Category Archives: Marriage equality

Burn It All Down

I have been out and visible since I was 18. I came out through the fire of a fanatical Christian cult (still hard to admit). I have been an out lesbian, dyke, butch, in all its glorious splendor for almost 30 years. I have fought first for gay rights, then lesbian and gay rights, then LGBT rights, and, most recently, queer rights. I have participated in civil rights rallies for Latinos and African Americans. I have protested attempts to restrict a woman’s right to choose. I have fought for change in the legal and corporate world. On the one hand, I am a liberal feminist, bordering on fanatical, adamant for equal rights for all. Since I’ve never been arrested protesting, I don’t think I get to be “radical.”

On the other hand, I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a neighbor, a friend, and an employee. And the thought that someone might harm my mother and father, wife, kids, neighbors, friends, or coworkers makes me want to burn that person’s village to the ground. I want to climb to the top of something very high and pick off those who would harm me or mine with methodical precision. And doing so would most likely require one of these “military grade” “semi-automatic” weapons. Who am I kidding? I would want a weapon that rivals anything Dead Pool or Batman might have access to. 

That is how I feel right now. I want to find a way to identify everyone that wants to harm my many-layered community and unceremoniously remove them from existence. Punish them for their hatred by taking out anyone “they” love and then them. The anger is blinding. I want to burn it all down. 

But here is the thing. I will never burn it all down. I will never climb to the top of anything high and pick off anyone. Unless of course, social media counts as a high point and my words can be considered the weapon.

The irony, the absolutely ridiculous and beautiful irony of America is that “they” have the right to hate me. “They” have the right to try and change the laws to make my life uncomfortable. “They” have the right to shout at the top of their lungs in a public square, “I hate you, Butch. I despise you and your equality, your gayness, your lack of conformity!” Yes, “they” get to say whatever the hell “they” want. And to think whatever “they” want. And so do I.

Maybe the paradox of our free-speech, free-religion society is that the more rights we have individually, the more important it is that we not have guns. Or rather, if you will, that “they” not have guns. Fair enough. Now, if we could just figure out who “they” are.

Imagine this (tortured) example…I am standing in a public square eloquently shouting my beliefs of equality and fairness to an LGBT crowd. On the other side of the square, “they” stand shouting that a woman’s place is in the home, homosexuality is a sin, and extolling the virtues of white pride. Everyone in the square has a gun – of any type. How does this rally end?

When Mateen walked into Pulse, he used weapons of mass destruction on a micro scale. He did not use freedom of religion. He was not exercising his constitutional right to hate. He brought down a permanent and unappealable sentence on hundreds of people based on his hatred. He should not be able to do that. It should be very, very hard to do that. Or impossible even. 

Since he (and all of us) has the right to hate, we must remove the awful temptation to turn that hate into violent action. Without a gun, he’s just a homophobic asshole. With one, he is a homicidal maniac. No one should be allowed to burn it all down.

We suck at this. America needs to get better. Right now. The rest of the world already thinks we are idiots. We have such resolve, such strength. Why can’t we work together to change this landscape once and for all?

It’s Butch to fight the urge to burn it all down. Be Butch.


Why Today Matters

 By now, you have heard that the US Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is a fundamental right and that gay and lesbian people are as deserving of that right as their straight neighbors and friends. As such, no state may restrict a gay or lesbian person’s right to get married. Well, despite the obvious Snoopy dance that I have been literally and figuratively dancing all day, I realize that maybe not everyone gets it.

I have seen a lot of celebration today from both my community and from allies. I have also seen a fair number of what I like to call now-can-we-focus-on-what-really-matters? comments. I agree that there is much work to be done. We need protection from being fired. We need protection from being kicked out of our homes, including the big home of the United States. We need protection in the adoption process, health care, and basically every government service you can think of. We still don’t have those national protections. There is much to be done. But today is a day for celebrating. Here’s why – from my perspective.

In 1993, I had a commitment ceremony with my partner at the time. It was a big deal and looked a lot like a wedding. I had friends back then who did not understand why we would want to do anything that looked like a wedding. That is for straights, they said. You aren’t straight, so why do you want to pretend to be a part of a system that rejects you? We did our best to explain it – over and over. In 2000, we registered officially in California as domestic partners. This was a huge step for many gays and lesbians because it was some sort of official recognition, albeit separate and unequal. Many people took advantage of this registration. In 2004, we rushed off to San Francisco to be legally wed. It was an incredibly exciting time because there was a feeling that all of the people involved were making history. We did make history, but not as legitimately married couples. All of the weddings performed were declared void (which held its own kind of pain), and the whole Proposition 8 nightmare began. Several years later, we separated and experienced the tremendous unfairness of not being married, but still having to go through a divorce, and all of the inequities dealt to both of us by the system.

In 2013, I met my wife. We fell madly in love. We knew that our relationship would be a challenge since she was not a US citizen. But, then that summer, the Supreme Court invalidated DOMA and Prop 8. That meant all Californians were free to marry.  The striking down of DOMA meant once married, we would be able to apply for immigration status. We got legally married late that year, and this time none of my friends asked why we would want to marry. Everyone understood. People fall in love, and some of those people want to get married. In early 2014, she became a legal green card holder. All thanks to the changes in the law – largely brought on by the marriage debate.

The tide has shifted so completely in the last 20+ years people of all walks of life now know how important marriage is. Not because it is the end-all and be-all of civil rights, but because it is an indication of normalcy, acceptance and finality. “They are married, just like we are, so that’s that.” “Of course they are a family, they are married with kids.” No longer can the question, “Is she a lesbian?” be answered with, “No, she’s married.”

If people are married, then of course they can visit each other in the hospital. If two parents are married, then of course they can both come to the parent-teacher conference. Married couples rent apartments and buy cars. They open savings accounts, and go to the doctor. Marriage was never an end, it was a means to an end. And that end is equality. Lesbians and gays who are married get to be treated the same way as straights who are married. Of course she gets to inherit that house, they were married! Do you see what I mean?

To those of you in the LGBT community who don’t want to get married, great! No need for you to do so. Be excited, though, that you can. You are no longer excluded from an institution and the multitude of rights that are automatically bestowed on people who are part of that institution.

To those of you who are offended that my wife and I are now legally married in every state in the union, I feel sorry for you. You are on the wrong side of history. And if you cannot see that, take comfort in the fact that no one will ever force you to marry someone of the same-sex. Nor will anyone force your church to perform such marriages. Don’t worry; the same constitution that grants me the fundamental right to marry, also protects your fundamental right to hate me for it. I hope that you won’t, but I will defend your right to think and speak how you wish.

It’s Butch to support equality. Be Butch.


Suck It, Biggots!

Biggots in 5 states are looking at Fox News today and shaking their heads. What the …? Equality is contagious, you see. You can’t start treating people equally – as they deserve – with dignity in one, two, three, four, five, six states and expect everyone else to just lump it.

What did you think? Did you really think that you could just throw enough money at the issue, keep trying to scare people and We would forget? Go away? Accept less?

You see, I demand to be treated equally. I demand that for me, my love, my kids, my family, my friends, my neighbors. But…

I also demand that for you, your love, your kids, your family, your friends, your neighbors. Even though I don’t know you. I may not even like you. But still I demand this. For all of us. Even the biggots.

I want equality for you, too. That’s what America is all about. If you don’t like it, suck it.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/10/u-s-supreme-court-denies-marriage-appeals-from-five-states/

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