“Believer” (and why I sobbed through the entire thing).

I watched “Believer” tonight. Bad move. Long week. Lots of Queer clients. Then I watch a documentary about Queer people killing themselves. I mean not technically about them killing themselves, well sort of, mostly. It’s about the lead singer of Imagine Dragons and his journey toward activism for the Mormon church to be accepting of LGBTQ members.

I actually was very aware of the Mormon stance on Queers. Because generally all churches don’t like us. They are one of them. Through the course of my career I have encountered Queer youth who are Mormons whose parents don’t know they are Queer because they know they will be excommunicated and likely disowned if they come out.

I did not know the back story to Imagine Dragon’s lead singer’s activism. It’s intense. He pushes himself in this documentary to limits. And people die. I sobbed. My wife came out of the shower and I was about forty-five minutes into it and literally sobbing. She looked at the screen and saw him singing, and I was like no, no, it’s so much more than him singing. People committed suicide. Kids are dying. You just walked in on a clip of him singing so I look totally crazy right now.

But I couldn’t actually say that because I was crying. I sort of just waved my hands around and tried to talk between sobs.

She didn’t really react because I think she’s used to my twice yearly break-downs after a tough week.

Eventually I explained and pointed out all the people who lost family members so I didn’t seem quite so dysregulated.

This documentary is different because it shows the struggle of an ally. It shows the “it’s not my problem because I’m not gay” attitude and why that is not okay. Why allies need to stand just as loud if not louder for the Queer community.

When I’m feeling like I am burned out because I can’t take the homophobia and discrimination and transphobia stories that I hear, witness, and experience daily at my job, it’s those stories. The story of the ally who stepped up and spoke out that remind me I’m not in this alone.

There are testimonies by people who leave and/or are excommunicated from the Mormon Church due to them being allies or them being Queer and out. One person who was excommunicated due to speaking out says to the lead…You must know that quote, that evil only exists when good men do nothing.

I keep seeing stories about the migrant families flooding my newsfeed. My heart aches for them, but all I can think is LGBTQ people will be next. What if they ever come for my family? LGBTQ people are persecuted all over the world and discriminated against daily in our own country.

It’s like there’s only just so much space in my head and heart for heartache and I’m spending my energies on the Queer community and there’s just no room for anything else.

We recently switched daycares and when we were looking for new ones we had to ask “Have you ever had a two mom family?” and wait with bated breath for their responses. I recently started using a new pool guy, love him, first time I mentioned my wife though I wasn’t sure he’d come back. He did. There recently was a debate in my lesbian mom’s group about donor sperm and half siblings- add it to the list of my worries. We started a farm share. I’ve gone to pick up. My wife has gone to pick it up. Not sure if/when they will put it together that we are married and if/when we will find out if they are homophobic or not. We are about 50/50 for farms in the area.

That is a small list of the last week. The last week of experiences when I worry or fear because I’m married to a woman. I’m a grown, educated, confident, intelligent, working woman. Imagine the fear and vulnerability in a sixteen year old. Ten year old. Twenty year old. They are out there. Our Queer youth.

We need allies. Step up. Speak out. The exact quote is:

“It has been profoundly said, and how true it is, that the only thing necessary for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke

 

 

 

Put it All Down and Choose Your Kid

I pulled out my laptop tonight when I finally sat down because I wanted to get some work done and then write. I thought the boys would be at the kitchen table eating. There was a movie playing. I relished this moment of sitting by myself opening my laptop to do what I wanted to do when I noticed a presence on the ottoman.

Jackson was leaning into my legs and trying to make space for himself. The last thing I wanted was to give my space and time up. But I folded my laptop shut and asked, “Do you want to sit with me baby?” And as soon as the laptop was off my lap a little blonde boy had taken its place.

He snuggled into my chest and sat/sprawled on me for the next forty-five minutes until it was time for bed.

He chatted with me the whole time. He laid his head on my chest and let me run my fingers over and over through his hair.

Had I ignored the little presence at my feet and stuck my head in my work I would have missed that.

I hear every day at my job from kids whose parents work all the time or who are on their screens all the time. Kids notice. They remember. I’ve had twenty year olds tell me they had no quality time with their parents and that’s the reason they don’t go home for Summer breaks now because what’s the point?

I had already spent the entire morning and afternoon with my sons. And the whole weekend. I was feeling spent. I had escaped for four hours of work today only and still had more to do for my practice.

But there will always be work to do. There will always be one more reason to check my phone, my e-mail, my messages. But there won’t always be a little boy nudging my legs to make room for him because he desperately wants to spend the next forty-five minutes on my lap.

We went to Pride this weekend in the small city near our town. There was a transgender teenager standing next to us for drag queen story time, she was standing with her mom. The drag queen read the book “Red” about a crayon that identified as red but was in a blue wrapper. The teenager standing next to us started crying and said, “I’m crying because of a stupid crayon,” and their mom hugged them and we all knew it wasn’t about the crayon.

I want to be that Mom. I want to be the one that can be there hugging my child during times of fear and adversity. I can’t do that if I’m choosing my phone or my laptop or my work over them. I can only do that if I put it all down and choose my son.

Choose your kid. You will never regret it.

Pride Month and the Rainbow Flag. F*&$-ing #45.

I feel I’ve been inundated with articles about the protests and scares at Pride events. The assaults on lesbians and gays and transgender individuals are mounting. The President tweeted something ridiculous and hollow for Pride month yet his administration won’t fly a rainbow flag. So I wonder why our citizens who are homophobic feel empowered? It’s not rocket science.

I actually know gay and lesbian individuals who voted for #45 and it boggles my mind. I’ve written many blog posts about this homophobic administration. I’ve written many blog posts about being discriminated against in my personal life.

Never have I questioned attending a Pride event in the past. Never did I feel my safety would be at risk until this administration.

It’s a constant grind to be among a minority. There are emotions and energy invested in it that I’m not even aware of sometimes.

Let me explain why the administration of shitheads refusing to hang the rainbow flag is a big deal.

I went to hot yoga tonight and I was driving home and the little city my yoga studio is in is having it’s first Pride event this weekend. There were rainbow flags lining Main Street. Then I got to the end of Main St and I turn right, and at the stoplight directly in front of me is a church I’ve driven past hundreds of times. On their wall they had two huge rainbow flags, one just a flag, one with a saying of acceptance and love.

I smiled all the way down Main Street and the car behind me honked when I creeped by the church trying to read the sign and smiling like an idiot.

Because the rainbow flag is a signal. It’s a signal that I’m safe. It’s like a Christian seeing a church as sanctuary. I see the rainbow flag and I know I’m in a safe space. I know my family is accepted and loved and I can be myself and if any one tries to mess with us I know there are people here who will have our back.

It’s so much more than just a flag. It’s a beacon of light in the dark. I see a rainbow flag and I’m at ease. So to have the administration refuse to fly them sends me the signal that they do not have my back. They are not a safe space for myself or my family. If they are not with us they are against us and that immediately causes me to have my guard up at all times with anyone who voted for this very homophobic administration.

To anyone who is not a minority you will not get this. You will not understand walking around with a pit in your stomach because you know you’re in a conservative area and you fear for your safety merely because you are walking with your spouse.

You will never know what it’s like in that moment to see a rainbow flag however big or small and feel a wave of relief because you found an ally.

To walk in the shoes of a minority is to walk with fear. Always.

To truly be an ally is to take away that fear even if just for a moment.

To all of the Queer community I see you. You are beautiful. Rock it for Pride month.

 

Twin Three Year Olds, Two Moms, and One Dentist

My wife had to work. So it was up to me to manhandle the boys at their cleanings by myself. It started out okay. Declan was very compliant laying on top of me and while nervous at times with all the poking and prodding he basically did a good job. Jackson sat calmly, occasionally saying “I not get my teeth cleaned Mama!” clearly disgruntled about having to go next.

He clung to a stuffed dinosaur and oversized toothbrush and would clean the dinosaur at times.

Then we switched. Declan cannot handle the freedom of an open room with shiny appliances and Jackson cannot handle anxiety.

I turned on my phone and played Netflix for him. Declan cried that I hadn’t played it for him and in his attempt to watch stood on the chair behind me. I did not see this otherwise I would have told him to get down.

Well he got down on his own. Loudly crashing to the floor and our dental hygienist was not amused. Neither was I. Nor Declan. He’s sobbing. I still have Jackson on top of me calmly waiting for the cleaning to finish. Finally calm while Declan’s screaming.

Declan was then instructed to sit and not move from the chair. He didn’t technically. But his feet were swinging as he tried to get the wires. I mean just picture the worst mess you possibly can imagine in a dental hygienists space. That’s what was happening in that moment. I was trapped under Jackson and our perky dental hygienist was trying her best to stay perky.

When the dentist came to check them she mentioned something about Declan’s teeth. When she walked away I wanted to clarify, and the hygienist asked me, not terribly nicely, “Um who are you?”

Excuse me? “I’m their Mom…” I said puzzled. I mean what other human being on the planet would subject themselves to a dentist visit with twin toddlers? I’d have to be related to them.

“Well they keep talking about telling Mommy, so I’m just confused,” she said.

“There are two Moms,” I replied. At this point I was perhaps glaring at her, because I was annoyed at this entire line of questioning. And our two normal hygienists know me and know my wife and know the boys. So I know that it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t know we were a two mom family.

But once I said that, “There are two Moms,” there was an awkward silence and she didn’t apologize. She did the lip pursing thing that I am familiar with. It’s the “Oh shit it’s one of them,” looks.

I suddenly wanted to be out of that chair. Fast.

Some people reading this will immediately think I’m overreacting. You’ll think, well maybe she just didn’t know how to react.

I’m not. And she didn’t know how to react true. But she didn’t react the way accepting non-homophobic people react. There would normally be an awkward laugh, and then, “Oh okay I’m so sorry, they just kept talking about their other Mommy, so I was confused,” or something similar. It’s happened before. Several times.

It’s also happened this way. Where some one makes it known. With an upturn of their eyes and a downturn of their mouth and no smiling or awkwardness. Just understanding of what I am and not liking it.

It seems fitting that during Pride month the dentist office I’ve gone to for the last nine years and never felt a smidge of homophobia should suddenly become a place that may not be okay for us.

This is one of those things that lesbian moms deal with. Do we just not go back at all? The boys really liked her, do I swallow it down and bring them back to her because they really liked her and she had a nice way with them? Do I call and say something? Do I let it slide because it’s once every six months we go there? It wasn’t overt so what would I even say if I called…”She made a face and didn’t smile about me having a wife”?

That last paragraph is the crux of what makes being a lesbian mom different. It’s why I feel best in my facebook group Lesbian Moms. It’s why I feel safest in a room full of gay.

It’s the decisions we have to make and the questions we have to answer that heterosexual people don’t have any clue about. It’s why we get a month. Not just a day. Because what terrifies me the most is the thought of the boys older, wiser, and aware of the lip pursing look. The look that says I’m not down with what you are.

When will the first time they notice it be? Who will it be? What do I want them to see me do? I am setting the example for them and I don’t want to let things slide but I don’t want to make a situation worse for them. No one told me about these decisions before I had kids. I’m undecided currently. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But Why do the Queers Get a Month? (Said in a super whiney entitled voice)

Sometimes I read the comments on Pride posts. Mistake. I know. People are mean and hateful and discriminatory. For real though could they come up with anything different from “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve”??? It’s so outdated and used up. Y’all need some fresh homophobic material.

One comment on facebook I read asked why we don’t have a month for Veteran’s Day, only a day. I thought that was a valid question. As I respect Veteran’s seeing as my Dad was one.

Here’s my response. I did some research so pay attention.

First off the last time the draft was enacted was Vietnam. Roughly 25% (648,500) made up the number of soldiers drafted who actually set foot in Vietnam. Roughly two million were drafted in total but of those only 648,500 set foot in Vietnam. Draftees accounted for  30% of deaths roughly 17,700.

Those are bad statistics. Because really no one should die fighting for a cause they were involved with involuntarily.

I promise you that 100% of individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, etc. identify this way UNWILLINGLY. Yes the Queer is not something any of us would choose to be.

In 2016 it was estimated roughly 4-5% of the population identify as Queer. That’s over ten million people. Other estimates are as high as 9% of the population. The Colorodoan ran a story in 2018 based off a review of hate crimes they did separate from the FBI’s statistics (which are incredibly low). Transgender and non-binary individuals made up more than 45% of the deaths in those files starting in 1998 through 2018.

Gender not normals are not safe in the United States. Their total projection was that over 600 LGBTQ individuals have been killed in the last two decades in the the United States.

We are not in a time of war. We are living our lives, with families, jobs, and homes. We are unsafe in our own backyards though.

Secondly for the traumas that Veterans have endured, which are many, they have an entire healthcare entity dedicated to Veterans health located in every state. Accessible to all Veterans. Is it a perfect system? No. But it exists.

The LGBTQ community often delays care due to fear of discrimination. They have higher rates of suicide, mental illness, and untreated medical illnesses due to lack of access to care.

Veterans are now held up high in our society. I for one have only seen them treated with respect if wearing their uniform in public and we as a society have thankfully changed our attitudes toward them so they are accepted and not blamed for wars that they have no control over.

The Queer community hides in fear. We were slowly emerging from the shadows when our country voted in one of the most openly homophobic administrations in recent history.

We live next door to neighbors with #45 signs. We know what that means. That we are not welcome there.

We know people who have been assaulted, spit on, fired, and not hired for jobs due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Veterans don’t have a month because they can live safely if they are heterosexual.

We have a month because we have been disowned, kicked down, told we are going to Hell, told we can’t have children, told we can’t get married, told our spouse has no legal standing to the child we have born and raised together, told that we are less than, that we are freaks, that we are deserving of the rape, torture, and murders we face.

We have a month because even in this month we are killed. Because Pulse happened in 2016. Remember Pulse? The deadliest shooting in our history and specifically targeting the Queers.

Because it took until 2003 for the United States Supreme Court to rule that sodomy could no longer be used to charge people for crimes (a case that shockingly originated in Texas). Because it took until 2015 until we could marry and even that does not protect our partner’s parental rights when we have children.

We have a month because we are still fighting to just exist.

Until that day; when we can exist without fear, on that day, then you can take the month back and give us a day.

Google “LGBTQ deaths in America”. Then ask me why we have a month.