There have been quite a few threads lately preaching to LGBTs why we should be grateful for the mega-advances we've lately had. I do not claim to speak for any monolithic LGBTQ community. First of all, no such thing exists. But I have been silent on the preach-threads, have not responded to posters, have stayed out of the flame-wars, and have thought very deeply on how to explain the disappointment that many of us feel. Many posters have tried to explain that we're not pissed because we haven't gotten "everything we asked for".
I don't know if we'll find peace, but I'm hoping we can explain and find understanding at least. I'm not preaching here. I'm trying to explain why we feel hurt. The "you should be more grateful" threads only add to the sense of betrayal. I'm asking you "please" don't. Here's why:
We're not even pissed because we haven't gotten a single, solitary thing we were promised. We're pissed because we have repeatedly been told one thing and have been demonstrated the diametric opposite. Actions always speak louder than words.
Let me repost a response (with edits) from yesterday that got several positive responses:
REPEATED instances of making pretty speeches before the A-Gay, big-dollar-donor crowd (like HRC who do nothing for the millions of walking-around LGBTQ's they claim to represent) then within three days defending DOMA in the most insulting of terms; actively lobbying Congress to go slow on DADT; actively refusing to obey a court order multiple times in granting spousal coverage to a federal employee, ... the list goes on and on. It's "say one thing then within hours or less than a week get busted doing the exact opposite" that has us upset.
Despite this initial insult, we took the candidate Obama at his word, that he was a "fierce advocate" for our equality. We believed that he would remain true to his word that we would assist us in our struggle for dignity and recognition. We worked our asses off to see a Democrat in the White House, regardless of his stance on LGBT equality.
We promised to support him even though his insistence on having this most offensive of individuals -- who since has been revealed to have had a hand in the "Kill the Gays" bill in Africa -- was a direct, right-up-front stab in the heart to a large community who had worked so hard to get him elected. A large enough community, may I remind some folks, to make a difference in his election -- or re-election. Yet, he chose to shit on us anyway. But we walked it off anyway, even to the tune of many DU threads berating us for having cried out at the deep pain at the insult.
Why are we always so wrong to say "We believed you when you promised. We believed you when you said, 'Make me.' We worked HARD for you. We supported you even after we caught you in lie after lie. We can no longer be the abused spouse, crawling back for more. We're separating and re-evaluating this relationship. When you amend your ways, we may consider coming back, but not one moment before."
We have every right to correct ill behavior. That is not unreasonable of us.
There have been many threads reminding how much he's done, how many LGBT's are now in government positions. While we applaud that, the rest of us are still living in fear, degradation, inequality, threats of being fired, the very real possibility of eviction just for being gay, and daily threats of bodily harm with little to no backup from law enforcement or justice.
I still can't get married. My beloved of 15 years can't inherit if my family decides he can't -- wills, contracts, trusts mean absolutely not one goddamned thing without marriage. Don't tell me they do. I've been the beneficiary of a will and been screwed before. If a greedy family and a reich-wing judge decide to overturn a will, it's overturned. Period. Wills aren't worth the paper they're written on if good enough lawyers are involved. I've seen the same thing happen over and over and over to many gay couples. Don't tell me it doesn't happen -- it happened to me. It's not just anecdotal, "I heard it happened to a friend of a friend of a friend" kind of thing. I bet before this thread sinks out of sight, there'll be several more just like me. "Just make a will" is one of the more intelligence-insulting things a straight person can say to a gay couple.
There have been a lot of good and thoughtful rejoinders to my original response. I would invite those posters to collect those under this thread. Maybe we can get across why the pain is so great and why the "you should be so grateful" threads are hurtful and are NOT helping.
Meet Callie, my "middle fur-daughter". Callie came to us about two years ago through WXII-12's Pet of the Week. I've told you a bit about her through the week, but let me tell you a little bit more about her today. There are a couple of links to click below and I'm asking for your clicks, but let me explain why.
Callie was presented as being three years old at the time, but when we got her home and looked at her, it was clear she was just a puppy, maybe five months old. Her teeth hadn't really come in yet and her build was slight. But she was already street-wise and far older "inside" than any youngun ever needed to be. She was dreadfully undernourished and you could tell that had been the case probably all of her life. Her coat was so thin you could see skin through it. Her skin was gray and her poor eyes were sunken in. She had no undercoat at all. She STANK, no just from being dirty, but from being toxic-unhealthy. The vet bills were awful. We really couldn't afford them, but we had room in our home and room in our hearts. Beanie-weenies aren't that bad. We'd lived on them before.
She wasn't socialized at all. It was easy to tell she had been tied out and left alone all of her life. You couldn't touch her collar at all. It took two months to get her confidence enough to be able to take the nasty thing off of her. She couldn't be blamed for her bad attitude. Apparently, whoever had her before had used her collar as a hand-hold to beat her. You couldn't undress around her -- if you took your belt off to put your pants in the laundry, she'd have a panic attack and hide. It took a lot of comforting to reassure her that in this house, humans do not attack canines or one another. This is a home where its inhabitants respect, love, comfort, and take up for one another.
Love is a powerful thing. A kind word, a kind act extended costs nothing, really, and it goes so very, very far. There are so many beings in this world, human and animal alike, who are so hungry and desperate for just such a single kindness.
I'm posting this today because, yes, I'm asking for something. A couple of clicks from you. Or at least one really important one.
Callie and I live in a rural county. It used to be one of the richest in the nation; now it ranks as one of the poorest. It has remote beauty, but for a lot of animals, that is its downfall and their peril. People come out here to abandon their unwanted pets in the false notion that domestic animals somehow know how to survive in the wild.
Here's a fact for you: they don't. Domesticated animals are just that. We humans have done that to them.
Put yourself in their place for just a moment. All your life you've had a warm bed, food, hands to pet you. Then you got old. Your mommy or daddy lost their job. Something Bad happened and you don't know what it was. You have no way of comprehending. Whatever "it" was, "it" wasn't your fault. But you're the one who got charmed into a "let's go ride!" and when you got to "go ride" you went to a wild, lonely place you'd never been before. The car door opens, you are set out, and the only family you'd ever know drives off and leaves you there.
It's cold. You're starving. You have no idea what to do or what you did to make them so mad at you. Your heart is breaking.
Now, your days are but few and it seems that nobody cares that you will probably die alone.
That's what happens in our county day after day. It has become a real problem. Our shelter is overwhelmed, understaffed, and has little to no budget to deal with it. Folks who live here are pretty bad-off, too. It's not like there's a line at Caswell APS's door with eager families waiting to adopt. The shelter has a no-kill policy, but nearly every week they have to shift charges to other shelters that can't guarantee a no-kill policy.
Callie and I would like to help. We've entered a contest where the grand prize goes directly to the charity of our choice. We choose to help the Animal Protection Society of Caswell County. If we can.
But we need your click here to do it and we would ask you to pass the link to your friends to vote for her, too. This is the most important link to click because it has the potential to do the most good.
Callie got lucky. I am so very blessed to have such a loving, giving, loyal creature come into my life. With a little help, more humans and four-leggers might get that same blessing, too.
The second click I'm asking for is just for fun. There is a prize, yes, but lordy, we've never won anything in our lives. But I think she's pretty and she's worked so hard to become a lady. She did the hard work herself so deserves a little press! Here's the second link. Thanks for your clicks.
Don't get me wrong. Right now, I'm pretty much on Cloud Nine having a picnic. It seems that every picnic comes with a few ants, and I'm pretty sure my LGBT brothers and sister can identify.
My partner of fourteen years (in February) and I are getting married on Monday. And gawdamighty, it's getting real. We had mentioned getting married a few times over the years, but my partner always felt that we were "married enough". Well, true; no piece of paper could make our relationship any stronger. We've been through hell together and everything the world has thrown at us, cancer, heart attacks, a brief bout of homelessness, whatever, has always seem to make us closer together rather than setting any walls between us.
He's still my bestest friend and my breath still catches in my throat every time he walks into the room.
The notion came up rather suddenly early this year when we were watching a History Channel program on super trains. On installment was on the Acela, the bullet-train that runs from DC to Boston.
I said, "Wow, wouldn't it be cool to ride that once. I haven't been to Boston in years and I'd love to take you on a history tour."
He says, "And while we're there, why don't we drive up to Vermont and get married." Nonchalantly, just like, "Oh, I see the sun has just come out."
I like to wet my pants. But I found my face was wet instead.
Now this was right before he was due to have some really hefty surgery (a femoral artery replaced -- all better now, thanks!) and it's been a helluva summer trying to get him recovered. But we've dealt with worse health issues before and keep truckin'.
By day, I'm your typical software designer. Bo. Ring. But it keeps the mortgage going and gas in the pickup. Here's where it gets different. In my evenings and weekends, I'm also a wedding officiant; ordained Independent. I perform weddings of all kinds, religious and not, all manner of faiths, various languages and rituals requested... in short, I'm first and foremost a creative writer.
Weddings are what I do TO other people. It hasn't been done to ME. It's like having the big walk-on speaking part in a play, never having had to deal with the technicals before.
Oh. My. Fucking. Gawd.
Dear Brides, I take it all back. For years, I've held hands, provided Kleenex, smiled sweetly and picked up the phone and offered the calm voice. I never knew what you were going through.
My partner and I decided to fly to Vermont this weekend and do a civil ceremony up there at a nice GOO B&B. That's Wedding One and itinerary to plan. Then this coming Tuesday, we arrive back in NC to have a Holy Union at our house with our friends and family. Wedding Two, hosted and catered by ourselves.
And all these years I thought I was a top.
Little did I know there is NO frickin' etiquette for a gay male wedding for two redneck country queers. There is no stationery for invitations. I don't frickin' LIKE pink flamingos or silhouettes of two pretty ladies in bridal gowns. Those are so not us. Lightening would strike if either of us wore white.
Who stands where? Who sits where? Who made this stuff up? There is nothing on the web that comes within a million miles of feeling appropriate. There is no bride. Period.
Somebody please call me a clown car. We'll just all pour out together and mill about until my uncle (who's officiating) throws down a penalty flag and sets the ball.
In a nod to tradition, we'll be having our Union outside in our orchard. AccuWeather (don't start, I know they operate on a tissue of lies) is calling for 60+ and nice. There will be seating for our mothers (or my auntie in my case) and everyone else will gather where they can see and hear. My neighbors' daughter wants to be a flower-girl. Sigh. Ok, because she's my little buddy and she really-really wants to help.
Usually it's a fairly easy thing for me to write ceremonies for other people. They give me a list of their wants, what they like, their preferences, then I do a little research, some cogitation, and boom, out pops a ceremony. Nine times out of nine and a quarter, I get gasps of approval and "you got it exactly" on the first draft.
How in the world does one encapsulate fourteen years of devotion and ever-deepening love and friendship in the allotted eight minutes a ceremony usually takes? I've fussed over and torn apart forty-leven drafts and I'm still fretting. Intentionally, our entrance (together) toward our arch will be in dire contrast to the deep and tender words we will be about to share. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write. I'm going to cry. I can barely proof the thing as it is and we're not even standing up yet. I'm hardly the crying kind.
Our friends know us and our wicked sense of humor. We will be having a shotgun wedding (with real shotguns, unloaded of course -- I'll check!!) and the "march" will be Dixie Chicks' "White Trash Wedding".
I always tell my brides "a good wedding is good theatre". I just want to make damnsure I have everyone's full and complete attention.
That orta do it
But immediately as we take our places and the "oh, that's so them" chuckles fade away, brothers and sisters, regardless of the piece of paper we'll already have in hand, something real and important will take place. We will welcome our friends into our home to celebrate what we've known all along. They will see first-hand that it's not the paper, it's not the ceremony, it's the day-to-day we've lived for so long that makes a marriage.
Oh, yes, I'm eating cake and barbecue and my KILLER sweet potato pie. And potato salad. And mixed greens, home-grown. I'm having some beer and laughter. Folks are bringing their instruments and I'm playing fiddle. But all of those are just the vehicle that bring everyone together to see that we aren't redefining marriage.
We have lived it. Through storm, strife, fear, joy, sickness, health, day-in and day-frickin'-out.
Yes, we're getting married. But damn anyone who says we're redefining it. When it comes to living it (I'm talking to you, Britney Spears and Carrie Prejean), we have. And I dare you both to try and keep up.
trying bravely not to groomzilla-out
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