on such a huge client.

When she walked in, she took my breath away. She was stunning in every sense of the word and it terrified me more than anything else I’d ever encountered in my life. I didn’t like women – not like that. As friends? Of course. But the way she was making me feel, the wetness I could feel on the inside of my thigh? No, that simply did not happen. She’d later come to tell me she felt the same way about me, but at the time, the moment she opened her mouth, I was annoyed with her. She talked too much about things that didn’t matter. It was obvious she hadn’t gone over a single proposal, and she even called the client by the wrong name. I hated Angela for sending her. I had half a mind to fire her, but as fate would have it, we ended up working together a lot after that (much to my disapproval). Yet, she had a way about her that, as much as I tried to deny it, I wanted to be close to her. I wanted to find out more about her and when I did, I couldn’t help but fall in love with her.

What was I supposed to do without her now? I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t get out of bed. My husband left me and he took everything we owned. I didn’t try to fight him. I didn’t care about any of it. He could have it. What did it matter to me? Her funeral came and went and still, I didn’t get out of bed. I was made aware the day before it that I was not welcomed and if I came, they would have me thrown out. I couldn’t even say goodbye to her properly. Oh, how I hated it. How I hated everyone who ever lived for absolutely no good reason at all, but at least I had her memory.

It’s been a few years since then and like with anything, time makes it a little easier to deal with. I still keep the last picture we’d taken on my nightstand. I still go to our favorite places. In a way, she’s not really gone for me. Not emotionally. Not spiritually. In the quiet of the night, I can still sense her around me, though in an entirely different way than when she was alive. Still, it’s enough for me. I live a quiet life now. I don’t travel in the same social circles. I’ve met new friends. I have a new house. A new neighborhood. A new life. But the one thing that hasn’t changed, and will probably never change, is my love for her. My Laura.

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:26

That’s Not Very Lady-Like

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(Originally published on APRIL 10, 2013 on http://www.kathryncloward.com)
By: Kathryn Cloward

That's not very lady-like

I am a mother of a son. The messages that my son is exposed to about femininity and masculinity matter to me greatly. I want him to know that it’s totally okay to wear purple if he wants to, and experience the freedom to cry unashamedly when he’s upset. I desire for him to know that some girls (like his own mother) have dreams that don’t include becoming a princess, and courageous and fearless women don’t usually carry swords or wear capes.

And what could easily be the most important point to make, I want him to understand that a cotton tracksuit is a fabulous choice of attire when seeking an outfit that ranks high on the scale of comfort and ease of movement. I mean who really thinks that it is a favorable idea to gallop on a horse wearing a micro-mini dress with a sweetheart cut neckline? If you purchase anything above a training bra you know exactly what I’m talking about.

When I was growing up I heard more times than I can count, “Kathryn, that’s not very lady-like.”

Says who????? That’s what I always wanted to know!

Like nails on a chalkboard, the phrase “lady-like” has come to represent the billboard of everything that I was being molded and shaped into, without my natural consent.

I was always so confused by the lady-like checklist because if I was acting “unladylike,” I certainly didn’t know it. That is, until I was told otherwise. Since my scope of awareness and influence was basically through my three older brothers and their pack of friends who were in-and-out of our house all of the time, I really had no idea that it was not okay for me to join their belching contests, or play tag-team wrestling on our brown shag carpet. I looked up to my brothers. I wanted to be like my brothers, so that meant acting like them.

But I guess, as I often found out, a lady doesn’t act that way…

I think it is important to point out that I was not a “tom-boy.” Not even close. If I had to slap a label on myself, I was quite “girly.” When I reached high school, I recall a few of my friends referring to themselves as tom-boys. But that wasn’t me. However, I wasn’t scoring favorable on the “lady” checklist either.

I had no idea how to be a lady, until I was told that whatever I was doing was not the right way to behave. So I became an expert in absorbing what’s appropriate for a lady, based on whether I was being reprimanded or not. Oh, and you should be aware that I did not grow up in the British monarchy. I was raised in a middle-class tri-level home in the suburbs of San Diego, California. Just saying…

Over the years I have discovered that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with this lady-like concept. One of my friends was sent to charm school to learn proper manners and etiquette. She by far has the best table manners of anyone I know. In fact, to this day she eats with her pinky stretched out as straight as a ruler. It catches me off guard because I know of no one else who eats that way. And contrary to her father’s best intentions for molding her into the perfect feminine package as defined by his point of view, she opted out of “feminine sports” like tennis (really?) as her father hoped, and excelled as one of the best softball players I know. I am sure when she joined the Army her dad had a coronary because camouflage fatigues were most certainly not on his lady-like checklist.

But in my mom’s pursuit to make sure that I sat with my legs crossed and didn’t talk with my mouth full, she was purposeful in making sure my role models embodied feminist woman. I was not allowed to play with Barbie’s because she was not a realistic toy. I seldom watched TV, except for two hours per week (house rules), and I never watched animated princess-themed movies. The books I was encouraged to read were biographies of trailblazing women like Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie. I was encouraged to be an athlete and I excelled at sports with very little effort, and I had no desire to dance on the sidelines and root for the boys on the field.

My mom was purposeful in helping me understand that I could be anything I wanted to be and do anything I wanted to do, as long as I worked hard and had a positive attitude.

So I grew up to be a somewhat lady-like, self-motivated trailblazing mom who is passionate about empowering children. I want to nurture boys with the vision that they can dream of one day being at-home dads raising children, teachers of arts and music, or builders of skyscrapers; and girls can dream of one day being CEOs of corporations, writers and publishers of children’s books, or motorcycle riding circus performers.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing too outrageously unrealistic with wanting to be a princess, because apparently that still happens. Just ask Kate Middleton.

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 16:58

Shannon Wentworth

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Shannon WentworhShannon Wentworth is the CEO and founder of Sweet, a lesbian travel company that combines making the world a better place with having the time of your life. Her passion for service transcends her work, as she is an enthusiastic supporter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, the Galapagos Conservancy, the Humane Society, Sports for Kids, Sierra Mono Indian Museum, Save the Children, Human Rights Campaign and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. On top of everything, she is a mom to a three-month-old baby.

BOUND caught up with Shannon before the fall travel season takes over. First up for Sweet will be week-long getaway to Playacar Resort, featuring entertainment by comedians, musicians, plus yoga with "Elena Undone" star Traci Dinwiddie and a poker tourney for charity with actor Cathy DeBuono ("And Then Came Lola").

What was the genesis of the idea to combine lesbian travel with volunteerism and social/environmental advocacy?

I'd traveled all over the world with another travel company. It always struck me how in these tourist towns, all over the world, there's extreme poverty in the shadow of prosperity. I felt helpless to change that in an 8-hour port visit or during a luxury, all-inclusive indulgence fest. When I started Sweet, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to find a way to give back on vacation that would leave people feeling inspired and wanting to engage more. Sweet finds ways to help women, children, animals and the environment wherever we go.

We've pulled hundreds of bags of trash from beaches. We've helped at animal shelters, wildlife refuges, community centers, schools, battered women's shelters and hospitals. By planning in advance and working with local community organizations, we figure out how to make the biggest impact we can in a short amount of time. Because we have so many amazing and motivated women with us, we can repaint a school or an animal shelter in no time. It's our signature blend of debauchery and do-goodery.

I actually gave a TEDx talk about this topic.

Describe the women that take a Sweet Vacation. In a word:

Wow. The women who travel with us are incredible. We have such diversity in age, economic status and education level, but we attract the nicest, most open and loving people you can imagine. People really connect because they are guided by a common desire to make the world a better place, whether that's by smiling when they order another drink or picking trash up off a beach. Our average age is 39, but it runs the spectrum from 18 to 96. Everyone connects regardless of age. I love seeing the friendships continue via social media long after the vacation has ended.

Do you have programming for single women?

We have a singles program, so no one is ever alone unless they want to be. We encourage our guests to meet up in our Sweeties Facebook group prior to a trip so they know one another. We have dining for solos, excursions for solos, a pool section for solos and a solos coordinator or two to facilitate solos getting to know one another.

As Sweetie Heather Price said after her first Sweet experience, "'Solo' is a misnomer; you're actually traveling with friends you haven't met yet."

Where were you when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and rejected Prop 8?

I woke up to a text from HRC and grabbed my three-month-old baby and we watched the news unfold on CNN. He wiggled with extra glee that morning. It was such an incredible feeling to know that he gets to grow up and marry whomever he loves and, hopefully, without a bunch of stigma about having a lesbian mom. It's a great victory for our community.

Sweet partnered with Wolfe Video, Lesbian.com and OneGoodLove to crowdfund a donation to Freedom to Marry to continue to spread equality across the United States. We still have 37 states to go.

What, in your opinion, would be our next great victory as a community?

In addition to winning marriage in 37 more states, I think we need to have an open dialogue in schools about the LGBT community. Our LGBT youth need support. We will have really won when children can grow up feeling loved for who they are, not who they love. So many of our LGBT youth are cast out by their families and end up homeless. They are bullied for being different. They kill themselves at an alarming rate. I hope LGBT youth will see this latest victory as a reason to hold their heads higher, value themselves more and reach out for help if they need it.

Who do you admire?

No. 1, the women of Sweet. I'm so fortunate to travel with some of the most traditionally and non-traditionally accomplished women, from attorney generals and judges to successful actors, like Meredith Baxter, to women who own construction companies or run health care centers or work in hospitals or work at NASA (yeah, actual rocket scientists). Our guests really run the gamut, but they shine their bright light on whatever they do and it's so beautiful to spend time with them.

No. 2, Hillary Clinton. She's smart, brave, thick-skinned and big-hearted. I can't wait to vote for her for president.

What advice would you offer a woman struggling with coming out of the closet?

First, come on a Sweet trip and charge your battery. Second, choose a few people who you know will be supportive of you. You will need them. Remember, it took you a long time to come to this point, so give your friends and family the time and space to see the new you and deal with their own baggage. Don't apologize for who you are. You are a gift to this world. Be yourself. The people who truly love you will support you. Focus on those people. Finally, read "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. I recommend this book all the time because it really helped me to get out of my own way and be the person I want to be.

Our magazine was founded with the sole purpose to combat isolation within the lesbian community. In many ways, Sweet offers the same sense of community through travel. Can you describe the bonds and friendships women make on these trips?

Words escape me. The feeling is nearly indescribable. In a word, "glee." As one of our guests put it, "I'm a better person, friend and spouse because of Sweet. I wake up every day with a renewed excitement to live life."

Because we do community service projects, we attract the kindest, smartest, most generous women in the world. It's a very diverse group, but they are connected at the heart from the start.

Really, you need to come see for yourself.

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 16:25

Mended Hearts Adoption Consulting

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Families grown from the heart.

About:

Mended Hearts Adoption Consulting LLC provides personalized coaching for people who desire to complete their family through adoption. Long waits are attributed to choosing unethical adoption professionals, creating incomplete profiles, and being flooded with newborn adoption information. The adoption process can overwhelm you, but you do not have to be alone.

Services:

  • Develop an adoption plan
  • Select the best agencies or attorneys to assist you
  • Create profiles that expecting parents want to read
  • Give proven networking strategies
  • Provide education that will help you succeed
  • Examine each match, so that you can accept a situation with confidence
  • Support you, allowing your agency or attorney to work on completing your family

Contact:

http://mendedheartsadoption.com/

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:30

Did we kiss at St. Pete Pride?

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St. Pete Pride 2013BOUND was among the 125,000 people that partied on Central Avenue for the annual St. Pete Pride Parade and Festival. We drove up from Miami for four hours to be part of the largest pride event in the state. At our booth, we branded Pride Party-goers with temporary tattoos and chatted them up about our magazine. It was wonderful to make so many new friends.

Among our many props, we also had a kissing booth - courtesy of the handy-work of our very own Kissing Booth Captain. And, when the deluge threatened to shut down the party under our tent, we took our kissing booth from end-to-end and captured the sweetest smooches of all of Florida. Visit our event pix page to see our booth in action.

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 15:29

In a Time of Freedom, Choose a Lesbian Bar

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By: Isis Martinez
@IsisMiami

Remember the days when there were not one, but three different lesbian bars to choose from on a Friday and Saturday night?

In some ways I think our desegregation within straight society may be reducing our need to go to gay establishments. Women kept the bars open before because there was nowhere else we could hold hands and dance the night away together.

The decline of the lesbian club scene is apparent and surprising to many who come to vacation in Miami, expecting a city thriving with lesbian bars and instead they spend many nights online hoping the next event coincides with their vacation. And, lesbians that live in Miami-Dade generally have to hope we’re in the mood to go dancing during the one Latin night we have or else we miss our chance to dance salsa for a whole other month.

What has happened to “our” scene? Have times just changed? Perhaps, avoiding the scene is an attempt at avoiding drama. But, the straight scene isn’t devoid of drama either. The new laws don’t do much for my comfort level at a club full of straight guys who can’t take their eyes off me and my partner and feel it’s okay to hit on us because we are women.

So, in the meantime and until further notice, I will continue supporting our local lesbian events in Miami because not having a place to go to just dance with all of my girls minus the testosterone (no offense guys), is unimaginable.

Tuesday, 09 July 2013 14:49

We opened up shop

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Oh yes we did. After getting such wonderful feedback from our silly t-shirts we decided to open up our very own t-shirt shop. We started off with just a few samples to get the ball rolling, but will introduce a whole host of new designs – one more inappropriate than the other – so check back often or “like” our Facebook page for the latest.

Here are the first four designs available now:

Keep Calm and Scissor On T-shirtKeep Calm and Scissor On - Whether you're crafty in bed or just crafty, you'll enjoy this t-shirt that's sure to make both lesbians and scrapbookers keep calm and scissor on. Available in t-shirt and tank.




One day my princess will come (At least 5 times) t-shirtOne Day My Princess Will Come (At Least 5 Times) - Remember when you were a little girl and heard Snow White sing about her Prince? And, remember when you were like that doesn't make any sense? Well, this is the shirt for you. Available in t-shirt and tank.



Snatch Whisperer T-shirtSnatch Whisperer - Are you a vaginal behavior specialist? Can you correct common problems with a "shh" and a gentle touch to the treasure chest? Then you are a Snatch Whisperer. Available in t-shirt and tank.




Lez Bro T-shirtLez Bro - Reward your brother from another mother with a high-quality tee that shows him how much you appreciate his support. Available in t-shirt and tank.



Click here to check out our store

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Thousands of “Proud” people made their way to the 2013 Stonewall Summer Pride on June 22 and 23. The party kicked off with a Twilight Parade and didn’t stop until the next day at the Sunday Night Festival and Concert. It was amazing! DJ Pat Pat was spinning at the New Moon Tent. The most talented drag queens were representing big time. Kristine W. killed it on the main stage. It was non-stop fun. Check out our event pix to see the antics that we got into.

I hope you’re enjoying Pride Month as much as we are!

Friday, 28 June 2013 16:35

Grand Opening of FLIRT @ Eros

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The grand opening of the highly anticipated weekly Girl Party at Eros was hot - not only because the air conditioner was broken, but also because it was packed to the rafters with fine women and the music had us jumping.

The hostess-with-the-mostess hottie Orchid Garcia and diva extraordinaire Lynn Bove have so much planned for the upcoming Flirt parties. For instance, future Saturdays will feature appearances by Karina Iglesias from NBC’s “The Voice,” Citizen Jane, and DJ Theresa. Check our calendar for those upcoming dates.

The dancers weren’t the same ones we see everywhere, which was certainly a treat. I can’t wait to see what other surprises are in store for us at this weekly, must-go party.

Check out the event pix and judge for yourself why you should not miss Saturdays at Flirt (Eros on Biscayne Blvd.)

Friday, 28 June 2013 16:32

Miami Day of Decision Rally

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Where were you the day the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality?

BOUND celebrated the historic day at the Miami Day of Decision Rally at the LGBT Visitor Center in South Beach. And, the intensity was too much for words to explain.

“We are all so happy for our brothers and sisters that made that step to marry and now it’s more than just a piece of paper framed on a wall,” said a rally attendee.

Every hair on my body was on end just hearing the speeches and seeing the outright support that everyone had for our community. From politicians to our straight allies, they were standing with us and for us.

Check out the pictures from the event and know that this is just the beginning, because we’re not letting up until there is marriage equality across the 50 states.

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