Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women


Meet the matchmaker hooking up US soldiers with German women
Matchmaker Jessica Dreyer. Photo: private
By: Emma Anderson/The Local
With thousands of American military members and personnel in the Wiesbaden (Germany) community, there is certainly a market for foreign singles looking to settle in. And that’s where matchmaker Jessica Dreyer steps in.

When Wiesbaden native Jessica Dreyer started working at the US Army Europe headquarters in her hometown, she noticed an interesting phenomenon. At work, her American male colleagues were eager to find out if she had any single, German friends that they could meet. And in her personal life, her female German friends inquired about the potential availability of any of her US army co-workers.

“I thought, ‘I could make a business out of this’,” Dreyer tells The Local.

And so she did last summer, launching her matchmaking service under the name “US Love Wiesbaden”.

Business started to really boom after a few months when local media noticed the novel dating firm, and now she receives on average 60 to 80 new inquiries from Germans and Americans combined each week.

While she gets calls and emails from all kinds of people, including men seeking men and women seeking women, Dreyer says her biggest client base is German women seeking US military men and vice versa.

This, she says, is simply because of the numbers: The US Army counts 3,100 soldiers, 3,900 American civilian workers, and 1,100 retirees as part of its Wiesbaden Garrison. And around 85 percent of military personnel are male.

For a city that has a long history with the American military, such pairings between American soldiers and German women are also perhaps not so uncommon. Wiesbaden was captured by US forces in March of 1945 during the Second World War, and remained under American occupation after the war’s end. Troops have been present in the Wiesbaden area ever since.

Even beloved American superstar Elvis Presley spent some time stationed near Wiesbaden – a fact which the city proudly boasts about online – and made sure to carve his and wife Priscilla’s initials into a Wiesbaden tree.

Plus, Dreyer also works with clients in nearby Kaiserslautern, where tens of thousands more American armed forces and government affiliates live in the largest US military community abroad.

But even though Germans and Americans have long lived with one another in the area, stereotypes on both sides persist, which perhaps drives some of the mutual interest.

“A lot of German women want to meet an American because they say they like the culture, the way of life, the music, being in the USA and the way they think American men are… They find a man in the US armed forces very attractive,” Dreyer explains.

“The way American men look and act, they seem very friendly and like they will be good partners because they are easy going. They think German men are not so easy going in life, and are too picky with things.”

And Dreyer’s American male clients sometimes have just as many preconceived notions of German women – including quite romantic ones.

“American men say they like the women here, they’re taller on average and seem a little more natural. A lot of American men say they love the idea of an international romance. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”

Dreyer also makes it clear that she’s not doing this to help arrange marriages for legal purposes, like gaining citizenship. And for the most part, neither are her clients.

“To the people who say they just want to meet and marry [for citizenship], I say I’m not a marriage agency. This is about dating and relationships, not about getting a green card or something.”

To set up the matches, Dreyer meets with prospective clients in person to get a sense of who they are, as well as to ask them what they’re looking for in a mate. Her customers tend to be aged 35 and up, which she attributes to the fact that older singles are looking for more discreet and direct ways of meeting someone than dating apps with online profiles.

Dreyer charges men €189 ($206US) for their first match – €50 ($55US) more than she charges women, who she says she charges less because they generally earn less than the men. Fees for subsequent matches are then the same: €95.($103US)

An important factor in the matchmaking though, is that the German will almost always have to speak English: her American clients rarely speak German well enough to have a conversation, if they speak it at all.

“Most Americans don’t speak German well, but most Germans speak solid English… but if they say they don’t speak English, I have to tell them to consider how they think they can have a relationship with an American this way.”

But when it comes to dating norms, Dreyer says there aren’t the same barriers. Germans and Americans tend to have similar views on courtship, such as questioning who should pay on the first date. Just as in the US, in Germany the answer to this depends on the individuals, Dreyer says.

One thing that is a bit different is the question of marriage. Still, given that her business kicked off less than a year ago, Dreyer hasn’t had any couples get to this point yet.

“Americans expect marriage to come sooner. In Germany we tend to wait years before getting married. We want to make sure we have the right person on hand.”

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While you were sleeping 45 made it easier for companies to discriminate against Gays and other members of the LGBT Community


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Perhaps he was looking for Ultra Conservative Cred. On Monday, 45 reversed an Executive order put in place in 2014 by then President Obama that prohibited the federal government from contracting with firms that discriminated based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Way, way, waaaay back in January. 45 told LGBT right advocates basically not to worry, he had no plans to rescind this protection.  But that was January.

 

The White House on Monday afternoon released a copy of an executive order signed by President Trump. The order revokes all or part of three previous executive orders concerning federal contracting.

The biggest concern was,,the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order.  That order required  companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, or gender identity.

The 14 affected federal laws and regulations affected by the new Trump executive order also includes Executive Order 11246, signed in 1965 by President Johnson. Executive Order 11246 prohibited federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Four years later, President Nixon added discrimination based on disability and age. In 1998, President Clinton added sexual orientation. And in 2014, President Obama added gender identity, plus prohibited federal contractors, too, from discriminating against their employees based on these categories.

President Obama’s signing of what was called Executive Order 13672 was hailed by many LGBT activists as protecting “millions” of LGBT workers from discrimination. It applied to companies who sought federal contracts in excess of $500,000.

Companies seeking such contracts had to demonstrate that they had not violated the federal laws listed in the previous three years. And federal agencies could not award contracts to such companies unless the companies were able to “explain mitigating factors.”

By taking away the requirement that federal contractors be able to demonstrate that they have not violated these federal laws, says Camilla Taylor, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, “this administration has made it extremely difficult to enforce these federal laws as applied to federal contractors.”

“It’s sending a message to these companies,” said Taylor, “…that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law.”

Few people in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, New York and Massachusetts, know in 2017, gay people can lose their jobs for simply being gay.

Keep your eyes open, don’t fall asleep.

CityFella

Wrong way Ben


Picture/AP

It’s funny till it isn’t.  Benjamin Solomon Carson is a brilliant surgeon,devout christian and reportedly a very nice man.  Dr Carson is an educated man. A Yale graduate, he is written many books and he is a very successful motivational speaker.

Many of Dr Carson’s positions are based on his religion.  Ben Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist.  It would be safe to say that he is anti gay.  He believes homosexuality is choice, he has said  Gay individuals are more protected than Christians and believes people who support gay marriage are trying to get rid of the Bible . This is all public record.

Dr Carson struggles with some in the black community . He likened The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to a form of slavery. He has publicly criticized blacks who disagreed with him, saying they weren’t able to think for themselves.  Born and raised in Detroit ,Dr Carson, struggles with the notion of institutional racism and believes black people should avoid government handouts that made us (Blacks)a welfare state. He benefited from a government handout, glasses.

During his campaign, perhaps to appeal to black voters,he ran an ad in Atlanta,Birmingham, Memphis, Miami,Little Rock and his home town of Detroit, that featured his speech interlaced with rap music. Dr Carson initially supported the ad,later he said it was done without his knowledge, that “it was done by people who have no concept of the black community and what they were doing”, and that he was “horrified” by it.

Dr Ben Carson, by all accounts is a nice man and was a nice kid growing up. However he was criticized by some during campaign of having low energy, boring.   He told variations of a 50 year old story where he attempted to stab a friend who changed a radio station and the knife hit the intended victim’s belt buckle and broke.  The purpose of story was  illustrate a moment of unbridled fury that led him to find his faith. Someone might question the timing of the story, perhaps it might make him appear less nice.  He abandoned the story after the press asked which variation of the story was accurate.

Accuracy…..

Yesterday,a friend without going into detail texted me asking me about Dr Carson?  Another friend texted me saying the word of the day was coon (an insulting term for black people).  Sometime in the day I googled Ben Carson.  In his first speech as the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban development described African Slaves to immigrants. Despite his extensive education, he painted a picture where African Slaves were free to leave the bowels of the ship where they would  join the immigrants on the Lido deck and share dreams about their new lives in America.

I wasn’t in the audience, but I can imagine the shock and horror and humiliation from many of  black employees in the audience experienced . Joy of Joys, our new boss.

Monday evening Dr Carson, defended his speech by saying “You can be an involuntary immigrant,” he said, adding that “slaves didn’t just give up and die, our ancestors made something of themselves.” He continued, “An immigrant is: ‘a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.’

Dr Benjamin Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon, well liked and respected by those who knows him. He is the lone black in 45’s cabinet, another unqualified individual who will learn on the job.

SMH  (Shaking My Head)

CityFella

Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?


Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?
The leader of Labor’s youth wing said that Norwegians should be able to identify themselves whoever they want in their passports and other official documents. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX
Norway’s Labour Party, the largest party in parliament, will consider backing the introduction of a third gender, broadcaster NRK reported.
Labour’s programme committee will debate the introduction of the third gender category so that Norwegians would no longer need to define themselves as male or female in their passports and other official documents.
Labour’s draft party programme for 2017-2021 states that the party “shall consider the introduction of a third gender category”.
Although the proposal is only under the early stages of consideration, Labour committee member Mani Hussaini suggested that Norway should follow the lead of neighbouring Sweden, which adopted the gender neutral pronoun ‘hen’ into official use in April 2015.
Hussaini, who is the leader of Labour’s youth wing AUF, said ‘hen’ could also be used in Norwegian as a gender-neutral alternative to ‘han’ (he) and ‘hun’.
“I believe that all people should be allowing to live out their identity and thus the law should adapt to reality rather than the other way around,” Hussaini said.
“I think that for example in the passport it could show that one is neither male nor female, but belongs to a third gender category, thus a ‘hen’,” he added.
The idea of a ‘hen’ is not entirely new to Norway. The social-liberal party Venstre proposed the introduction of a third gender in April 2016 but it failed to gain traction.
Likewise, Sweden’s adoption of ‘hen’ has not been without controversy. The pronoun sparked massive debate in 2012 when a publisher decided to use it in a children’s book. But others argued that ‘hen’ is not meant to replace gendered pronouns. Instead, it allows speakers to refer to a person without having to mention the gender if they don’t know it, if the person is transgender, or if the information is considered irrelevant.
Ultimately, the Swedish Academy agreed to include ‘hen’ in its official dictionary, Svenska Akademiens ordlista, in 2015.
The Local

Dominance And Submission Are Forms Of Sexual Orientation (Really!)


Dominant And Submissive Are Forms Of Sexual Orientation

By: Lori Beth Bisbey/Your Tango.Com

Who you love — and WANT — is about so much more than gender…

When asked about my sexual orientation in the past, I’ve found it easier to reply, “I’m bisexual” than to explain my more complex, and more authentic, orientation.

When I was 9 years old, I made myself a “bottle” to live in until my Master came and found me. 

 

 

I grew up watching I Dream of Jeannie like lots of kids I was friends with, but none of them shared my fantasy of living in a bottle and doing whatever Master asked them to do. When we played together, they would talk about getting married and having a husband or a wife. Some of them didn’t talk much at all during these discussions (these girls later identified as lesbian).

My friends would sometimes look at me strangely. They did not understand what I was going on about. Why would anyone want a Master? I couldn’t explain it. I just knew that I wanted someone else to be in control and that when I thought about this, I became all hot and bothered.

When I would masturbate  at night before bed, I would dream of being owned and kept and ordered to do all sorts of things. I didn’t know what those things were, I just knew that they were exciting. (Yes I did masturbate most nights when I was 9, but that is another story for another time.)

As I got older and started having sexual experiences, I was attracted to men, women and some folksthe  somewhere in between.

However, I found myself most attracted to people who were dominant when it came to flirting and sexual play.

They have an energy, an edge and a presence that made me light up like a neon sign.

I was 15 when I discovered the Story of O in a second-hand bookstore in Andover, Massachusetts. I was attending summer school to study Russian and it was my first time away from home without constant supervision. I read that book so often that the binding broke and pages started falling out. When I was 16, I saw the film version and it had the same effect.

Like many of us, it took me many years to fully identify and accept  my desires and therefore to recognize what drove me sexually.

I realized the main factor in my sexual attraction to people has nothing to do with gender — and everything to do with power exchange.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of power exchange in “Dominant and Submissive” relationships, here is a quick and dirty explanation:

Power exchange in a BDSM relationship is when a couple mutually and proactively agrees who will hold the power and control (i.e., who will be the Dominant or top) and who will surrender their power and control (i.e., who will be the submissive or bottom. This is exchange is made with the explicit acknowledgment of each partner’s consent, limits and boundaries.

It’s important to recognize that power exchange and dynamics exist within ALL relationships.

Within many classical, heteronormative relationships the man goes to work and controls the financial aspects of the relationship while the woman stays at home and looks after the kids, the residence and the social aspects of their lives. There is power on both sides of this dynamic, and neither is better or worse as long as the dynamic — the power exchange — has been decided and agreed upon with the consent and interests of both people in mind. To understand the power dynamics in your own relationship, take a few minutes to complete this exercise:

1. Think about your relationship (or your last relationship) and answer these questions:

  • Who makes most of the major decisions?
  • Do you make the major decisions together by consensus?
  • Who manages the money?
  • Who manages things relating to the home?
  • Who initiates sex most often?
  • Who is on top and who is on the bottom in the bedroom? Or do you switch?

If you answer “both of us” to most questions, you may have a fairly equal relationship. However, it is rare that both people manage ALL of these areas together. It would simply take up too much time. Usually, there is a division of labor and therefore one person may have power in one area and the other person in a different area.

2. Now think about your parents’ relationship and ask yourself the same questions.

Think about how power was apportioned in that relationship and the impressions that left on you.

Once you have done this a few times looking at a variety of relationships, you’ll have a feel for power dynamics and how you relate to them.

Remember these dynamics are generally fluid. Power in relationships can change over time and in response to specific circumstances.

For example, a man who is the breadwinner may lose his job and the woman may then becomes the breadwinner. When power dynamics shift, the relationships will often require some degree of adjustment. When they shift without prior expectation or agreement from both people beforehand, it can be devastating.

In a relationship that includes a consensual power exchange, the couple decides together who will be in control/have the power in which areas of the relationship.

Some people have a power exchange relationship in the bedroom only.

Others extend this further into other or all aspects of their relationship.

As I’ve experienced more relationships of my own and have given this concept more thought, I’ve realized that I, personally, am most turned on when I surrender power in many areas of my relationship.

Over time I’ve learned that sexual orientation is not binary — and it is not static.

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of sexual and affectional attraction. People are increasingly using a wider variety of labels to describe their own orientation, sexual orientation need not contain only one label (heterosexual for example).

I describe sexual orientation across three dimensions:

  1. From heterosexual to bisexual to homosexual (i.e., which gender(s) are you attracted to).
  2. From Dominant to submissive.

  3. From highly sexual to asexual.

(Remember that I am talking about orientation rather than gender identity. Gender is how I see and experience myself and does not necessarily apply to how I relate to or with others.)

In describing myself, as an example, I view my sexual orientation as bisexual, submissive and highly sexual.

The most intense focus within this orientation for me is the submissive one. For me, the best sex involves me  giving up control  to another person or persons — regardless of their gender. I have always been this way and this has been more important at some points in my life than at others.

Now that you have this information, what is yours?

Dr. Lori Beth is an intimacy/sex coach and psychologist who helps individuals, couples and polyamorous groups create their ideal lasting relationship(s). You can sign up for her newsletter and find out more about her adventures on her website and check out The A to Z of Sex podcast on iTunes. Write to her with your questions by clicking here.

What Ben Carson doesn’t understand about “extra rights”: LGBT people aren’t asking for special privileges, just basic equality


Ben Carson thinks extending more public housing benefits to the LGBT community amounts to “special rights”

By: Nico Lang/Salon.com

 

Image result for ben carson

Ben Carson doesn’t think the LGBT community deserves special rights.

Last week the retired John Hopkins neurosurgeon began his testimony before a Senate committee, which is considering his nomination to be the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson was asked by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, about his controversial statements about protections for the LGBT community. During his failed 2016 presidential campaign, Carson had claimed that the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision on same-sex marriage amounted to “extra rights” being conferred. Carson has repeatedly reiterated this belief — that LGBT equality affords the community undue, unnecessary privileges.

On Thursday the Trump nominee did not back down from that argument. “Of course, I will enforce all the laws of the land,” Carson said, adding, “No one gets extra rights. . . . Extra rights means you get to redefine everything for everyone else.”

What’s alarming about Carson’s statement is that he wasn’t being asked about his opposition to marriage equality. Brown, who serves as the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, was grilling him on whether he would protect the LGBT community from discrimination in federal housing, which Carson had dismissed as a frivolity. This is a grave reminder that Carson could do serious damage to federal housing programs by ignoring the egregious bigotry that queer and trans people face every day when trying to find something as simple as a place to live.

Carson, who has repeatedly made headlines for his incendiary, outlandish statements about the LGBT community, is no friend to queer people.

The “Gifted Hands” author is one of the nation’s most vocal opponents of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, whom he has described as practitioners of bestiality,polygamy, and pedophilia. During a speech he delivered at last year’s Pensmore National Symposium on Religious Liberty at Missouri’s College of the Ozarks, Carson warned that the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was a harbinger of an “ever-growing government” that would lead to “utter chaos” as well as mass executions. “The peace we experience now will be a memory only,” Carson said.

The idea that granting same-sex couples the rights to have their relationships recognized and protected by federal law constitutes special benefits for a niche community is an old and favorite one of conservatives. It suggests, much as Sen. Jeff Sessions argued last week during a confirmation hearing on his nomination for attorney general, that gay people don’t experience discrimination. If they’re already being equally protected under the law, why do they need more laws granting them those same protections?

Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana who also mounted an unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid,  had even used the “extra rights” reasoning to argue for targeting the basic civil liberties of the LGBT community. During a 2015 interview with “Meet the Press,” Jindal claimed that making LGBT people a “protected class” — borrowing phraseology from hate crime legislation — would amount to “extraordinary circumstances.” Claiming that there is now greater “tolerance” in society that makes such “special legal protections” unnecessary, Jindal had backed the introduction of a “religious liberty” bill in the Pelican State to let those running businesses deny services to customers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, so long as the companies involved cite “sincerely held religious belief.” Numerous LGBT advocates have argued that this type of legislation is a clear pathway to unleash broad-based discrimination.

As the secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development, Carson would have little authority to affect already settled cases on nationwide marriage equality. But if he feels that LGBT protections are unnecessary, that would give him the ability to harm particularly vulnerable communities that already experience extraordinary discrimination at every turn.

A survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 20 percent of transgender people surveyed reported being denied housing on the basis of their gender identity, while 10 percent even said they have been evicted for being transgender.

This widespread discrimination extends to homeless shelters. When the Center for American Progress called local shelters to see if they would house a transgender woman, just 30 percent said they would do so. Twenty-two percent outright refused, and one center in Virginia said that having to sharing space with a “man” would spook the other residents, citing unfounded fears of sexual assault.

These practices should be illegal, yet unfortunately they persist. As the Center for American Progress has reported, LGBT people are not explicitly protected under the Fair Housing Act, also known as the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This law protects tenants under the basis of characteristics like sex, race, religion, or national origin but does not explicitly name gender identity or sexual orientation.

Last year the Department of Housing and Urban Development attempted to remedy this issue by introducing the Equal Access Rule  so that housing units and homeless shelters that receive federal dollars cannot discriminate on the basis of gender identity. This provision, while a necessary step forward in ending the housing discrimination that leads to extremely high rates of homelessness among transgender people, will likely face a fight from the Trump White House.

Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, has already claimed that the incoming administration will seek to roll back protections for trans students put into effect during the Obama presidency. Last year the Obama administration issued guidance saying that transgender youth had the right to equal access in schools. under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

When it comes to public housing, Carson is unlikely to fight against the removal of equivalent protections for trans people. In a speech delivered at the Republican National Convention, he referred to “the whole transgender thing” as “absurd.”

Carson said, “For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is, and now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore.” He added, “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa? Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan [sic]. I know I don’t look that way.’”

These views are ludicrously ill-informed, but with Carson as a part of Trump’s Cabinet, they would have power. His perspectives would have the authority and influence to deepen the extreme marginalization to which transgender people are already subjected.

Trans individuals, particularly trans women of color, are more likely than any other group

to be the victims of a hate crime. They are disproportionately likely to live below the poverty line, be underemployed  or not have a job at all people face higher rates of sexual assault, domestic violence, and suicide.

And all of this illustrates an important reality. This community doesn’t have extra rights. Trans folks have almost no privileges at all, especially under a hostile administration that seems to be on the verge of stripping them of access to life -saving medical care under the Affordable Care Act.

What Carson doesn’t understand is that trans people — and lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals — aren’t asking for extra privileges, just basic equality. They want the same things all of us desire: safe, fair housing and a life without fear. There’s nothing special about wishing to live your life without wondering whether you’ll be homeless tomorrow just because of who you are.

Stockholm named one of world’s best gay cities


Stockholm named one of world's best gay cities

Stockholm is one of the world’s best cities for gay people, according to a new ranking.

LGBTQ travel site GayCities collected more than 23,000 votes from its members and named Stockholm as the winner in the Up-And-Coming category.

“Sweden has always been a the forefront of the LGBTQ rights movement, so we are proud to provide Stockholm with the Up-And-Coming award in the Best of GayCities2016,” Tim Winfred, director of marketing at Q Digital which is behind GayCities, told The Local.

The Swedish city was picked ahead of US hubs Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Richmond and Buffalo.

“As the only non-American location in the category, Stockholm received one-third of all fan votes and beat several other great cities,” added Winfred.

San Francisco took home the top crown as Best City of 2016, with Orlando in Florida winning City of the Year. The only other European cities featured were London and Berlin  which were tied in the Best Singles Scene category, and Madrid, named a Foodie Paradise.

A major gay rights group earlier this year praised Sweden for recent work to promote transgender rights, and for creating more information for and about the young LGBTQ community.

The Nordic country did then fall from fourth to twelfth place in its ranking, however ILGA-Europe explained that the drop was more a result of other nations improving their policies than life in Sweden getting worse for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.

The Local