Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking News and Developing Situations

Too much is going on in  the world today that I has made it very difficult to pick a single issue to blog about. We've seen North Korea launch a missile attack against South Korea in what could potentially become a very messy situation not utterly complicated by the huge Wikileaks debacle that has done incalculable damage to diplomatic efforts around the world. I truly feels as if that old Chinese adage, "May you live in interesting times", applies directly to us.

so without further ado...lets get to the news...(updated 1:00 pm pst)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The kids Are Going Home...A Look Back At The Last Nine Months

Well...the Thanksgiving turkey has been cooked and devoured, the dishes cleaned, and the house put in order. The general hubbub  of the holiday has briefly subsided. It was a fantastic Thanksgiving with great food and a rare occasion when family put aside their differences and enjoyed a nice holiday. No one got their feelings hurt and stomped out in a huff...not even me...it was a Thanksgiving miracle that made for a wonderful day.

It was also a day that we sent our 5 year old nephew Marcelo...who we have fostered for nine+ months...back to be with his mom to stay. He was so excited he could barely contain himself all day. When the time came to go, he leapt into his mothers arms and seemed like the happiest boy in the universe. I can't help but be happy for him too . I guess this is what Thanksgiving is all about in the long run.

Now that our time with the kids is coming to a close, perhaps it's time to settle back..loosen the belt on my stuffed tummy...and think back over the last nine months...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello fellow revelers...Just a note to say Happy Thanksgiving! Being that I live in one of the last timezones to see the holiday in, I assume that you have already stuffed you gluttonous selves into a tryptophane induced coma...I'll be right following along in those footsteps soon. Jay has been hard at work in the kitchen all day and the entire house smells like food I can't yet eat...arggg! Maybe it's time to crack out to wine ; D

And for those of you who do not celebrate this holiday or who may have already had their Thanksgiving long ago...May you have good food, a warm home, and wonderful company to share them with!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Attack of The Gender Norms..or...A New Hope?

What is it about gender expression that frightens us so? Just this October we had the story of the little boy who wore a Daphne(from Scooby Doo) costume to school and all the furor that invoked. He was just a little boy in a Halloween costume yet,  it was treated as if it were an indicator of the boys gender identity and sexual orientation. We had so much to say about a simple costume choice by a preschooler. And here we are again discussing whats appropriate for boys and whats appropriate for girls as if those lines must never be crossed. Are we really in a new millennium? Because this conversation feels like 30 years ago.

This time a young girl by the name of Katie Goldman, a first grader and avid Star Wars fan in the Chicago area was being teased at school by the boys in her class because she loves Star Wars and carries a Star Wars backpack and water bottle to school about it. Her mother, heartbroken to see her daughters spirit broken by the need to fit in, encouraged her daughter to stick with what she loves and tried to help her deal with the realities of being different. Then, like nerdyapplebottom, the mother of the boy in the Daphne costume, and all great stay at home blogger/parents...*cough*...Carrie Goldman took it to the net in her blog, Portrait of an Adoption.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 Transgendered Day of Remembrance

Well here we are again. Today is the day we have set aside to remember the lives of all our brothers. sisters, parents, and loved ones who have died because of transphobia. Sadly, this year I have a friend of my own to remember this year.....My friend Carina who was my best friend from middle school on took her own life this year due to what she felt were irreconcilable differences between the needs of her family and her need to transition. It is difficult to boil the situation down to just that simple sentence because the reality is so much more complicated...but talking about it..thinking about it has become difficult and neccesary all at once.

Tonight I have been asked by the Sacramento PFLAG group that Carina attended to give a ten minute speech about Who Carina was. I have to hand it to PFLAG, they are the red cross of the gay community. They are almost always there when other services may not be.

 I have to admit. I've known for about two months that this day was coming and had plenty of time to get my thoughts and my words together...but somehow I just could not bring myself to do it until this week. I did not want to venture into those feelings again....and wondering how things might have worked out differently.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Altering The Deal

There is a time when you hear someone spout complete bullsh*t and you know you have to let it go because they will more than likely get caught up in the web of their own lies and the rest of the world will know it....and there are times when you have to call bullsh*t for what it is. John McCain has crossed that line for me to stand besides the likes of Maggie Gallagher in a pantheon of willful truth benders and outright liars.

Recently on one of his many appearances on "Meet The Press", Senator McCain decided to change the rules and conditions for a Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal...again. This time instead of deferring to military leadership or congress...his third attempt at game changing was the independent study he helped initiate to determine the possible effects of a repeal on combat readiness and troop moral. Well guess what?....Since the results of that study have been leaked, with the majority of responding soldiers stating they couldn't care less if gays serve openly in the military. Senator McCain's response?....I want another study. I think not Senator McCain.

Video of the Senators appearance on "Meet The Press" and my response after the fold

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When Is it Enough?

Yesterday My husband and I got a letter in the mail that reminded us that we live in a country that holds our relationship in contempt. It was a letter notifying us that as a same-sex couple, our health benefits were considered taxable income...

"Whats the big deal?", you might ask. "This has been going on forever." Well, the big deal is that in the same notice comes the bald admission that this tax does not apply to opposite sex couples. The explanatory pamphlet from health Service System of San Francisco puts it like this....if you can sift through the legalese: (emphasis mine)

Health coverage for you domestic partner, same sex spouse, and any children of that partner or spouse through a Health Service System (HSS) plan is typically a taxable benefit. Because the federal government does not recognize domestic partnership or same sex marriage for tax purposes, employer contributions to health premiums for an employee or retiree's domestic partner, and children of a domestic partner or same sex spouse, are treated as taxable(imputed) income. Moreover, employee premium contributions are taken post-tax. By comparison,  if an employee or retiree is married to a member of the opposite sex, no taxable imputed income results from and employer's contributions to an opposite sex spouse's health premium costs. Also, employee premium contributions for an opposite sex spouse are paid pre-tax.

There you have it in black and white...or in this case, full color glossy....If we were a heterosexual couple we would not be taxed on our health care benefits. Now, the point of this pamphlet was to make us aware of a tax break the federal government makes available to "qualifying relatives"...which includes domestic partners and same sex spouses, as a way to offset this gays only tax. That said...

let the my rant begin...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Working The Steps

Not the twelve steps mind you but the steps of the Judicial system. That appears to be the only way we are likely to see progress on gay rights for the next two years. While we currently have two court challenges to DOMA already in process...Gill v. The Office of Personel Management and Massachussetts v. The United States Department of Health and Human Services. Also working the steps California's challenge to Prop 8(Perry v. Schwarzenegger)  now in the Ninth Circuit. And finally we have the Log Cabin Republican's challenge to DADT also making its way to the Ninth Circuit court of appeals. All of which are being opposed by President Obama's Department of Justice.

Yesterday two new challengers entered the fray...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letting Kids be Kids

"My Son Is Gay...or he's not...I don't care. He's still my son."

So begins the title and first line of a blog post of "Nerdy Apple Bottom", The mom...Sarah...now made unintentionally famous for blogging about the reactions her son received for wearing a Daphne(from Scooby Doo) costume to school for Halloween.There's been much ado on the web concerning this relatively simple event as it went absolutely viral and sparked a great deal of controversy. Just scrolling through her posts, most rate a comment count in the 30's...this one has provoked 36, 048 people to actually take time out of their lives to offer their opinion in writing...and the number grows every time you refresh the page. Hell...I'd be jealous of just the 30 comments...lol.

My thoughts on this event are many as it seems to have touched a nerve in the public consciousness. I'd like to touch on those issues and what I feel are some unfair judgements made against this mom for supporting her son. Also I would like to ask...what if it had been a gay dad that had sent his son to school in a Daphne costume?  But first...I will let Sarah tell the story in her own words about how this whole thing began with a simple Halloween costume request...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last Nights Election Fallout

Well, all our votes are cast and  the election is over. Now its just a matter of where the pieces will fall. California seemed to have faired better than much of the nation....not that it went that badly. I was going to to a point by point rundown of the gains and losses of last nights election...but lets be frank...that information is readily available on every news outlet with an IP address. I think what most of us want to know is, "What now"? None of us can help speculating on how this shake up could affect the passage of important legislation and the balance of power....if any balance there is.

Predicting anything at this point in time is impossible...some races aren't even fully decided yet. What we "know" is that the Democratic party just got a major smackdown. Or, as the President refers to it...a "shellacking". Sounds nice...kind of like they were just refinishing furniture and not losing a national election. However, first reactions to last nights results have been fairly panic stricken. Losing a majority in the House to a large number of Tea Party candidates and Iowa losing three of of its Supreme Court justices to the fear mongering of NOM and the Family Research Council, makes us wonder whats likely to come down the pike in the next few months.

But is it all bad? Even though so many Democrats lost their house seats, could their possible be a silver lining to yesterdays election hi jinx?