Pretty[boy] In Pink


the infamous question one debate
November 3, 2009, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?”

it is the eve of a potentially historical election in maine and i am awake anxiously wondering what will happen tomorrow night. unless you never pick up a newspaper, read online news headlines or you don’t own a tv, you have probably heard about “question one.” tomorrow we go to the polls [those who haven’t already voted early or with absentee ballots] and we have the opportunity to be the first state in America to legalize same-sex marriage by the people’s choice. our legislators already did a fine job of creating a bill to extend civil marriage rights to same sex-couples, but thanks to a people’s veto it is now on the ballot, because enough people here in maine still just don’t get it.

at first i was reluctant to make myself an active part of the marriage issue. this was due largely in part to the fact that i believe a disproportionate amount of time, money, energy, and resources of GLBT organizations all over the country focus on the issue of marriage equality and seem to pass over, or barely notice, all of the other issues our community needs to be fighting just as hard for. this is not to say that i don’t think marriage equality is important, because it is, and i fully support it. still, i can’t help but think of all of the other ways in which the money that went into this campaign, the extraordinary efforts of volunteers, politicians, GLBT and GLBT-friendly organizations in maine; could have been used to support and fund hundreds of different and equally important projects within our community. but like it or not here we are, and until we recognize same-sex marriage in maine we won’t be moving forward much further.  so let’s get this done already and then use this powerful momentum to keep pushing forward and creating more positive change.

when you think about it logically, and you remove the religious debate [which let’s face it, has no real leg to stand on when we consider the separation between church and state], what is the big deal?

you can not argue about the sanctity of marriage when you consider the divorce rates in this country, when you can get drunk and marry someone you just met in a chapel in vegas officiated by a lame elvis impersonator [no offense if this is how you chose to celebrate your own union], when there are shows like “rock of love” where some has-been hair band musician has a bus full of women with fake breasts, poor self esteem and substance abuse problems fighting [often literally] to win the great prize of being made his wife. meanwhile, here in maine, there are hundreds of GLBT couples who believe so strongly in the institution of marriage they are willing to put their time, money, and energy into fighting for their right to be a part of it…i can see why we need to “protect marriage” from these terrifying people.

you can not argue that, “well, i have nothing against gay people, but…” because if you have nothing against gay people, than kindly stop trying to refuse them the same rights and privileges that their straight counterparts receive. it’s like starting an offensive statement with, “i don’t mean this to be offensive, but…” [hint- you are being offensive].

and you certainly can not argue that this law would allow “homosexual marriage” to be taught in public schools. unless i was absent on the day it was taught, i don’t recall my public school teaching me about “heterosexual marriage.” i suppose the teachers in my public schools figured at the age of seven, marriage wasn’t really considered important as compared to multiplication tables, phonics, and art. regardless of how we define civil marriage, public schools are likely to touch upon the subject of diversity because you tend to encounter diversity in public schools. whether or not suzie’s two daddies are legally married, they are still members of the PTA, show up for parent-teacher conferences, and oh- pay taxes to fund our public schools.with our without marriage equality issues of tolerance and  diversity should be taught in school, because how else are we going to stop the cycle of miseducation, bigotry, and intolerance?

the thing is, i have yet to see a reasonable argument against marriage equality because it simply isn’t reasonable, it isn’t right and it isn’t fair.

i know that to give special privileges to some and refuse the same rights to others has not worked in the past, and it doesn’t have any place in our society today. civil marriage is a legal right, and both myself and the members of my community have every right to a civil marriage as our neighbors, coworkers, families and friends.  i consider myself lucky that, i did not grow up a statistic of divorce, nor did most of my friends. until my father’s death my parents were happily married and i am sure that they would still be married today were he still alive. personally i believe in marriage, i think it’s a literal reminder of the choice we make every day in a relationship to love the other person, for better or worse. it complicates the process of separating yourself from that person so that when things get rocky [and  at times, they will] you can’t just pick up and go. i believe that relationships are sustained on choice and encouraged by love. i have been blessed to have been witness to many beautiful loving committed relationships during my life, some straight, some queer, and someday i hope to stand before my family and friends and choose to bind myself to my husband [yes husband, not partner], until death do us part. whether or not it is legal, i will have my wedding, and it will be fabulous, because choosing to make a life with someone has little to do with law and everything to do with love. so you don’t have to believe that our relationships are as good as, or equal to yours. you don’t have to accept the way i live my life or who i choose to love. i know who i am. i know that my love is not less than, is not wrong, is not immoral, is not sinful, is not an abomination, is not shameful. my love is bold, beautiful and proud. my love can not be contained or constrained by laws. that being said, while our unions may not need your approval, as citizens of the state of maine it is unfair and unjust to discriminate against us, and it’s high time to give us our fucking rights.

during this campaign i have been surprised time and time again by how many people care so much about this issue who are not GLBT. this particular issues invokes conversation, inspires debate, encourages people to talk about the things that so often are left unsaid. i have had conversations with neighbors, family, friends, parents at the kids’ school, and complete strangers who have all shared with me how important this issue is to them, why it is important to them, and how desperately they want to see marriage equality happen in maine. for every negative editorial printed in the paper, for every misinformed conversation overheard in the grocery store, for every false and misleading commercial sponsored by the opposition, i have witnessed an outpouring of love and support from fellow mainers.

whatever happens election day, someone is going to go to bed disappointed [hopefully not us!], and everyone is going to have to wake up the next morning and coexist in this state. i am hopeful because we can win, i am afraid to be optimistic because we could lose, but regardless of the outcome we can’t say we didn’t try. if we don’t win its because the time isn’t right, it’s because we need to have more conversations, it’s because we need to do more education, it’s because we need to create stronger networks. if we don’t win tomorrow we have to take a deep breath [and a good cry], then get back up and start again. because sooner or later this is going to happen because it is what is right. and if by the grace of God we do win tomorrow, we have to take a deep breath [and a lot of celebration] and then get back up and start working on the next issue.

i have seen what is possible when we work together, i have seen how powerful we can be when we are united in our efforts, i have seen just how much people do care and how much they are willing to do if you just ask. i hope that after the polls close and every last vote is counted, i can feel proud the maine made the right choice. until then i am waiting with held breath and fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

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all these pretty things, don’t say that you don’t notice them
January 28, 2009, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

all of this melancholy feels so self-indulgent. aren’t there more pressing issues to focus on? but i can’t focus on much these days, except this lingering sadness, which creeps in every night beneath the cracks no matter how hard i try to shut it out.

beneath my skin and behind my bones, my heart is beating wild and furious like a bird flapping its clipped wings against the bars of a cage. i am watching the white snow swirling against a white sky against a landscape of white and i just want to feel peaceful. instead i feel so very unsettled.

i want something bright and shiny, bold, beautiful and new to break through all of this grey, to light me from the inside out: blinding white hot, shake me to my core.



“your heart is a muscle the size of your fist, keep loving, keep fighting.”
November 13, 2008, 6:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

where do you begin when it’s been far too long since you wrote and you are not entirely sure what you want to say. but i suppose the answer is somewhere, anywhere, so here goes…

when i decided not to move to NYC this summer i made a pact with myself that if i planned on staying here in portland for any length of time it was high time i started actually ‘living’ here again instead of just biding my time until i found somewhere more appealing. part of that for me meant bringing myself out of queer hibernation and reconnecting with my ‘community’ both socially and politically. and though i remain hopeful about both, i also [quite often] find myself discouraged and feel tempted to throw up my hands and crawl back into my hole. but nothing ever got accomplished that way so instead i am committed to trying to engage in honest and open dialogue, even when its difficult. and while blogging doesn’t change the world, maybe it’s a starting point.

next thursday, november 20th, will mark the tenth annual transgender day of remembrance, this year nothing has been planned here in portland because [if i have my information correct] the group who usually hosts an event lost its funding for that particular program. i saw this as an excellent opportunity to get myself involved and try to get folks together and plan something, which ultimately would cost little to no money to pull off. after making attempts on two social networking sites and contacting ‘equality maine’ the TDOR is a week away and nothing is planned because no one appears to care [ok one person did show some interest but they are already far too busy with other event planning and i can’t/don’t fault them for that].

it also so happens that the TDOR falls the day before the annual college-sponsored drag show, which incidentally is keeping many local queer busy in planning and participating. personally, i have nothing against drag shows, they are not necessarily my cup of tea but i support your right to host/participate in them. for the last few weeks, however, i have this nagging anger that rises up every time i think about how much effort and energy and time and money was put into the drag show versus how very overlooked the TDOR is/was. it feels to me like we are saying: gender variance/identity/expression is supported and accepted when it is done for entertainment, when it is done in jest, when you can go home and change your clothes and take off your wig and go back to being your “proper sex.” but when it’s your life, when it’s who you are, when you can’t live any other way no matter what it may cost you [including but not limited to family, friends, partners, money] and someone kills you for it- we don’t care.

i don’t want to alienate but i think my anger is justified. but what i feel more than angry is disappointment. i will be the first to say that i could do far more than i am doing and though i am not writing this to make anyone feel bad, if you do feel bad, maybe you should. i know i do. i don’t know how many trans people are going to be killed before we wake up and give a shit, but for anyone who is counting, 23 trans folks in our global community were murdered this year, and that doesn’t include the countless others that go unreported [for the record it doesn’t include those who were victims of hate crimes but lived].

so thursday night i will be honoring the TDOR whether it is by myself in silent prayer in the confides of my apartment, or with a candle in monument square with my community. if anyone wants to join me, i can be contacted at stephenandrew81@gmail.com. i don’t think much gets solved by standing on a soapbox so i welcome healthy debate/conversation/opinions/thoughts etc, and i sure hope i won’t be standing alone thursday night.

http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=58

[in other news: check back soon for more posts on racism in the queer community, equal marriage, rants about how much i want a baby and other light hearted banter].



March 11, 2008, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

sometimes the feeling of lonliness is overwhelming and crushing…

i just wish it wasn’t present so often these days.



so many miles behind me and so far still to go
March 10, 2008, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

like most things in my life i intend to do, writing has fallen by the wayside. grandiose plans are always good in theory but when faced with such coping mechanisms as paralyzing avoidance tactics its usually a losing battle. but wallowing in self loathing gets one nowhere so instead of dwelling on what i haven’t been doing i am going to focus on small steps towards a greater goal. chances are i will slip back into what is comfortable now and again, even if it’s not what is healthiest for me, but that’s a part of the process and someday the progress will supersede the stagnant. or that’s what i hope at least.

i need to start writing about the x. for a long time i chose not to write about him because i didn’t want my grief spilled all over the internet like a sloppy crime scene. i feared in writing about him and our relationship, i would be accused of trying to make him look bad, or trying to get revenge, or being a catty bitch. i need to get over that. what happened between him and i is just as much mine as it is his, and while i have no need or desire to tarnish his reputation on-line or anywhere else, i do need to write. i need to write what is true, what is mine, what i need to reflect on, process, and release. because its been about year from when i last saw or spoke to him, since i glimpsed the man behind the curtain, and still there are nights when he interrupts my sleep with dreams. dreams that leave me shaken to the core, hollow, and painfully aware of just how hard he broke my heart.

 i need to start saying goodbye to portland. my move has suddenly shifted from a noun to a verb and i need to focus on getting myself together before it happens. i need to start actively looking for a job, furiously saving money, and stumbling upon the perfect studio apartment to house myself and my cats. i’ve got less months in maine than the fingers on one hand, and while nothing is set in stone and no one is pulling or pushing me to NYC, i know that it needs to happen now, i know that this is necessary even if it’s hard, even if it’s the scariest thing i have ever done. i know that if i chose to stay in portland for the next five years i will never be happy.

 i am starting to take a serious look at myself, my life, my history and i am beginning to see the ways in which i am really unhealthy. my gut reaction is to distract, ignore, hide, but that hasn’t really worked so far and i think it’s time to start doing things differently. and not the kind of change that involves getting back to the gym and watching less tv [though that is part of it], it’s the kind of change that feels like something inside of you is painfully dying, the kind of change that forces you to let go of all the dysfunction coping mechanisms that have kept you afloat but have kept you back, the kind of change that means you will not only hold yourself but also the people around you accountable for the way they treat you/the way you treat yourself. and even though it scares the shit out of me, i look forward to seeing what things look like on the other side. from here it looks like hope.



why is the measure of love, loss…
February 19, 2008, 3:53 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

last night driving home from visiting my family i decided i am going to try to write every day. even if it’s not profound, even if it’s just a few words scribbled on an old receipt stuffed in my wallet, even if it’s just habit.

i went home to honor my father’s memory by attending the mass we dedicated to him, and anyone else in the family who has died. most of our family was there, my mother made brunch after church and the house felt stuffed full of people, familiar strangers. hours after everyone left i thought about how strange it felt that we didn’t talk about my father once. only the priest, saying our family’s name as we bowed our heads obediently in prayer. ten years later it seems like we should have taken out an old album of photos, or shared stories, or one of those cliche things you do in memorandum. instead we ate, sang happy birthday to my step grandma, and took turns holding the new baby in the family until one by one everyone shuffled home.

after ten years i still think of him all the time, probably more than i ever did when he was alive [or perhaps i am just more aware of it now]. when he got sick we weren’t close, in fact, we were barely speaking. now i speak to him all the time. it’s not that i miss him any less, just differently. strange as it may sound i feel so much closer to him now, but i don’t remember the way his voice sounded. through grief i have been able to forge a new relationship with him, one of raw honesty, openness, and forgiveness. and still, i would give it up in a heartbeat for a shaky relationship at best to have him back with us.



October 8, 2007, 4:52 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

sometimes without knowing why, or from where, sadness has a way of creeping in and settling down like a stone in your stomach.i just can’t stand bein alone, i’m gonna have to change that someday.
there’s a restless feelin in my bones and i know, that at times, it just won’t go away.
[alisson krauss]