Category Archives: LGBTQ
Current events – LGBTQ activism, news and research
It’s 9:45 pm here on October 11th. I got home late and am making an ambitious (for me) dinner of shepherd’s pie. So as I wait, I think back on another marginally bad day. It wasn’t horrible, it just was angsty. And most of the angst was mine. I was impatient, unorganized, forgetful and foggy all day. And it wasn’t until later in the workday, when I was beyond the point of salvaging it that I finally realized why I was so on edge.
Today was National Coming Out Day
For the past 10 years I’ve been flirting with various forms of outness, to varying degrees. And to the point where I’m essentially out to everyone except extended family. Even professionally to some degree it’s been know how I identify. Especially over the past year or so I’ve become far more comfortable with being out.
But today it was scary and triggery. It brought back memories of a workday interrupted by a call from a friend telling me that a website had posted my online journal and that it was circulating. It brought me back to the pacing through the hallways going mad from the ringing of the phone. It brought me back to 8 months of unemployment and 10 years of trying to scrape my way back to believing that I deserved to make an earning even close to what I was making before. It brought me back to the rumors, the panic attacks during the news, the fear, the cowardice, the ignorance, the victimhood and the punishment. It brought me back to a night where I was as close to suicide as I’ll ever get and breaking down to ask for help before I could finish the act.
I didn’t come out on Facebook today like I had wanted to. I have family who, as well intentioned and loving as they are, tend to call my parents over ever minor quip I post. As much as I love my parents, my coming out isn’t worth them having to field phone calls from worried family members and well-intentioned, but clueless friends. The choice to come out is mine and not theirs.
So, instead, I came out on Twitter, reminding all 686 followers of who I am.
Those things are some of the easier to identify things about me. It’s what most people care about when they talk about coming out. But identity is such a rich and powerful blend of concepts, stories, and aspirations that simply saying I’m bisexual, polyamorous, kinky, queer, Chicana, femme, Mother, wife, lover, educator, lawyer, spiritual and geek is just a superficial part of the story. Some of it is the sensational part of the story because ooooh—bi, poly and kinky–that’s out there. But it’s just scratching the surface.
There are other aspects of identity that go beyond the census items of nationality (American), race/ethnicity or income. There are the aspects of self that evolve over time but create the refinements of self that truly identify us closer to our core. Those aspects of ourselves are just as precious and vulnerable, worthy of being spoken as personal truths.
So tonight, I define more of who I am. Coming out as the woman I truly am at heart:
I am a public servant. I have always been drawn to government, politics, and the business of policymaking. But moire than anything I have been drawn to a life of being in service to the public in some capacity or another. Right now I provide direct services through a nonprofit,. but in the past, I’ve served in capacities that were more about the public good than my own advancement.
I am half white and half Mexican but identify as Chicana. This is very important for me to distinguish. I love both of my families, but the Mexican half of my family was the most influential in my upbringing. My dad’s family valued education but watching my Mexican grandparents’ pride when my mom earned her master’s struck a chord with me. It told me the legacy that was going to be passed to me to build upon. It is a responsibility that I take seriously. My father’s family is full of intelligence, accomplishment, and distinction–my role with them is less to carry on their legacy and more to just not fuck it up. But what I accomplish for the Mexican side of my family, like a law degree, creates a path for others to follow. I’ve already helped one family member with his law school application and LSAT prep. We rise together.
That said, I am also very privileged. Because my last name is white, my skin is light and freckled and my hair turning gray faster than my more indigenous parts of the family, I’m a dead ringer for your standard, run-of-the-mill white girl. That’s not what I feel inside and so I get somewhat defensive during conversations about race. I am so eager to relate to people that I end up ignoring my privilege, the same privilege that makes it easier for me to be heard. It has been an uphill battle for me to remember that my story isn’t more important than anyone else’s, particularly those who don’t get the benefits that come with passing for white, cis, het and able bodied.
I am bisexual and married to a man. So another privilege I carry is that I at least am always perceived as heterosexual. I’m not, of course, and that’s where some mental health issues come into play for many of us–being misidentified, ignored and rebuked within the LGBTQ community (mostly getting derision from the Ls and Gs) creates an insidious amount of hardship as we try to navigate our way through the world.
I am bisexual and I have known it since I was 12. But to the outside world, I had a fairy tale wedding and lived happily ever after. And while I love my husband dearly, part of why I love him is that he’s never had an issue with me living my life as fully as I am able. He’s always given me support and encouragement, to pursue what makes me happy–including exploring my attraction to women and non-binary/gender nonconforming folk. Ultimately this is aided immensely by being polyamorous–we negotiate the terms of our marriage and it decidedly doesn’t look at all like the heteronormative ideal. And I am happier for it.
Finally, I’m coming out as a visionary within the Catholic meaning of the term. Again, from the age of 12, I believe I was called to something powerful. This calling initially spoke to me through the images and rituals of the Catholic faith–I was strong in my devotion to the Church at the time (see, I still capitalize it). But as I grew into the woman I am, I recognized that Catholicism at its core no longer fit with the calling that I was given. It was just too large for such a narrowly-defined faith structure. So, I departed from the Church. I still miss it sometimes–going to Mass and adoration, praying the rosary, the cleansing I’d feel after confession. It is like my hometown. I’ll always have a connection to it. It’s part of my story. But it’s not where I choose to live now–I have moved on. My calling is what matters most to me, not ascribing to any one issue of faith.
With all of that said, I have an update on the shepherd’s pie: I burned myself making it last night which is why this is posted late. i’m doing better today–but I guess I also need to add clumsy to the list of identities that I have.
I absolutely loved this post and have considered writing one of my own for quite some time. I’m probably going to end up sharing way too much here, but you know, I believe in authenticity. I believe in honoring one’s own truth. I believe in honoring each other’s journeys so I share a little of mine.
I remember the first inkling I had that I was attracted to women was when I was in 6th grade…in Catholic school. I was heavily Catholic. Believed in and practiced the Church’s teachings to the fullest extent possible. Believed with my whole soul. And back in the early 90’s, bisexuality wasn’t really a thing yet. Not like it is now. I chastized myself heavily for even looking at other girls, for thinking anything sexual about them at all. Read the rest of this entry
Earlier today I got an annoying message on Facebook from a HS acquaintance who wanted to correct me for the stance I have taken on gay rights and specifically same-sex marriage. I posted my response to my feed there but I decided that I wanted to take it a bit further and just keep saying it loud:
Obviously we need a reminder. Let’s be clear, I am a supporter of same-sex marriage. I am an advocate for equal rights for all people. And so I don’t react well when someone wants to “take me to task” for my beliefs.
For all the people trying to make this a religious argument–that marriage is a “religious act” that government should have no part of, then I highly suggest you make your actions match your words and reject any and all government benefits you receive for being married. I challenge you to file your 2012 taxes as “single”, to divide your property according to contract law and purchase your own insurance instead of benefiting from your spouse and to be subjected to a custody evaluation to ensure that you are fit parents for your children. Go out today and make a will that doesn’t rely on presumptions of law. Hire an attorney to draw up any powers of attorney you might need in the event of an unforeseen disaster. Oh and be sure that if you are asked to testify against your spouse in a court of law that you don’t invoke spousal privilege or marital immunity. Go on. If marriage is only a religious rite/right then this should be no problem…rejecting all the ways in which your marriage is entangled with government and getting government out of the way.
You can’t have it both ways.
If you’re unwilling to to give up your benefits for the status of your relationship then you better be willing to extend those same benefits to everyone else who has made just as sacred a commitment to their spouse as you have. They are prevented, by law, from obtaining a marriage license in order to have the same legal recognition as you. Why? Because of the gender of the person they have felt compelled to pledge their life to. A simple matter of gender and that somehow is enough to restrict their ability to enjoy the same benefits and certainties as you. Sorry, but marriage is not a private matter, not when so many governmental treats flow from that change in status.
The God I believe in loves unconditionally and blesses each of us unconditionally. You lose nothing in this deal except the peace of mind that the peculiar combination of your boy parts and girl parts make you special in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God. Just like colleges, businesses and clubs were forced to open their doors to women or to men and women of color, you wrap your institutional identity so tightly around this concept of “specialness” that you feel you might lose your identity if others are allowed into the club.
Stop acting so persecuted and petulant. Recognize the privilege you have and extend that with grace and compassion to others.
Last night a bit of a debate erupted over my post about the Focus on the Family ad during the Broncos-Patriots play-off game last night. While I thought my small opinion might be controversial what I didn’t expect was that two people so unlike each other would get into a snarky religious battle in the thread that I’m sure making people on either side of the issue uncomfortable. Okay, maybe I did foresee that just a little. But there I was at 2 am ready to settle in for some sleep when I finally checked my notifications and saw it. So after I woke, I updated my response and share it with you in every form I can imagine:
Dear friends…I am not going to get too involved in this at 2 am. However, if you have been on my list for any amount of time please let me remind you quite clearly that:
a) I believe in equal rights for all, including homosexuals, bisexuals and trans men and women, including but not limited to those who seek to engage in same sex marriage and non-traditional relationships;
b) I have spent the majority of my life defending those rights and fighting the injustice of those who would seek to undermine equality;
c) I believe that God creates us as true perfection and loves each of us with infinite wisdom, innate goodness and unconditional love and does not require the exclusion of anyone from the fullness of oneness with the divine;
d) I believe that freedom of consensual sexual expression is a fundamental right and indeed a gift from the divine meant to express connection to others and provide a greater experience of our shared humanity;
e) I respect the right of each individual to experience and share their experience of faith in an equally respectful manner including but not limited to Athiests, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Pagans, Taoists, Jewish and so many other traditions…I welcome all faiths because I find your journey fascinating;
f) However, remember that you are a GUEST in my space amongst some of my most intimate and respected friends and I ask you kindly treat it as such;
g) As the host of this page, I am unilaterally and unequivocally allowed in MY own space to share my opinions, ideas and observations and will attempt to do so solely as a reflection of my own experience and research;
h) I spent most of my young adulthood studying the bible and later working my way through some of the apocryphal writings and have concluded during my journey that there is not only one way to God, the divine or universal oneness, but many paths that lead in the same direction;
i) If, by some chance the god of love that I have personally experienced in my upbringing, research and my Calling does not exist and is indeed such a vengeful, jealous, emotionally needy, and fearful being will sit in judgment of me upon my death, I will happily risk exclusion from heaven to stand proudly by my beliefs hopefully having spent my lifetime lending my power to those whose voices have been shamed into silence by needless and destructive emotional, physical and spiritual violence condoned by their earthly brothers and sisters;
j) As an attorney and political activist I believe strongly in a separation of church and state…something many of our politicians should remember when accepting donations and our churches should stop trying to exploit through the historically blurred lens of religious freedom,
and finally…yes, finally, I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated.
You are allowed to disagree, you are allowed to debate, but understand quite clearly that I identify as an active and compassionate member of the LGBTQ community and deeply spiritual woman. Because I choose not to remain ignorant of either the Catholic faith I was raised in or the moral abundance of teachings from other sources, I cannot be swayed by arguments solely comprised of scripture. I am an intelligent, queer, cisgendered woman who has spent over 20 years healing the fractures left in human souls by the improbable demands of religion and the social fear manipulations surrounding among other things concepts of sexuality and gender.
Pray for me if you like…but when you have lived my life, borne witness to the messages on the hills of Podbrdo and Krisevac touched the hearts I have and loved as deeply and as fully as I have…then judge not. And I pray to the god, goddess or entity of my choosing that upon your death you will be greeted by a divine presence who is actually IS unconditional love made manifest through each of us.
I expect this message to suffice for the time-being. Defriend me, block me, rally against me. “Like” it if you wish, re-post and share as needed, but do not presume to teach me about my own faith and my god-given life experience any further. I do reserve the right to limit further commentary in my space. My inspirational playground, my rules. A clear statement of healthy boundaries that I expect you to respect.
Okay, I know the last thing I should be doing is linking to an article written by daft, biased “reporters” for the organization Americans for the Truth about Homosexuality, but the following is just so fucking ridiculous that I had to make my response, snarky though it is. Yes, it is feeding the trolls, but in some ways I feel it is my responsibility to publicly state some of my own truths and expose the opinions masquerading as facts meant to scare vanillas.
My comments are in red italics
AFTAH Writer Is Grossed Out by ‘International Mr. Leather’ Perversion-fest Hosted by Hyatt Regency Chicago
Already we can tell this will be a highly informative, perfectly balanced and well-researched article. The use of the term “grossed out” is particularly useful in relating facts and “truth”.
WARNING: Highly Offensive and Graphic Images and Subject Matter
I have taken the liberty of removing the images, but not the subject matter.