Still Second Class

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So, Leon and I have been together for 11 years. Comingled finances for about 10 1/2 years. Leases, loans, credit cards, everything. Thankfully, he’s always had jobs that offer domestic partner benefits.

Now, he’s unemployed and I have a job. I can get insurance through my employer. The insurance, while decent, is through two different providers, one for medical and one for dental and vision. I was filling out my applications for them today and got to the question about marital status.

Marital Status: Single // Married // Divorced

It’s always a tricky question. We’re not legally married in any state in the country (something that *will* change this year, dammit). If I have to get in on the fucking lawsuit against the state of Ohio to get my 14th amendment rights, I will. In, as my friend Zach says, a cocaine heartbeat.

Let me be perfectly clear about this: none of this is the fault of my employer or the insurance agent. It is completely the fault of the insurance providers. If I was married to a woman, this wouldn’t even be an issue. If I was a single parent, this wouldn’t be an issue.

For those of you who can’t seem to see that this is about creating a second-class distinction, you’re part of the problem. And that makes you one of the biggest fucking douchebags on the entire planet. Those of you who can’t seem to fight for anyone who’s not just like you, same pile of douchebaggery.

I’m so goddamned angry right now that I’m surprised that my hair isn’t on fire. There will be so much pixel death tonight. SO MUCH.


Marriage Equality, Part Two

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This is a reply I made to someone on Facebook.

Not everyone believes in the same God. Or Gods. There is a guideline of separation of Church and State in this country. Marriage equality has NOTHING to do with religion. Nobody’s religious views will be affected by it. Churches who don’t believe in it won’t be forced to perform same-sex marriages. My faith (and Mojie’s, for that matter) allow, affirm, and celebrate when people make a commitment to one another. So does my mother’s; she’s an ELCA Lutheran. So does my friend Zach’s. He’s an ordained United Church of Christ minister. By saying that “God” has said this, you take away the voice of their faiths.

If you believe that marriage is for the sole purpose of procreation, do you also support the dissolution and banning of marriages who have zero intention of having children? Or the ones entered into by women past the age of menopause or sterile men? Would you support legislation to require an opposite-sex couple who enter into marriage to have at least one child? If your answer is ‘no’ to any of those, that argument is invalid.

This is completely for the CIVIL equality. There are 1138 rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples by the federal government that are not an option for anyone who’s not in an opposite-sex marriage, including things like property inheritance, hospital visitation, and child custody. My father and stepmother were married in a civil ceremony by a Justice of the Peace. They’ve been married for 30 years. Is their marriage any less valid because they weren’t married in a church? Or because they don’t have children of their own?

How is anyone asking you to give up your rights? There are exactly zero ways that this would impact your rights or your life. You say that you “Do not and Will not stand and let someone try to shove there (sic) beliefs down my” throat. By fighting against what others believe, isn’t that what you’re doing? In this instance, nobody wants to take away any rights from you. At all. Ever. We want equal rights. You want special rights, rights that are not afforded to other people.

I’m sorry you had horrific experiences with some people growing up. I got beaten up by straight people while growing up. I don’t hate straight people, and I’m not trying to take away their rights, simply because I know that not all straight people are the same, just like not all gay people are the same.

All we want is to be treated like Americans instead of being treated like second-class citizens.


Marriage Equality

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So, to anyone out there who may possibly be interviewing anyone who is anti-marriage equality, or even those out there who are reading this who are anti-marriage equality (and, uh, why are you here? Fuck off; you’re a bigoted douchebag), I ask you this (or ask you to ask your interview people this): Why are you anti-marriage equality?

  • If you say “Because the Bible says so!”, you’re disqualified; not everyone believes in your Bible, and you’re cherry-picking parts of it. My faith allows and celebrates people to make commitments to one another.
  • If you say, “Because it’s not natural!”, you’re disqualified; neither are eyeglasses, pacemakers, gasoline, or oxygen tents.
  • If you say, “Because it could/will lead to beastiality (or something equally as stupid)!”, you’re disqualified; there have been exactly zero cases in the last ten years since Massachusetts passed its marriage equality laws where this has happened.

If you’re going to be a bigot, at least have the guts to say it’s because you’re a bigot. I’d have a truckload more respect for you than if you use one of the above. Granted, it’s about a Hot Wheels truckload, but any port in a storm, hey? Two people getting married will not affect your marriage in any way, shape, or form.

Yes, we know you’re still out there. Yes, we’re fully aware that you’re going to try to stop this. What you need to realize is that we don’t give to juicy shits about your little temper-tantrums. We will win this, and you will look like bigger idiots than you already do.

If you really want some credibility for any of your arguments, you’ll bring us facts, not emotional whining. Until then, kindly shut the hell up and get out of the way so the future can happen.


[Ancient Repost] Gay Like Me

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High school, the place, was absolute hell for me. Because of a rumor my brother started when I was in fifth grade, a rumor that kids don’t forget ever, and because kids are the meanest little creatures on the planet, I was the lowest of the low in the pecking order. It was so bad that, when I was in junior high, I moved to Wisconsin to live with my father so that I could get away from it. And oddly, it had nothing to do with me being gay.

No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. I don’t need more of that trauma in my life by letting the world know or by reminding those with whom I went to school.

When I was in Wisconsin, I had my first sexual experience with the boy next door. It was amazing, it felt right and I finally had the word to put with the feelings I’d been having since I was about, oh, six or so. I also found out that most of society thought it was wrong and that, because of what the Bible said about it, I was going to Hell for it. I didn’t care. I started questioning the Bible and my faith, at the tender age of 12. TWELVE YEARS OLD and I was already a very independent thinker.

After junior high, I chose to move back to Wyoming to go to high school. I was in school for all of three days when people resurrected The Rumor. There were several days in September of my freshman year that I was “sick” due more to stress than anything medical. Sure, I was throwing up several times a day, but again, stress-related, not illness. I finally just started to push through and ignore the bullshit as much as I could and keep my head down and not get involved with anyone or anything that would draw attention to myself.

It was a long four years of band, drama, journalism, Academic Decathlon and keeping to myself. I had a few good friends (Carolyn, Sheila, Stephen, Casey, to name a few). I had more people who were more intimidating than hostile (Mike Green, Brandon Elliot, most of the football team — I use their names because I might forgive but I never forget). The one and only time I got anywhere near being in a fight (from which I ran away) was in my freshman year at the end of lunch. Sean Brandt (again, might forgive, never forget) came up to me on my walk back to school and said, “I heard what you said about my ass,” and swung at me. I moved fast enough to only take a little bit of it on my chin, and then ran my ass back to school. I was already late, but damn, I could have won track meets with that speed. While I was in my locker getting my books for the class for which I was already late (Biology with Mrs. Pollet), he walked behind me and shoved me into my locker and kept going. The halls were empty, so nobody saw it, and I didn’t report it. Keep my head down and get through it. He never brought it up again.

By my senior year, I was a fuckin’ wreck. There was The Rumor, and there was the growing fear that someone would find out about the crushes I had on various people in my school, crushes on guys. Because, really? DAMN, I went to high school with some fine guys (and let’s keep in mind, shall we, that at the time I was age-appropriate. I’m not a pedophile; most of those scum are straight). P.E. classes were my own special hell. Thankfully, I had a lot of self-control and very few opportunities. There was rarely a week when thoughts of suicide weren’t part of my world.

Then I had a friend spend the night (let’s call him Dex). Dex and I had sex that night, and quite a few other times throughout my senior year, all under the noses of my friends at school and my parents. I wasn’t keeping secrets from anyone that most people wouldn’t keep secret anyway. How many high school kids tell their parents or friends that they’re having sex? Dex moved away before I graduated, so I was solo again.

I went to college in Powell. I chose Powell, because I had a scholarship for anywhere in Wyoming, and Powell was the farthest away from Wheatland as I could get and still stay in the state. Somehow The Rumor followed me up to Powell, and it could have only done that through a very few people. I’m pretty sure I know who it was, but I can’t prove it and it doesn’t matter anymore anyway. It died pretty quickly because, well, I don’t think anyone gave a shit.

I met my first real boyfriend, Dwayne, while I was in Powell. He was the husband of a good friend of mine, who introduced us, knowing full well that he was bisexual and I was questioning. We were together for about six months during my sophomore year. When we broke up, I told my friends Sandy and Heather about it and what I went through for high school and up until then with my sexuality.

I moved out of Wyoming and to Wisconsin where I came out at the age of 21. Four years later, in 1998, a young man named Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie, 70 miles from my hometown of Wheatland, because he was gay and some small-minded bigots decided that they didn’t need any fuckin’ homo faggots in their precious little backwoods.

It could have been me for all of those years. I don’t know which deity was smiling on me, nor do I know why, but I am thankful for His or Her intervention.

*****

Wow, re-reading that was kind of rough. I’d like to add that a great deal has changed in my world since then. I’m out, I’m in a good place, I’m in a great relationship, and I’ve been approached by quite a few of the people I knew in high school. The overwhelmingly vast majority of those interactions have been extremely positive, and I’m glad that all of us have grown up and learned that high school wasn’t the end-all-be-all, and that the high school pecking order, while extending somewhat into the real world, doesn’t really matter to the good people. I’ve learned of or talked to several other people from my home town who have come out since high school, and it’s good to see that they’ve gotten comfortable in themselves and

I’m gay. I’m out. I’m proud of the man I’ve become. My family loves me and, just as importantly, loves Leon. I’ve seen a lot of changes come to the gay side of the world, and there are a great many more to go, but I’m confident that the anti-gay contingent will go away. Not necessarily in my lifetime, because that kind of thing takes generations to disappear, but the big changes will come soon, and the haters will die off.

To those who have stood by me forever, thank you. To those who are back in my life, welcome back. To everyone who reads this, I’m glad you’re here.


I Have a Sad

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A lot of people don’t get me. I’m kind of prickly (kind of like a pufferfish is kind of prickly) and I’m kind of sarcastic (kind of like the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a puddle), but it’s all an enormous defense mechanism. I’m incredibly insecure and unsure of myself in a great many ways. As such, I tend to get hurt more easily than people expect.

Also germane to the rest of this post and for those who don’t know, Leon and I are poly. It comes from different places, but it is what it is. It works for us; if it doesn’t work for you, well, then, don’t judge me on mine.

It’s rare that I find anyone that I’m interested in dating, and it’s even more rare to find someone who’s interested in coming into everything that poly is, means, and represents. I never force the issue, but if someone’s interested and can get past society’s diadic mindset, I’m usually open to it.

I found out today that someone who was on that incredibly short list found a boyfriend. I’m happy for him, really I am. It’s what he wants, and he doesn’t have to share. I’m just very sad for me, and I think it’s fair of me to feel that way. Part of the poly mindset is to be able to talk about your feelings and not feel awkward.

This is new for me, the sadness thing. I’m not real keen on it. But I plan to feel it, at least for a short while. And then I will get over it and myself and move on. But until then, you can’t have the happy without the sad.


BAWK. BAWK. BAWK.

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Dear everyone who’s tired of the Chick-fil-A posts: Sorry. Tough shit. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Things like this will stop when this kind of thing doesn’t matter anymore. Until my family is recognized as a family and treated like every other family, as long as we have politicians and CEOs (though, where is the line drawn?) working against us, as long as the bigotry and hate continues to flow from their shit, things like this will continue.

When the Komen Foundation made their stupid shit happen, I got VERY tired of those posts very early on, but I promoted them because it was important. I will more than likely never use Planned Parenthood, so it meant not one damn thing to me. However, a lot of my female friends DO use PP, and the Komen bullshit affected them. I didn’t say anything about it because it didn’t affect me; I supported people who needed the support.

But you know what? Thanks for the support. I’m sorry we’re inconveniencing you with our desire for equality and to not be treated like second-class citizens.

To quote my friend Michael, who said it much better, more calmly, and with less swearing than I:

FYI: I’m tired of talking about that fast food place too.

I’m also tired of being denied my civil rights, tired of being treated like a second-class citizen, tired of people carving “CUNT” into an innocent woman’s body, tired of people being harassed, bullied, attacked and killed because of who they are, and tired of every last fucking GLBT person who says they are “tired of all this Chick-Fil-A talk”.


RIP: Whitney Houston

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I don’t often talk about music, and I really should. For my whole life, music has been such an integral part of my entire being. It attaches itself to my emotions and my soul. And I didn’t realize how important Whitney Houston was to my evolving self as a teenager and later as a gay man.

When she was at her peak, Whitney was fierce. The Greatest Love of All. How Will I Know. Saving All My Love For You. I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Where Do Broken Hearts Go. I’m Your Baby Tonight. It’s Not Right But It’s Okay. My Love Is Your Love. These are songs of my coming of age. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these songs. When she was on, she was on. Bobby was a shitty influence on her, and it makes me sad that she didn’t or couldn’t get away from him. She was an amazing talent, and it sucks that she’s gone. Yeah, she made shitty choices (Bobby and drugs being the top two) and I wish that she hadn’t made them. Without those two things in her life, I think we would have seen more than five albums from her, and I’m pretty sure she’d still be alive and kicking the crap out of the music industry.

When I was in junior high, I remember seeing the video for The Greatest Love of All. It was after a Confirmation class (I grew up ELCA Lutheran) and all of us had piled into Pastor Kerr’s living room to watch some MTV. It’s an amazing black and white video of Whitney on a stage, singing for all she’s worth. She just belted and sang with a purity I’d never heard before. Some time later, I’d see the Day-Glo video for I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me). It was so much fun and dancey and it made me happy to be around. Same with How Will I Know.

A few years later, after coming out, I learned that I wasn’t the only person who fell in love with these songs. I can’t even begin to count how often I danced at the Cavalier and Players to It’s Not Right But It’s Okay. In the last year of my drag era, I remember hearing stories of Stephanie telling us about her act to that song, and how she would have two beer bottles and just drench herself and the front two rows of the audience during it, like some kind of twisted Gallagher act. That same song would later help me get through a shitty, shitty, shitty break-up with a lying, cheating asshole.

Her last decade or so have been pretty awful. Bobby, as I said before, was a terrible influence on her, and her addiction absolutely ruined her voice. She hasn’t sounded good for a long time, and it just rips at me because of it. So much talent, so much potential, destroyed and taken far too soon. I didn’t even realize how much this affected me until I started writing this. The only thing I can compare it to would be the way many people feel about how Michael Jackson’s music affects them.

Get you some peace, Ms. Houston. You will be missed. But take this with you: you will never be gone. As long as there are drag queens in this world, Whitney Houston will shine on stage.


Friday, Fridayfriday!

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Suck it. I like the song. Well, if it’s remixed well, to within an inch of it’s goddamned life. Which, really, is a rant for another time.

I shoved my way through the rest of yesterday’s article. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I think Dan Savage comes off a little judgey about it, but what works for him and his husband don’t work for me and mine, and it seems that that’s the entire point of the article. I just needed people to tell me that there were valid points and to slog through it.

Honestly, the part that turned me off the most and made me angriest was the last part of the first paragraph and the first part of the second:

She paused, scrunched up her mouth as if she had just bitten a particularly sour lemon and said: “An affair is at least a normal human thing. But tweeting a picture of your crotch is just weird.”

How do we account for that revulsion, which many shared with my wife, a revulsion that makes it hard to imagine a second act for Weiner, like Eliot Spitzer’s television career or pretty much every day in the life of Bill Clinton?

“Revulsion?” Really? That’s the word you chose? Like it’s nearly the most disgusting thing you could think of?

::cleansing inhale::
::cleansing exhale::

One of the odd things that happened during that was that I got asked for advice on a poly relationship. A guy in another city found my profile, and dropped a big long story on me. To sum it up, he’s friends with a couple in his town. He’s always been monogamous. They want to bring him into their relationship as a third. He wasn’t sure what to think about it, because of his ingrained monogamy and because he has jealousy issues. This is what I told him:

Wow. Hm. Well, you may want to sit down and talk to them. Make sure that their relationship is stable and healthy before you jump in. Do they communicate well (not just talking and listening, but communication; do they get each other all the time or know how to ask for clarification without getting agitated?)? How long have they been together? Are they wanting a true triad relationship, or are they looking for a third to be a fuck-buddy? Are you equally attracted to both of them?

One thing that you need to understand about jealousy is that it’s all you. Envy is a very different thing. Jealousy is a useless emotion that stems from an internal ownership feeling (meaning, you get jealous because OMG HE’S MINE!). Learn to control it.

You’ll know it’s right when you know it’s right. Keep in mind that a triad relationship is not one relationship of three people. It’s four relationships (A+B, B+C, C+A, A+B+C); it’s four times as much work to keep a triad relationship viable as it is to keep a two-person relationship viable.

It’s a *lot* of work, but it’s also *VERY* worth it.

I’ve had to time to calm down from the article. There were still things I didn’t agree with, and I do realize that I’m even further to the more liberal side of relationships than either the guy who wrote the article or Dan Savage. Relationships are valid. ALL relationships. Even dysfunctional relationships are valid. Just because we do work within one set of relationship parameters doesn’t mean that they’re not valid models.

Or am I just talking out my ass?


Fidelity vs. Monogamy

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From Merriam-Webster Online:

Definition of FIDELITY
1a : the quality or state of being faithful
b : accuracy in details : exactness
2 : the degree to which an electronic device (as a record player, radio, or television) accurately reproduces its effect (as sound or picture)

Definition of MONOGAMY
1 (archaic) : the practice of marrying only once during a lifetime
2 : the state or custom of being married to one person at a time
3 : the condition or practice of having a single mate during a period of time

They’re not the same thing. If they were the same thing, they’d be the same word with the same meaning. It’s all well and good if you’re for monogamy. Have at it. Be my guest. But when you start rolling your eyes at me or acting like you’re so very much more superior to me because you’re monotonous monogamous and I’m getting laid, I’m going to call you on your bullshit. My relationship is not affecting your relationship one teensy tiny little bit. If your “monogamous” partner is sleeping around and you blame everyone with an open relationship for that? Yeah, I’ma get all up in your shit. It is not my fault that he’s playing on the down-low. Maybe you should keep your man satisfied.

This is coming up because of this article, not because of anything that happened. I couldn’t even make it past the second page because the author was pissing me off so badly (if anyone else finishes it, please tell me if it’s satire, so I can try to force my way through it).

Every relationship is different. Every relationship also has rules. If the first rule of your relationship is “don’t sleep with anyone else” and that works for you, mazel tov. When I play, Leon knows about it. I also try (try; I don’t always succeed) to stay away from guys who are in “monogamous” relationships. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” doesn’t work for the military, and it sure as hell doesn’t work for (most) relationships. Do not presume to tell me how to handle my relationship.


Don’t say gay!

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And whatever you do, think of the childrunz!

The puritanical bigots in the Tennessee Senate have a bill before them right now banning the words “gay” and “homosexual” from being spoken between kindergarten and eighth grade in Tennessee schools. Banning words is always a good idea, right? Because if you ignore something, it doesn’t exist? Out of sight, out of mind? Yeah, I’ll wait until you’re all done pissing yourselves in laughter over that.

The bill’s author, Senator Stacey Campfield (who probably showers in his underwear in a public shower, lest anyone know he has a peener), says that the bill is let families decide when it’s okay to talk about the spreading taint of homerseckshooality. Yeah, I know.

I’ve seen a lot about this on the Internet (or, well, honestly, on Facebook) the last week or so. The most overwhelming response, not surprisingly, is shock and outrage, which I share. The next biggest response is, “Why are we teaching sexuality in school at all? It should be about things that come out of books! Math, language skills, science! If it’s not book-learnin’, it shouldn’t be in the schools anyway!”

Uh, really? REALLY?? That’s where you’re going with this? Let’s take a closer look at that, shall we?

That argument is completely invalid unless schools are going to stop mandating physical education classes. I learned NOT ONE THING in PE classes in the 13 years I was in school. Oh, wait, that’s a lie. I learned about favoritism and I learned that dodgeball fucking sucks. There are no books for PE classes; leave that shit at home where it belongs. And before you go off about the arts, let me point out the incredible amount of paper that is printed for songbooks and musical scores and art history books beginning at a very low grade level.

My first sex education class was at West Elementary School. I was in fifth grade, which would have made me about ten, I believe. Long before that, two of my teachers (Miss Christopherson and .. oh crap, I forgot his name — Carolyn would know) had gotten married. Before that, at least three teachers had been pregnant. All of this is in school, people, and I knew about WHILE I was in school, actively learning, all under the age of TEN. To say that schools are not the right place to teach this kind of thing is unrealistic and, in my opinion, mean and hateful.

Sure, I could have come to my mom and dad about it, but they weren’t there when I wanted to know about it. The pregnant teachers and the dating teachers and the sex ed teacher were; it was their place to answer those questions.

Yes, I think all parents should be talking to their children about these things so that teachers don’t have to do it. It’s a wonderful theory, but in the end, that’s all it is: a theory. And why is that? Because parents lie to their children.

Young Girl: And then Mommy kissed Daddy, and the angel told the stork, and the stork flew down from heaven, and left a diamond under a leaf, in the cabbage patch, and the diamond turned into a baby!
Pugsley: Our parents are having a baby too.
Wednesday: They had sex.
~ Addams Family Values

They tell these kinds of lies. “Oh, the dog went to live with another family on a farm in the country.” “Oh, look what Santa/The Easter Bunny brought!” “The stork brought a new baby! We just had to go pick it up!”

Of those three lies, it’s the middle one that is the least harmful. It keeps magic alive in the world and gives people a sense of wonder. Not teaching your children about the beginnings and endings of life? That’s just harmful. If a child is old enough to ask the questions, don’t you think you should be mature enough to answer? Please, before you tell your children lies, don’t you think you should figure out if you’re protecting them or protecting yourself?