Equality, Me Being Me, Social Issues

Get Out of the Kitchen

The whole “let’s quit performing all weddings at courthouses because a few clerks don’t want to perform same-sex weddings” debacle in Florida is crazy to me. It’s adults having temper tantrums because they’re being asked to perform a duty for their job.


I certainly have moral dilemmas in my own job, but I still have to perform the duties I’ve been hired to do. For instance, I think No Child Left Behind is doing far more harm than good in our country. Teachers are being judged based on how their students perform. That would be fine and dandy if kids all started off on a level playing field: had the same IQ, spoke the same language, had super supportive parents, and were all sheltered, fed, and well-rested when they arrived at school each day. That’s not reality.

In my local school district, for instance, there are 80+ languages spoken. People are moving here, enrolling their children in school without them knowing a lick of English, and then teacher performance is being judge on a one shot assessment near the end of the year. These kids just learned English, and a teacher’s job is on the line if they don’t pass.

That’s wrong, and it certainly brings up a moral dilemma for me. Does that mean teachers can simply sit down on the job, cross their arms over their chest, pout, and refuse to give their student’s the assessments?

Hell no. They give the tests, they lobby to get better laws passed, and they do everything they can to help their students. If that doesn’t work and the moral dilemma gets to be too much, they quit their jobs and go into different fields.

There are no administrators or judges going to bat for these teachers or pandering to them, telling them they don’t have to give the tests that are a skewed, out-of-focus snapshot of what their student’s can really do.

But that’s exactly what happened to these clerks in Florida. “There there, baby. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want.”

Puke! My twelve-year-old already knows this lesson better than they do.

These people need to grow up! If they have such a moral dilemma performing same-sex marriages, find another job. That’s the only good thing I can say about Sweet Cakes by Melissa; the woman refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, so she closed her doors. Granted, the lawsuit helped in that, but she still went out of business.wedding cake

I face moral dilemmas all the time but adapt and make changes. I don’t shop at certain stores. I carry trash home so I can recycle it if no recycling bins are available. I homeschool my child rather than allowing her to get lost and fall behind in the social and educational fray of her old school.

I take responsibility for what I have control over. It’s time for all these anti-gay workers and businesses to realize they are there to serve the public, and if they are morally opposed to serving all people, they have no business being in the public sector. Time to get the hell out of the way. There are a lot of people who would love to have their jobs, who wouldn’t complain once when Jason and Brad come in to get married.

Equality, GLBT, LGBT

Parenting an LGBT Savvy Kid

On May 14, 2013 I signed my fifth grade daughter out of school and drove to St. Paul, Minnesota so she could be part of history. Governor Mark Dayton signed the Marriage Equality bill into law. I met a friend there as well. She brought her six-year-old son for the same reason. This was history in the making and we wanted our kids to be there for this moment. This was big. We cheered and smiled and sat out in the super hot sun with sweat dripping down our backs, because this was important. Then we went downtown and celebrated. People were so happy.

I’ve made very conscious choices about talking to my child about the LGBT community and the unique struggles they face. We talked a lot about marriage equality this last year. I even had some friends confused as to why I was so passionate about this issue. I’m bisexual and I married a man, but if something ever happened to my husband, I would still want the right to marry someone if I fell in love again. That could easily be a woman. My daughter and I have talked a lot about the rights denied same-sex couples because of DOMA, and she even knows I write stories about men who fall in love with men. She knows some of my closest friends who are gay, lesbian, and bisexual. She knows what all that means. It’s not big deal to her. When she meets someone new, she asks if they have a boyfriend or a girlfriend rather than just assuming.

There has been a lot said about how same-sex relationships confuse children. They don’t. They really don’t if we just expose this reality to kids and then answer their questions. What confuses children is having the once-unwavering love of their parents suddenly pulled away from them because they love someone of the same gender. When my daughter heard that people did that, she was utterly shocked. Kids are also confused when their parents hate because of bigotry. That goes against most of what we teach our kids when they are young.

Much is made about parents needing to answer uncomfortable questions about LGBT couples. Guess what? That’s what we signed up for when we became a parent, and whether marriage equality had passed or not, children will still have those questions. It’s our job as parents to educate our children about the world, and one of the realities in this world is that LGBT people live here. Are gay men more likely to kiss out in public now than in the 1970s when I was a kid? Probably. Are lesbian women going to hold hands and hug each other where kids can see them? Yep. And I say good! I want my child to see this. I want my child to see that love comes in many different packages, and I want her to know she can talk to me about anything that she’s curious about. Anything!

What I find most offensive are the people who say marriage=procreation. As an adopted kid, I have just been devalued by that entire argument. My parents have been too. I don’t count in their eyes, but if I were to say that to these folks, they’d deny their argument applied to me because my parents weren’t a same-sex couple. Hypocrisy at its finest, I guess. And when hypocrisy is that blatant and that easily identified, you know the argument is false and drummed up rhetoric.

I don’t want my daughter to live in a cookie cutter world. I want her to be able to experience the entire rainbow because she will be a better person for it. She already is.

Equality, GLBT, Social Issues

A Dozen

Minnesota Senate Approves Marriage Equality | Advocate.com.

My beloved state did it. We passed marriage equality. WE DID IT!

I remember feeling something similar to this, but it pales in comparison to how I feel right this second. In 1991 the Minnesota Twins won the World Series. I was in college and not paying much attention to the series at all until there was a dull roar that grew and grew to such a racket that I looked out my dorm room, abandoning my studies. The 3000+ students that went to my small college had poured out of their dorms and were running down the streets cheering and smiling and jumping around like fools. It was contagious. I remember joining in even though I wasn’t a huge baseball fan, but it was infectious.

NOW I have a reason. I feel so overjoyed. I’m swept up in this euphoria, and wish I could be in downtown St. Paul right this moment to celebrate. I want to be with my teammates. I want to hug random strangers and say ridiculous things like, “We did it! We did it!”

Since I can’t be there celebrating, I’ll do it right from my office. I’ll tweet and Facebook and blog and text and call people. I’ve hugged my daughter silly, until she begged me to stop so she could breathe again. And now I’ll go to work where I have to pretend to not care. But I care so much. I care all the way to the rainbow and back.


Equality, GLBT, Thoughts

America: A No Touch Zone

My daughter was called a lesbian yesterday at school because she sat on a female aide’s lap. When she told me, I asked her, “What do you think about that?”

She responded, “What’s the big deal? There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian.”

I agree.  What’s the big deal?  This kid meant it as an insult but my daughter didn’t take it as such.

The reason?

I think it’s because my daughter knows LGBT men and women.  We are people to her, not labels.  I’ve gone out of my way to introduce my child to the diversity in our world, from choosing to live in one of the few culturally diverse communities in my white-bread state to talking to her about how no one’s experience is the same.

But what the discussion I had with my daughter really brings to mind is how averse to touch American society has become.  The moment two people touch, it is now seen as sexual.  When I was a child, I held hands with my sister, my friends, my mom, my cousins, my teachers.  I kissed them.  I hugged them.  I sat on their laps, and never once was I called a lesbian.

How have we come to this point, that sex is at the heart of everything?

I know that’s rich coming from someone who writes erotica because I see sexual subtext everywhere. Yet I still wonder. To me, touch is simply another form of communication, and often a much more powerful one than words.  It says things. Trust me. I’m here for you. You’re important to me. I love you.  Withholding touch communicates messages too.  You’re alone. I’m angry with you. You disappoint me.  And touch can also communicate hate.

Little boys might be hurt today for holding hands, and probably not even by other children, as much as their fathers.  In my day job I have heard parents freak out when their preschool children hold hands, hug, or kiss another child.  God forbid they ever find two five year olds showing each other their “parts” like I did as a kid.  It would be off to therapy for months for something that is part of the typical development of a healthy child’s sexual identity.  They are just curious.

And children need touch.  They need us to hold their hands and to rub their backs.  In fact, they melt into us like little cats when we give them physical affection.  What does that tell you?

It tells me that children are starving for affection because our entire society is starving for it. People are terrified of being called lesbian or gay or even worse, being sued if they reach for others.  So we live in little bubbles of isolation and fear, and we pay people to rub our feet or give us massages, because professional touch is “safe” touch. I disagree.  It’s just impersonal touch that makes my bank account $75 lighter.

Five years ago I met an amazing woman who initially scared me with how affectionate she was, and that’s saying something because I’m quite touchy-feely. She hugged me or held my hand as we waited for our kids’ school day to finish.  She squeezed me and told me she loved me. She even kissed me when we said hello or good-bye.  And none of it was sexual. None. She is my best friend. Why shouldn’t I be able to show her my love through the non-verbal language that speaks volumes with the single brush of a finger to push hair away from her eyes?

In other countries around the world, touch is not seen as purely sexual. Why is that? How can Italians kiss people they greet and Americans can barely be bothered to nod their heads or shake hands?

I say hug and kiss and hold hands with people you love.  Stop paying people to touch you when you already have people around you who are probably just waiting to be invited in.