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There was an article in the LA Times today suggesting that if the Proposition 8 Marriage Amendment passes, all the marriages that do take place in the precious few months of marriage equality before then will most likely be annulled. At the end of the article, the author concluded rather sympathetically that while this poc hoc revoking of civil rights might not be fair, that doesn’t mean it won’t be legal.

The small thread of assurance that they won’t be able to take away the marriages that take place before November 5th has been the only string tying me to any semblance of emotional stability in the tumultuous month since the Supreme Court handed down it’s decision and the opponents countered with their proposed amendment. Today, I watched it slip away. The political wars are only just beginning, and already I am all cried out. Given enough time, I might be able to convince myself that this is not the end of the world… that my girlfriend and I might very well have other chances to make our love legal. But I cannot, no matter how hard I try, wrap my mind around the idea that all of those beautiful couples I have been seeing in the papers who have already been waiting decades for this moment, and may have even already gone through one involuntary annulment after the brief window of marriage equality came and passed at the City Hall in San Francisco, will have to suffer through that humiliation yet again.

But I am getting ahead of myself, I know, because there are still 127 days left until the state takes to the polls, and I am not giving up yet. But for those of you who aren’t living this along with me here in California, let me point out that it is a strange sensation to suddenly feel as though your life and your relationship are on trial, and everyone you encounter has been placed on the jury. It is a more than a little unnerving to imagine that every conversation you have– or fail to have– might impact the decision that someone makes about the future of you and your partner when they turn in their verdict on November 4th. More than unnerving, it is exhausting.

I am currently alternating between being paralyzed with fear that something I have just done or said- or failed to say- might move someone towards voting yes to pass the marriage amendment, and an irrepressible desire to climb up on top of our own glorious City Hall building and scream at the top of my lungs that we may go down come November, but damn it, we will go down fighting!

But then I am reminded of Vienna Teng’s song about the brief San Fransisco marriages, and her final haunting lines where a woman who has just been able to marry her partner after ten years of waiting sings: “even if they take it away again someday, this beautiful thing won’t change.” And as that song plays over and over again in my head, I can’t help but thinking that even more than we will go down fighting, we will go down loving. Because love, after all, is what we’re fighting for, isn’t it? And that beautiful thing won’t change.

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Dear California Voters,

It is not, as those who are closest to me will surely attest to, generally in my nature to ask for help. From anyone, really… let alone someone I don’t even know. But I would prefer not to think of you as strangers, seeing as you hold so much of my future in your hands, and it seems I am left with no option but to ask for your help. In a little over four months, you will have a choice to make. In all fairness, I will have a choice to make as well, but it will be blended together with your choice, and with all of the other choices of my fellow Californian citizens, to create the landscape of my future. You will have before you a ballot, with 12 propositions. It is the 8th that I would like to talk to you about today- the proposed constitutional amendment to place a limit on marriage in California. With that 8th proposition, you will have two options before you. The first option will be to say yes… yes, I think that you are less than me, and yes, I believe we should take away your newfound freedom to marry the one you love…and because I think that, I think the children you have or one day may have should also suffer for it. Yes, I think it is fair to rip these tentative strands of hope right out of your hands just after you were first able to grasp hold of them… because not only do you deserve less, you are less. Your second option will be to say No. No, I won’t tolerate inequality any longer, not here in my own state… not in my neighborhood and in my own home. No, I don’t think you are any less than I am, and no, I won’t stop you from making your love as legally valid and respected as mine.

When you see the ballot before you, try not to think of them as stationary words; as a split-second decision with no real ramifications, or as an intellectual argument you feel you have exhausted with your line of reasoning, whatever it may be. Think of it, instead, as you, making your reply directly to me, and to the thousands of other gay and lesbian individuals whose futures you are holding in your hands. Don’t just picture the words before you; letters typed on a page… picture your neighbor, your aunt, your classmates; your children and your children’s children. Picture your grocery clerk and your librarian; that woman in your Pilates class and that man who brews your morning latte. Picture their faces, because I promise you, the answer that you choose will shape at least one of their futures.

And if you cannot, for whatever reason, picture any of their faces when you envision the lives that your decision will impact, then picture mine. I am 5’9 with shoulder length dark brown hair, and even darker brown eyes. My partner is just a bit short than I am, with short red hair and eyes that range from green to blue, depending on her mood.

Picture us, waking up next to each other each morning… she makes the bed while I start the coffee, and then we meet at the front door to take our two little dogs out for their morning walk. Picture us sipping white chocolate mochas at a local independent coffee shop while we brainstorm ideas for our upcoming dissertation proposal. Picture us sitting side by side in church. Picture us mouthing along with the actors at our favorite musical, and picture us laughing our way across a dance floor, knowing that I have no rhythm but dancing anyway, because it is exhilarating to move across the room together, even if we don’t get all the steps right. There, can you see it? Can you see our love? Can you see our humanity?

Now picture us waking up on a lazy morning just last month. Having somehow both slept through our early classes, we are pulled out of sleep by a call letting us know that although we had gone to asleep in a world where we had only the faintest hope of ever getting legally married, we had woken up to a world in which it was a sudden tangible reality. Imagine the way the air itself might seem to taste a little fresher… a little lighter… in a state where you were now viewed with dignity and equality… a state where we can get married, just like almost every little girl has dreamed she one day might. Imagine our joyful tears when we discovered that the children we will one day adopt and foster and give birth to might now be protected not only by us, but also by the law.

Picture our tears of joy, our laughter, our hopes and our dreams… but also don’t forget to picture our fear. For on the tailwinds of this gift has arrived a paralyzing threat: that the gift will be taken away from us before we can even begin to fully embrace it.

What would you do, if your discussion about marriage was suddenly transformed from finding the perfect time, to deciding whether or not to seize the only opportunity you might ever see in your lifetime?

My girlfriend is terrified to hope that we might not have to choose between now and never; that come November, the air will have that same element of freedom and fairness that has us so giddy with excitement these days. I am terrified too… paralyzed even, in certain moments… But I wanted you to know that right now, I am also daring to hope. I am daring to hope that you will make your voice heard on November 4th; that you will cast your vote of “No” on Proposition 8 into a wave of votes on which my girlfriend, myself, and all of the other hopeful faces who are looking towards you in this moment, can be swept into a future where we can stand proudly beside you. Where we can be viewed with equality in our love, in our pain, in our hopes and dreams, and in our humanity… knowing that our freedom to marry the person we love had been upheld not only by the California Supreme Court, but also by you. This, dear California voter, is what I am asking you today. Will you vote No on Proposition 8, and use your voice to help make this dream a reality? Please bring your answer to the polling booths on November 4th. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your reply.

D has blogged extensively regarding progress, hopefulness, and Imago Dei. In general, I feel that she does a much better job of conveying this “optimism-even-when-things-suck” thing. B also has blogged about pride and being a lesbian. Once again, it’s hard for me to muster up the optimism sometimes. Last week it became much, much easier to be optimistic.

800-1000 people gathered in WeHo.  Where\'s Waldo?

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Everyone’s recent writing activity has spurred me on (thanks B and D). Part of the reason I’ve been rather silent has to do with reflecting on the purpose of my blogging and the direction of my thoughts. While there is a lot of political/social stuff that ravages through my small brain, it took me a while to realize this isn’t the venue. I’ll stick to what I know – me. Ergo:

I was in a relationship for 4 months. It ended a few days ago and the free time that I’ve rediscovered is absolutely astounding! I didn’t realize how much (freely-given) time was given to that relationship! For the sake of the other I won’t go into details of how it was, what went wrong, etc. Suffice to say that A 2.0 (3.0? 4.0?) has arrived. And looking ahead it is going to be quite the ride. The semester is over in less than a month, and I just solidified my plans for the summer. My professional self is coming together, as is my adult self starting to get some feet. It looks as though I’ll have more blogging-time, too! Anyway, on to some notables.

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I told my parents.

With the same forceful energy that I have been using over the past six months or so to resist telling them, suddenly and without any particular catalyst or tangible reason, around this time last week I decided that I would do it. And then I did it.

That makes it sound a lot easier than it actually was, of course. But the truth is, the panic is fading, the details are blurring, and the only thing I can solidly wrap my mind around is that it is done, and I will never have to do it again. And I am remembering how to breathe.. or rather, not having to remember to breathe nearly so much lately.

On one hand, it has been a long time coming. But on the other hand, it happened in the exact moment in which the time had finally come. A few months ago, a friend of mine who had been through the same process told me that she didn’t come out to her parents until the very moment in which she could no longer breathe until she had told them. And I am sure there are easier ways in which to undertake the process of coming out to one’s parents, but for her and for me, this is exactly what we did. And for me, that time was inconveniently on Valentine’s Day (thankfully, my girlfriend and I had already celebrated the day before).

I had every intention of driving home to tell my parents on Friday, because I was under the impression that one should tell their parents these sorts of things in person. But then my girlfriend gently reminded me that I have been working really hard at eliminating the should’s as a driving force behind my decisions lately, and that it’s more important to consider what might be right for your own family, rather than what might be right for a how-to-guide on coming out. And so, when I told my mom on the phone about how I had acquired a tiny diamond piercing in my nose since she’d last seen me, as a sort of trial run for what was coming next, and her reaction was an alternating pattern of silence/anger/silence, I decided it was time to get practical about the whole business. I didn’t want to be anywhere where I could see her face when I told her, and I sure as hell didn’t want to have to drive back three hours if they kicked me out. I am pretty decent at multi-tasking, but driving while crying has never been my strong suite. So, with my girlfriend on her way over to pick up the pieces when I was done, I called my mother back post-nose-piercing-disclosure, and I told her, in the indirect, round-about sort of way that marks my family’s favorite communication style, that “I am not one of those girls who likes boys.”

And she already knew, as mothers will, but that did not soften the blow even one little bit.

It seems that I have not come to a place within myself, and perhaps I never will, where I am quite prepared to cast her words out into the void of blogland with the good conscience that I have done justice to a moment that I suspect will for quite a while, at least to a certain degree, define both my mother’s life and my own. But suffice to say, by the end of the conversation, it was decided that she didn’t want to see me that weekend, but she did want to see me again… and that she would be the one to tell my father.

What I do, however, feel confident putting into words is the way my girlfriend literally carried me in her arms when I collapsed after I hung up the phone, and didn’t just watch me cry but actually cried with me in the aftermath of what I hope will be one of the most difficult conversations I ever have to endure. And also the way my old friend, the one behind the counter at the coffee shop, came over too, and they both sat with me in the way-without-answers that I believe is one of the truest things we can do for one another in our most broken of moments.

And even more grace came flowing my way the next morning when I called my father, and he reacted in a most unexpected manner… in the way that we might all hope our parents would react to this kind of thing: with unshattered love and with a grief moderated by hope and compassion, leaving the faintest of impressions that this might be less of an end and more of a beginning.

It has been a lasting impression; that not only in my relationship with my father, but also in the way that I am able to interact genuinely and resiliently with a world that has generally not contained much space for girls who don’t like boys… this will be less of an end, and more of a beginning.

We had another one of our meetings, up in the attic of the little coffee shop we’ve all spent so much time in lately, and C was kind enough to share with us a little of her knowledge about the law, and how it relates to those of us in the LGBT community. I didn’t notice this, and I suppose it was because my own eyes had glazed over a bit themselves, but on our way out, the girl that I am dating mentioned how all of our faces got a sort of blank, glazed look on them about half way into the updates on marriage (we still can’t get married, and probably won’t be able to for some time now) and getting kicked out of our respective institutions (they still can kick us out, and probably will be able to for some time now).

Now don’t get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the information C provided us with, because how can we even begin to hope to change situations if we don’t even know what the situations really are. But it was hard, because I forget. After having spent my entire life with most opportunities available to me (and my deep thanks go to the feminist movement for that), I keep forgetting that it is really not the case anymore. And it is incredibly hard to remember that I am supposed to be grateful now when people make some sort of response to me that indicates they are still going to recognize my humanity, even though I’m a lesbian. I forget that for them, recognizing my humanity is often a big and gracious step that they view as pretty radical, and all I seem to be able to remember is that I have been alive my entire life, and so my humanity does not seem all that radical to me.

And so sometimes, I get angry inside, even when they are trying their hardest to be kind and generous. Take, for example, my roommate the other night. Now, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude as how accepting she has been of me since I came out to her, and I really am truly, deeply grateful, but a couple of nights ago we were just joking around in the kitchen with my little dog, and I told her: “I really am glad it turned out that you like my dog, because it would have been really terrible if you didn’t!” And she laughed and replied: “yeah, but what you should be really grateful for is that I’m not a homophobe, that would have been terrible.” And she is right, and I am grateful… I just forget sometimes. Ok, I forget a lot of the times… because I am just not used to having my dignity be such a tenuous thing, up for debate at almost every turn.

As we were leaving the coffee shop after Sunday’s meeting, the girl that I am dating mentioned how the whole time we had all been sitting up there, looking a little defeated and numb around the edges, she’d had this song from Rent playing in her head… the one that goes, over and over again, “Will I lose my dignity, will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow, from this nightmare?” And so that song ran through my head the rest of the day, and the two of us have been singing it intermittently ever since, because I think on some level, that is the question we are all asking: Will we lose our dignity? And if and when that happens, will someone care? If I do decide to start a family one day, will it ever be recognized and protected by the law? What happens if my school decides that I no longer have a place at their table, and where will I go if they force me to leave? Will people ever understand the cutting potential of their careless words when they make assumptions about how my sexuality must necessarily mean that I have lost something of the innocence and potential they once saw in me?

The truth is that I think the answer is yes, at some point, we will all lose our dignity in ways that will be startlingly painful. And yet, we have shown that even in the midst of all if this, in the face of opposition and criticism and persecution, we will not lose our faith….and I have to believe that that is something. In fact, I really believe that it is everything.

It’s been a tough last few days for me. Shit, it has been a really tough semester for me. These last few days haven’t made it any easier. I don’t want to spend the time to explain what has been shitty, its nothing all that abnormal from my other experiences. Lets just say that there have been frustrating classroom discussions and depressing glimpses of reality…moments of breaking out in tears in the most embarrassing and unexpected places, feelings of deep hopelessness, in this season of advent, when I am supposed to be most hopeful.

I sat on my couch last night, in front of the fireplace, curled up in a ball, sobbing, clutching my stuffed gorilla Bummer, as I listened to this song play over and over and over again: Read the rest of this entry »

(-): So, I went to the campus health center to get my yearly skin TB test (for eligibility in clinical rotations). Nothing too exciting. I haven’t had any contact with any TB patients – that I know of. Anyway, I was in the office and it occurred to me that I haven’t had an HIV test. Ever. And yet, I’m a huge proponent of HIV screening for gay men, and to a slightly lesser degree for anyone who’s ever had sex. Read the rest of this entry »

I just got off the phone with my best friend, and we were just talking about life and some of our friends that we used to live with, and go to church with (way back in the day, pre-Mountainside).
“Do you ever talk to them?” she asked.
“No” I explain. And than I chuckle a little bit “I don’t know if they would want to talk to me if they knew… if they go on myspace at all.” Of course I am referring to my sexuality and my myspace page where in the about me: orientation box, it says lesbian. Read the rest of this entry »

I think the video clip speaks for itself…. but this is a bit of my experience with the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride. Unreal, but, sadly, very real….