The Greatest Fear

Today I got an Easter card at work from my adoptive mother. I haven't talked to her in nearly a year and a half. This sounds horrible, I know, but part of me hasn't missed it. All the card said was "I love you as you are, Mom."

Maybe you are thinking, "What's wrong with that? She sounds okay to me." I don't trust it. I don't trust her. I have a hard time putting it into words, but I think it's a front. Yes, I think she's lying to me. I want to believe her and trust her. More than anything, I want to have a real mother that I can talk to and trust. She doesn't even know where I live or have my home number.

Nearly 10 years ago (God, almost exactly 10 years ago) we had a screaming match to 4am where she prayed to God about how ashamed she was of me. Can you imagine how that makes a child feel? Then she wanted me to go to a Christian "counselor" in an entirely different state. After weeks and months of post-it notes on bathroom mirrors day and night and 12 page letters with Bible quotes, I couldn't imagine getting into a car, alone, with her and trusting her to not just get me there but to bring me back too. I've heard the nightmare stories and I didn't want to be a statistic.

The life, and inevitable, death we've heard this week of Terri Schiavo only makes my fears more pronounced. I don't want to be Terri. Locked in my body, my partner powerless to help me, as my family drags me off to an endless dark oblivion I never wanted. It's out there now in the land of the Internet for all to know. Don't let me end up like Terri. If I can't make my own choices over my body, my life, and my death, then let my partner and only my partner make that decision.


More Rights, Please

A bill has been introduced in the House and Senate and has bipartisan support to protect worker's religious activities.

"The Workplace Religious Freedom Act ...bill would expand the rights of some employees in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a way that would require employers to engage in efforts to accommodate an employee's religious practices and observances at the expense of other employees' civil rights."


Dude, pass some civil rights this way. I haven't seen anyone discriminated against because of their religion at work. In fact, I see more co-workers take time off for bar mitzvahs, christenings, "Christian" weddings, mission trips, etc., but I will only post on this blog at home because God forbid (no pun intended) that my political or "personal" activity may be traced on my work computer. Don't think I don't sweat it every time I march in a Pride Parade or attend a protest against one of the numerous amendments.

Don't talk to me about discrimination. These folks have NO CLUE!


In the mornings coming to work, I sometimes pass, or am passed by, a minivan with dualing stickers. It’s a contradiction for this woman to have these two stickers on her car: “Marriage= 1man+1woman” and “United We Stand.”

Do these people realize you can’t create unity with a policy of separate but equal, or should I just say separate and left out. For it’s these same people, who want to nix the possibilities of civil unions and domestic partnerships because they think it’s the same as a marriage.

Question, do they call their marriage a civil union? No. Therefore, it is NOT the same thing. Stated this way, their ASSHOLENESS is evident. They’re just plain evil and mean.


Sorry Excuses for Fathers and our Leaders

With victories come other steps backwards. There's nothing like having someone always there to 'bitchslap' you back into place.

One thing I can say for Mary Cheney is that AT LEAST her father isn't as bad as Alan Keyes! At least Dick has the decency not to act like one when it comes to his daughter, not too much in public anyway. During the debates, Dick did say gays have a right to enter into any relationship they wanted to. Now, he didn't say we get to have the same rights heteros do, just that we can be in a relationship (gee, thanks). Keyes, on the other hand, after his daughter Maya comes out and he kicks her out of the house has the nerve to still say a "gay union would annililate" marriage.

This man, a black man at that, can't get past his hate for one minute to love his daughter unconditionally. Now, yes, that's the family values group for you. That's the open-armed, loving Christians we voted into our positions of leadership. Does Keyes not realize that a few years ago the same bubbas he's playing footsie with to relegate his own daughter to not just second-class citizenship but third-class citizenship are the same bubbas that would have strung him up for the color of his skin? That's sickening and beyond dispicable!


Now don't get me started on Bush. Once again, he is calling for a federal "marriage" amendment. Take a close look at that one some day and then go back a post or two. This amendment AGAIN like so many others that want to put us on the back burner does not actually mention us at all, but it certainly mentions the privileged individuals who get to partake of social and economic benefits of legal recognition. Who are these privileged individuals? Heterosexuals.

One step closer...a Republican Catholic judge in California says he sees not justifiable reason why gays shouldn't be able to marry, and suddenly our administration has to put a 'bitchslap' on it all. "Let the people decide," Bush says. The people get to decide about highways in their backyard and raising taxes because it directly affects them. They don't have a right to decide if a couple can protect themselves or not or get benefits from the state or not. If we did that, this country still wouldn't have blacks or women voting!



Small Victories

Today was a small victory. The Tennessee House Children and Family Affairs Committee voted 11 to 9 to defeat the anti-gay adoption bill. Republican Rep. Chris Clem had previously allowed a “watered-down” version of the bill to go through committee in order to get it to the next level. At the committee meeting, Clem tried to reinstate the original version for a vote only to have it rejected. In fact, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh stepped in to vote against the bill as well. Naifeh said he spoke with his daughters and with a group of high school students in his district for their opinion on the bill, and they all felt “the bill was wrong.”


While this puts the hiatus on directly hurting children, the next hurdle in Tennessee is the anti-gay marriage amendment. My question to these legislators who are willing to look out for the well-being of children, at least enough to open doors to give them a home, where do you think these kids go? To a family. Maybe a gay family. How does the state expect these children to be protected to the best of their abilities without state protections and benefits being given to the families? This simply doesn’t make sense.

Throw Something Back

Maya Angelou was quoted as saying recently on Oprah Winfrey: “I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

An article in The Tennessean today states that there are two opposing groups fighting the gay marriage amendment making its way through the legislature so Tennessee’s citizens can vote on everyone’s rights. One is the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay right’s group, and the other is the Family Policy Network of Tennessee, a conservative group.


A gay Nashvillian, Greg Gardner, who may or may not be associated with TEP (I don’t know), was quoted as saying, “We're not asking for special privileges.”

I guess this would be fine and true if the “special privileges” didn’t already belong to heterosexuals. Maybe it would be more true to say we are asking to get on a level playing field with heterosexuals. They have the advantage in every aspect of society and we are asking to take part. We are asking to take responsibility for our families. This should be respected, not scoffed at.

The representative from FPN, Ron Shank (what a name!), thinks the legislation currently going forward is not harsh enough. He wants to close up the opportunity for loopholes for “legal recognition” of other forms of “same-gender contracts.”

Shank is not just out to “protect marriage.” He wants to stop legal, contractual recognition of our relationships. Does anyone realize that it costs a couple anywhere between $1000 and $2500 to set up legal documentation (living revocable trusts, medical and financial durable powers of attorney, wills, guardianship agreements, etc.)? We pay for the things that many heterosexuals take for granted or that courts respect through the marriage contract. This is something Shank, the FPN, and other “Christians” like him want to “pray” for the defeat of the current bill so they can develop something more hateful, demeaning, and constraining to couples and families trying to care for each other.

This is shameful!

My Verse-My Voice

"The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
-Robin Williams' "Mr. Keating" in Dead Poet's Society

On March 11 in our local newspaper, The Tennessean, I added my verse, my voice, to others out there vying to be heard. The Tennessee Legislature is attempting to pass up to eight different bills this year against the gay and lesbian citizens of this state. The worst is not even against us, but against our children (or potential children). There are over 9,000 children in state homes in Tennessee. Last year, only 1,000 were successfully adopted.

The initial legislation was to completely bar anyone gay from being a foster or adoptive parent (single or "cohabitating"-since marriage isn't an option, you know); however, it went one step further in that it would bar placement in any home where a gay person lived. Therefore, a heterosexual couple couldn't foster if their lezzie aunt lived in the basement. This just put Tennessee above and beyond Florida and Virginia for homophobic stupidity, so the legislators decided to water it down to get it through committee.

Now, heterosexuals get "priority" in adoption cases. Okay, so if I want a leg up on the competition, I need to either A)produce a marriage license to prove my heterosexuality or B) if I am gay and still desperately want a child pretend to be straight to get around the system. Inevitably, it comes down to who we sleep with not whether we can care for a child, that makes us a good parent.

This is discrimination in coded-language. As I said in my Letter to the Editor, "The ''watered-down'' version is nothing more than a roundabout way of saying the state of Tennessee is not discriminating against gay couples, but giving preference to heterosexual couples. Heterosexual couples also get preference in marriage rights, insurance benefits, hospital visitation, hospice care, VA benefits and care, etc., but don't include the word ''homosexual'' in a bill and it's suddenly not discrimination but preference."

Listen to any anti-gay person who is opposed to marriage rights or any rights for gay people. They insist they are not anti-gay because they don't use the word "gay" or "homosexual" in the bills/amendments to limit rights. They just give "preference" to heterosexuals, families, faith-based institutions, etc., but if we want to be a part of their "privileged world" then it's suddenly "special rights" for queers.


The Reason

Why start a blog? As the name suggest, there is feeling of being a "stranger in a strange land" permeating through my life. Yes, I live in a "red state" and yes, I am a bit of an "exile"- a misfit. Being a misfit is not always a bad thing, it allows you to see the world through "different" eyes and understand people even when they don't understand you (even if they think they do).

I'm not sure what I expect this blog to be. Maybe it will simply be a place where I can put down my thoughts and feelings. Maybe it will be a place where other "exiles" can join me and share their stories of misfitdom.