Archive for the ‘GLBT rights’ Category

Manuscript Monday: “Legalize Love”

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Today’s excerpt is dedicated to two people I love dearly, who appear in my book under the pseudonyms Kelly and Gretchen.  They are very important members of my family, and whenever anybody asks me why a straight middle class housewife gives a crap about marriage equality*, I mention them.  In fact, Kelly took this picture of Elliott at a marriage equality rally our families attended on February 12, 2009:

 

I remember that rally well–I delivered a speech on behalf of Minnesota NOW that was received warmly by the less then the few dozen people who bothered to show up.  Today, my friend Kelly is back at the Capitol, with THOUSANDS of  ecstatic people ready to celebrate marriage equality in our state.  Among those thousands are Kelly and Gretchen’s two daughters, who can’t wait to be bridesmaids in their mothers’ LEGAL Minnesota wedding.

LEGAL!  

I can’t believe it.


Kelly and I were both good American girls, born in the land of the free, rewarded with Social Security Cards and easily obtained passports.  Had I fallen for a lederhosen-wearing Bavarian named Matthias Schwarz (instead of a professor’s brat born within a mile of UC-Berkeley), his road to citizenship would be assured.  Kelly, on the other hand, had no such opportunity.  She could not legally sponsor the citizenship of the foreign-born person she loved.

“Ugh,” Matt said, his usual eloquence failing him.

Deep in the throes of liberal guilt, I blurted, “you’re lucky, then, that you’re a white European and not a dark-looking terrorist.”  Post-9/11 hysteria brought new reports daily of Muhammads and Fatimas kicked off airplanes, hijab-wearers taunted with racial slurs, rocks thrown in mosque windows.  Gretchen admitted that her citizenship class had zero attendees of obviously Arab descent.  The Muslim students took great pains to announce that they were Somali war refugees.  Well into 2003 there was still palpable fear that al-Qaeda lurked in every (swarthy, hijab-clad) corner.

Matt returned us to the original point. “It shouldn’t be against the law to sponsor the person you love.”

Kelly shrugged.  “We can’t get married,” she said simply.  “If we’re not legally married, our relationship doesn’t exist.”

“But we have some domestic partner laws,” I said.  “Are you able to register as partners?”

Gretchen lifted her head from her thick textbook. “We can register all day long, but it still doesn’t mean anything.”  Then she returned to The New Citizen’s Guide to the Constitution.

Kelly shrugged.  “I guess it would be nice to have a big party,” she said, “but it’s true that it doesn’t mean much.  I still can’t give Gretchen any of my job’s benefits.  I can’t even carry her on my health insurance.”

“I have to buy my own,” the student of American law announced.

I decided, after draining my Summit Extra Pale Ale too quickly, that The Happy Hetero ought to state the obvious.  “That’s really expensive.”

Kelly nodded.  “Yes,” she said.  “Yes, it is.” At least [their son] Morgan could be added to Kelly’s coverage without any trouble; unmarried mothers, once a category as publicly shunned as homosexual couples, were wholly unexciting in the 21st century.

Gretchen passed her citizenship exam easily, returning home from her swearing-in ceremony with the gift awarded to her by the Customs Bureau, a tiny American flag stapled to a barbecue skewer.  “USA! USA!” she taught Morgan to shout.  He ran around the yard, chanting and waving, chased by Elliott, who shrieked that he wanted a turn.  Frustrated, Elliott grabbed Morgan by his overall straps and threw him to the ground, WWF style.  The home of the brave, indeed.

 

 

 *though anyone who would ask me such a stupid thing deserves a kick in the crotch, not a polite answer

 

 

It’s time

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I know it’s time.  You know it’s time.  We all know it’s time.

Yet whenever I read this phrase, so casually and coolly dropped into news articles on the happenings at my state capitol today….

“Minnesota is expected to become the 12th state making same-sex marriage legal”

….I have to do a little:

!!!!

OH MY GAWD!

IT REALLY IS TIME!

 

The unemotional can watch the Uptake’s live stream, but I am already a bit too verklempt, especially since the person introducing the bill in the House is Rep. Karen Clark, the longest serving openly lesbian member to serve in a state legislature in the United States.  Since 1980 she has kicked all kinds of butt for equality and justice in Minnesota, and everyone exulting today (on the live stream you can hear them chanting, howling, and screaming outside the House chamber) owes her an enormous debt of gratitude.

Now I just have to break the news to Elliott that he’s probably a little too old to be a ring bearer.

 

 

 

Manuscript Monday: “Two moms, two dads, who cares?”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

An excerpt from Chapter 8:

GLBT-friendly diversity curriculum being proposed for our elementary school might bring out a crank or two from the Catholic parish across the street, but no sensible person at my school would object to inclusivity.

Would they?

 

The first sign that I was wrong appeared when Elliott and I approached the northeast side of the school.  Cars were double-parked in the school’s surface lot, with more cars lining the streets as far as I could see. I soon discovered the reason for the parking squeeze—the entire south side of the school block was swallowed up by four Minneapolis Police squad cars and an enormous mobile satellite truck from the local Fox affiliate.  “Cool!” my son squawked from the back seat.

I allowed him to gawk the crowds and cops without registering that this was, in fact, a bad thing.  This meant that someone, somewhere, anticipated a burst of hysteria that four, count ‘em, four MPD officers would be required to quell.  Elliott also failed to notice that he was the only child in the overcrowded music room.  “HEY!” he yelled as a teacher waved from across the aisle.  “DID YOU SEE THE NEWS TRUCK OUT THERE?  COOL, HUH?”  She nodded and stifled a giggle.

A school district representative approached the microphone with a plea for respect and self-restraint ahead of the short film that would preface our discussion.  From her tremulous, agitated tone I assumed we would be watching a clip from Good Will Humping or You’ve Got Male, and I had my hands ready to cover my son’s eyes and ears if need be.  I was disappointed to see a fairly boring five minutes of cute multi-culti children gabbing about their families, a few of which were headed by same-sex parents.

 

Post-viewing, a stack of index cards was passed throughout the room.  Did we wish to share our opinions with the group?  I nudged Elliott.  “Yeah,” he said, cookie crumbs from the snack table tumbling down his shirt, “I wanna.”  I wrote out our names and handed the card back down my row.

“Okay everybody,” announced the school principal, his usual look of hurried anxiety replaced with what looked like defiance.  “Please,” he urged, “remember to be respectful and to honor everyone’s opinions.  Our first speaker is Shannon Drury.”

Elliott squeaked with glee.  I felt a moment of deep gratitude for holding off on the Thin Mints, for when the Fox 9 News camera operator caught sight of me he whipped his enormous lens directly into my face, where any telltale brown specks would be instantly visible.  I edged through the crowd to the microphone, Elliott bumping knees and elbows with abandon as he trailed behind.

I cleared my throat, blushing under the telephoto lens and the hundreds of eyes fixed upon me.  “First of all, I want to express how grateful I am that our school is offering to pilot this program,” I said.  “It means the world to me that our school takes seriously the fact that children are already bullying and stereotyping each other.  I am a member of the Human Rights Campaign, and I believe in their mission of equality and civil rights for everyone.”

A murmur went through the crowd.  Had I said something wrong?  Hell, you’d have thought I just declared myself a feminist.

As I warmed up, I revealed the shockingly obvious truth that children, our innocent and loving children, are born without prejudice.  Their social phobias are learned from the adults who pass them along.  I explained that when it finally dawned on Elliott that his best friend Morgan had two moms, his reaction was not “ew, gross,” but “NO FAIR! I only have ONE!”

I paused for the laughs that never came.  That story usually killed, but in this crowd, it died.  Tense anticipation showed in the sea of clenched jaws surrounding me.  Every chest in that room was crossed with defiant arms ending in tightly balled fists.  Uh oh.

I gave up and adjusted the mic for my short partner.  “Hi, I’m Elliott, and I’m in second grade,” he said.  The cameraman moved in closer.  For a second I feared Elliott would shout in the mic for the guy to back off, which would be a trigger for pandemonium.  Instead, he remained calm.  “I think that bullying is just wrong,” he said.  “Two moms, two dads, who cares?  It doesn’t matter!”

The room erupted—with applause.  The camera caught Elliott’s truly perplexed shrug as he wandered away for another dozen cookies.

 

 

To find out what happened next, check out my June 2008 column “What Would You Call a Welcoming School?”  ….and of course my long-threatened book The Radical Housewife,  coming to you soonish from Medusa’s Muse Press.

All illustrations by the brilliant Todd Parr

 

In praise of gender warriors

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

“You’re born naked and the rest is drag.

 

My daughter recently asked me if my favorite television star (that would be Mama Ru, of course, the genius who uttered the quote above) was a man who dressed like a woman.  I said, “no, honey.  RuPaul is a man who dresses like a drag queen.  There’s a big difference.”

“What is the difference?” she wondered.

“Well,” I said, “I’m a woman, and you don’t see me wearing six inch platforms, candy-colored couture gowns, and wigs the size of small dogs, do you?”  She shook her head.  Her mom is so obviously NOT a drag queen!  As I’ve mentioned before, my idea of dressing up is slipping on a pair of new Chuck Taylors.

In fact, I present pretty butch for someone who’s a straight married housewife.  I don’t want to sleep with Rachel Maddow, but I would love it if she’d take me shopping.

 

 

I love that belt.

All this begs the question: do clothes make the wo/man?  You know they don’t, and for that we must be grateful to the gender warriors who have made it okay to play dress-up, including folks like Amelia Bloomer and others in American feminism’s first wave.

That’s what civil rights are about, after all: FREEDOM.  To live life honestly, with dignity and autonomy, with all the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship.  In 21st century America, you might meet women who say they’re not feminists, but you’re not going to find any who think they shouldn’t have the right to vote…or wear pants.

 

We may be in the fourth or fifth wave of feminism nowadays, but  millions still struggle every day against the rigidity of gender conformity.  My friend Andrea wrote a very moving account of the crap that she, as a nonconforming trans person, goes through just to use a public toilet.  We posted it on the Minnesota NOW blog on Transgender Day of Remembrance, because Andrea has justification for her bathroom anxiety–in 2011, a trans woman in Maryland was nearly beaten to death for attempting to enter the McDonald’s restroom door marked with the stick figure in a skirt.  You remember the case because the manager of the restaurant filmed the whole damned thing on his phone.

As Andrea put it, “all this, for a bathroom.”

Gender performance is in the news again today, as Carnival Cruises has just announced that having drag performers IN DRAG on a DRAG-THEMED CRUISE would be a security risk.  Because when a guy puts on a dress, al Qaeda wins!

 

Gender rigidity hurts everyone, on a continuum of hideous violence on one end to incredible annoyance on the other.  The sickening queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are WERKING to make the world a little safer, and a little saner, for us all.

I hope their fans get their money back.

 

UPDATED: Carnival came to their senses and reversed the drag ban.  Jesus is a biscuit!

 

 

 

 

 

Voting NO for the children we love

Monday, November 5th, 2012

 

 

I’m voting NO on Minnesota’s ballot question on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, of course.  For a while I was convinced that regular readers of my blog didn’t need me to itemize the reasons, including but not limited to the appalling notion of discrimination being enshrined into state law.  Yuck.

My heterosexual hubby, Matt, and I even had a depressing conversation about how the totally symbolic nature of the amendment fight (for Minnesota already has a state statute banning same-sex marriage) is draining untold millions of dollars from actual, honest-to-gawd, on the ground work that both sides could be doing to achieve a more just society.  Catholics and other religious groups are NOT feeding the hungry and healing the sick; lefties like yours truly are NOT fully funding Lambda Legal, the group working on the LGBT rights movement’s version of Brown v. Board of Education.  

Instead, an estimated FIFTEEN MILLION SMACKEROOS is going to ad agencies, television studios, lawn sign assemblers, radio announcers, t-shirt printers, leaflet copiers, et cetera.  I’ve mentioned that I’m burned out, yes?  Cynical, exhausted, ornery, drained, annoyed, jaded, the works?

Last weekend my hardened heart opened up again, and I remembered why I got into this business in the first place: because I love children and care desperately about their physical and mental well-being.

 

 

To be specific, I love and care for a child that my regular readers know as Mia.  This little girl is as dear to me as my own daughter. I met her only hours after she was born, and I’ll never forget the joy of nuzzling her squishy pink nose and telling her how happy I was to be a part of her life.  Nothing activates the protective instinct more than a vulnerable newborn, so tiny and dependent upon loving grown-ups to nurture and protect her.

Mia is a third-grader now, and her vulnerability is different: her parents revealed to me that she has been driven to tears by the barrage of advertising by those who call this a marriage “protection” amendment.  Mia cried when she saw strangers on the television tell her that:

  • Her family structure is inappropriate at best, aberrant at worst
  • Her parents are selfish egotists who shouldn’t have had her in the first place
  • Her family is a threat to society

Imagine all of that crap entering your head when YOU were only nine years old.  What would YOU do?

You’d probably cry.

This post has been pinging around in my own head for two days, moving from brain to fingers to webpage with great difficulty, for every time I imagine Mia crying, I start welling up.  There are fat tear splotches on my keyboard right now, so please forgive any egregious spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

The vote on the amendment tomorrow won’t change any laws.  It is symbolic–but what a symbol it would be to a little girl like Mia, a kid being raised by two loving and committed parents who just happen to be women.  What a symbol a resounding rejection of this amendment would be to the thousands of Minnesota children who wonder where they fit, not only on the rainbow of queer identity, but in the fabric of our community.

Is there another symbol that could so powerfully represent a cultural shift away from fear and towards love?

I can’t think of one.

 

 

The writings of “an extreme liberal/feminist/atheist and occupy supporter”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

 

Sigh.

Yes, that’s me, tippity-tap-tapping away at my dented Compaq for your reading enjoyment.  I do my writing on the dining room table, though.  Who can type on a couch?  Here’s a small sampling of what I’ve had published lately.  Interpret according to your identity politics*:

 

Global patriarchy back in business. Minnesota Women’s Press, September 2012.

 

 

Periods of great national stress tend to demand scapegoats, even ones as unlikely as Sandra Fluke, the law school student at Georgetown who was called a slut and a prostitute after testifying before a Congressional committee in favor of legislation supporting birth control. The control of women and their bodies is a political imperative in cultures around the world and in eras throughout human history, and nothing brings out misogyny more than global recession, prolonged war and environmental catastrophe. Women are the canaries in this ever-deepening coal mine. 

 

Lawn signs have their place, but shouldn’t neighbors be talking too?  Minnesota Public Radio News, September 12, 2012.

 

She wouldn’t have learned much from me, but she might have learned something from other neighbors at National Night Out. Neighbors like the gay couple across the alley and the lesbian couple several doors down. Lest she think that all GLBT people in the area are in a mad dash to the altar, she could also have met the singleton known to mingle in Palm Springs at Dinah Shore Weekend.

And these were just the folks who were out; untold others could be B (bisexual), or T (transgender), or part of the rainbow of difference in countless other ways. At our block’s annual event last month, there were elderly neighbors, toddler neighbors, surly teenage neighbors, neighbors of color, white neighbors, a neighbor in a wheelchair, a neighbor with multiple disabilities, gluten-free neighbors who avoided the brownies and vegetarian neighbors who avoided the hot dogs.

 

“An Atheist Grieves.” Atheist Voices of Minnesota. Edited by Bill Lehto.  Freethought House, 2012.
(enter to win your own signed copy of the book HERE!)

 

My son and daughter, ages 11 and 6 respectively, have never attended a funeral. By the time I was Elliott’s age I’d lost both of my Greatest Generation-era grandfathers; Elliott and Miriam’s four grandparents are Baby Boomers who are reaping the benefits of the late 20th century’s scientific advances, including the once-mocked theory that smoking cigarettes is a bad idea.  My kids are lucky, though they don’t know it.

The nearest my children have come to the reality of death occurred in November of 2007, when my very dear friend Liz succumbed to colon cancer when she was only 35.  Her death was painful, but foreseeable; during the final year of her life she was seriously ill, with more surgeries and hospital visits than I could count.  I visited her as often as I could, but for my Minneapolis-based children her death outside Boston happened offstage, not unlike the lead character’s mother in Bambi.  Instead of an echoing gunshot, my children heard the telephone ring at an hour too early for good news and the dull thud of my body as I slumped to the floor.

 

Finally, we have something that I didn’t write, but it’s too hilarious not to repost here.  It’s in reference to a comment I made in support of a piece by fellow MPR scribe Haddayr Copley-Woods:

 

 

How, HOW, did this young lady** discover my secret?  For years I’ve endeavored to hide my liberalism, my feminism, my atheism, and my socialist tendencies from the world!   Sure, the masthead photos on this website feature the word “abortion” twice, but doesn’t everybody’s?

Doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

*my parents are under no illusions whatsoever about me working in an office. They know my all-time favorite job (other than child-rearing of course! derp) was selling used CDs at Cheapo.  Gotta aim big, you guys!

**yes, Nicole, I know how to do Google searches too.  In fact, it took me just a few clicks to discover that your boyfriend of nearly six years still hasn’t proposed, much to your family & friends’ chagrin.  My “liberal/feminist/atheist and occupy supporter” advice would be to propose to him yourself, but you probably wouldn’t listen.  If you’re truly as antifeminist as you claim, you ought to ask your Facebook pal Rush Limbaugh for his opinion, which I’m guessing would be: “stop putting out, you dirty tramp.”

 

 

 

Surprise, surprise

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

So THIS just appeared across the street:

 

It’s the first VOTE YES marriage amendment sign I’ve seen anywhere, let alone in a deeply blue corner of the People’s Republic of South Minneapolis.  I don’t know the neighbors, who haven’t attended a National Night Out function in the nine years I’ve lived here and therefore haven’t clue about the many LGBT people living on our street and on streets nearby.

I think I’m supposed to feel rage or contempt, but mostly, I just feel sad.

Really sad.

Sigh.

To get your own ORANGE lawn sign for a donation of only $10, please contact Minnesotans United for All Families.

Please.

 

 

Gender policing’s teachable moments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

By now, I’m sure all y’all have seen the video of a Colorado Girl Scout complaining that your Thin Mint dollars are being spent on including transgender girls in the organization.  Sprinkled throughout last week’s Facebook timeline were sighs of relief, for our cookie addictions can now be reclassified as Important Political Statements.  I love when things come together like that!

What a cutie. I wonder what chromosomes ze has?  Normally I wouldn’t ask, but it seems everyone’s talking about what’s under those green skirts.  Used to be we just cared about the cookies, not the genitalia.

On a related note, my post on the conundrum of feminist mental health garnered this comment, with some unexpected advice:

the only thing helpful i have to offer is this: the more i move into separatism, the more i do whatever it takes to have less and less to do with men and male-identified women, the happier i become. and the easier it is to be happy and at peace. just personal experience, but it makes a lot of political sense too. 

As an aghast Mr. Beinstock said to Daphne and Josephine in Some Like it Hot (watch the clip here): “I BEG your pardon, miss!”

Occasional bouts of misandrist rage, I understand.  Patriarchy can turn any woman, whether cis- or trans-, into a lunatic.  But separatism?  Isn’t that what we’re fighting with our cookie purchases?

Admittedly, I always feel prickly whenever it is suggested that heterosexual feminists like me are Doing It Wrong.  Personal rebuff aside, it implies that Rick Santorum is correct in his belief that sexuality is a choice, which leads us all into a bullshit-filled rabbit hole.  And I defy any radical separatist to come to my house to have a crack at the difficult daily work of raising a feminist son.  I might even go out on a limb and suggest that it’s the most important work of our movement–that is, if I were the sort of person prone to the kind of “nyah nyah, my feminism is better than yours” that I try to avoid.

Really, I do.

You know who’s an unequivocally GREAT feminist, though? That boy of mine.  He could out-feminist a wannabe like Sarah Palin in a heartbeat.  And with his gorgeous hazel eyes, he’d look amazing in a green and white uniform.  Say, why does it have to be Girl Scouts, anyway?  Isn’t it time we had Kid Scouts, open to anyone interested in hustling Thin Mints for merit badges? (please don’t talk about Boy Scouts, that haven for god-fearing pedos who lack the patience to join the priesthood.)  Is there some way we could convince Kate Bornstein and Chaz Bono to spearhead a movement that untethers Scouting from gender entirely?

And for once, can we let cookies be cookies and kids be kids, regardless of flavor?

 

Are you happy?

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I discovered the following print, designed by Alex Koplin and David Meiklejohn, in some of my random Tumblr travels today.

As someone with a temperament that can be described, charitably, as “sensitive” (and uncharitably, “pissy”) I have done my time in therapy, and this poster boils down just about everything I’ve ever learned there. The fact that I still go testifies to how difficult the process of changing something really is.
Today, the day after Twin Cities Pride, it’s also a useful guide for how to approach the miserable process of political change. The question might be reframed as “are you happy with current state of affairs?” A generation ago, it would have been quite bizarre to see major corporations throwing out Pride-branded swag to the crowds along Hennepin Avenue. Today, my kids have all the rainbow Best Buy and Macy’s crap they’ll ever need.
(I have no idea why my son looks like that. I wish I could say he’s emulating the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who support social justice revolutions of the kind represented at Pride, but in truth, I think he’s just pretending to hold up a stagecoach.)
Anyway.
Many years ago, someone (drag queens?) somewhere (the Stonewall Inn?), felt moved to change something (harassment of homosexuals?), and made a change. Today we are all reaping the benefits of their hard work. Why, there’s even talk on Slate that the fight for marriage equality might spark in renewed interest in the Equal Rights Amendment!
Change takes courage, perseverance, and energy. It’s hard. It stinks. I get a headache just thinking of all that change requires. But the flow chart asks: “do you want to be happy (with the current state of affairs)?” and honesty compels me to reply “YES.”

After all, happiness is worth it!

The evolution of an ally

Monday, June 6th, 2011

An excerpt from The Radical Housewife, chapter four, shared in honor of the 12th anniversary today of my civil marriage with a fella who is not, fortunately, named Mattias Schwarz:

….neither youth nor hormones last forever. Somewhere around our ten year college reunion, everyone’s attention shifted from desire to domesticity, so it seemed natural that marriage would dominate our discussion of gay rights in the 21st century.

Unlike the college come-outs and come-ons, Kelly and Gretchen came out by moving in next door. No one could misunderstand two women, a toddler boy, and a hyperactive mixed-breed terrier moving a truck full of furniture into a tidy Minneapolis bungalow—they were a family. For once, identifying as gay had nothing at all to do with sex. Hell, they were new parents, so we knew from experience that they weren’t doin’ it! Instead, the story of their lives together was a lesson for Matt and me on a topic far less arousing: good old-fashioned civil rights.

The battle for same-sex marriage first made Minnesota headlines in July 2002, when our friendly, toque-wearing northern neighbors on the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Canada’s current marriage laws were discriminatory. Gay marriage was legal right in our backyard. “We could get to Thunder Bay in eight hours!” I exulted.

Kelly and Gretchen glanced at each other warily. “I don’t think so,” Gretchen said.

“But I want to buy you a melon baller,” I said. “Or a Jell-O mold in the shape of a giant strawberry.”

Kelly crinkled her nose with distaste. “Is that the kind of stuff you two got?” I told her that Matt and I opposed the idea of a wedding registry on principle. I went further and explained that so much of the modern American wedding constituted re-enacting traditions put in place when women were considered property to be handed from man to man in a ritual financial exchange. When Kelly regained consciousness, I returned to the subject of her Canadian marriage.

“Go ahead and buy us a melon baller if you want to,” Gretchen said. “Just don’t make us drive to Thunder Bay for it.” Her stern face told us that the discussion was over.

I cursed myself for weeks for being such a fucking idiot. The Happy Hetero just told two sensible adults that all of their problems would be fixed after ten minutes in an Ontario courtroom! I thought they’d be freed from discrimination once they signed a provincial paper, produced in a country not their own, that would mean less than nothing to the border guards they would encounter on their return trip, guards who would still log them as two single persons: one an American citizen, one a Permanent Resident. Nothing would change.

Gretchen, unlike Kelly, was not born in the United States. When we first got to know one another, she was studying madly for her citizenship exams, a series of quizzes on Constitutional trivia that I might have passed if I were still a 17-year-old student in AP American Government, but would definitely flunk today. “A test she wouldn’t have to take if I’d been a man,” Kelly grumbled.

Kelly and Gretchen didn’t intend to offer me more than friendship, but they inadvertently gave me something nearly as valuable: an education in discrimination that this naïve straight woman sorely needed. For years, I thought that being an ally was about getting vogueing invites, ending the use of “gay” as a catch-all slur, and dropping my heterosexual assumptions. Through Gretchen and Kelly, I learned of the pervasive inequality that exists in state and federal law, the very legal system that Gretchen understood better than the average straight guy who was too busy scratching his balls to vote.

Kelly and I were both good American girls, born in the land of the free, rewarded with Social Security Cards and easily obtained passports. Had I fallen for a lederhosen-wearing Bavarian named Matthias Schwarz, instead of a professor’s brat born within a mile of UC-Berkeley, his road to citizenship would be assured. Kelly, on the other hand, had no such opportunity. She could not legally sponsor the citizenship of the foreign-born person she loved. “If we’re not legally married, as Kelly put it, “our relationship doesn’t exist.”

FFI:

Equal Marriage NOW

Minnesotans United for all Families