Wednesday, June 26, 2013

VICTORY!...... DOMA and Prop 8 are Gone!

In a double ruling, the United States Supreme Court today struck down the Defense  of Marriage Act by a 5-4 margin....AND.... dealt the final blow to Prop 8. Both are now gone.

Our family has been fighting Prop 8 since the day it was announced in 2008. Nearly as soon as we could get married did the news come someone would fight we knew they would. We all had to move so fast to get married before the window closed that My husband and I had to marry a week before when we would have, which would have been my birthday and the anniversary of our domestic partnership. That day would also have been the day Prop 8 passed at the ballot box. A day we will always remember as being a very sad one. And yet here we are nearly five years and many court battles later....still standing and still married. Prop 8 has been such a big part of our lives for the last five years that it's stamp can never be undone. It launched us into activism...onto YouTube and this blog...and brought so many amazing people and experiences into our lives that I am almost grateful for it even as I celebrate its passing.

And DOMA too. I almost don't even know what to say because a part of me always feared that the Supremes would find a way to wiggle out of striking it down. I really can't believe it's gone as well. This, more than anything is the reason for the picture I have put at the top of this blog. Just like the destruction of the Death Star, DOMA has always been a similar instrument of tyranny...and its demise no less dramatic and far reaching. I know that for my whole life, I have believed and accepted that no government would accept or sanction and gay relationship.....that was just the world I came out in. Hell...DOMA was signed into law at about the same time that I came out, further underscoring the collective statement that gay people would be forever unprotected by the laws that would always treat us like strangers to those we love and spend our lives with. We were on our own and that was just the way it was. How amazing to be writing this day celebrating the end, not only of DOMA and Prop 8, but that way of thinking.

Between the Deaths of Prop 8 and DOMA I feel like I am standing in a completely different world. In fact...I am. And just as the destruction of the Death Star in  Star Wars was seen as an impossible to was this. There were cries of joy....and great exhales of relief. That's how I feel today.

I know that tommorow will  bring new battles and more insane comments by people who simply will not let gay people get on with our lives. We know we have more work to do.....But today is a day to celebrate.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reclaiming Dignity For Discharged LGBT Soldiers

When we think of the legacy of witch hunts against LGBT people by the military we tend to think about Don't Ask Don't Tell. However, the sad legacy of dishonorable discharges over sexuality  that ruined the lives of many fine LGBT men and women goes back generations...The first dedicated efforts being undertaken by the armed forces during World War II with the military recruited soldiers to participate in undercover entrapment schemes in order to snare gay soldiers that they feared were a security risk because enemy agents could threaten them with exposure if they did not hand over military intelligence. This view of LGBT soldiers as an easily exploitable security risk coupled with bias and homophobic beliefs about gay people continued unabated in the minds of military brass and Politicians until the Don't Ask Don't Tell process ripped the lid off of it. But after so many decades and thousands of discharges, the damage done to LGBT service people is almost incalculable. How could you ever begin to make up for so many ruined lives?

Well someone has proposed the first step. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York are proposing the "Restore Honor To Servicemans Act" which would amend the records of some 114,000 servicemen and women to reflect their honorable service.

This is great. However, considering how far back the damage goes...and so many lives not only altered by their discharge, but sometimes destroyed simply by being outed...I am left wondering what this will really accomplish? Lets take a deeper look...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Tale of The Nightingale Empress

As many of you readers may already know. This year our family was invited to be Grand Marshals at the this years Pride celebration and awarded the José Julio Sarria History Maker award for our families work for marriage equality and LGBT families. We were honored and excited to receive this award but the very next thing we discovered was that we had no idea who José Julio Sarria was. In fact, I would bet that most people don't. That's the unfortunate thing about the often interrupted timeline of gay history, the lives and stories of important LGBT people are still left to be unearthed and brought into the light. Many now know of Harvey Milk because of the movie about his life, but there are many more characters to discover and tales to be told and just waiting to be rediscovered.  And since we were receiving and award for "history making" in Sarria's name, we figured there must be quite a story to be told. In fact there is....

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Is This The Year Of The Dads?

Hello readers! Welcome back! Since Father's Day is fast approaching and it just happens to be Pride month here in Califronia, I thought it might be a good day to talk a little bit about a subject near and dear to my dads! This week my partner pointed out the picture above from this years NYC Pride Guide, and ignoring the rather snarky question about marriage spelling the end of gay culture, I had to admit that I was surprised to find the cover graced by what appeared to be a family even if the "dads" still looked like they fell of out of an underwear ad. While it is not abnormal to find absurdly hot guys on the cover of a Pride magazine, it is a little unusual for them to portray them as parents. And yes, this shot looks staged as hell. That baby looks like he's just as much an accessory as the sunglasses he's about to whip off and throw on the ground. But its still something to see these men as father's and a family instead of just two hot guys that may or may not be a couple. We are used to seeing sex in images like is something else to see the message of a family.

Paired with all the T.V. shows that have portrayed gay dads this year, like the recently canceled "The New Normal", Cam and Mitchell from "Modern Family", and the briefly aired "Two Dads, Ten Kids" on the Oprah has led my partner to marvel at how we have come from near invisibility to being all over the place. Was this magazine pointing to an explosion of acceptance of gay dads.....or just a tacit nod that we now exist in numbers significant enough to warrant recognition?

To be honest, I hadn't really given it much thought. I had just welcomed each new change as it happened, But, since he brought it up I had to ask if he was right? Since when did we become so big?! Are we living in the year of the gay dads?