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When one embarks on a career providing mental health crisis support services, there are plenty of warnings. Most of them are to do with self-care and boundaries. And for the most part, I am pretty good at sticking to the safe side of the boundaries. I use my own support services to debrief and supervise. I set limits on what I can do for people. I have my tried and true strategies for self-care.

One of my self-care routines is driving. I love to drive alone. The commute between home and office is an important part of my self-care. I talk to my imaginary audience - a client, a friend, an interviewer, the characters in a story. I replay conversations, discuss the conversations. It's my own private therapy session, and the therapist always says exactly the right thing. In fact the only time I had a bad reaction was that one time my husband drove me home. Without my alone time I didn't process that shift properly, and it hung around for days.

Recently I drove for two days to reach my friend in crisis. I stayed a few days, and drove another two days home. Not a long trip, but I had to get back for my son's birthday.

I thought the drive would be long enough.

Twenty minutes between the office and home has always been enough. No matter the trauma and tragedy, twenty minutes is enough to process it and be singing before I reach my driveway.

I did a lot of singing.

I don't know how long I would need to drive for this one. I broke every rule. There were no boundaries, no barriers. It isn't over yet.

It's different when it's personal. This isn't a client. It isn't even a friend, not in the usual sense. I didn't hold my clients when they were a few hours old. I didn't pick my friends up from school, juggling car seats and strollers and more children than I'm used to.

I usually talk with adults. I usually say things like, "Okay, I'm really worried. Can we make a plan to keep you safe?" No matter the crisis, an adult controls their own destiny. I can help them make choices, I can help them work out what they need to do.

I have never before said, "I'm going to do whatever I have to do to keep you safe. You did your job by telling me. Now I'm going to do my job as the adult, by keeping you safe."

It's LGBT Pride Month. I'm bisexual. Yes, I'm married to a man! Doesn't make me less bisexual.

I still - still! - keep seeing fairly well-meaning people say, "But why do we need Pride? Why isn't there a Straight Month?"

(Warning: F-bombs ahoy!)

Look, darlings. Every single month is straight month. Straight people don't get banned from public restrooms. Straight people don't get beaten and left on fences to die because they dared love someone of the opposite sex. Straight people don't have to commonly worry about being cornered by bullies and aggressively accused of being called a "trap" simply because they were walking down a public street (that has happened to a friend of mine - she was walking down the street minding her own biz when a bunch of dudes decided to threaten her because of her appearance. She was afraid she was gonna die.)

The "why can't we all just get along instead of doing this whole Pride month" thing I keep hearing is nice, but the "let's just get along" part has not happened in the whole history of the U.S. LGBT people have been beaten, castrated, murdered, tortured, every goddamn terrible thing you can think of. And there's still plenty of folks out there who want to do it now. Denying gay couples wedding cakes is just the tip of the iceberg of awfulness.

And yeah, we do need the flaming gay boys in thongs and glitter being out and loud and in people's faces in the Pride parade. We need the middle-aged dykes on their motorbikes. We need the bears flexing in their leather. We need trans folks and genderfluid folks and everybody else in the QUILTBAG dancing and skating and singing and making themselves very, very visible.

You know why?

Because there's nothing fucking wrong with it, first.

There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. It.

If thine eye offend thee ... well, you know the rest.

But second, if people get used to see flaming, glittery gay boys in thongs and leather bears and everyone else? They're not gonna be scandalized by a couple of women sharing a kiss in public or a couple of elderly men holding hands. They're not going to bat an eye at someone who is genderqueer, or who is in early gender transition and doesn't perform their gender according to cis standards. And these are things that should not be scandalous, but are. The flaming gays of the world are out there pushing the envelope and making it safe for other people to just low-key exist in public. And, right now, with all the neo-Nazis and bigots making themselves loud and visible, that's extremely necessary.

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