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22 Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House

Posted On: November 20, 2022

Did you know that one of the earliest same sex couples to be identified were two men who were loyal servants in Egypt in 2400 B.C.? When their tombs were excavated, it was discovered that they were intertwined and buried as married people are buried, nose to nose and bodies intertwined. 

This is a fun read of historic queer couples, through the passage of time, from ancient Egyptians to the White House.  Some you may have heard of or heard rumor of, others will be surprising.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Advocate(dot)com editors
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

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First Female Superintendent Takes Helm at Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point

Posted On: November 12, 2022

Another strong woman in a position of authority.  Hopefully she will also use this position to hold the institution accountable to women who have been abused.

Below is the full article...

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has appointed Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan, its first female superintendent, a move that comes as the Kings Point school continues to combat allegations of sexual misconduct that prompted the recent suspension of its Sea Year program for the second time in five years.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan will become the Merchant Marine Academy’s 14th superintendent, replacing Vice Adm. Jack Buono, who announced his retirement in March.

Nunan retired earlier this year as the Coast Guard’s deputy for personnel readiness, where she oversaw recruitment, training, support and retention of all active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel. She also supervised the Coast Guard Academy and served on its board of trustees.

“Rear Admiral Joanna Nunan is the right leader at the right time for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy,” said Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which operates the school. “Her years of experience as a senior military leader — including command at sea — have prepared Rear Admiral Nunan to shape the future of the USMMA and help ensure the safety and success of its extraordinary midshipmen.”

Buttigieg and Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg are expected to make the announcement on Saturday at the Secretary’s Cup college football game between USMMA and the Coast Guard.

USMMA, which trains men and women to be midshipmen working on deep sea vessels and in the military, is one of five federal service academies and the first to admit women.

A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Nunan, whose grandfather served 30 years in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1987. She also received a master’s degree in business administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and obtained three Coast Guard merchant mariner licenses.

Nunan spent more than nine years at sea in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Western Pacific, including commanding two vessels, and served as a commander in the Honolulu, Hawaii sector and in the Ninth Coast Guard District, which encompasses the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaways region.

During the Obama administration, Nunan, a married mother of two daughters, served as military adviser to then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and as military assistant to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

In 2019, she became the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for human resources, spearheading efforts to expand diversity and inclusion in the ranks while increasing the retention of women in the service.

Nunan also ran the Coast Guard’s Health, Safety, and Work-Life programs, directing policies addressing sexual assault while serving as a member of the Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Recovery Committee.

“Rear Admiral Nunan is uniquely prepared to lead and strengthen USMMA on every front,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “She understands both the critical role USMMA plays in our economic and national security and the organizational transformations that are essential to ensuring USMMA prepares students in a safe and respectful environment to excel in a maritime industry undergoing rapid change.”

The Merchant Marine Academy has struggled for years to adopt and implement policies curtailing sexual harassment and misconduct in its ranks.

In 2016, reports of sexual misconduct forced the first USMMA suspension of the Sea Year program, in which midshipmen are required to complete more than 300 days of work on commercial vessels in international waters.

But the program resumed in 2017 after USMMA, Maersk and other shipping companies enacted new “zero tolerance” policies to protect midshipmen from sexual assault and harassment, along with new training procedures.

The following year, a former academy soccer player filed a $5 million federal lawsuit against seven then-seniors on the team and three former coaches, claiming he was verbally, physically and sexually abused. He alleged that the conduct went unchecked and, in some cases, was encouraged by coaches. The DOT paid the victim $1.4 million in a settlement.

Allegations of sexual misconduct emerged again last year when then-USMMA cadet Hope Hicks of Georgia disclosed — anonymously at the time — on a maritime whistleblower website that an engineering supervisor 40 years her senior plied her with alcohol, waited until she was incapacitated and raped her on a Maersk commercial ship in 2019.

When Hicks, who was 19 at the time and the only woman onboard the ship, confronted the supervisor, he told her "no one is ever going to believe you," she said. Hicks' disclosure prompted DOT to again suspend the Sea Year program.

Hicks and another female midshipman, who alleged she experienced extreme sexual harassment and unwanted touching from a Maersk electrician while on board the same vessel in 2021, filed a lawsuit against the international shipping giant in June. The second woman said in the suit she was so frightened of being raped that she slept in a locked bathroom holding a knife. 

Earlier this month, a cargo ship captain, accused by Coast Guard investigators of raping a female USMMA cadet and attempting to assault another after plying both with spiked alcoholic drinks, surrendered his mariner's license, making him ineligible to work at sea.

Full article courtesy of Robert Brodsky, Newsday(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of US Merchant Marines at wearehteusmma(dot)com

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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Legalizing Gay Marriage Has Caused a Dramatic Drop in LGBT Suicide Rates

Posted On: November 07, 2022

In June 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same sex marriage in all 50 states.  President Barack Obama declared it a “Victory for America” and that the ruling would “strengthen all our communities by offering dignity and equal status to all same sex couples and their families.” 

One remarkable statistic has appeared:  a significant drop in suicide attempt rates for LGBT youth after the legalization of gay marriage

A study in Denmark and Sweden published in 2009 found similar results and also found that couples in same sex unions saw a 46% decline in suicide, compared to 28% in heterosexual unions.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Tod Perry, Upworthy(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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The Real Reason Facebook Causes One-Third Of Divorces

Posted On: October 31, 2022

People have a lot of concerns about Facebook, from selling private information to online stalking, but one of the issues that has become very apparent is the increase deterioration to marital relationships as a result of Facebook activity, and in some instances, being a direct cause of a divorce.

As this article demonstrates, it is not surprising that one of the primary reasons is inappropriate messages by a spouse to someone other than their spouse, whether it be sexual or flirty comments; these things are often available for anyone to see, which is why it often causes a problem for the marital relationship. 

Word of caution:  never put in a text, tweet or on Facebook something that you would not repeat to your mother, or in this case, say in front of your spouse to the person you are speaking to.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Amanda Chatel, yourtango(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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The Secret To A Happier Marriage: Take Separate Vacations

Posted On: October 24, 2022

This may sound strange, encouraging separate vacations without your significant other, but the reality is most of us do not share 100% of our interests and enjoyments with our partners since we have different likes and dislikes, whether it be food, activities, etc.  Also, sometimes we need just time to be with our individual friends or simply on our own.

Going on a solo vacation without your partner can give you the freedom to follow your individual escapades without making any compromises, and this is also true for your partner. It also gives you time to connect with other friends and family or other relationships that you wish to maintain. This can actually be very healthy for each of you, and therefore healthier for your relationship.

We also don’t always recognize how we are co-dependent on our partner, which isn’t a bad thing...however, sometimes when we are on our own without our partner it empowers us to be more resilient and explorative of our own nature and interests. This is absolutely a healthy thing! :) 

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Sidhharrth S Kumaar, yourtango(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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Got Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, or a Cell Phone? Thank The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.

Posted On: October 18, 2022

Many people may know Hedy Lamarr as “The Most Beautiful Woman in Film” but the truth is, Lamarr gave real meaning to the term “beauty and brains.” What many do not know is the genius that was Hedy Lamarr and what a huge contribution she made to global technology. You have probably used technology that Lamarr designed before you even read this blog post today. Don’t believe me? If you’re using WiFi to read this post (and I know you are) then you are using technology that she invented. The field of STEM owes a lot to Lamarr and very few people are aware of her contributions.

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9th 1914 in Austria, introduced the very technology that serves as the foundation of today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems (Hedy Lamarr, 2022). During World War II, Lamarr invented “frequency hopping” or a way for radio transmitters and torpedo’s receivers to jump from frequency to frequency simultaneously, making it impossible for any enemy to locate and block a message before it moved to a different frequency (Alice George, 2019). Lamarr created the design as a way to end the Axis Powers’ interception of military signals. Her idea laid the groundwork for the advent of the transistor, changing both the military and cell phone industries forever!

As if it weren’t enough that she was a genius, she was also an accomplished actress of her time who struck viewers with her natural beauty. She starred in her first film at 17 years of age and in 1932, she caught the attention of Hollywood, consequently signing a contract with MGM. She starred in numerous films alongside other Hollywood’s greats like Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Charles Boyer.

What really is impressive though is Lamarr’s mind. At the tender age of 5, she was able to take apart and reassemble her music box in an effort to understand how the machine operated. Her father, a bank director, would take Hedy on long walks and talk to her about the inner-workings of machines such as the printing press and street cars (Colleen Cheslak, 2018). She was beyond her time in terms of her imaginative creativity and willingness to take risks at a time when many women were still barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. 

Lamarr was not immune to the idea of women’s subservient nature - in 1933 she married an Austrian munitions dealer, who desired to control her and who was also verbally abusive. Lamarr had the wherewithal to escape her situation and fled to London in 1937, however throughout her four-year marriage, she gained immense weaponry knowledge by overhearing her husband’s conversations. After escaping to London and subsequently moving to America to further her acting career with MGM, Lamarr became extremely concerned about the war effort that was about to begin. Specifically, Lamarr sought to create a device that would block enemy ships from jamming torpedo guidance signals. She felt that she needed to do something to stop enemy advances, and so she did just that.

Lamarr teamed up with composer George Antheil and together they manufactured the aforementioned “frequency hopping” communication concept. The pair was awarded a U.S. Patent for their creation, however the U.S. Navy decided not to use Lamarr and Antheil’s patented system. With that, Lamarr used her celebrity status to sell $25 million in war bonds to support the Allies’ mission and she also spearheaded an MGM letter-writing campaign that resulted in over 2,000 letters written for servicemen in the war. In April 1953, after already giving so much to the United States, she officially became an American citizen. Lamarr and Antheil’s patent expired before Lamarr could ever lay claim to the value her idea generated. Years later in 1962, their frequency hopping technology was used during the Cuban Missile Crisis, with no recognition from the U.S. military.

Hedy Lamarr once said, “Improving things come naturally to me”; it is chilling to think about the extent that her design and brilliant mind improved lives across the globe and continues to do so each and every day. So next time that you login remotely to check your email or plug a new destination into your GPS, take a moment to thank the “Mother of Wifi” and tell those around you about Hedy Lamarr. We owe her at least that much.

Works Cited:
https://hedylamarr.com/about/biography/
https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/hedy-lamarr
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/thank-world-war-ii-era-film-star-your-wi-fi-180971584/

Photo: Public domain Hedy Lamarr publicity photo for the film The Heavenly Body, 1944

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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Kim Davis, Anti-LGBTQ+ former Kentucky Clerk, Loses in Court...Again

Posted On: October 10, 2022

A bit of good news as a panel of Federal Appeals Court Judges have ruled that Kim Davis, the County Clerk from Kentucky who refused marriage licenses to same sex couples after marriage equality became law, did not have qualified immunity and could be sued in her personal capacity for her actions.

Ms. Davis may also have exposure when it is given to a jury to decide whether she will have to pay the seven years of legal fees that have been incurred by the two couples that have sued her.  This liability can total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Christopher Wiggins, Advocate(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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The Biggest Weapon of Mass Distraction in Marriage? Your Cellphone.

Posted On: October 03, 2022

In today’s world, it seems people are attached to their cell phone to the point that it seems to be an extension of their body.  This can be incredibly destructive in a marriage. How many times do you use your cell phone while talking to you spouse, or at the dinner table, if you actually have dinner at a dinner table, and if not, while having dinner even out at a restaurant? Do you use your cell phone in bed? If you do, you’re not alone, but unfortunately, this can have a severe impact on a marriage or any significant primary relationship.

The reality is our lives are incredibly busy with a multitude of distractions. We spend so much time at work or on work.  Much time is also spent sleeping, taking care of daily things like eating, shopping, housework, leisure, hobbies, and time with our children.  So much of our time is accounted for.  As this article points out, all we have left for our spouse is “leftovers”.

It’s important for a marriage and any primary relationships to spend dedicated quality time that this primary relationship deserves. 

Don’t let your cellphone become the device that destroys your marriage.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of David Schramm, deseret(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 35 Years.

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