Hello everyone, and welcome to Exiting the A.S.A.P. Lane! Among the social issues that have faced America over the past several decades, few are equal to that involving the rights of the LGBTQ community. The Supreme Court decision, legalizing gay marriage in 2015, finally resolved the legal issues around gay marriage. Citing the Equal Protection clause and the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the court ruled that same-sex couples had the “fundamental right to marry” and that those rights extended to all 50 states. While this decision was widely celebrated among those who felt that this decision was long overdue, it by no means put to rest the much broader issue of discrimination, including acts of violence.
This podcast series deals with the issue of stress and anxiety that so many find debilitating and difficult to deal with. This is an issue at the personal level and the society level that remains extremely stressful, anxiety-producing and divisive.
I want to thank T. J. Stiga, a family friend for agreeing to be my guest on this topic. He didn’t make the decision to appear and tell his life story lightly. Needless to say, when telling one’s life story requires resurrecting unpleasant memories going all the way back to childhood, and doing it in a public forum like this, it is a decision not made without consternation.
Welcome, T.J. and thanks for agreeing to be here today.
- As you know, one of the fundamental issues that always comes up in this discussion, is whether this is a chosen lifestyle, or one determined by everyone’s genetic makeup? You’re now 47 years old, when you think back on your childhood teen years, please talk about your sexuality and how it evolved?
- Have you ever felt any sexual attraction to women?
- You’ve told me about being bullied in school and the damage this did to your self-esteem and the feeling of not being worthy. There’s an old adage that none of us ever get out of high school. Are you still dealing with any of the teen-age years stuff?
- Have you officially come out to family and friends?
- There is a certain stereotypes about gay bars, please talk about that, and how that helped you deal with the “bullying and browbeating” that still continued, but, became a little more manageable after that?
- Please talk about the differences you’ve observed between gay men and lesbians and how lesbians often play a protective role?
- In terms of stress and anxiety, you had the added burden of your father dying when you were 7 and your mother marrying a man who verbally abusive to you, your mother and your sister.