My caseworker

Your agency gets a lot of grumbling (and) complaining letters. This one is just the opposite. I would like to tell you about my caseworker, Abbey VanHoeven, from the Kent County office. Two years ago I was 44 years old and homeless with two teenage children. I showed up at DHS a mental mess as I was brought up to “take care of myself.” Here I was, in the “welfare place” having to ask for help. Abbey was assigned to my case.

Not only did she make me feel like a human and that it was okay to ask for help, I walked out with a food card and hope of finding a place to live. Abbey went above and beyond the “duty” of a caseworker to help me. But most of all, she made me feel good about myself again and that things would be okay.

I was enrolled in the Michigan Works! program that put me through college and graduated the medical administrative assistance program with a 96.4 GPA, feeling good; but that was quick to end. I did not give up when resume after resume went overlooked. Finally, after 200 applications and two interviews from the whole bunch, I got a job. After six months, my back injury returned, landing me in bed for the past five weeks and a few more before we are done with treatment. My work is bending over backward to keep my job by offering me FMLA (usually one year of employment is required).

Yesterday, after being stubborn enough to let us almost starve to death, I called Abbey. We talked and she found that even working I had only been able to buy groceries twice since Thanksgiving. I had gone to local church for food and made arrangements with my electric company to hold off … but time was running out and panic of no money was hitting me hard.

Now the purpose of this letter, Abbey VanHoeven came to my house with paperwork (I live on second floor of a historical home and cannot make the steps well and had no gas in my car). Not only did she bring paperwork, she showed up with five bags of food! She had gone home on her lunch, as did her supervisor, to gather what they could spare. She knew that we had not had a loaf of bread or gallon of milk in over a
month. She used her own money to pick up some hamburger, buns, milk and bread.

Your office is very, very lucky to have someone with an attitude, smile, and love of helping people as Abbey
VanHoeven. She sets the example of human kindness. If your office has something as “Caseworker of the Year”, I would like to nominate Abbey VanHoeven. (She has mentioned previously, that she has gone to her house to get blankets for people she couldn’t help immediately).

Thank you for listening to my tale and I hope that this letter gets to the proper persons that will let Abbey know that she is one special caseworker as well as human being. I was walking with God when he gave me Abbey as a caseworker. She is truly a living angel and I know this from talking with her over the telephone and having porno meetings during the previous two years. Please, please do recognize Abbey in some way as she is truly one of the most genuinely kind persons I have ever met.

A story of food disorder by Missy

Hi everyone. Thanks for visiting my site! I would like to share my own personal story with you, since I found that hearing other peoples’ experiences helped me to feel better.

Since I was a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, I’ve been worrying about my weight.
My mom has her own eating issues and insisted that if “I got fat I would be unhappy”. However, although her intentions may have been good, she inadvertently helped to introduce a theme in my life. Before she said anything, I hadn’t even given a second thought to my body shape yet.
As an young adolescent, I actually was overweight by about 15 pounds. At this point, I still didn’t really notice except that others began to tease me about it. Even some of  my “close friends” at the time would constantly berate me for my weight and make me feel ugly.

By my freshman year of high school I’d begun to thin out a bit naturally due to growth in height, however, at this point I was already on the road to an obsession with my weight and had begun to diet. My diet was extremely restrictive. What I thought was “eating healthy” was actually a diet
that included almost no fat whatsoever, so I was restricted to a few “safe foods”. An example of my meals for a day might have been: A small bowl of cereal w/skim milk, a salad with fat free dressing and grilled chicken,and a piece of grilled fish, rice and vegetables. True, this does sound nutritional. However, when one forces oneself only to eat certain foods, and punishes oneself for eating any foods that are enjoyable to them, it becomes restrictive and can often lead to eating disorders.

And, for me, it did lead to a disorder. By my sophomore year of High School,
I had lost about 20 pounds, and was the thinnest I’d ever been. However, due to my restrictive diet, I soon gained it all back. This was around junior year and I was so depressed by this that I could hardly function. I didn’t want to go to school or be with friends. I just wanted to be alone. I would wear a long pea-coat everyday, even in warm weather so that I could cover up my body and not feel insecure. I began dating my current boyfriend around this time too. He didn’t notice/ care about my weight, but I did. I was embarassed to let him touch me, to hold me, and nevermind see me naked. He felt terribly that I was so insecure and I often resented him for seeing me naked eventhough I had allowed him to, because in truth I assumed that he must see me as fat and ugly, since  in my mind, all guys wanted super-thin, tiny waisted girls.

That year I also began to engage in binge eating. There was no purging (vomiting, over-exercising, etc.) afterwards. I would simply consume huge quantities of junk food inorder to
make myself feel better and then feel horribly sad about my body. Before I binged I would usually change into a large, flowing shirt of some kind in anticipation of the fact that I would feel too ashamed to look
at myself in the mirror otherwise (I thought delusionally that I would see the weight gain immediately).
This led to even more anxiety. I was still dieting constantly but the bingeing caused weight fluctuations. I was worried constantly about it and would plan not to binge before important events or parties, etc. so that I would feel a little less guilty on that day. However, this rarely worked.

Senior year came and I was still bingeing and depressed though I’d somehow managed to drop enough weight so I was no longer overweight (according to today’s accepted measurements of height/weight ratio etc.). I still felt like I was enormous and disgusting however. Sometimes I would even drive around in my car from one fast food place to another so I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed that I was back buying more food at the same one.

The summer before I went off to college, I exercised obsessively to try to get back to my “ideal” thinness that I had reached sophomore year of HS. It didn’t work obviously, but I began to feel better about myself in college anyway as I saw more body types and began to re-learn the idea of beauty.
Still, I was far from recovered. I became absolutely vicious with my boyfriend about whether or not her thought I was fat. He would always, always insist that I was beautiful at any weight and that he thought I was crazy to think I was fat, but I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t because everywhere I looked, guys were drooling over tiny, thin women. So, I assumed my boyfriend was the same. It must have been extremely frustrating for him to go through this with me, and I honestly don’t know how he did it.
Sometimes I would even feel angry when we were making love because I would picture him thinking my body was fat or not pretty enough and it would enrage me. Of course, this was completely delusional, but I did not realize that at the time. Often I would lose my arousal quickly or if I maintained it I wouldn’t be able to have an orgasm.

Of course, during this time, I was in counseling but it was mostly for depression and anxiety and we only briefly touched on the issue of my binge eating disorder.

However, I wound up transferring schools my sophomore year of college and in the new place I decided to go see a new psychologist and she referred me to a nutritionist. Finally I was on the road to recovery! I was afraid that the nutritionist would tell me I had to gain all my weight back in order to recover. She didn’t. She worked with me, and was very patient and understanding. She made a sample meal plan for me that incorporated foods I enjoyed and were nutritious at the same time. She taught me how to make my own meal plans and to stay around a certain calorie limit most of the time so I wouldn’t become overweight again. At first, I was terrified to try the new porno diet. I thought that maybe she was lying to me and the meal plan would actually make me gain weight. I couldn’t believe that a diet with actual fat in it could possibly not make you fat. But my nutritionist taught me that it is calories that make us gain weight not fat. So I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as the quantities were ok. I was extremely nervous still about this and wound up calling her several times to talk about my frustration and nerves but she convinced me to follow through with it and I figured that whatever the outcome, it wasn’t going to be worse than bingeing forever. So I took that first plunge and after a couple of days I started to feel healthier. At first my body rejected the “good fats” like those in peanut butter and olive oil and I actually had an oily discharge when I went to the bathroom for several days (sorry everyone hehe but the graphicness was necessary!). But,  I was so happy, I cried several times during meals when I realized that I could eat food again and not feel guilty. I didn’t gain any weight, I even lost a bit because of the lack of bingeing. Being able to eat what I wanted boosted my self esteem and happiness immensly. I no longer had to feel like the only one at the table who couldn’t get dessert or try a new pasta dish, etc. My mood began to stabalize because I wasn’t constantly obsessing about my next meal, and I had more energy to do things that I needed to do like school work, hanging out with friends, and singing with my band.

Most amazing of all was when I began to look in the mirror and more and more I would see how beautiful I really was. I realized that somewhere between my adolescense and my adulthood, the fat on my body became a mark, not of overweightness, but of a womanly figure. I have hips and breasts and thighs. So what? That’s called nature.

Anyway, that about brings us up to date. I  now consider myself recovered at age 19. I haven’t felt so great in years. Things are going amazingly in school, in my personal life and with my amazingly special boyfriend who’s been with me through all of this( I Love You, Lee!).


Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope this has been helpful or at least educational.

Very Truly Yours,








The Gay History in South America

~ 1513 ~ PANAMA: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the natives of Quarequa by Balboa.

~ 1533 ~ PERU: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Peruvian natives by Augustin Zarate. Similar observations were made in 1574 by Lopez de Velasco.

~ 1844 ~ BRAZIL: Anthropologist KFP von Martius noted that apprentice healers of the Coeruna and Bororo tribes inherited their powers sexually from an older healer.

~ 1951 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Cagaba (Reichel-Dolmatoff).

~ 1955 ~ PERU: The anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum studied the Amakaeri people of the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest, among whom homosexuality was the norm and heterosexuality only occurred for the purposes of reproduction.

~ 1966 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Pokomam (Reina).

~ 1971 ~ PERU: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Cueba by Francisco Guerra.

~ 1972 ~ VENEZUELA: Lesbians observed among the Yanomamo (Wilbert)

~ 1977 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Tapirape (Wagley).

~ 1979 ~ BRAZIL: Institutionalised homosexuality observed among the Barasana (Hugh-Jones).

17th century ~ BRAZIL: Zumbi dos Palmars, black anti-slavery leader was of Jaga tribe of Angola (see Africa: Native Peoples), and lived in intimate friendship with a priest (Mott).

1984 ~ ARGENTINA: Comunidad Homosexual Argentina formed.

1991 ~ BRAZIL: Salvador becomes the first Latin American town to ban discrimination against gay people.

~ COSTA RICA: 1st Lesbian & Gay Pride celebration.

1983 ~ ARGENTINA: Federation for the Liberation of Homosexuals

1993 ~ BRAZIL: 1st Gay Pride March, Rio de Janeiro.

1995 ~ CUBA: Cuban Association of Gays and Lesbians ‘came out’.

1996 ~ ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires becomes the first Spanish-speaking Latin American city to ban discrimination.

1997 ~ ECUADOR: Several days of demonstration in Cuecna following police harassment.

~ ARGENTINA: Pensions rights granted to gay partners.

The Gay History: East & South Europe

17th century ~ PORTUGAL: Gay and transvestite inns reported in Lisbon.

1948 ~ YUGOSLAVIA: A form of sworn brotherhood and sisterhood was common which “takes on some homosexual aspects”, and these pacts were celebrated in (rural) churches. (Tomasic, 1948)

1974 ~ AUSTRIA: Criminal Law Amending Act decriminalises homosexuality.

1983 ~ AUSTRIA: Vienna: Lesbian Centre and Social club founded.

1989 ~ YUGOSLAVIA: Lesbian magazine Lesbiska Sekcija published in Slovenian.

1990 ~ POLAND: Gay magazine Inaczej published.

1991 ~ CZECHOSLOVAKIA: International Lesbian & Gay association (Eastern & South East Europe) 5th Regional conference (April 19th-21st).

1993 ~ CYPRUS: European Court of Human Rights rules (1993) that Cyprian law prohibiting male homosexuality violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The law is ammended, decriminalising homosexuality in private between consenting adults over 18.

1994 ~ LATVIA: 1st Lesbian & Gay Week.

1995 ~ ALBANIA: Shoqata Gay Albania formed; Article 137 of the 1977 Penal Code repealled, legalising sex at 14.

1996 ~ MALTA: 1st Pride (June 29th-30th)

1996 ~ POLAND: 1st Lesbian Information and Counselling centre founded (OLA-Archiwum).

1997 ~ PORTUGAL: Portugese Assembly equalizes the age of consent at 16.
~ 1st lesbian and gay community centre opens in Lisbon.
~ AUSTRIA: Article 221, banning gay organisations and dissemination of positive information is repealled.
1997~ SAN MARINO: Homosexuality legalised.

1998 ~ ROMANIA: President Emil Constantinescu promises to pardon men imprisoned for consensual gay sex.

~ LATVIA: Age of consent equalised; also plans to offer refuge to gay people persecuted in other countries.

Gay History in Pacific Asia & Australia

Native peoples: ~ Many Polynesian tribes have institutionalised male homosexuality; in contrast with heterosexist modern Western cultures, it is an essential element of manhood and masculinity. Among the Malekula (Deacon, 1934) Marind, Sambia and Kiman (Herdt, 1984) it is believed that semen is the essential male substance that gives a man his strength and prowess as a hunter and warrior, and that it is not produced spontaneously by the body but has to be planted there, where it will grow. For this reason, pubescent males are ritually inseminated by an uncle or proscribed male who is not the father. In Marind society, heterosexuality is viewed as a ‘necessary evil’; the vagina being identified with excrement and women with castration.
~ IN AUSTRALIA: The aborigines revere semen for its association with creating life. In the bora ceremony of Kimberly District in Western Australia, young men drink semen. Elderly dying men do the same, for medicinal purposes. Social homosexuality was recorded by anthropologists in the Tiwi tribe (Pilling).

Anthropological studies:
~ 1870 ~ Borneo: The manang bali are the gay shamans of the Iban, and can become chiefs (Perelaer).
~ 1896 ~ Institutionalised homosexuality noted among the Kanaka Popinee of New Caledonia (Jacobus).
~ 1903 ~ Hawaii: gay shamans are refered to as healers (‘mahu’)(Malo).
~ 1911 ~ Institutionalised homosexuality noted among the Maoris of New Zealand and the Tonga and Pukapuka of Java (Kaarsch-Haak). ~
~ 1928 ~ Samoa: As in Hawaii, gay shamans are refered to as healers (‘mafu’)(Mead).
~ 1954 ~ Indonesia: The Ngadju have gay shamans.
~ 1971 ~ Easter Island: Lesbian relationships noted by anthropologist Alfred Metraux.


NEW ZEALAND: Tutanekai and Tiki were takataapui, “intimate companions of the same sex.”

BC 57 – AD 918 ~ KOREA: Hyekong the 36th king of the Shilla dynasty was described as ‘a man by appearance but a woman by nature’.

AD 8th century ~ KOREA: Myojung, a very young Buddhist monk was loved and sought after by several male aristocrats, and even by a Chinese Emperor from the Tang dynasty

1436 ~ KOREA: Choson dynasty: Sejong, the 4th Choson ruler, convened a meeting of his to discuss the rumors that his daughter-in-law had been sleeping with her maidservant.

17th century ~ KOREA: In folklore there are many stories about male homosexuals, including the hwarang (flower boy) of the Yi dynasty.

1973 ~ NEW ZEALAND: November Rotorua Gay Liberation Front formed.

1978 ~ AUSTRALIA: The Gay Solidarity Group was formed in Sydney by Ken Davis and Anne Talve. Their planned commemoration of the “Day of International Gay Solidarity” (the 9th anniversary of the Stonewall riots) on June 24 attracted somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people. The festival, with dancing and music which Margaret McMann described as a “Mardi Gras”, is celebrated every February and is the world’s largest gay festival.

1991 ~ AUSTRALIA: Outrage, the national gay magazine, becomes the first gay product to be advertised on national television.

1993 ~ THAILAND: Lesbian group Anjaree (“women following different ways”) formed. Disliking the word lesbian because of associations with psychiatry, the use the term ‘ying-rak-ying’ (women loving women).

1995 ~ TAIWAN: 3rd Asian Lesbian Conference in Tapei.

1996 ~ PHILIPPINES: 500 lesbians and gay men marched through Manila for equality.

~ TAIWAN: Daily gay radio show begins in Tapei.

1997 ~ VIETNAM: A Vietnamese-Australian and his Vietnamese partner celebrated their ‘wedding’ with 100 guests in Ho Chi Minh city.

~ TASMANIA: The Legislative Council decriminalises gay male sex.

An in-breadth look at the presence of gay people around the world, throughout history.

The aim of this work is to show the prevalence and significance of gay people on our planet; in particular, to oppose the prevailing notion that homosexuality is a recent or regional phenomenon (a result of ‘foreign’ influences or a ‘modern permissive society’). As the evidence clearly indicates, homosexuality is – and always has been – an integral feature of human life and society.

In this work, I am concentrating on a broad represntation of as many countries, over as great a span of time as possible, so you won’t find any lengthy essays here. For some good, in-depth gay history sites, see the links page. Also, I have emphasised mostly the positive aspects of gay history and culture; those seeking details of the grimmer side of things are directed to other sources!

Where indigenous peoples are mentioned, it is in reference to cultures where homosexuality is an accepted part of that culture. Same-sex activity has been observed by many anthropologists in countless tribes around the world; this only reinforces the realisation that human sexuality is universally polymorphous. I have emphasised instances in which same-sex relationships or homosexual individuals occupy a clearly defined, equal (or superior) social niche. Of particular interest in this regard are the Native American gay shamans and the predominantly homosexual Polynesian cultures.

Many past and present cultures have socially instituted transvestism and transsexualism, but this is not always an indication of individual sexual orientation, so I have not included such references. Likewise with the many instances of ritualised pederasty; the majority of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (in the modern, ‘civilised’ world, at least) do not perceive this as being part of gay identity.

The omission of gay characters from world history is no more evident than in regard to lesbians. The notion that gay women are scarcer than gay men, or that their sexuality is somehow less ‘real’ than male sexuality, has much to do with the predominance of patriarchal societies, the status of women throughout history and modern homophobia. There is less information here regarding lesbians, although the references I have found will be a revelation to many; lesbianism is just as prevalent and widespread in world history as male homosexuality, if not always as prominent.

The word ‘gay’ is used throughout this site in reference to women and men who form erotic same-sex relationships.

I must apologise in advance for the blatant lumping together of many great nations in the same categories (and the total absence of others), but this reflects the amount of relevant information I have collected so far on each. As more information comes my way, no doubt some of these will warrant their own sections!

In regard to the development of gay culture, I have paid particular note to the foundation of national organisations, improvements in legislation, and cultural landmarks such as Pride marches and international ventures.

Every gay person on Earth, regardless of nationality, race or background, has a gay heritage not only in their own homeland but also as a member of this gay species and as a citizen of this gay planet.