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Archive for June, 2012

This whole boycotting Oreo cookies isn’t really about the cookie – You know that, right?

This is all about hate and ignorance and for the most part it’s all tied up with the “God Hates Gays” bow.

My sweet, sweet friends have written and called with their words of encouragement and love, and they all tell me not to listen to these folks.  I know this logically; it’s just that my heart hurts when people are so very hateful and so quick to condemn me to their magical land of “hell.”

See, this is personal – this is my life – the life I was given to live. Contrary to what most Christians believe, this is not the life I would have chosen for myself.  I wouldn’t have chosen to live in a world so full of hateful, ignorant, “god-fearing” people.  I’ve been told that I’m “frozen in my belief” about homosexuality not being a choice, that there isn’t scientific evidence that would prove that people are born gay. To this I have to ask for the scientific evidence of this God you believe in.

What I know is my life – all 60 years of it.  I have always been attracted to women, even when I was told I couldn’t be. I tried to make myself be attracted to men, I really did – but the thought of – and the physical act of sex with a man – made me ill, even when I was told to enjoy it.  I don’t hate men; I am simply not sexually attracted to them. That’s all the scientific evidence I need.  Kind of like Christians praying for someone to be healed and they are… that’s all the proof they need that their God exists.  You can’t see it – but you know it’s there.

I just don’t understand why it matters who I love.  Why do you care? How does it affect your life? What does my loving Susan have to do with any of the lives of the hate-filled messages shown above?

Don’t blame Nabisco or my beloved Oreo for your hate-filled ignorance.  It’s not about either one of those things, but you knew that already, didn’t you.?

Rainbow Oreo

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My partner Susan and I were driving to the San Diego Zoo yesterday afternoon and we drove through the route of the San Diego Gay Pride Parade.  We started talking about maybe changing where we sit this year and in that conversation we then decided that we couldn’t do that because we’ve been sitting in the same spot for 10 years now and that kind of makes it a tradition!  I found as we were talking that my heart was just filled with emotion, and my spirit was lifted just remembering my first Pride Parade 10 years ago.

Gay Pride Parades aren’t just about gay men stomping about in tight short shorts and dykes riding their motorcycles in leather pants and no tops! Not that there’s anything wrong with either one of those things, and the motorcycles are certainly worth looking at, but, it’s really about so much more.

10 years ago, I was 50 years old. My life had been spent in hiding and had been filled with so many lies and so much hurt and anger, I never imagined there was a way out. More specifically, I never dreamed there was a way for me to come out.

But – there I was – this 50 year-old Lesbian, sitting on the corner of 6th and University in San Diego waiting to see my first-ever Pride Parade.  I was a stranger in a strange land – and yet I felt more at home on that street corner than I had ever felt in my home-town.

My move to San Diego and to Susan had been filled with doubts and fear and oddly,  this great sense of relief that I was finally away from most of my family who had then, and still have now, no tolerance for “the gays.” It goes against what they believe are their fine Christian values.  I had started a job here in San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse that had placed me exactly where I needed to be to understand that being gay was not the end of the world – It was in fact the beginning of my life.  Friends like Candie, Thom, Terry, Jenny, Gigi – all openly gay – all living this life I had only dreamed of, showed me on a daily basis how life is just life and who you love and can never, ever be questioned or regulated.

Susan insisted that seeing the Gay Pride Parade would change my life and I remember thinking – really? A parade is going to change my life?   When the “Dykes on Bikes” came roaring up the street to lead-off the Parade – my small-town eyes flew wide open. I’d never seen anything like this in my 50 years, ever…

The Parade was filled with floats and bands and organizations walking the walk of gay pride openly, without fear.  Policeman, Firefighters, churches all showing pride and banners for tolerance and acceptance.  It was nothing I had ever seen or heard in my life.  I clapped, I laughed, I cried.  At the end of the Parade there is this huge rainbow flag that people put over their heads and walk under it down 6th avenue to Balboa Park.  The flag must cover a full city block. It was an amazing sight to see.  Susan insisted I get under this flag, grab hold of it and walk the remaining blocks to the Park. I whined – it was hot – I was tired – blah, blah, blah – Susan insisted.  The moment my hand touched that flag I started to cry, and I cried the entire way to the Park.  I cried for the 50 years that I lied about who I was, I cried for the freedom I was now feeling, I cried for the peace that had entered my heart, I cried for finally, finally understanding and accepting this person I had become, I cried and cried and cried.

Every year we go and sit in our spot on the corner of 6th and University. Our Granddaughter usually joins us along with our close friends, and neighbors.  We yell and run into the street and hug our friends who are marching with the military folks, and our friends who are walking with their church.  I laugh, and sing, and enjoy these few hours of peace and sweetness. At the end when that big rainbow flag comes down the street filled with people whose hands are holding on to that flag with tears running down their faces – I cry right along with them…  Susan was right; The Gay Pride Parade had changed my life.

Gay Pride Parades are about so much more than tight shorts and motorcycles…

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So, this Sunday will be the second year without my father here to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.  It gets easier every year without him here; still there are times when I find myself picking up the phone to call him, or times when I just want to talk to him.  It’s on these occasions that I go to the wonder of voice mail, and I listen to his voice. Some days this gives me comfort, other days it just brings more pain.

When I was a little girl – there was no one quite like my daddy.  I was one of the lucky ones – I actually had a Daddy.  He worked the 11-7 shift when I was really young, so I got to play with him during the day. I was his “little one” and pretty much got whatever I wanted when it came to my Daddy!

I learned in my teenage years that Daddy wasn’t to be messed with when it came to following the rules. Mother was usually the one who made and enforced the laws of the house, but… when Daddy raised his voice I knew that life as I knew it was over.  I only remember him striking me once, and that was because I told my mother to shut-up, and that was not acceptable at any time, for any reason, no matter how old I was.

When we stood at the back of the church on my wedding day – he held my hand and looked me in the eye and said: “Are you sure you want to do this?” I was only 19, and I knew I was running as fast as I could from my knowing I was gay, but… it was 1972, I was living in a small, conservative town and telling anyone I was a lesbian was just not something that was done.  I wanted to say NO I don’t want to do this Daddy, and run from the church. But… I said something about Mother killing me if I left, the music started, and the rest is family history.   I understand now that he would have been just as proud had I said No, and he and I had left the church.

When I finally had the courage to come out I was 50, and my father embraced me without hesitation. I don’t believe he ever understood, but… it didn’t matter.   We never discussed it as our family doesn’t talk about anything, especially things that have to do with emotions or feelings – it just isn’t done. But, he never wavered in his support of me and he embraced my partner Susan as he would another daughter.

In the last few years of his life, and since his death, I’ve discovered that my father was not the man I knew him to be.  Some of his decisions from years ago still tear apart a family who is simply trying now to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  Pieces that fit into place show a man who acted foolishly, and put his personal interest above that of family, and we are left to wonder why and how a man who could be so kind and loving, could be so selfish. I struggle to understand.

What I’ve discovered is that my father was searching for something. I believe that the only time he ever really felt alive was on his Minesweeper “The USS Raven” sweeping the English Channel before the start of D-Day in June of 1944.  He knew that his actions on that day had made a difference; he had helped to shape the world, he had made a difference in millions of lives.

My father searched the rest of his life for that same feeling. He wanted to be loved, he wanted his life to matter, and he wanted to be something to someone.  I hope he knows now that he was all of those things – he was my father.

Rest in Peace, Daddy…   Happy Father’s Day

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I found myself in a Starbucks on Saturday afternoon in the middle of this Outlet Mall that Susan was walking her way through.  I ordered my iced green tea, found a table and sat with my laptop surfing the web and writing off and on.

After about a half an hour I stopped reading and writing and simply took in my surroundings.  It was then that I realized that not one person who was seated around me was speaking English.  There was this brief moment when I had to stop and think if I was in the United States or in a Starbucks on one of the Philippine Islands.

Yes, it was also in that brief moment that I realized that I was thinking and sounding like a Republican… It was a sad, sad reality for me.

Yesterday I was at my Grandson’s Hugh School Graduation and again, I found myself surrounded by people who didn’t speak English. Well, maybe they did, they were simply choosing to speak Spanish, Tagalog… anything but English. I found it so disconcerting, sitting trying to listen to kids give their Commencement speeches while the people around me were talking amongst themselves in their chosen language.  I finally turned around and gave the people behind me the “look,” which in any language means: “shut the hell up.”

I hate it when that little Conservative English-speaking devil sits on my shoulder, I really do.  I can feel that frickin pitchfork he carries digging into my shoulder and I can hear that distorted voice saying: “If they want to live here, they need to speak the language…”  I hate it even more when I agree with this distorted voice.

There is also a little Liberal devil that sits on my other shoulder waving an American flag saying – we all need our freedom, we all need our individuality, we all need the freedom to be you and me! You can’t force someone to speak a certain language – you’ll take away their individual heritages their customs, their history.

At this very moment in time, the House Republicans are moving ever closer to voting on a bill that would make English the official language of the United States.  The bill would require official functions of the United States to be conducted in English, and would also establish the English language as a requirement for naturalization.  Don’t judge me – but I wonder if this really is such a bad thing…

The 2010 census shows us that 25.2 million, or 9 percent of the US population over the age of five is Limited English Proficient. This means that 25.2 million people do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English.  And for these 25.2 million people we spend tax dollars printing everything from cereal labels to ballots in the language they have chosen to speak.  Is this a good way to spend our tax dollars?  I’m having trouble dealing with the pitchfork and the American flag on this one.

I do, however, believe the whole melting pot era is long gone. Monetarily, we cannot afford this whole notion of multilingualism.  Printing ballots in 7, 8, 9 or more languages is an expense most counties in the nation cannot afford.  Bilingual education can cost taxpayers up to billions – yes, with a B – a year.

How can we possibly be a nation united when we don’t understand what the person standing beside us is saying?  Already we have 25.2 million people, 9 percent of the population who cannot speak, read, or understand English proficiently. What happens to us as a nation when that number reaches 10 percent, 15 percent, or 30 percent?

I’m not saying you should have to speak English all the time, and certainly I would never even dream of taking away a person’s heritage.  That’s not what this is about.  I just believe you should know enough to read a ballot, and be able to read and understand the labels on food. You should certainly be able to read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of the County in which you are a citizen, in the language in which it was written.  You should have the ability to communicate with cashiers and neighbors, police officers and 911 operators.  I just believe if the people sitting behind me at my Grandson’s graduation spoke English, they might have shut up long enough to listen to what the kids were speaking about… then again – perhaps they did speak English, and they were just rude.  If that’s the case, this blog should really be about people not having manners…

Whatever the case may have been, I believe before we no longer understand the people with whom we have contact on a daily basis, before we no longer have the ability to communicate with one another, and before we go broke writing everything in 100 different languages; the subject of a universal language in the United States of America needs to be addressed.

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about parents, and what they do to their children.  It’s the things they do on purpose to hurt their child, and sometimes the things they do without knowing, and sometimes, it’s the things they do, just because they can.  I’ve been wondering which case scenario is worse.

Realizing while a parent is still living that they will never, ever be the parent you would like them to be, and simply settling for a relationship of any sort to have that parent in your life…

Or

Realizing while a parent is still living that they will never, ever be the parent you would like them to be, and tiring of the game and the hurt, you live your life without that parent in it…

Or

Realizing after a parent is gone, that they were not the parent you believed they were, and you have no way to address, confront or confirm what you have discovered.  And realizing that you just have to tell yourself that you can live without the answers to the “What they hell were you thinking?” question that burns in your head and your heart.

Or

Realizing after a parent is gone; that they did the best they could with what they had, and no matter what things are left for you to figure out or try to heal, forgiveness is the only answer that will work…

Or

Realizing that no one is perfect, and yes that does include me, and you.

I don’t believe that anyone lives a life without regrets or at least a few; if only I had… thrown in there.  However, I question the life that leaves hurt, anger, and a child spending thousands of dollars in therapy trying to understand why they never measured up, or why they never felt loved, or why, or more to the point, how;  a parent could walk away, abuse, or simply not care about their own child.

I’ve come to understand through dealing with my relationship with my parents that every parent comes into their relationship with their own child with the baggage that was given them from their parent, and their parent before.  Passed from generation to generation are anger and regrets and family traits that aren’t always to be treasured and passed on.  When someone tells me I’m just like my mother or just like my father, I’m not so sure it’s always high praise!

In researching my family’s ancestry, I’ve come to understand some things, and I’ve also got a whole lot of questions with no one to give me any answers.  Lots of whys and how could he or she, and a whole lot of; are you kidding me?  I see cycles of neglect and self-interest that have lasted for generations.  Cycles unbroken because no one took the time, or had the courage to stand up and say: Enough. It was easier to just follow in footsteps that lead to absolutely nowhere. It’s heartbreaking.

As for me, I fit into every one of the scenarios that I listed above. My Dad left me pretty bruised and broken with no answers to the burning “why” questions I had. He simply wouldn’t answer, and I’m left to wonder. I understand a little better after learning of his family, but still… I’m left to wonder, and to try to heal the relationship with my only sibling after years of anger, hurt and turmoil caused by lies and deceit.  Happily, we are making things right between us, I just don’t believe we should have ever been placed in this situation.

What parents do to their children… Oy.

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There are a myriad of reasons that I could never, ever push the little button beside Mitt Romney’s name in this November’s election for President of the United States of America. Here, in no particular order,  are my top 10 reasons.

     1. He’s a Mormon…

Now, I know that religion should not play any role in politics, but, since the Republicans insist on praying and bringing God into every little thing… I’m going to evoke my privilege as an American Citizen, and say that Mormons have spent millions of dollars trying to keep “The Gays” in their place. Therefore,  this Gay American will never vote for any Mormon. I don’t care if he wears special underwear, I won’t vote for him.

   2. He wants to defund Planned Parenthood…

It’s too much for my head to even comprehend – cutting women’s access to birth control and health care.  Seriously?

 3. He wants to repeal Roe vs. Wade…

My feeling is this: If you don’t want an abortion – don’t have one.  Just because you may not want one doesn’t give you the right to prevent women from having the freedom of making that hard choice.

4. He would put more judges on the Supreme Court in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas…

This should put the fear of God in every independent thinker in America, and  send you to the polls to vote against this man.

    5. He would promote a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman…

I’m a Lesbian – I think that pretty much sums that reason up!

 6. He’s out of touch. 

He doesn’t know how many Cadillac’s his wife drives…  I’m thinking if you can’t keep track of your cars, how could you possibly keep track of, or even begin to care about, the homeless, the unemployed, or any of the other disadvantaged, lost souls trying to survive on nothing.

 7. He hasn’t had a job since he didn’t run for re-election as Governor of MA in 2006. 

Well, I suppose his job has been running for President and raising money for fellow Republicans, but… As far as holding down any sort of job, he hasn’t had one. I’ve heard he’s a businessman, but I surely don’t see him doing any of the business, if you know what I mean.

8. He’s a Flip-Flopper…

Abortion – He once believed that abortion should be safe and legal – Now he’s firmly pro-life.

Reaganomics –  When he ran for the Senate he stayed away from Ronald Reagan and his so-called economic policies. Now – he wants to “win one for the Gipper!”

NO-tax pledge – He refused to sign a pledge that he would not seek tax increases as a candidate for Governor.  As a candidate for President – he’s signed the pledge.

9. He put his dog on top of his car.

For me – any man who can put his dog on top of his car for 12 hours has no compassion what-so-ever.  And if you have no compassion for animals, you just have no compassion, and in my mind, you cannot lead this Country without compassion.

 10.  He’s a Republican…

Again, I’m going to defer to the; I’m a Lesbian reason… the Republican Party doesn’t really care for “The Gays.” A vote for Mitt Romney would be a vote against me, against my life, against my freedoms.  For me; It’s a no-brainer.

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