Tag Archives: lgbtqia

My Grandmother

Upon hearing that my wife and I are splitting up, and that I might possibly someday want to consider going back to school to become a Rabbi. She said, “K will always be apart of our family, because you loved her and because we love her.” I know Grandma. I love her too, we just can’t be together. She said “Of course you can be a Rabbi, this is not such a crazy idea.”

So we talk. Then last night a few hours after our lunch, she sends me two emails, with one link in each email, no other text the first one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/15/profiling-first-generation-transgender-rabbis
and the second one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/19/fight-equality-life-changing-experience-alabama

Now, I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew that I thought for a time I might be trans, or if she just knows Queer Judaism are as intertwined into my soul as anything. She’s not one for big heart-to-hearts but she is my liberal southern Grandma and I love her with all my heart.

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Filed under Divorce?, family, gender, Politics is Personal, Religion

3 Years Blogging. 25 Before 25.

This post will probably take me quite a while to write. Maybe I shouldn’t put everything all in one post, and maybe I will end up splitting this up at some point, but for now, here goes nothing.

I have had this blog for going on three years. I suppose I started it around the same time I decided I was to propose to my then girlfriend, now domestic partner. Oh boy did we not expect to be where we are today three years ago. We have been through so much.

What I really want to talk about though, is this: In about a week and a half, I will be 24. Three months after that, my father will turn 50 and that, my dear mathematicians means that next year, when I turn 25 and finally getting my BA/starting my Masters? my father will be  exactly twice my age and I will be the age he was when I was born. It seems like that should be such a bizarre concept to me, but really, it makes sense. My dad was definitely a mid-twenties/early thirties kind of dad. In that, I mean I never felt like he was soooo much older than me. We had intellectual discussions, he allowed me to make my own decisions, even if he fought them the whole way. He grew as I grew, and we grow together. What does feel weird is that I’m not there yet. I’m not where he was when he was 24, of course in some ways I’m past where he was I suppose.

When he was 24 he was living in a co-op household attic, my mother was almost five years older than him, and lived right across the attic. He had just graduated with his BA in Environmental Studies and was working on a farm. I think I’ve told this story before, but just in case we need a refresher… His father was dying and his girlfriend (my mother) found out she was pregnant, the same week. They moved up to Mendocino with dreams of starting a blueberry farm, but instead lived in a little one-room cottage with no electricity and my mother, pregnant and living with an incurable disease that causes really poor circulation to extremities, absolutely hating every second of the cold. My dad’s best friend – his dog midnight, was stolen one night while they were eating dinner, and eventually they had had enough. They moved back to their community, rented a little house, I was born. He got a job with the county as a planner and six months later they got married. Typical early 90s life right? Two years later they were divorced. I don’t want to be divorced before I turn 30.

I don’t want to be divorced period.

Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy for the people I have gained in my life because my parents divorced. But generally, divorces are not so easy. For my parents, well, my family is unique. Divorce in my family seems to just mean an addition to the family, no retractions, but still. I don’t want to get divorced.

I wound up so off track I have to remind myself to rein it in.

I wanted this post to be about the things I want to do or accomplish before I turn 25 because I know the year will flash by in a hurry or seem to drag on until it is over. I so badly wanted to put “create life”, “have a baby” on this list of mine. It’s been on my “to do before, or at 25” for as long as I can remember. I guess I just assumed somewhere in my head that would be the natural progression… I get married at 24-25 and then have kids immediately. That’s not what my parents drilled into me, the opposite is true, but I somehow just assumed that would be my life. Reflection is an interesting and dangerous thing. We have solid plans now and that makes my heart rest a little easier, having the goals, the stepping-stones that have to be crossed. Of course the best laid plans right? Such is life, especially our life.

dance

Here goes 25, before 25:

  1. Take ME time, and US time.
  2. Run a 5k
  3. Take a walk to the beach at least once a week.
  4. Re-learn the cello
  5. Visit a country I’ve never been to
  6. Take an “electronic-free” day at least once a month.
  7. Choose 5 accomplishable tasks every week and complete them.
  8. Finish our “first year” scrapbook, almost four years later.
  9. Read two books per quarter that are not required reading.
  10. Play a duet with my partner
  11. Start a community garden near our apartment and/or Plant a garden for my grandparents
  12. Hike 7 falls again
  13. Take the kayaks out
  14. Keep our bedroom clean for a month
  15. Paint a picture
  16. Make a new friend
  17. Get a cat
  18. Find a doable volunteer position and go once a week.
  19. Fly a kite
  20. Take a dance class
  21. Visit my godson
  22. Prioritize music & friendships – Go to a friend’s show at least every other month.
  23. Minimize the STUFF (get rid of things I don’t need), de-clutter.
  24. Call my nonbio-still-completely-siblings, more frequently.
  25. Dance in the rain.

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Filed under family, friendships, growing up, Married Life, Politics is Personal, Work

Being Jewish and…

I think I’ve come to realize that for Jewish families the only thing important is that you remain Jewish and remain a family. Little else can shock the family. For instance, when I came out to my father, who is studying to be a Rabbi, we were sitting in the driveway of his house, the Jeep Grand Cherokee probably still running, or maybe turned off in the middle of an awkward sentence like we do when we suddenly realize this may be a longer conversation that originally planned. You see I hadn’t planned on telling him I was gay, actually I don’t think I did. I think I had just finished telling him that the guy he really wanted me to spend the rest of my life with was actually no longer my boyfriend because I really actually had a crush on this girl with pink streaks in her hair and that I was confused and that it might be possible that I might be gay… And this is what he told me after a long pause “Honey I will always love you no matter what but I think I would rather you marry a Jewish woman than a non-Jewish man.” Of course it is years later and I happen to have met and fell in love with a non-religious definitely not Jewish woman and again my father and I had to have a conversation which went something like this… I really really love her Papa and I think she may be the one… “Is she Jewish?” Well no, but she supports me and loves me. “Oh… Would she be willing to convert?” Well actually Papa I have no interest in asking her to convert she is spiritual and participates in Jewish ritual with me and loves learning…. This conversation was not actually one conversation but many over the space of at least a year and will probably continue to take place especially because he will be performing the ceremony but the next part of the conversation, months later, after I proposed, went something like this: “You know I love the home that you and Kacie have created together, you’re really good together. Will you raise your children Jewish at least? Can you promise me that?” And I told him that we would, but that it would be our version of Judaism, because he always told me to question authority, to argue with God and to find my own meaning in Jewish teachings.

And if you’re reading this you may think, well that is just your story, why are you insinuating that’s everyone else’s experience? Well of course I am not trying to do any such thing but it seems to be a popular theme. I’m currently reading Aaron Raz Link’s book “What Becomes You” and I just finished reading the section in which he tells the very first family member, his cousin, that his name is now Aaron and at first the cousin thinks that Aaron meant Erin as in Irish or Catholic or something and he freaks out, but then reason that it’s A a r o n, sighs with relief and understanding and says, well as long as you’re still Jewish.

It’s all about our Jewish identity and passing along the Jewish story to the next generation that matters. Who you are, who you love, even having tattoos, can all be forgiven as long as you remember the people who came before you and the Jewish story, remember that you are Jewish even if it’s not a religious practice for you anymore, it’s your culture, your history, your people.

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Filed under Engaged Life, family, gender, growing up, Politics is Personal, Reading, Religion

Tired

Maryland’s Marriage Equality Bill was just recommitted to committee… I didn’t understand what that meant either so don’t feel bad. Basically it means we didn’t get enough votes to get marriage and that it’ll probably be another year before anything happens. So unless DOMA is repealed and the federal government says gay marriage is legal we won’t be legally getting married in Maryland Summer 2012. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up, maybe I shouldn’t have started picturing what our wedding at Wye Island or Swallow Falls or Tuckahoe or Deep Creek could look like, but I did. I know that our wedding will be everything that we want it to be no matter where it is, but we really, really want it to be legal. And it’s not. Marriage for us is not legal in either of our home states and that makes me really angry and hurt and torn up inside. And I’m tired.

I’m tired of having to know the legal mumbo-jumbo and what this vote means or that ruling means or where it has to go next. I’m tired of knowing that all of you support and love us but we can’t get married in either of our home states. I’m tired of being excited and let down. I’m tired of having to protest and call and email for such basic rights.

We’re all just really tired. I’m almost twenty-two and most of you have been fighting for equal protections for decades and I know you’re tired too. We’re tired of fighting to keep our jobs or get jobs, we’re tired of fighting to be included in protection bills and housing legislation. We’re tired of fighting for marriage rights and immigration rights. We’re tired of being excluded. We’re tired of explaining and tired of arguing and tired of reading about statistics and tired of dying and tired of being persecuted. We’re tired.

I don’t have any quick fixes or long-term fixes. I know eventually the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice but I want my rights now. I want our family to be protected. The entire Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Transgender 2Spirit Queer Questioning Intersex Ally family.

We’re just people. We’re really just people.

As a Maryland Delegate in the LGBT Caucus said today: “God said to me… I made you in my image.” We are all God’s creatures. Whichever God/Goddess/Energy/Ball of light You believe in. We are all holy.

Days like today are why we need Pride parades and parties and Gay Bars and LGBT centers and resource groups and school clubs and chat rooms and special websites dedicated to how awesome our weddings can be, blogs about LGBT families and raising children and fighting back against everything society taught you. We still need these resources because we’re still discriminated against, because we’re not equally represented in society. I don’t want to call my mom out, but she’s asked me before why I feel it’s so important to have these separate spaces. These special spaces. Why do I feel it’s important to have friends that are LGBT? This is why. Because we need to be able to be there for each other for celebrations of new relationships, of new legal ground, of a good day.

And we really, really need to be able to celebrate who we are when there are so many people who want to tell us it’s not okay to be who we are. That it’s not okay to celebrate our love. Well it is okay, in fact it’s a beautiful love.

Days like today are why I smile when I see rainbow stickers and queer couples in the streets, going about their day. Days like today are why I smile when I see someone who you know is queer from a mile away and smile when I see someone who doesn’t “look queer” in a queer relationship. We’re in this together. For the long-as-fuck hall.

 

I love you.

 

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Filed under Engaged Life, family, gender, Politics is Personal

Blogging Goals

I notice I am not very good at updating regularly. I wish I would, a lot of times I have things I want to say to a blank page or sometimes scream, but most of the time I don’t. I’m going to attempt another 30 day meme and I’m hoping to actually write every day, we’ll see where that takes us. I like that this one isn’t as one subject based and will probably allow for more of my day-to-day experiences to come through. So for now here are the questions and DAY I:

Day 1 – A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.
Day 2 – A photo of something you ate today.
Day 3 – Your idea of the perfect first date.
Day 4 – Your favorite photograph of your best friend.
Day 5 – A photo of yourself two years ago.
Day 6 – A photo of an animal you’d love to keep as a pet.
Day 7 – Your dream wedding.
Day 8 – A song to match your mood.
Day 9 – A photo of the item you last purchased.
Day 10 – A photo of our favorite place to eat.
Day 11 – What’s in your makeup bag?
Day 12 – A photograph of the town you live in.
Day 13 – Your favorite musician and why?
Day 14 – A TV show you’re currently addicted to.
Day 15 – Something you don’t leave the house without.
Day 16 – Your celebrity crush.
Day 17 – A photo of you and your family.
Day 18 – Something you crave a lot.
Day 19 – Another picture of yourself.
Day 20 – The meaning behind your blog name.
Day 21 – A photo of something that makes you happy.
Day 22 – A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.
Day 23 – 15 facts about you.
Day 24 – A photo of something that means a lot to you.
Day 25 – What’s in your purse?
Day 26 – A photo of somewhere you’ve been to.
Day 27 – A picture of you last year and now and how have you changed since then?
Day 28 – Your favorite movie.
Day 29 – Something you could never get tired of doing.
Day 30 – A photograph of yourself today + three good things that have happened in the past 30 days.

 

Day 1:

Well Facebook’s new photo layout has boggled my tired brain and therefore you get this picture which was taken over the summer instead of anything more recent. I’d like to think I’m in better shape now, but maybe not so much…

Today was stressful. As I mentioned last night my mother and her boyfriend were visiting from California and as my father said when I spoke to him this evening, “guests are like fish, after three days they stink.” I Love my mother I really do, but her boyfriend… Oh just read the previous post. He’s nice, he really is and I am so glad that she is happy but honestly, I am still processing. My stepbrother and I were both living out-of-state when our parents separated and after fifteen years of being a family they’re not together anymore? We need more time to process.

So today was hard, but it was also really good. Fiancee called her parents and for the first time discussed wedding planning with them which felt really good to me, even though I was only hearing one side of the conversation. I’m wondering though if anyone else has to discuss with family how they refer to significant others in conversations with people outside the family. Such as: said mom’s boyfriend was on the phone with his daughter last night and called fiancée my “friend” no explanation, nothing. This lead to me feeling angry, and fiancée’s call to her parents because we were curious, how do our families talk about us to their friends? Do they say when asked about fiancée’s life “Oh she’s doing great, her and her fiancée are living in Olympia, the two girls love it there…” Or do they avoid mentioning me? Do they talk about me as a roommate/friend or do they feel like they’re outing the family every time we come up? We had a mixed bag of answers from the five family members we asked but my favorite was my father, the almost Rabbi, who says that when asked about his daughter he says simply “She’s happy, living in the northwest, she recently got engaged…” and then they inevitably ask “Oh and what does her boyfriend do/is he a nice man?” Wonderful Papa that my father is. he says something like “She is very nice, she works in childcare and just applied for a graduate school program…” PAUSE and then the conversation moves on. SO SIMPLE! Exactly how it should be. Not a big deal at all.

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Filed under 30 Day Meme, Engaged Life, family, gender, Politics is Personal

Politics – Day 21

There are nine days left in my 30 Day Meme experiment and eight days until my fiance and I are going to California to visit my friends and family for Thanksgiving. We haven’t seen them in seven months and it’ll only be the second time she’s met everybody but already they know she’s family and she knows that she is an essential new part of the family too. Today’s topic is all about personal politics and it’s a good thing I’m writing this really late at night or you would be in for a very long rant…

Day 21: Political LGBT issue that is closest to you or affects you most

There are so many LGBT issues at the forefront and finally getting a lot of media attention that it’s hard to say what would be most important to me. The despicable way in which LGBT people are treated in other countries, tortured and killed for being seen kissing someone of the same-sex or dressing “inappropriately”. The laws here in the U.S. that allow people to be fired from their jobs, or kicked out of their homes, just because they reside in a state that allows such discrimination to continue. The military men and women who risk their lives every day fighting for a country that won’t allow them to reach out to their loved ones for fear of risking their jobs. Living in a country where the validity of a marriage can change depending on the state the couple is in at the moment. These are all laws that need to change and they are so intertwined it would seem ridiculous to separate them at all. The “Employment Non-Discrimination Act” and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would ensure people cannot be discriminated against in the workplace or said workplace could face charges. What should be included in that would be partner benefits. Any LGBT couple should be entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as any other couple, which brings us to the “Defense of Marriage Act”. Doing away with this act would ensure that marriages are all treated the same anywhere in the country, you have the same rights as any other couple. This should be an old issue, but for some reason, we’re still struggling to figure it out. It’s not hard.

To end this post, a little Daily Show update for you:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-november-15-2010/it-gets-worse-psa

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Filed under 30 Day Meme, Engaged Life, family, Politics is Personal, Work

Gleek Out – Day 20

Day 20 – Maureen or Joanne? (Or your favorite LGBTQ show or queer-positive show)

My fiance and I watch Glee every week on Hulu. It’s cheesy, it’s awesome, it’s musically wonderfully amazing. Also this week’s episode was pretty awesome for confronting internalized homophobia. I’m excited to see where this goes.

L Word definitely used to be my favorite. I found it as I was finding myself, and probably watched the first season a hundred times. Definitely watched all six seasons, though the first five I had to wait until it was on DVD. The final season was honestly not that great, but probably my favorite for the times I had watching it. Season Six happened when I was truly immersed in Queer Culture 24/7. The vast majority of my friends fell somewhere in the LGBTQ spectrum, my roommates were all gay, I was the co-chair of the Queer & Ally Club at my community college and Sundays for us were “Sunday Fundays”. A day that culminated all that gay awesomeness into one day a week where anywhere from 3 to 8 people would wake up at either our apartment or the “homo house” as it came to be known and spend the day drinking or at the beach or on a hike or at the pool or a combination of all of the above and finish it up by watching L Word that night. It was a really fun, virtually care-free period of my life, with friends who I hope to keep in touch with the rest of my life. A lot of us have since moved out of state, back in state, and away again. I got engaged, two of the girls became girlfriends, one joined the army, one moved to San Francisco and back, others are still around doing their thing. Life moves on, we do our own things, but we all still love each other and have a blast when we get together.

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Filed under 30 Day Meme, growing up, Media