Sunday, August 21, 2011

It IS Your Business...

There's this underlying sentiment regarding gays and lesbians by some folks who think they're supporters of our's one of "live and let live."  We often hear and read things like, "It's none of my business what they do in their bedrooms."  (as if being gay is defined solely by what happens between the sheets)  Or we hear, "It's not my business who you want to marry."  Or "As long as it doesn't affect me, I don't care."

I have news for you.

It IS your business and yes, you should care.  It is your business because your silence is akin to acceptance of the unequal status of those in the LGBTQ community in our country.  You should care because if you don't, equal rights will never be a thing of reality for gays and lesbians.  Inequality DOES affect you, when your gay or lesbian neighbor or loved one is treated as a second-class citizen in his or her own country.

It is your business. 

When an individual makes statements like those mentioned above, whether he or she supports equal rights for all Americans or not, they have rendered themselves silent and accepting of inequality. 

It is your business.

No battle for equal rights is accomplished by the footwork of those asking for equality alone.  There are most certainly areas in our country where minorities would still be considered 3/5 of a person had we not chosen as a society that inequality in regards to race was no longer acceptable or valid.

It IS your business.

It is not enough to simply say, "I support equal rights" if your involvement in the fight for equality ends there.  Without your vote in support of equality, or your voice in opposition to anti-gay legislation, or your statements in response to anti-gay hate speech or bullying, nothing will change.

It IS your business.

It's no longer enough to say, "I support you" if you are unwilling to speak up, act up and show up.

It IS your business.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm Blogging Again, And It Only Took HRC To Get Me To Do It...

UncleR and I were married on June 9th, 2011 in a lovely ceremony, which I promise I will discuss in-depth in future blogs.  The summer has gotten away from us, with many things on our plate, and I have yet to have the opportunity to put fingers to keyboard in order to write about the happiest moment of my life.  I'll get there though.  But before I do, here's THIS:

Texas Company Runs Hate Ad Against HRC

An HRC supporter in Texas flagged this ad for us, which ran this week in the Lakelander in Whitney. The ad – “How Can We Stop Perversion?” – blasts HRC’s work and was paid for by a Hillsboro-based auctioneering and farm equipment company. Check out a picture of the ad or read the full text:

How Can We Stop Perversion?

Periodically, ads are run listing companies to boycott because of their support of perversion.
You can affect these companies bottom line by doing business with someone else.
The Human Rights Campaign is a group supporting perversion. They use the equal sign – as their trademark, if you see this sign on a vehicle, they are supporting the homosexual agenda which includes:

1.       Marriage between Adam & Steve
2.       Getting into our schools to teach students that perversion is normal
3.       Getting businesses to support their immoral lifestyle

We can provide you a list of companies to boycott. Call 254-582-3000 or email

Pray that these people will repent and receive Christ as Savior.

The Lakelander confirmed the ad ran on August 10. According to the website of the ad’s sponsor, Kaddatz Equipment, they are a Christian company that tries their “best to model ourselves and our business on Christian values.”

It’s unclear why an auctioneering and farm equipment company has taken such a vested interest in promoting lies about equality.
Sometimes it helps to see these things in print:

Why does this matter?  What does it have to do with us or our wedding?

This is OUR town and this is OUR newspaper. 

Upon returning home from our wedding, we were as overjoyed as any other newly married couple.  We wanted to share our joy with our friends.  So, we did what any other married couple would and we took out an ad in the Lakelander announcing our marriage.  (Yes, we looked cute.)  Our marriage announcement was published in the weekly (yes, our town is so small the paper only prints once a week) edition of the Lakelander on July 27th, 2011.  The phone started to ring immediately with many words of congratulations from those in our small community.  This was the first time a same-sex wedding was announced in the Lakelander.  We received absolutely no negative comments or attention. 


Two small-town newspaper publications later, the above-referenced ad was placed in the same newspaper. 

Yes, we believe this ad is retribution for the placement of our wedding announcement.  Yes, we heard Kaddatz' message loud and clear.  We're more hazy on why he didn't call us out by name, and instead used "Adam and Steve" as the representative names for same-sex relationships everywhere.  It would have been much more satisfying had he simply said, "Marriage between Jen and UncleR"...but I digress.

I'll say this...the folks at the Lakelander couldn't have been more gracious when we went in to place our wedding announcment.  They were full of congrats and kind words.  This ad is not a negative reflection on them, at all, in our minds. 

Instead, we believe there are truly no thoughts or actions so perverse as those of the business-owner, Alvin Kaddatz, who chose to spend his money in order to reflect negatively upon those in our small community who belong to the LGBTQ community, are supporters of the LGBTQ community, are supporters of HRC, Christians who support equal rights for ALL Americans, and/or/including Christians who themselves are gay. 
Hmmmph.  And all we did was get married. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our First Mother's Day Together As A Family...

Today, UncleR and I both woke up to Mother's Day cards from J.  (It doesn't matter that we both made sure that he got one for each of us...*grin*)

It's our first Mother's Day together. 

I'm so glad that we have J.  He really is a great kid.  We're lucky.  Today, it's easy to reflect on him, the young gentleman he's grown to be, and what a journey it's been to get him here. 

It's also a day for me to reflect on my first Mother's Day with a partner, a co-parent...a co-conspirator? 

We agree on almost everything in regards to our parenting styles.  I'm not sure how folks do it who don't.  But above and beyond that, it's simply nice to have a partner to rely on in this whole mom thing.  When it's hard, I have someone to turn to.  When I don't know what to do, I have someone to ask.  When I'm at my wits end, I can say that out loud, and someone will listen.

After 14 years of single parenting, it's an amazing change. 

So, today is a day to be thankful and reflect.  I'm thankful for my son, who brings joy to my life like no other.  And I'm thankful to my wonderful partner, who has chosen to join me in being a mom to one great kiddo.  I love them both. 

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there, and to all you folks who may not be called "mom" (heck, maybe you're called Uncle), but you still fill the role. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This Is Where I Grew Up...

Clovis, New Mexico, my hometown, made national gay news a few weeks ago for this:

The Clovis, N.M. school board on Tuesday voted unanimously to end all non-curricular clubs from meeting during school hours after a gay-straight alliance applied to become a club.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico accused the district of changing its policy to stop the formation of the alliance at Clovis High School, but school officials said the timing of its decision was a coincidence, and that its policy was already under review.
“This sort of tactic has been used in the past by school districts to discourage gay-straight clubs from forming,” Micah McCoy, communications specialist for ACLU of New Mexico, said on Wednesday. “A lot of alarm bells went off when we saw this.”
Superintendent Terry Myers called the allegations “unfair.”
Non-curricular clubs, such as the gay-straight alliance, will now have to meet before or after school, while clubs deemed to be curricular can still meet during school hours. The non-curricular clubs will also be prohibited from using the school’s public announcement system to communicate with students.

I think I discussed in another blog the uproar that went through the same community when the high school yearbook dared to post the picture of a lesbian couple on its' couples page.  The resultant policy requires the approval of any and all yearbook content by the district's school board.  *insert big eyeroll*

With all of the news reports on teen bullying and suicide rates amongst gay and lesbian youth, you'd think responsible, intelligent adults would create an accepting and positive environment for youngsters who may be questioning and/or coming to terms with their sexual orientation.  Instead, we have districts like Clovis, who take a rigid stance against anything that hints "gay". 

Clovis, and many other similar districts, support organizations such as the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).  They still pray (prey?) before high school sports games or other school gatherings.  I attended a graduation ceremony in Clovis within the last year, and me (the Atheist) and the school secretary (Jehovah's Witness) were the only two folks out of hundreds who didn't bow our heads.  Who knew I'd have so much in common with a Jehovah Witness?  Clearly, Clovis shuns the minority in favor of the majority, putting any legal questions aside until someone (anyone?) questions current policy.

And here we are again.  The school district has taken a stand...on the side of the closed-minded homophobes.  However, the ramifications for their actions in this case can be far more serious than in the instance of praying before school functions (although I'm not diminishing those actions either, but that's another blog).  What message are LGBTQ youth receiving from their school officials in Clovis?  What message could a highly impressionable, young, gay student gain from watching the school district deny their right to assemble, socialize with and gain support from other LGBTQ students or supporters?  That they are disgusting?  Unworthy?  Undeserving of love and support?  Unequal?  That they are to be feared or shunned?

The Clovis schools have sent a dangerous message to the youth in their community.  They have endorsed bigoted and homophobic behavior and have reinforced ideals which separate gays and lesbians from "the rest of society" and relegate them (us) to second-class citizenry. 

One of the comments posted on the aforementioned news article reads as follows:

"Human rights do not stop once a student enters the doors of their school."

I think I'll print that up on a t-shirt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our First Family Vacation...

We had another family first.  We went on our first "destination" family vacation together.  In other words, we went somewhere we wanted to go, without obligating ourselves to travel to visit family.  And we survived. 

We went to San Antonio and it was beautiful.  We visited during Fiesta, in which the whole city shuts down and celebrates its' history and culture together with parades, parties and tons of fun.  All of us partied our little fiesta behinds off, and I don't think I've ever seen Big C and J smile so much.

We paraded, we danced, we ate, we drank (well, some of us drank) and we enjoyed each other.  We took Big C and J to the Alamo (History lessons, yo) and we took them to a saloon, where we allowed them to sit at the bar and flirt with the bartender.  We toured the Riverwalk, we took a taxi ride into a historical district of San Antonio which was hosting a neighborhood fair, we threw confetti, and we saw Miss Texas.

We saw a group of PeeWee Herman impersonators, J screamed when he saw the Texas Longhorn Band, and we saw a gorgeous man in a pretty, blue dress.

Here's what I learned from my first family vacation:

1.  I enjoy my family more than I knew I could.  The four of us are not only family, we're friends.  We laugh and we truly enjoy each other's company.

2.  Not only have I found a soul mate in UncleR, but J and Big C have found a comfort zone in their relationship with each other.  It's not a normal uncle/nephew type relationship in regards to their positions in our family.  It's a friendship and camaraderie which is deeper and more loving than I knew it could be.  They have their own language, humor, and rules in their relationship.  UncleR and I are not privy to every layer of their relationship, nor do we want to be.  It's a joy to watch them grow to love each other as family as we are learning to all navigate this next portion of our journey.

3.  UncleR is my best friend.

4.  One hotel room is too small to share for three nights with 4 people.  In this family, we need a suite.  The symphony of sleepy sounds emanating from some of my family members was more than enough to drown out the mariachi bands playing outside of our hotel balcony, but they were not conducive to allowing this light sleeper to actually catch some zzzzzzz's.

5.  Heat can make people cranky.

6.  Prickley pear margaritas are pretty, but they do not taste that good.

7.  Always pay more for the expensive, reserved parade seating.  The cushy seats rock.

8.  It's okay to take an extra bagel from the buffet home with you in your backpack.

9.  Mariachi bands are cooler when traveling on a boat.

10.  It's always good to come home.  You never quite appreciate what you have until you get back from where you've been.

So, we survived.  We even had a bit of fun.  I'm ready to do it year (maybe).  I really am one lucky broad. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ten Facts About America's Gays...

I came across an article yesterday entitled, "10 Facts About America's Gays".  It was so good, I thought I'd blog about it.

Fact 1:  9 million LGBT people live in the U.S., 3.8 % of the adult population.

There's probably more of us.  In fact, I'd say it's a certainty.  But, due to the bigotry and homophobia that still monopolizes a large subset of our population, some of us aren't able to declare ourselves.  Sad.

Fact 2:  LGBT people are racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse: 1 in 4 are people of color and same-sex couples have identified themselves on the Census in 99% of U.S. counties.

We're rainbow colored.

Fact 3:  A substantial percentage of LGBT people are raising children: 1 in 5 same sex couples have children and 6% of children in foster care are being raised by LGB people.

6 states expressly forbid gays to adopt.  In the other 44 states, while most allow adoption by a single, gay person, there are often restrictions which do not permit same sex couples from adopting together.  I wonder why?  Maybe children of gay parents only deserve one parent?

Fact 4:   LGB people are serving in the Armed Forces: 71,000 are currently serving, and there are over 1 million LGB veterans in the U.S.

Over 12,000 (willing to serve) soldiers have been discharged since the inception of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the 1990's.  UncleR is a veteran.  When she enlisted in the US Army, in order to serve, she was required to lie on her armed service application by saying that she was not homosexual.  Had she not hidden the truth, she would not have been permitted to enlist.

Fact 5:  70,000 same-sex couples have gotten married in the U.S.;  another 90,000 have entered into civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Make that 70,001, as of this June.

Fact 6:  The annual divorce rate for same-sex couples and different-sex married couples is similar — about 2%.

See, the gays really are just like the straights.

Fact 7:  LGBT people are not more affluent. Gay men earn 10% to 23% less, on average, than heterosexual men. Children of same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty.

The fact that our federal government does not recognize same sex marriages prevents same sex couples from accessing the many financial benefits that accompany legal marriage in this country, including:  eligibility for certain public programs, access to health benefits provided by a spouse's employer, access to life insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, etc. 

Fact 8:  Rates of hate crimes and employment discrimination against LGBT people are similar to or higher than for other protected groups.

Here in Texas, I can be fired (legally) for being a lesbian.  I'll leave it there.

Fact 9:  "Don't ask, don't tell" has cost taxpayers over $500 million since it started being enforced in 1994.

Willing. Soldiers.

Fact 10:  If all 50 states and the federal government recognized marriage for same-sex couples, the federal budget would benefit by over $1 billion each year.

Maybe we can sell same-sex marriage to the fiscally-conservative Republicans by explaining the benefits to our economy.  It could work.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Haven't Felt Like Blogging.

Life is...well, interesting.

I haven't felt like blogging.  Shame, cause I started off so well, ensuring that I dedicated myself here a few times a week.  But, the last few weeks have been spent dealing with the real world.

I got fired from my job.  Okay, not really.  But, sort of.  The school district where I work is being forced to make 175 job cuts in order to shave dollars off of their budget for next school year.  All new employees hired within the last year or so were let go.  We had a choice to either let them terminate us for budgetary reasons or to voluntarily resign so that we wouldn't have a "termination" on our records.  I chose the latter.

The strange thing is, I may be back there next year.  My position as a Speech Pathologist is a necessary one, because kids must, by law, receive speech services.  If they fire me, they won't have anyone to provide those services.  But, due to a long list of legal reasons (that are too convoluted to list here), the district had to fire me only to probably rehire me.  Gah.  Of course, in the meantime, I'm out of a job and have to decide whether to wait on being rehired or to seek alternative employment opportunities in the off chance that I cannot return to my job.  It's a fucked-up situation that has caused great amounts of stress and grief in our family during what is supposed to be a very exciting time.

I really should say, I think everything will work out.  We'll be fine.  And I'm really not too worried about next year because being an SLP affords me many work opportunities, I'm nothing if not determined, and I'll find something else if things don't work exactly the way I hope with my current school district. 

With all that I've said above, I'll state that something incredibly positive has come out of the past few weeks.

I have developed an extreme sense of comfort and trust in my relationship with UncleR.  I don't mean that in the way most people may imagine I mean it when I use the words "comfort and trust".  Instead, I mean that after choosing to live a single life for a very long time, it has been an eye opening experience to have someone in your life who supports you through and walks with you during difficult times in your journey.  I have always relied on myself (and of course, continue to do so) in difficult situations, but having a partner in life, who is there when I have come home in a bad mood, or who is there when I needed to vent, or who agreed with me heartily when I called an overindulgent co-worker a's sort of...nice. 

Who knew???

So, anyway, I haven't felt like blogging.  And I didn't feel I could return here after a few weeks off without discussing what's been keeping me away.

But, many exciting things are happening in the very near future.  First, next week, all 4 of us (me, UncleR, J and Big C) are traveling to San Antonio for Fiesta on the Riverwalk.  I predict lots of music, good times and margaritas. 

And then, 2 months from today, I marry my very best friend.  So, while life has thrown us some curveballs, it's still pretty fuckin' awesome. 

I promise next blog I'll be back to ranting on things that matter to more people than just me.  Consider yourself warned.  ;)