Archive | July 2013

The Gayby Boom and LGBT Equality

There have been many reports in the news lately of the generation gap on the acceptance of LGBT people.  Most younger people just don’t see sexual orientation as a big deal.  Some of the reason for this is, of course, that most young people these days have a least one friend or family member who is openly gay.  Some of the credit for the change, however, also needs to go to those of us who have been raising children within our same gender relationships for the last 25-30 years.  Before the 1980’s LGBT people were raising children, but most of these children were the result of prior heterosexual relationships.  In the 1980’s, however, artificial insemination became available to open lesbian couples.   If you didn’t have a sperm bank in your own state, you could travel to one, or even do it all via the mail.  It wasn’t cheap, but it was possible.  Adoption and foster-parenting also became more common among LGBT people, some being open about their relationships and others posing as single.

It was the beginning of the “gayby boom” and that boom has continued.  Some research even suggests that lesbians are now just as likely to become parents as heterosexual women.  Gay men are adopting in ever greater numbers and some are also using surrogate mothers.  The impact of discrimination on the children of LGBT families was one of the arguments that led to the overturn of DOMA.

But there is more to it.

Once you become a parent, it is impossible to stay in the closet.  One, it wouldn’t be good for the kids if they thought you were ashamed of your family, but beyond that, kids will out you all the time.  They say loudly in the grocery line, “Mom, mama says we need to buy more milk.”  They talk about their parents at school.  You attend school and athletic events and other kids come over for sleepovers.  Maybe you join a church.  We joined a Unitarian Universalist congregation when our kids were young partly because we wanted to raise them in a supportive religious community.  I have heard (either directly or from their parents) that several young people who grew up in that church and later came out as LGBT, feel that knowing our family made their own coming out process much easier.

It is a little funny, but whenever we go back to the town where we raised our children, people we couldn’t pick out of a line-up recognize us.  We were the lesbian couple with the 3 kids and everyone knew us – and still knows us – on sight.

Our kids had friends.  Their friends knew us as parents just like their own.  We fussed at them just like their parents did.  Our kids complained to them when they were grounded or when we said “no” to something they wanted to have or do.   We were just parents; weird to their children in a variety of ways just like all parents are.  No wonder their friends all grew up to think sexual orientation is no big deal.  Multiply our experience by the hundreds of thousands of families like ours.  Multiply it by all the friends of all the children who grew up in GLBT households.

Thanks, kids, you helped make it possible for your parents to finally get legally married.

 

Photo is from 1991-1992 I think.

 

972093_10200815929508112_1278312078_n

 

 

 

Advertisements

Sort of Legal in Utah

My long time partner and I were legally married in California on July 12, 2013.  How weird it is to be in Utah now.  How weird the trip home felt.

In California, we went shopping for wedding rings for the ceremony we are planning in January.  Such a joy it was.  Yes, the matching rings are for us.  Smiles all around mostly, although one jeweler made no comment.  Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.  Just another couple getting married.  Normal, everyday, commonplace, so why comment?  Still, I think we made him a bit uncomfortable.  No matter, plenty of others wanted our business.  We went out to dinner with friends who announce our new status to other friends they see.   We tell almost everyone we meet.  It feels good.  It feels real.

Then we crossed the border into Oregon, “Oh, are we still married here?”  Well no, not yet at least, but they are at least working on it.  Federal recognition only in that state. We “honeymooned” in Oregon but it wasn’t as easy as California had been.   We did not share our news with any strangers there.

Then the honeymoon and our vacation was over and we entered Idaho.   It felt downright creepy being there knowing that most people there would not welcome us as we are.  We have been to Idaho many times, but this time felt different.  Married we were finally, but it felt like we were strangers visiting a foreign land.

Utah felt a little better.  It has been our home for six years.  There are people we love here, that are happy for us.  I serve a fabulous Unitarian Universalist church here.  My congregants were excited to learn we had gotten married.  Federal laws should still apply here, despite  our legislature’s crazy impulses to secede from all the one’s they don’t like.  But it does feel odd to be married here and also not.  When asked if I am married I will say yes now, to doctors, dentists, anyone.  I will say yes because it is true, even if Utah says it is not.  But it does feel strange.  I have not been in the closet here at all.  But somehow, being told that “domestic partner” is not a relationship category here, wasn’t quite so offensive, and at least I was used to it.  Now I will be out as a married woman.  I changed my middle name when we signed the marriage license and now I will need to change all of my federal records.  I’ll try the Social Security office first, and hope they have gotten the word, even here in Utah.  We will see how that goes.  I will let you know.

Another Honeymoon

There was the one we took

In 1975

Camping w/my dog

Young crazy in love

We were.

No jobs

No money

No marriage

No kids

Just love

Underneath the stars

 

The kids are grown now

You’re retired

I work for justice

And for love

Older we are

Still crazy in love

Married finally

Legal in places

We can afford

A room with a view

Of the amazing moon

And the crashing endless sea.

 

Happy honeymoon

My darling

Let’s do another one

Soon

Let’s plan a wedding

Worthy of our years

And one more honeymoon

Because we’re still

Just crazy in love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apocalypse – not

Have you been to the mountaintop

Seen the fire and flaming ash

The lava flowing like liquid gold

A perfect apocalypse?

 

Get that image away from me

Erase it from your brain

God is the cool of the misting sea

The warmth of a sunlit field.

 

The Holy comes in sweet daydreams

Not terrors in the night

The Spirit lives within us all

Hold it close in loving arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honeymooning, Hashtags, and PDA’s

Don’t hide your lovely garden

Beneath a canopy of fear

Let the sun shine in

And burn the fog away

We are in Oregon now, the Northwestern part of our vacation loop, a vacation that has turned into a honeymoon with a spontaneous decision to be legally married while we were in California.  The Oregon coast is often cold and foggy in the summer, but yesterday was warm and I even went swimming in the lake at Honeyman Park.  “Honeymooning with my honey at Honeyman Park.”  I could put that line on Facebook, up on twitter, and here it is on my blog.  Old habits die hard, however, and after 38 years of avoiding “public displays of affection,” PDA’s as our daughter calls them, no one on the beach would have guessed that we were newlyweds.  Which we are and which we aren’t.

We shopped around for wedding rings in California.  Most of the jewelers were enthusiastic when they heard our story, a few were matter of fact, and one was pretty clearly uncomfortable.  Still, it was California, and our marriage was fully legal there.  The sun was shining.  We could be “out” in a way we have never really had a chance to be before.  It made us a little giddy.  I even reached for my partner’s hand in a restaurant, a quite shocking PDA.  We were legal, damn it.  Odds were, it felt, that even strangers would be inclined to smile if they saw us holding hands

Then we crossed over into Oregon, realizing that the legal recognition of our relationship was now reduced to federal agencies.  Don’t get me wrong, the demise of DOMA was a huge step forward.  AND it is really, really not enough.  The awkwardness is back in this state we are traveling through now.  Having to ask twice for a king bed in a motel or being asked if we want separate checks in restaurants are minor, almost trivial things.  We are very privileged to be able afford to travel and to eat out. I know that.

I don’t want to make out on the beach, but I might want to hold hands as we walk along the sand, gazing at the sunset.  I think we could just relax and do that now in California, but Oregon doesn’t feel as safe, not yet at least.  We might try it anyway.  But it shouldn’t have to take courage for a married couple to hold hands in public.

Oregon can be foggy.  When we get to Idaho and then to Utah, the sun will be shining bright and hot.  I don’t think it will feel that way, however.  Our honeymoon will be over in those states so hostile to who we are.

I know the  sun will be shining for our wedding ceremony in January, in California, even if the rain is pouring down.  We will get another chance at a honeymoon.

Love poem

Sweet love

When I am with you

Joy bubbles up

From underneath my soul

You are the spring song

That sings in winter

The cool shade of autumn

In the summer’s blazing heat

Love sustains in trouble

Hope has seen us through

Go ahead, depend on me

And I will lean on you.

 

 

 

 

Chains

What a joyful sound it is

When old chains shatter

Hitting the pavement

Ringing through the night

Freeing bodies

Minds and spirits

Oh! I can do this now

I can walk there

Unafraid

I can love without blame

I can think subversively

Act with generosity

My ears are open

My chisel is at hand

Waiting for the sound

Waiting for the joy.

 

 

 

 

 

Rage

Rage comes

And I try to let it go

Push it away with tears

Frozen in salty hurt

Disappointment despair

Still the rage comes

So much is wrong

So much needs doing

Children are dying

Then I remember

Rage is energy

Swallowing only

Eats away at my own soul

Shatters whatever peace

Might be found

Release it instead

Let the fire burn

A beacon of outrage

Shining for the lost

For the forsaken

The abandoned and abused

If they see my rage

Perhaps they will find

Their way home.

Perhaps we will all

Find our way home.

Walk with Me

Will you walk with me

Across this great divide

The imagined distance

Between two souls

Worlds apart

Lives lived differently

Hopes perhaps the same

Will you stand with me

No matter what I say

Or think or do

Can I do the same for you

I will hold you

while you weep

Will you work with me

To dry the tears so quick to fall

Solitude is not an option

In this crowded crazy world

Walk with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Justice Denied Again

Once more

We learn

If we had perhaps forgotten

That justice is only for some

That some lives are

Worth more than others

That there are always

Excuses and explanations

That don’t make

The pain go away

They just remind us

That we can never

Ever forget

That justice is denied

Even more often

Than it is delayed.

We knew this

We have not forgotten

Sometimes, however

We have had hope.

We will have hope again

Just not today

Today we grieve

For all the children

Murdered

For no reason